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Posts Tagged ‘Iran’

Congress opens door for US war with Iran

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 19, 2012

Two U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor stealth jet fighters (Reuters / Handout)

                                                                Two U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor stealth jet fighters (Reuters / Handout)

The US House of Representatives has passed a resolution on Iran that moves the United States much closer to a war footing against Iran as many experts and diplomats warn America is ready for attack.

The vote undermines the 5+1 Iranian nuclear talks scheduled for next week, in which the US will participate and which many in the pro-war camp want to sabotage.

Ahead of the vote Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), a tough critic of the resolution and one of the few who voted against it, warned that the US is “getting ready for war against Iran” with Thursday’s vote.

The non-binding resolution H.Res.568 that overwhelmingly passed 401-11, effectively calls for a military attack on Iran when it obtains “nuclear weapons capability.” The vague interpretation, critics say, already applies to Iran, not to mention Brazil, Japan, the Netherlands, and actually any other country with a civilian nuclear program.

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell, warned “This resolution reads like the same sheet of music that got us into the Iraq war, and could be the precursor for a war with Iran. It’s effectively a thinly-disguised effort to bless war.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Can India Balance Its Ties with the U.S. and Iran?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 9, 2012

Shannon Stapleton / AFP / Getty Images

SHANNON STAPLETON / AFP / GETTY IMAGES
US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton (L) meets with United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi on May 7, 2012.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used her visit to Kolkata and New Delhi this week to urge India to up its efforts in reducing oil imports from Iran. In remarks made in Kolkata, Clinton commended the cuts India has made in the last few years, but said that it is part of “India’s role in the international community” to go further and join the U.S.-led effort to pressure Tehran to open its nuclear program up to inspections.

(READ: To confront Iran, will the U.S. risk ties with India?)

In late June, the U.S. will be imposing sanctions targeting the financial institutions of nations that don’t cut back on their Iranian oil imports. The heat got turned up a notch for both India and South Korea — both big customers for Tehran — since Clinton announced in March that 10 European nations as well as Japan, which is in the midst of an energy crunch after last year’s tsunami and nuclear crisis, earned an exemption from the sanctions after slashing their imports. Read the rest of this entry »

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Keep guessing: US deploying fighter jets to the Gulf?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 29, 2012

F-22 Raptor fighter jet (Lockheed Martin via Getty Images / AFP)

F-22 Raptor fighter jet (Lockheed Martin via Getty Images / AFP)

The US says it has deployed a number of its most modern jet fighters to an air base in Southwest Asia. The announcement alarmed many, who suspect the base is actually in the United Arab Emirates just 200 hundred miles from Iran.

The Air Force did not specify the exact number or location of the recently-deployed F-22 Raptors, but confirmed that they had been sent to a base in Southwest Asia, a region that includes the UAE.

“Such deployments strengthen military-to-military relationships, promote sovereign and regional security, improve combined tactical air operations and enhance interoperability of forces, equipment and procedures,” said Air Force spokesman Capt. Phil Ventura.

Numerous reports assert that the planes have been deployed in the United Arab Emirates, just 200 miles from Iran’s mainland.

The move is viewed by many as a precautionary measure ahead of crucial nuclear talks with Iran. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – At the Heart of the Global Nuclear Debate

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 28, 2012

By Alistair Burt, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Foreign & Commonwealth Office

The word “nuclear” is often on the front pages of the press, whether you’re in Tehran, Tokyo or Tunis. In the last few weeks alone, we’ve seen international talks about Iran’s nuclear programme and united international concern that it is developing a nuclear weapon. We have also seen the DPRK rocket launch – ostensibly a failed satellite launch, but widely suspected to be part of a nuclear weapons programme. Yet at the same time we’ve seen unprecedented agreement by world leaders at the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul to work together to tackle the threat of nuclear terrorism.

The issue of nuclear safety was thrust onto the front pages last year during the massive emergency response to the accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant, following the tragic earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Given our expectation that world-wide energy demand is set to double by 2050, and the stark reality that we must reduce global greenhouse gas emissions if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change, then it is clear that the debate about the peaceful uses of nuclear power and the risks of the spread of nuclear weapons is set to continue. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is at the heart of our approach to this debate.

The Treaty, borne out of fear that the Cold War era would lead to a nuclear arms race, has in many ways surpassed expectations in terms of longevity, participation and meeting its counter proliferation objectives. Today, with 189 States Parties to the Treaty, it has more signatories than any other treaty of its kind. The three non-signatories India, Israel, and Pakistan, are the only additional states believed to have gained possession of nuclear weapons since the Treaty’s inception in 1968. Read the rest of this entry »

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New US spy service targets China and Iran

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 26, 2012

The Pentagon building in Washington, DC (AFP Photo)

The Pentagon building in Washington, DC (AFP Photo)

China and Iran are the high-priority targets for a new spy service created by the Pentagon. The Defense Clandestine Service is aimed at ramping up spying operations overseas, and suggests a shift in national threat assessment.

The plan approved by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta last week will see hundreds of case officers working alongside the CIA.

The military and civilian spy agencies will increasingly focus on similar threats. Read the rest of this entry »

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Iran Nuclear Talks: Diplomat Says Talks Show Progress

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 14, 2012

 

ISTANBUL — Nuclear negotiators for Iran and six world powers were making encouraging progress in bridging differences that have doomed previous meetings meant to reduce fears over Tehran’s atomic program, diplomats close to the talks said.

But, in a reality check reflecting the gulf dividing the United States and Iran, a powerful Iranian official said his country had rejected an overture from Washington for a one-on-one meeting between the two delegations at the talks. He spoke after the morning plenary session broke and plans were being formed for bilateral encounters between Iran and its six interlocutors.

“No bilateral talks with the U.S. will be formed,” Alaeddin Boroujeddi, head of Iran’s powerful parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy told The Associated Press. “It is not Iran’s policy to have bilateral talks with the U.S. – Iran will talk to them on the multilateral level.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Filipino Eight-Year-Old Girl Singing Adele On YouTube Wins Thousands Of Fans (WATCH)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 11, 2012

An eight-year-old girl has caused a stir online after posting a video of herself singing Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’.

Singer Fitri Cerado won a Philippines TV talent show when she was just 7 years old, and now she’s reaching an international audience via YouTube.

She’s racked up thousands of views with her solo piano versions of power ballads and love songs, and now she’s going for the biggest pop star of the last 12 months – Britain’s own Adele. Read the rest of this entry »

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Grass stained: Israel slams Nobel Prize-winner over ‘anti-nuke’ poem

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 6, 2012

Guenter Grass (AFP Photo / John Macdougall)

Guenter Grass (AFP Photo / John Macdougall)

The Israeli government has slammed a poem by prominent German writer and Nobel Prize-winner Gunter Grass criticizing Israel’s stance on nuclear armament. The country labels a comparison Grass made of Israel to Iran “shameful”.

In his lyrical warning What Must be Said, published on Wednesday in the German Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily, Grass claimed it is not Iran, but “Israel’s atomic power [which] endangers an already fragile world peace,” as its nuclear program was developed without any supervision.

Grass called upon Germany to stop supplying Israel with submarines because “we [Germans] may be providing material for a crime that is foreseeable.”

In response, the Israeli Government insisted the country has never threatened any country’s security, as opposed to Iran. Read the rest of this entry »

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US missile defense plans may signal strike on Iran, Russia warns

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 6, 2012

Guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (AFP Photo / HO / PH3 Konstandinos Goumenidis / US Navy / Getty out)

Guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (AFP Photo / HO / PH3 Konstandinos Goumenidis / US Navy / Getty out)

A unified missile defense system comprising the United States and six Arab states is a signal that a military strike on Iran could be on the horizon, says the Chairman of the State Duma’s International Affairs Committee.

“The formation of the missile defense system is a new step to signal the possibility of a military strike on Iran, at least in a political context,”  Alexey Pushkov told a round table conference on Iran at the State Duma.

Pushkov was commenting on reports that the Pentagon has agreed to form a single missile defense system with six Arab states – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Israel a threat to world peace’ – Nobel laureate

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 6, 2012

German author and Nobel Prize laureate Guenter Grass (AFP Photo / DDP / Michael Gottschalk)

German author and Nobel Prize laureate Guenter Grass (AFP Photo / DDP / Michael Gottschalk)

German Nobel Prize winner Günter Grass is in the international spotlight after labeling Israel a “threat to world peace” in his new poem. Germany and Israel have both responded by strongly criticizing the writer.

In his prose poem entitled “What must be said” published on Wednesday in the German daily Suddeutsche Zeitung, the 84-year-old Grass criticizes Israel’s role in the conflict with Iran over the latter’s nuclear program. In his opinion it is Israel’s nuclear program that is the real threat to the world, not Iran’s.

Grass emphasizes that Israel has been intensifying its nuclear potential for years, with no international supervision, while any military purpose of Iran’s nuclear program has yet to be proven.

The writer also calls for Germany to stop supplying Israel with submarines, as he believes that Israel is planning to arm them with nuclear warheads. Read the rest of this entry »

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Clinton offers Gulf states joint AMD shield against Iran

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 31, 2012

From left to right: Omani Minister of Foreign Affairs Yussef bin Alawi bin Abdullah, Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled al-Hamad Al-Sabah, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal attend a US- Gulf Cooperation Council forum at the Gulf Cooperation Council Secretariat on March 31, 2012 in Riyadh. (AFP Photo / Fayez Nureldine) 

From left to right: Omani Minister of Foreign Affairs Yussef bin Alawi bin Abdullah, Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled al-Hamad Al-Sabah, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal attend a US- Gulf Cooperation Council forum at the Gulf Cooperation Council Secretariat on March 31, 2012 in Riyadh. (AFP Photo / Fayez Nureldine)

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has proposed improved strategies with Arab Gulf states on maritime security and missile defense to counter the threat of Iran.

Clinton told a security conference in Saudi Arabia on Saturday that US commitment to the Gulf is “rock-solid and unwavering.” She stressed the US and Gulf governments share concerns about Iran’s nuclear activity and that partnership with the US has “enormous potential” to advance common interests.

Raising security ties from a bilateral to a multilateral level, Clinton is breaking new ground by taking part in the first strategic cooperation forum between Washington and the six-country Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

She said the US and Gulf States should take “practical and specific steps to strengthen mutual security, such as helping militaries improve interoperability, cooperate on maritime security and missile defense, and coordinate responses to crises.” US officials have said it is a US “priority” to help the GCC build a “regional missile defense architecture” against what they see as a looming ballistic missile threat from Iran. Read the rest of this entry »

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Barack Obama Urges North Korea ‘To Have The Courage To Pursue Peace’

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 26, 2012


I think this is the time to be student first rather than to be a teacher. Everybody wants to be a teacher and nobody interested to be a student. This is the main problem:

SEOUL, South Korea — President Barack Obama warned North Korea and Iran on Monday that their options are few, and their friends fewer, as those nations refuse to back down from actions the world sees as menacing.

“By now it should be clear,” Obama said, addressing North Korea from the South Korean capital only about 30 miles away. “Your provocations and pursuit of nuclear weapons have not achieved the security you seek, they have undermined it. Instead of the dignity you desire, you are more isolated.”

As he spoke, his South Korean hosts warned they might shoot down parts of a North Korean rocket if they fell over South Korean territory, as worries about what Washington calls a long-range missile test overshadowed an international nuclear security summit. The summit of more than 50 nations opened with a dinner Monday.

In remarks earlier Monday at Seoul’s Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Obama directly challenged North Korea’s leaders “to have the courage to pursue peace.” Read the rest of this entry »

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China sells Iran hi-tech surveillance system defying US sanctions?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 23, 2012

An Iranian-Kurd woman talks on her mobile phone in Marivan in Kurdistan province (Reuters / Morteza Nikoubazl)

An Iranian-Kurd woman talks on her mobile phone in Marivan in Kurdistan province (Reuters / Morteza Nikoubazl)

Iran’s largest telecom company has obtained a powerful surveillance system from a Chinese manufacturer. Despite the boycott from Western companies, Tehran will be able to monitor landline, mobile and Internet communications of potential dissidents.

The deal between the China-based ZTE Corporation and the Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI) was signed back in December 2010. As Reuters says in its comprehensive report, the system was part of a $130.6 million contract for networking equipment supplied by ZTE.

TCI is predominantly state-controlled and has a near monopoly on Iran’s landline telephone services, as well as having much of the country’s Internet traffic flowing through its network. Read the rest of this entry »

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Attack On Iran? Live Updates On The Drumbeat Of War

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 20, 2012


Could this be the background to attack on Iran?

The prospect of a high-profile military conflict looms again in the Middle East. National security analysts believe Israel’s government is giving serious consideration to an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities in the coming months, an action that would trigger a cascade of unpredictable military, political and economic reactions in the region and around the world.

This blog aims to provide comprehensive, highly readable coverage of this story in realtime, and that won’t be possible without your help: please tweet me, subscribe to my updates on Facebook or RSS, or comment below to join the conversation or pass along tips or observations.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Iranian ultimatum: Yield now or be attacked by year’s end

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 14, 2012

The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brooks B. Patton Jr./Released)

The US wants Russia to deliver a message to Iran: Tehran has one last chance for talks. If it is wasted, an attack will happen in a matter of months, according to Russian diplomatic sources.

The threat was voiced by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a meeting with her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in New York on Monday, a diplomatic insider told Kommersant daily.

“The invasion will happen before year’s end. The Israelis are de facto blackmailing Obama. They’ve put him in this interesting position – either he supports the war or looses the support of the Jewish lobby,” the diplomat told the Russian newspaper.

The source said Washington has given Tehran one last chance to solve the conflict peacefully and wants Moscow to deliver the message. Iran has to make progress with the P5+1 group, which consists of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany.

The group is to negotiate Iran’s controversial nuclear program with Iranian officials sometime in April. The exact timing and place of the talks are still under consideration. The negotiators want clarity from Iran over the potential militarization of its nuclear program.  They also demand access for International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors to a suspected nuclear site in Parchin.

Such an inspection took place in 2005 and nothing suspicious was found. But now the nuclear watchdog believes Iran is using the military complex to test technology needed to trigger a nuclear device. IAEA monitors were barred form visiting part of the facility during their latest visit, prompting accusations that Iran may be trying to cover-up evidence of wrong-doing. Tehran dismissed the allegations and promised to let inspectors in. Read the rest of this entry »

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