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Posts Tagged ‘Iran’

Iran to take US to international court over intercepted spy drone

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 6, 2012

US-TECHNOLOGY-UNMANNED SYSTEMS DEMO-SCANEAGLEIran has threatened international legal action against Washington over its alleged interception of a US spy drone. Tehran claims it has evidence of illegal spying on Iran’s nuclear program to present to an international court.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi announced on Tuesday that Tehran now has proof of the presence of US spy drones over Iranian territory.

“We had formally protested such actions by the US and had announced that we would defend our borders by any means possible,” Salehi told national media. International law forbids the violation of national borders, which Tehran had warned the US against before, “but unfortunately they did not comply,” he said.

“We will use this drone as evidence to pursue a legal case against the US invasion at relevant international bodies,”the Iranian FM said.

In a video broadcast on Iran’s Press TV on December 4, a US ScanEagle drone recently intercepted over the Persian Gulf by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) was not visibly damaged. If the drone was manufactured by Boeing subsidiary Insitu, the lack of damage indicates it was not shot down, but was ‘hooked’ intact and brought to the ground.

IRGC Navy Commander Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, who made the official announcement on the drone’s capture, did not specify the exact date it had been intercepted.

One year ago, Tehran was reluctant to go to an international court when Iranian electronic warfare specialists managed to take control of the top-secret US RQ-170 ‘Sentinel’ stealth drone on a mission above the northeastern Iranian city Kashmar. The Sentinel was hacked and forced to land on an Iranian airfield, and then captured intact on December 4, 2011. Read the rest of this entry »

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Netanyahu agreed to ceasefire after Obama promised US troops in Sinai next week?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 24, 2012

Israel and Palestine are momentarily at a ceasefire, but the potential reasoning behind the recess could have some real international implications. Israel’s Debka reports that the pause in fighting comes after the US promised to send troops to Sinai.

According to Debka, US troops will soon be en route to the Sinai peninsula, Egyptian territory in North Africa that’s framed by the Suez Canal on the West and Israel on the East. In its northeast most point, Sinai is but a stone’s throw from Palestinian-controlled Gaza, and according to Debka, Hamas fighters there have been relying on Iranian arms smugglers to supply them with weaponry by way of Egypt.

Debka reports this week that Sinai will soon be occupied by US troops, who were promised by President Barack Obama to Israel’s leaders as a condition that a ceasefire be called. Once deployed, the Americans will intervene with the rumored arms trade orchestrated by Iranians, ideally cutting off supplies for Hamas while at the same time serving as a thorn in the side of Iran.

“Once the missile and arms consignments depart Iranian ports or Libyan arms bazaars, Tehran has no direct control of their transit from point to point through Egypt until they reach Sinai and their Gaza destination,” Debka reports. “All the same, a US special forces operation against the Sinai segment of the Iranian smuggling route would count as the first overt American military strike against an Iranian military interest.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Iran may launch pre-emptive strike on Israel, conflict could grow into WWIII – senior commander

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 25, 2012

An Israeli missile is launched from the Iron Dome missile system in the city of Ashdod. (AFP Photo/Jack Guez)

An Israeli missile is launched from the Iron Dome missile system in the city of Ashdod. (AFP Photo/Jack Guez)

An Iranian military official has warned that military conflict between Iran and Israel could “turn into World War III.” He added that if Israel “is putting the final touches on attacking Iran,” a preemptive strike against Tel Aviv would ensue.

Israel “cannot imagine” the force of Iran’s response if Tel Aviv attacks it, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh told Iran’s Arabic-language television network. “It will sustain heavy damage and that will be a prelude to its obliteration,”he said.

Hajizadeh added that Iran does not see this happening at the moment because he does not believe that Israel will conduct an attack without its strongest ally – the United States.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Kim Jong Un’s Iran Visit Will Mark First Official Overseas Visit

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 23, 2012

Half a year after taking over for his late father Kim Jong Il, North Korea’s young head of state is planning his first official trip abroad next week. NBC News reportsthat Kim Jong Un is headed to Iran to attend the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit.

Just what sort of meeting would draw the leader of the hermetic state halfway across the world? AFP explains:

The NAM, born at the height of the Cold War, brings together nations that consider themselves independent of the world’s major power blocs. The organisation counts a total 119 countries plus the Palestinian territories.

Kim will be rubbing elbows with the likes of India, Egypt, and Cuba, AFP notes.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the United States isn’t thrilled about the whole thing. “[W]e frankly don’t think that Iran is deserving of these high-level presences that are going there,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said, according to Fox News. Read the rest of this entry »

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U.S. Says Iraqis Are Helping Iran to Skirt Sanctions

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 19, 2012

By  and DURAID ADNAN

WASHINGTON — When President Obama announced last month that he was barring a Baghdad bank from any dealings with the American banking system, it was a rare acknowledgment of a delicate problem facing the administration in a country that American troops just left: for months, Iraq has been helping Iranskirt economic sanctions imposed on Tehran because of its nuclear program.

The little-known bank singled out by the United States, the Elaf Islamic Bank, is only part of a network of financial institutions and oil-smuggling operations that, according to current and former American and Iraqi government officials and experts on the Iraqi banking sector, has provided Iran with a crucial flow of dollars at a time when sanctions are squeezing its economy.

The Obama administration is not eager for a public showdown with the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki over Iran just eight months after the last American troops withdrew from Baghdad.

Still, the administration has held private talks with Iraqi officials to complain about specific instances of financial and logistical ties between the countries, officials say, although they do not regard all trade between them as illegal or, as in the case of smuggling, as something completely new. In one recent instance, when American officials learned that the Iraqi government was aiding the Iranians by allowing them to use Iraqi airspace to ferry supplies to Syria, Mr. Obama called Mr. Maliki to complain. The Iranian planes flew another route. Read the rest of this entry »

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Iraq-Iran Ties Grow Stronger As Iraq Rises From The Ashes

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 15, 2012

  
Comment: Definitely politics always does not go in the direction as per driving force want:

 By Dan Froomkin
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Baghdad in 2008.

WASHINGTON — In the run-up to the war in Iraq, neoconservative hawks in and out of the Bush administration promised that the U.S. invasion would quickly transform that country into a strong ally, a model Arab democracy and a major oil producer that would lower world prices, even while paying for its own reconstruction.

“A new regime in Iraq would serve as a dramatic and inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the region,” President George W. Bush told a crowd at the American Enterprise Institute in 2003, a few weeks before he launched the attack.

Ten bloody and grueling years later, Iraq is finally emerging from its ruins and establishing itself as a geopolitical player in the Middle East — but not the way the neocons envisioned.

Though technically a democracy, Iraq’s floundering government has degenerated into a tottering quasi-dictatorship. The costs of the war (more than $800 billion) and reconstruction (more than $50 billion) have been staggeringly high. And while Iraq is finally producing oil at pre-war levels, it is trying its best to drive oil prices as high as possible.

Most disturbing to many American foreign policy experts, however, is Iraq’s extremely close relationship with Iran. Today, the country that was formerly Iran’s deadliest rival is its strongest ally. Read the rest of this entry »

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War in August? US sends fourth aircraft carrier and dozens of underwater drones towards Iran

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 13, 2012

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (AFP Photo / US Navy)

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (AFP Photo / US Navy)

The US Navy has unexpectedly dispatched a fourth aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf, along with a fleet of underwater drones in what is being considered just the latest move in a series of escalations leading towards a potential war with Iran.

The deployment of dozens of small, unmanned submarine-like watercraft was confirmed by the Los Angeles Times this week, which cites military officials speaking on condition of anonymity.

This particular type of craft, unmanned SeaFox submersible, are reported to be sent to the Gulf so that the US military can detect and destroy any mines that may be planted in the waterway by Iranian officials if they escalate efforts to block the Strait of Hormuz, a strategically important narrow stretch of water that exists as an immensely important conduit for any resources being moved in or out of the Middle East.

The Times says that the subs, at only 4 feet long and fewer than 100 pounds apiece, can move at speeds up to six knots at depths of 300 feet. The price-tag is reported to be $100,000 each, which includes an intricate waterproof television camera and a homing sonar system. The US rush-ordered a shipment in May in a deal with Germany under the direct of Marine Gen. James Mattis, the top US commander in the Middle East. It is reported that a fleet of SeaFox subs were deployed overseas several weeks back, but has only been confirmed now.

The United States has already sent three massive aircraft carriers to the waterways outside of Iran, including the USS Enterprise, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and the USS Abraham Lincoln, and will now add the USS John C Stennis to that fleet in August. Unlike these behemoth ships equipped with billions worth of weaponry and service personnel, America’s other new addition to the battlefront is invisible to those on land and can be controlled from anywhere in the world. Read the rest of this entry »

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Iran boasts it could wipe out US presence in Middle East in minutes

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 5, 2012

In a picture obtained from Iran's ISNA news agency on July 3, 2012, shows AN Iranian short-range missile (Fateh) launched during the second day of military exercises, codenamed Great Prophet-7, for Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards at an undisclosed location in Iran's Kavir Desert. (AFP Photo/ISNA/Arash Kyamoushi)

In a picture obtained from Iran’s ISNA news agency on July 3, 2012, shows AN Iranian short-range missile (Fateh) launched during the second day of military exercises, codenamed Great Prophet-7, for Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards at an undisclosed location in Iran’s Kavir Desert. (AFP Photo/ISNA/Arash Kyamoushi)

Iran claims it has the capability to destroy US bases “within minutes” after concluding a massive military exercise in which it launched hundreds of missiles.

“[US] bases are all in range of our missiles, and the occupied lands [Israel] are also good targets for us,” Amir Ali Haji Zadeh, commander of the elite Revolutionary Guard told the FARS news agency.

The three-day Great Prophet 7 training exercise wrapped up on Wednesday. It simulated rapidly releasing batteries of guided missiles and Iran-made drones at mock-ups of US bases.

Haji Zadesh claimed that 35 US bases are within the 2,000 km range of Iran’s rockets, although the actual number of bases within this area is closer to 10.

The aggressive rhetoric comes on the back of a spike in tension between Iran and the US, already locked in a long-running stand-off over Iran’s nuclear program. Washington and the EU believe it is aimed at producing nuclear weapons, while Tehran denies the accusations. Read the rest of this entry »

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Does India Want to Be a Part of America’s Plan for Asia?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 9, 2012

The U.S. Secretary of Defense swung through New Delhi on his eight-day visit to Asia to encourage Indian leaders to help the U.S. with its military and strategic goals in the region
image: U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta walks to lay a wreath at India Gate in New Delhi during a visit on June 6, 2012.

JIM WATSON / POOL VIA REUTERS
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta walks to lay a wreath at India Gate in New Delhi during a visit on June 6, 2012

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta wrapped up a short visit to India this week, calling for Washington and New Delhi to deepen security ties and defense cooperation in the region. As NATO-led troops get ready to leave Afghanistan and the Obama Administration continues its effort to counterbalance China’s growing military heft, Panetta’s goal was to shore up India’s support in the region during his meetings with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Defense Minister A.K. Antony, among others.

In a speech on Wednesday at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, an Indian defense think tank, Panetta urged India to help Afghanistan during and after NATO’s exit by supporting its neighbor through trade and investment, reconstruction and help for Afghan security forces. “We both realize how important it is to ultimately have a stable Afghanistan if we are to have peace and prosperity in this region,” he said. To achieve that, Panetta said both India and the U.S. “will need to continue to engage Pakistan, overcoming our respective and often deep differences.” He applauded India’s recent progress in boosting trade ties with its neighbor as being key to “helping Pakistan turn around its economy and counter extremism within its borders.”  Read the rest of this entry »

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Israel ‘super-ready’ to attack Iran – Defense Chief

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 6, 2012

Israel's F-16I fighter jet (AFP Photo/Yoav Lemmer)

Israel’s F-16I fighter jet (AFP Photo/Yoav Lemmer)

Israel is fully prepared to attack Iran if needed, declared Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, saying the military threat is one convincing method of forcing Tehran to give up its nuclear ambitions.

According to the military chief, “the vectors of international diplomatic isolation, economic pressure and sanctions, disturbances to the [nuclear] project… and a credible military threat” make the list of factors that can influence the direction of Iran’s nuclear program.

“In order to be a credible military threat, we must be super-ready, and as far as I’m concerned, we’re super-ready,”Gantz was cited by Israeli media as saying to the country’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pentagon ‘prepared’ to attack Iran – Panetta

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 28, 2012

Leon Panetta (AFP Photo / Saul Loeb / Files)

Leon Panetta (AFP Photo / Saul Loeb / Files)

Leon Panetta has stated that the US is ready to do everything it can to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. The American envoy to Israel earlier said that the military option is “fully available” and the necessary planning has been done.

“We will do everything we can to prevent them from developing a weapon,” Panetta told ABC News.

Panetta thus confirmed US Ambassador Dan Shapiro’s comments on Israel’s Army Radio on May 17, that Washington has a military contingency plan in case “diplomatic talks” fail to “pressure” Iran successfully. Shapiro said the option is not only “fully available”, but “ready.”

Now, a week on, Panetta said US officials “have plans to be able to implement any contingency we have to in order to defend ourselves.”

However, Panetta said that the US still hopes that the conflict over Iran’s nuclear ambitions can be “resolved diplomatically.”

Israel is the only country insisting on using military force to pressure Iran away from a suspected atomic weapon.

Tel Aviv reaffirmed its position on May 23, the first day of a new round of talks between the P5+1 group and Iran. Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the negotiations only let Iran to buy time and get in the way of Washington and Tel Aviv.  Read the rest of this entry »

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IAEA: Iran moving closer to nuclear missile production

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 26, 2012

Iranian technicians at the Fordo enrichment plant (Reuters)

                                                                             Iranian technicians at the Fordo enrichment plant (Reuters)

The IAEA suspects that Iran has raised its enrichment threshold towards weapons-grade level. The hunch is based on evidence found at the Fordo enrichment plant a day after P5+1-Iran talks ended with no agreement.

The UN’s atomic agency reportedly found traces of uranium enriched up to 27 per cent, diplomats told AP. This is seven percent higher than Iran’s known enrichment grade.

Even though this is substantially below the 85 per cent (and often higher) level normally required for weapons-grade uranium, the IAEA suspects that Iran has moved closer to producing the material needed to arm nuclear missiles.

Meanwhile, no official comments from the agency have been given.

The latest move comes a day after the group of six and Tehran failed to produce a result, as both sides refused to budge.

The P5+1 appealed to Iran to suspend its 20 per cent uranium enrichment program, which the group sees as vital to the negotiations process.

Tehran considered the Western proposal “unbalanced,” rejecting it over what it called unfair demands, which offer little in return.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Israel takes back promise to Obama not to attack Iran before the election

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 25, 2012

Israeli Air Force T-6A Texan aircraft fly in formation during a display for Israel's 64th Independence Day over Jerusalem April 26, 2012 (Reuters/Amir Cohen)

Israeli Air Force T-6A Texan aircraft fly in formation during a display for Israel’s 64th Independence Day over Jerusalem April 26, 2012 (Reuters/Amir Cohen)

Sources from inside Washington, DC are telling the international media that Israeli leadership is upset with US President Barack Obama’s handling of Iran’s alleged nuclear threat and may take military action before the November election.

The Debka news agency quotes sources from America’s capital that say Israel has withdrawn its earlier promise to avoid striking Iran before the upcoming US presidential election this fall. The reason, reports Debka, heavily revolves around President Obama’s refusal to side with Israel’s demands in dealing with the rumored emerging threat of a nuclear program in Iran.

Previously, authorities in Israel told the White House that they would refrain from striking Iran until after Election Day as to avoid marring the race by possibly involving the US in an international war. Because President Obama has not put his foot down on Iran’s alleged nuclear warhead procurement plan, Israeli officials are not reportedly willing to attack at any moment. Read the rest of this entry »

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What Lies? Beneath the Mysterious History of an Iranian Nuclear Site

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 23, 2012

On the northwestern edge of Tehran, a wooded hill rises abruptly out of the gray low-rise cityscape. The roads meandering to the top are lined with grills and picnic tables, and from the north slope it was once possible to peer through the trees and make out where the of the Physics Research Center used to stand. The vacant lot looked just like it did on the satellite photos.

The day I visited, in June 2004,  it was also possible to wind back down the hill and pitch up at the site itself, still surrounded by a 20-foot wall. Inspectors for the IAEA had not been there yet but Iranian demolition crews certainly had: All the topsoil had been trucked away, along with every building except a guard shack. The man inside it came out and lied to us.

“It was a municipal sports complex,” he said, speaking without losing the ash on his cigarette. “It wasn’t big enough so they demolished it. And they want to build a bigger one.”

But there are lies and there are lies. And as the Iranians apparently prepare to sign a pact promising to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to investigate suspected military components of its nuclear program, the question is how in heaven’s name the mullahs will manage to save face for their fibs of the past. A case in point is embedded in the mysterious history of that vacant lot at the base of Lavizan Park – a trapezoid of ground that once held nearly as much interest to U.N. inspectors as the Parchin military base the IAEA is keen to revisit now, in search of evidence of nuclear triggering experiments. Read the rest of this entry »

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G-8 or G-Zero? Why the West No Longer Sets the Global Agenda

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 20, 2012

Mark Wilson / Getty Images

MARK WILSON / GETTY IMAGES
G8 foreign ministers (L-R), Koichiro Gemba of Japan, Guido Westerwelle of Germany, Sergei Lavrov of Russia, British Foreign Secretary William Hague, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Alain Juppe of France, John Baird of Canada, Giulio Terzi Di Sant’Agata of Italy, and Catherine Ashton of the European Union, pose for a group photo on April 11, 2012 in Washington, DC. Secretary Clinton hosted this year’s G8 Foreign Ministers conference at the Blair House

The spectacle of some of the most powerful leaders in the world gathering at Camp David on Friday for the G-8 summit and then for this weekend’s NATO anniversary in Chicago won’t disguise the fact that things seem to be gradually falling apart. These once mighty symbols of international leadership appear almost paralyzed before the tides of economic, financial and political change. The opening of William Butler Yeats’ 1921 poem that found the best devoid of conviction and the worst filled with passionate intensity reads as if crafted as an elegant introduction to an analysis of the global political moment.

(MORE: The G8 Summit at Camp David: This Time, It’s Important)

The G-8 convenes as the euro zone is threatening to unravel, most immediately in the showdown over Germany’s insistence that Greece either swallow the toxic austerity medicine that could kill its economy or see itself banished from the euro zone, potentially triggering global financial losses on the order of $1 trillion. But the forum is unlikely to settle the fate of Greece, much less the underlying tension over policies of austerity to cut spending debt and stimulus policies to revive growth.

When the G-7 was founded in the 1980s its goal was to gather the leaders of the world’s most successful, dynamic economies to plot pathways to further prosperity. Russia was later added to its guest list as a reward for casting off communism rather than as a vote of confidence in its economy. But today, confidence in the group is low. Few seem to believe that the leaders of the U.S., Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Canada are equipped to tackle the problems facing the world economy. (They effectively admitted their limitations in 2008 when a far wider forum, the Group of 20 — which included the major emerging economies such as China, India, Brazil, Turkey and others — to tackle the global financial meltdown.) Read the rest of this entry »

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