Officially the Islamic Republic of Iran
is a country in Western Asia. The name "Iran", which in Persian means "Land of the Aryans", has been in native use since the Sassanian era, inantiquity. It came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia. Both "Persia" and "Iran" are used interchangeably in cultural contexts; however, "Iran" is the name used officially in political contexts.
The 18th-largest country in the world in terms of area at 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), Iran has a population of around 77 million. It is a country of particular geopolitical significance owing to its location in three spheres of Asia. Iran is bordered on the north by Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. As Iran is a littoral state of the Caspian Sea, which is an inland sea, Kazakhstan and Russia are also Iran's direct neighbors to the north. Iran is bordered on the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the south by thePersian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, on the west by Iraq and on the northwest by Turkey.Tehran is the capital, the country's most populous city and the political, cultural, commercial and industrial center of the nation. Iran is a regional power, and holds an important position in international energy security and world economy as a result of its large reserves of petroleum and natural gas. Iran has the second largest provennatural gas reserves in the world and the fourth largest proven petroleum reserves.
The blossoming of Persian literature, philosophy, medicine, astronomy, mathematics and art became major elements of Islamic civilization. Iranian identity continued despite foreign rule in the ensuing centuries and Persian culture was adopted also by the Ghaznavid, Seljuk, Ilkhanid and Timurid rulers. The emergence in 1501 of the Safavid dynasty, which promoted Twelver Shia Islam as the official religion of their empire, marked one of the most important turning points in Iranian and Muslim history. The Persian Constitutional Revolution established the nation's first parliamentin 1906, within a constitutional monarchy. Following a coup d'état instigated by the UK and US in 1953, Iran gradually became a more autocratic country. Growing dissent with foreign influence culminated during the Iranian Revolution which led to establishment of an Islamic republic on 1 April 1979.
Iran is a founding member of the UN, NAM, OIC and OPEC. The political system of Iran, based on the 1979 constitution, comprises several intricately connected governing bodies. The highest state authority is the Supreme Leader. Shia Islam is the official religion and Persian is the official language.
Posted on Saturday, 05.04.13
BY ALI AKBAR DAREINI AND BRIAN MURPHY
TEHRAN, Iran -- For eight years, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has played the role of global provocateur-in-chief: questioning the Holocaust, saying Israel should be erased from the map and painting U.N resolutions as worthless. His provocative style grated inside Iran as well - angering the country's supreme leader to the point of warning the presidency could be abolished.
Now, a race is beginning to choose his successor and it looks like an anti-Ahmadinejad referendum is shaping up. Candidate registration starts Tuesday for the June 14 vote.Leading candidates assert that they will be responsible stewards, unlike the firebrand Ahmadinejad, who cannot run again because he is limited to two terms. One criticized Ahmadinejad for "controversial but useless" statements. Others even say the country should have a less hostile relationship with the United States.
Comments from the presumed front-runners lean toward less bombast and more diplomacy. They are apparently backed by a leadership that wants to rehabilitate Iran's renegade image and possibly stabilize relations with the West.
The result however may be more a new tone rather than sweeping policy change. Under Iran's theocratic system, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wields supreme power, making final decisions on nuclear and military questions. However, the president acts as the public face of the country, traveling the world. A new president might embark on an international image makeover and open the door to less antagonistic relations with Iran's Arab neighbors and the West.
The vote comes at a critical time in Iran, a regional powerhouse with about 75 million people and some of the largest oil reserves in the world. Nuclear talks between Iran and world powers are at an impasse while the Islamic Republic barrels ahead with a uranium enrichment program that many are convinced is intended for atomic weapons. Iran also serves as the key ally of Syria's President Bashar Assad, a mainstay so far helping keep him in power as rebels fight to oust him.
While polls in Iran are unreliable, the tenor of the candidates' speeches reflects a sense among the public that Ahmadinejad's belligerent stance toward the rest of the world has not helped.
"Ahmadinejad has followed a policy of confrontation. He made a lot of enemies for Iran. What were the results?" asked Tehran taxi driver Namdar Rezaei, 40. "The next government should pursue a policy of easing tensions with the outside world."
All the main candidates - including a top adviser and a former nuclear negotiator - are closely linked to the ruling clerics, since opposition groups have mostly been crushed. They reflect the mood of Khamenei, himself a former president, who wants nothing more than to end the internal political rifts opened by Ahmadinejad.
On Wednesday, Khamenei told prominent clerics to avoid "divisive" comments during the election. It is the clerics who will select a small group of hopefuls, probably no more than six, for the ballot.
The ultimate goal is to find ways to ease painful Western sanctions that have evicted Iran from international banking networks, brought public complaints over rising prices and cut vital oil exports by more than half. But what still stands in the way is a complicated dance: Maintaining uranium enrichment while addressing Western fears that Iran could move toward atomic weapons - a charge it denies.
For more than two years, Ahmadinejad has openly defied Khamenei in an attempt to expand the authorities of the presidency. The disputes reached a meltdown point in late 2011, when Khamenei's loyalists mounted an impeachment campaign. Khamenei stepped in to call it off, butwarned that Iran could one day eliminate the presidency for a system where the parliament picks a prime minister instead.
"This is a chance for Iran to bring a new tone after eight years of Ahmadinejad," said Ehsan Ahrari, a Virginia-based strategic affairs analyst. "There seems to be a real interest in the ruling system to quiet things down."
Of course, Ahmadinejad is not likely sit on the sidelines after he leaves office. He still carries significant populist support across Iran, particularly in rural areas that benefited from aid from his government. Whichever candidate he backs could get an Election Day bump.
He is now trying to push his top adviser and in-law, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, onto the ballot, but will likely be rejected by the Guardian Council, the group that vets all candidates. Ahmadinejad has been traveling around Iran for weeks, sometimes along with Mashaei.
After the internal political upheavals he triggered, the clerics are expected to stick with safe and loyal candidates, and the candidates know it and are playing to that dynamic.Tehran's mayor, Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, chided Ahmadinejad for "controversial but useless" statements that undermined Iran's international standing.
"Where did the case of the Holocaust take us? We were never against Judaism. It's a religion. ... No one could accuse us of being anti-Semitic," he told Iran's Tasnim news agency last month. "But suddenly, without consideration for the results and implications, the issue of the Holocaust was raised. How did this benefit Iran or the Palestinians?"
Another prominent candidate, Ali Akbar Velayati, took a clear shot at Ahmadinejad by saying Iran needs a "principlist" as the next president - meaning a conservative who will not question the authority of Khamenei or the ruling clerics.
Velayati, a senior adviser to Khamenei, has joined in an unusual three-way alliance with Qalibaf and parliament member Gholam Ali Haddad Adel. Each has promised to give key posts to the two others should he win the presidency.
"If we do not succeed, we have to try for another eight years in order to take back the country's management," Velayati said in a February speech in the seminary city of Qom.
Velayati has deferred to Khamenei on any possible overtures to the U.S. But Qalibaf and others suggest they would urge the leadership to remain open for direct talks.
"Confrontation with the U.S. is not a value by itself," Qalibaf said. "At the same time, an alliance with or bowing to the U.S. won't meet our interests, too. These are two extremist views. We should follow a realistic approach. Dialogue (with the U.S.) is not a taboo."
Mohsen Rezaei, a former chief of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard chief who is seeking another chance at the presidency after losing four years ago, says only that he favors a "win-win dialogue."
"That means we won't lose and they (West) won't think Iran is a threat to the world," he said. And candidate Hasan Rowhani, Iran's former nuclear negotiator and Khamenei's top national security representative, also disparaged Ahmadinejad's grandstanding style, saying Iran needs a "government of prudence."
Another candidate, former Interior Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi, said even restoring diplomatic ties with Washington is not out of the question as long as Iranian "interests are ensured."
"I believe there is no need for Iran to be at war with the U.S. forever," he said. "Iran has the capacity to protect and ensure its national interests while having ties with the U.S."
Ahmadinejad foe Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president, appears unlikely to make one last presidential run, despite speculation to the contrary. The official IRNA news agency quoted Rowhani on Wednesday saying the 78-year-old Rafsanjani "will definitely not" be a candidate.
However, Rafsanjani still wields considerable clout, and his endorsement will carry weight. Earlier this week, Rafsanjani urged his nation to lower tensions with Iran's archenemy Israel, which is considering military action over Tehran's nuclear program.
"We are not at war with Israel," Rafsanjani was quoted as saying by several Iranian newspapers, including the pro-reform Shargh daily. He said Iran would not initiate war against Israel, but " if Arab nations wage a war, then we would help."
Ahmadindejad's role in this election stands in sharp contrast to the last, where he was front and center and backed by the clerics. Accusations that his re-election was clumsily rigged by a clerical establishment panicked by the possibility of reformers coming to power led to massive demonstrations and reprisals spanning weeks, the most serious unrest in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution itself.
The election was so contentious that the two main opposition leaders of 2009, Mir Hossein Mousavi and cleric Mahdi Karroubi, remain under house arrest. The remnants of the opposition appear increasingly unlikely to persuade their one major hope, former President Mohammad Khatami, not to seek a comeback run. That leaves them with the choice of boycotting the vote or picking from an establishment-friendly lineup.
Published: May 4, 2013While this election is unlikely to spark the same fireworks, a desire for change remains."Why shouldn't we be in good terms with the outside world? Why tensions at home and abroad?" asked 35-year-old real estate agent Shahram Rashidi in Tehran. "That's why we really need a totally different president this time."Murphy reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.Source here: HERE
Israeli Airstrike in Syria Targeted Missiles From Iran, U.S. Officials Say
WASHINGTON — The airstrike that Israeli warplanes carried out inSyria was directed at a shipment of advanced surface-to-surface missiles from Iran that Israel believed was intended for Hezbollah, the militant Lebanese organization, American officials said Saturday.It was the second time in four months that Israel had carried out an attack in foreign territory intended to disrupt the pipeline of weapons from Iran to Hezbollah, and the raid was a vivid example of how regional adversaries are looking after their own interests as Syria becomes more chaotic.
Iran and Hezbollah have both backed President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war, now in its third year. But as fighting in Syria escalates, they also have a powerful stake in expediting the delivery of advanced weapons to Hezbollah in case Mr. Assad loses his grip on power.Israel, for its part, has repeatedly cautioned that it will not allow Hezbollah to receive “game changing” weapons that could threaten the Israeli heartland after a post-Assad government took power.And as Washington considers how to handle evidence of chemical weapons use by the Syrian government, a development it has described as a “red line,” Israel is clearly showing that it will stand behind the red lines it sets.“The Israelis are saying, ‘O.K., whichever way the civil war is going, we are going to keep our red lines, which are different from Obama’s,’ ” said Ehud Yaari, an Israel-based fellow of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.The missiles that were the target of the raid had been sent to Syria by Iran and were being stored in a warehouse at Damascus International Airport when they were struck, according to an American official.Two prominent Israeli defense analysts said military officials had told them that the targeted shipment included Scud Ds, which Syrians have developed from Russian weapons and have a range up to 422 miles — long enough to reach Eilat, in southernmost Israel, from Lebanon.But an American official, who asked not to be identified because he was discussing intelligence reports, said they were Fateh-110s.The Fateh-110 is a mobile, accurate, solid-fueled missile that represents a considerable improvement over the liquid-fueled Scud missile. American officials have said it has the range to strike Tel Aviv and much of Israel from southern Lebanon.A Pentagon official said in 2010 that Hezbollah was believed to already have a small supply of Fateh-110s. Additional missiles could increase Iran’s ability to threaten Israel through its Lebanese proxy if Israel ever mounted airstrikes against Iran’s nuclear installations.Syrians with knowledge of security and military matters confirmed the strike, which took place overnight Thursday, saying that Iran had sent arms and rockets to the airport intending to resend them to Hezbollah.Israeli officials have declined to publicly discuss the operation. But Israel has repeatedly said it is prepared to take military action to stop the shipment of advanced arms or chemical weapons to Hezbollah.Syrian forces loyal to Mr. Assad have used Fateh-110 missiles against the Syrian opposition. Some American officials are unsure whether the new shipment was intended for use by Hezbollah or by the Assad government, which is believed to be running low on missiles in its bloody civil war.But one American official said the warehouse that was struck in the Israeli attack was believed to be under the control of operatives from Hezbollah and Iran’s paramilitary Quds force.In carrying out the raid, Israeli warplanes did not fly over the Damascus airport. Instead, they fired air-to-ground weapons, apparently using the airspace of neighboring Lebanon.The Lebanese Army said in a statement that Israeli military aircraft “violated the Lebanese airport” on Thursday night and early Friday morning and were flying in circles over several areas of the country.A spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Washington declined on Friday night to comment on the airstrike, saying only in a statement, “Israel is determined to prevent the transfer of chemical weapons or other game-changing weaponry by the Syrian regime to terrorists, especially to Hezbollah in Lebanon.”
In late January, Israel carried out similar airstrikes in Syria against a convoy carrying SA-17 antiaircraft weapons. The transfer of those weapons to Hezbollah would have jeopardized the Israeli Air Force’s ability to operate in Lebanese airspace.Israeli officials have also refused to publicly confirm the January attack.Israel’s official silence reveals the broader dilemma it faces in how to handle Syria’s upheaval. After 40 years of quiet on its northeastern border, Israel is now deeply worried about violence spilling over into its territory and about a post-Assad Syria being a vast, ungoverned area controlled by Islamist or jihadist groups, with no central authority to control militant activity.But leaders in Jerusalem believe that they have few options beyond the targeted attacks on convoys or warehouses to affect the situation in Syria, seeing any direct action by Israel as likely to backfire by bolstering or uniting anti-Israel forces.Jonathan Spyer, an expert on Syria and Hezbollah at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel, called Thursday’s strike “extremely significant,” and predicted more such attempts to transfer weapons — and Israeli efforts to stop them — in the coming weeks and months.“Clearly Hezbollah is hoping to benefit from its engagement in Syria, and clearly Israel is committed to preventing that,” he said. Mr. Spyer said that in striking thewarehouse, Israel was taking a “calculated risk” that its limited intervention would provoke a limited response, if any.The Israeli attack came days after Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, issued some of his strongest statements yet of support for Mr. Assad, edging closer to confirming what the Obama administration has already reported: that Hezbollah is backing him militarily, not merely tolerating border crossings by some of its members to defend Lebanese citizens in Syria, as Hezbollah has long maintained.Mr. Nasrallah said Hezbollah — using the word “we” — would not allow Syria to fall to an armed assault that he said was backed by America and Israel, and added that the party was defending civilians of all sects in Qusayr, a city in Homs Province near the Lebanese border, where rebels say Hezbollah has led recent battles against them.Michael R. Gordon reported from Washington, and Jodi Rudoren from Jerusalem. Reporting was contributed by Eric Schmitt and David E. Sanger from Washington; Anne Barnard from Beirut, Lebanon; and an employee of The New York Times from Damascus, Syria.
May 4, 2013
August 20, 2012, 9:49 pmThe U.S. has designed a bunker buster penetrator bomb that will take out Iran’s Fordow nuclear enrichment complex, a target previously considered too fortified for conventional weapons. The new weapon, which cost hundreds of millions of dollars to produce, is considered critical to an effort by the United States to convince Israel that the U.S. can effectively bomb the Iranian underground complex, according to a report published by The Wall Street Journal.The Journal reported that senior U.S. officials showed the Israelis a secret Air Force video showing a test of an earlier version of the bomb. The show-and-tell is described as an attempt to convince Israel to hold off on a unilateral attack on Iranian nuclear installations.Haaretz reports that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has assured the Israelis that the U.S. will consider military options against Iran following the country’s summer elections. The Journal reports that an understanding was reached on action against Iran during Hagel’s recent visit to Israel. It is said both countries will conduct a “joint situation assessment” following the Iranian elections and if diplomatic efforts are ruled out discussions on military action will be considered.Iran’s election will not determine the outcome of Iran’s nuclear program, so the assessment appears pointless. “Bizarre, to say the least, because Iran’s president has limited power over the nation’s civilian nuclear program, and even less on the P5+1 negotiations. Rather, while Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric is often cited as an excuse for war, his actual ability to implement changes in Iranian policy is comparatively minimal,” writes Jason Ditz.
Boeing Delivers Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) 37,000 LB Bombs To The USAF - GBU-5718 Nov 2011 HEREAviationExplorer.com - The Massive Ordnance Penetrator (the Air Force has ordered 20 from Boeing) is nearly five tons heavier than any other bomb in the military's arsenal and is made to pulverize underground targets.Boeing Co. has delivered the first of the 30,000-pound bombs, each nearly five tons heavier than anything else in the military's arsenal, to the U.S. Air Force to pulverize underground enemy hide-outs.At a total cost of about $314 million, the military has developed and ordered 20 of the GPS-guided bombs, called Massive Ordnance Penetrators. They are designed to be dropped on targets by the Boeing-made B-52 Stratofortress long-range bomber or Northrop Grumman Corp.'s B-2 stealth bomber.Packed with more than 5,300 pounds of explosives and more than 20 feet long, the giant bunker-busting bombs were tested at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, the site of the first atomic bomb test during World War II.The weapon's explosive power is 10 times greater than its bunker-buster predecessor, the BLU-109. And it is nearly five tons heavier than the 22,600-pound GBU-43 MOAB surface bomb, sometimes called the "mother of all bombs."The Massive Ordnance Penetrator is a weapon system designed to accomplish a difficult, complicated mission of reaching and destroying our adversaries' weapons of mass destruction located in well-protected facilities.The Air Force and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency conducted tests at White Sands, and Boeing delivered the first Massive Ordnance Penetrator this fall. Additional deliveries are expected to be completed by 2013.
Netanyahu ‘determined to attack Iran’ before US elections, claims Israel’s Channel 10TV reporter adds: ‘I doubt Obama could say anything that would convince PM to delay a possible attack’
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “is determined to attack Iran before the US elections,” Israel’s Channel 10 News claimed on Monday night, and Israel is now “closer than ever” to a strike designed to thwart Iran’s nuclear drive.The TV station’s military reporter Alon Ben-David, who earlier this year was given extensive access to the Israel Air Force as it trained for a possible attack, reported that, since upgraded sanctions against Iran have failed to force a suspension of the Iranian nuclear program in the past two months, “from the prime minister’s point of view, the time for action is getting ever closer.”Asked by the news anchor in the Hebrew-language TV report how close Israel now was to “a decision and perhaps an attack,” Ben-David said: “It appears that we are closer than ever.”He said it seemed that Netanyahu was not waiting for a much-discussed possible meeting with US President Barack Obama, after the UN General Assembly gathering in New York late next month — indeed, “it’s not clear that there’ll be a meeting.” In any case, said Ben-David, “I doubt Obama could say anything that would convince Netanyahu to delay a possible attack.”The report added that Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak believe Obama would have no choice but to give backing for an Israeli attack before the US presidential elections in November.There is considerable opposition to an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, the report noted — with President Shimon Peres, the army’s chief of the General Staff and top generals, the intelligence community, opposition leader Shaul Mofaz, “and of course the Americans” all lined up against Israeli action at this stage.
Nov.05, 2011 | 9:16 AMBut, noted Ben-David, it is the Israeli government that would have to take the decision, and there Netanyahu is “almost guaranteed” a majority.Other Hebrew media reports on Tuesday also said Netanyahu had despatched a senior official, National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror, to update the elderly spiritual leader of the Shas ultra-Orthodox coalition party, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, on the status of the Iranian nuclear program, in order to try to win over Shas government ministers’ support for an attack. | Netanyahu ‘determined to attack Iran’ before US elections, claims Israel’s Channel 10
U.S. military official: We are concerned Israel will not warn us before Iran attackSenior U.S. military official tells CNN U.S. 'increasingly vigilant' over military developments in Iran and Israel, says 'absolutely' concerned Israel may attack Iran nuclear facilities.By Haaretz
U.S. officials are concerned that Israel will not warn them before taking military action against Iran's nuclear facilities, a senior U.S. military official said Friday.The official, who asked to remain anonymous, told the CNN network that although in the past, U.S. officials thought they would receive warning from Israel if it did take military action against Iran, "now that doesn't seem so ironclad."The U.S. is "absolutley" concerned that Israel is preparing an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, and this concern is increasing, CNN reported the official as saying.The U.S. has increased its “watchfulness” of Iran and Israel over the past few weeks, U.S. Central and European Commands, which watch Iranian and Israeli developments respectively, are “increasingly vigilant” at this time, according to the official, and a second military official who also spoke with CNN.
The military official emphasized that the U.S is concerned about the risk a strike against Iran could pose for American troops in Iraq and in the Persian Gulf, according to the CNN report.The official also said that the U.S. does not intend to follow a military action against Iran, CNN said.This past week, reports have surfaced regarding Israeli military action against Iran. A senior Israeli official said Wednesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are trying to muster a majority in the cabinet in favor of military action against Iran.On Friday, President Shimon Peres said that he believes Israel and the world may soon take military action against Iran. His comments followedAs the drumbeat of reports about possible military action against Iran's nuclear facilities intensified, an International Atomic Energy Agency report, to be released next week is expected to reveal intelligence suggesting Iran made computer models of a nuclear warhead and other previously undisclosed details on alleged secret work by Tehran on nuclear arms, diplomats told The Associated Press on Friday.
קראו כתבה זו בעברית: גורם צבאי אמריקאי: איננו בטוחים שישראל תתריע על תקיפה באיראן | U.S. military official: We are concerned Israel will not warn us before Iran attack
9:00PM BST 08 Apr 2012
Israel 'would not be able to destroy Iran's nuclear programme with pre-emptive air strike'Israel would not be able to destroy Iran's nuclear programme in a pre-emptive air strike with its current airforce, forcing its leadership to look for alternative means of attack, an influential defence report has concluded.By Thomas Harding, Defence CorrespondentExperts believe Israeli military planners options are restricted to high risk choices, such as a long range missile bombardment from Israel or a special forces raid involving troops attack facilities on the ground.The authoritative military journal Jane's Defence Weekly has also cast doubt on Israel's ability to mount a successful operation saying it would face "substantial difficulties""The significant distances involved and hardened features of Iran's nuclear facilities make any 'massive surprise' aerial attack a very high-risk operation for Israel to undertake on its own," Jane's concluded in a recent study.While Israel has the most powerful air force in the Middle East, it would struggle to mount the complex strikes necessary to deal a real blow to Iran's well protected nuclear plants. Senior Israeli officials have warned the country is prepared to take unilateral action to stop Iran acquiring a nuclear bomb.Israel destroyed Saddam Hussein's Osirak nuclear reactor in 1982 and hit a Syrian reactor in 2007. But to target Iran the airforce would have to carry out numerous strikes with air-to-air refuelling possibly over several days.
- Iran promises 'new initiatives' ahead of landmark talks over nuclear ambitions 11 Apr 2012
- Israel’s dogs of war are straining at the leash 05 Apr 2012
- Hillary Clinton warns of nuclear Iran 04 Apr 2012
- Obama ratchets up the pressure on Iran 30 Mar 2012
- Azerbaijan accused of granting Israel access to air bases to mount strike against Iran 29 Mar 2012
- Iran says date set for nuclear talks 28 Mar 2012
October 9, 2012"This is not going to be one strike and they are out, not like Syria or Iraq where facilities were not underground, it is much harder than that," said Malcolm Chalmers of the Royal United Services Institute."And the Iranians are experts in building reinforced concrete because of their long problems with earthquakes."But air strikes could destroy power plants, supply facilities, communications and the centrifuges themselves would be very sensitive to blast. They could do quite a lot of damage which would set back the programme for a period."Senior British officials have warned that Israel could catch its allies offguard with a strike. "We underestimated the things that the Israelis have done in the past in sheer out-of-the-book daringness," one said.Options include a daring special forces strike, something Israel has done successfully in the past. A commando raid could be launched from a ship covertly carrying helicopters in the Persian Gulf or from a submarine."They have done it before and they are quite capable of doing off the beaten track operations," said a former SAS commander. "I wouldn't say it was impossible but I would be very surprised if they tried to do it, it would be pretty high risk." He added the raid, which would probably involve the equivalent of a squadron – around 60 men - would only be able to target one facility, potentially the uranium enrichment site at Fordow which is under a mountain and difficult to hit from the air.Other methods could include adapting Jericho nuclear missiles with conventional warheads or submarine launched cruise missiles.But Davis Lewin Political director of HJS, the American aligned think tank, said: "I am certain that they can do it, 100 per cent, without a doubt. One reason is that the Israeli air force has been cognisant of the need for long range strategic bombing for a long time, and is extremely adept at making do with the technology it has in challenging missions."Israel appears to be involved in a successful covert assassination programme targetting nuclear scientists.Since 2007 there have been seven attempts on Iranian scientists five of which ended in deaths. There was also a "blast" at a rocket storage facility last November that killed 17 Revolutionary Guards including Gen Hassan Moghaddam, a leading figure in the ballistic programme.An insight into what Israel might attempt comes from an Israeli security source who said: "Don't think conventional; we are too smart for that." | Israel ‘would not be able to destroy Iran’s nuclear programme with pre-emptive air strike’
Kurt NimmoInfowars.comThe Jerusalem Post reports today that the United States and Israel are planning a joint military operation to take out Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities.The report appeared in Foreign Policy following a speech by presidential candidate Mitt Romney on foreign policy, including Obama’s stance on Iran.
Romney: Time to Change Course in Middle East8 Okt 2012WATCH : HERE
Mitt Romney says the risk of conflict in the Middle East has grown under President Barack Obama's leadership. The Republican presidential contender is calling for a "change of course" in the region. (Oct. 8)“Iran today has never been closer to a nuclear weapons capability,” Romney said in a foreign policy address delivered at the Virginia Military Institute. “And it has never acted less deterred by America.”CFR member and visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, David Rothkopf, reported that the White House and Israeli officials “assert that the two sides behind the scenes have come closer together in their views [regarding Iran] in recent days.”According to the Post, Rothkopf quoted a “source close to the discussions” as saying that a surgical strike aimed at Iran’s enrichment facilities “might take only ‘a couple of hours’” at best and would be conducted by air using bombers and drones.“Advocates for this approach,” according to Rothkopf, “argue that not only is it likely to be more politically palatable in the United States but, were it to be successful – meaning knocking out enrichment facilities, setting the Iranian nuclear program back many years, and doing so without civilian casualties – it would have region wide benefits. One advocate asserts it would have a ‘transformative outcome: saving Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, reanimating the peace process, securing the Gulf, sending an unequivocal message to Russia and China, and assuring American ascendancy in the region for a decade to come.’”In addition to its nuclear program, the United States has stated it will attack Iran’s civilian population.
Friday, February 3, 2012The U.S. is “reluctantly” considering additional covert action against Iran, according to the Christian Science Monitor. The plan calls for air strikes on power plants and other sites “that could impact Iranian civilian populations.”In August, Richard Silverstein, who specializes in reporting on the Israeli national security state, posted a leaked document revealing details on the Israeli plan to strike Iran. The document states that Iran’s “internet, telephones, radio and television, communications satellites, and fiber optic cables leading to and from critical installations – including underground missile bases at Khorramabad and Isfahan – will be taken out of action” by the Israelis.The nuclear reactor at Arak and the nuclear fuel production facilities at Isfahan will be targeted, according to the document. Other toxic chemical targets will be destroyed including “missile silos, storage tanks for chemical components of rocket fuel, industrial facilities for producing missile control systems, centrifuge production plants and more.”In November, Eli Lake, writing for The Daily Beast, cited current and former U.S. intelligence officials who said Israel’s target list includes Iran’s electric grid, internet, cellphone network, and emergency frequencies for firemen and police officers.“The existence of a program designed to cripple crucial civilian infrastructure not related to Iran’s nuclear program reveals that the Israeli-U.S. plan is to reduce the country to a Stone Age condition much the same way Iraq was leveled in 2003,” we wrote at the time.On October 5, we reported on a report released by the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah delving into the human and environmental consequences of an Israeli military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities.“In our assessment, it is highly likely that the physical and thermal casualties as the result of the strikes will exceed 5,000 personnel at the nuclear sites. The secondary civilian casualties as a result of exposure to the release of toxic and radioactive materials could increase this number to over 80,000 citizens,” the executive summary states.If the Foreign Policy report is correct, it now appears Israel and the United States may be ready to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities and produce a catastrophe that would rival Chernobyl in toxic and deadly effects.This article was posted: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 at 12:51 pm | U.S. and Israel Planning Joint Attack On Iran
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has a lot on his mind these days, from cutting the defense budget to managing the drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. But his biggest worry is the growing possibility that Israel will attack Iran over the next few months.David Ignatius
Is Israel preparing to attack Iran?By David Ignatius, Published: February 2, 2012BRUSSELSDefense Secretary Leon Panetta has a lot on his mind these days, from cutting the defense budget to managing the drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. But his biggest worry is the growing possibility that Israel will attack Iran over the next few months.Panetta believes there is a strong likelihood that Israel will strike Iran in April, May or June — before Iran enters what Israelis described as a “zone of immunity” to commence building a nuclear bomb. Very soon, the Israelis fear, the Iranians will have stored enough enriched uranium in deep underground facilities to make a weapon — and only the United States could then stop them militarily.Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu doesn’t want to leave the fate of Israel dependent on American action, which would be triggered by intelligence that Iran is building a bomb, which it hasn’t done yet.Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak may have signaled the prospect of an Israeli attack soon when he asked last month to postpone a planned U.S.-Israel military exercise that would culminate in a live-fire phase in May. Barak apologized that Israel couldn’t devote the resources to the annual exercise this spring.President Obama and Panetta are said to have cautioned the Israelis that the United States opposes an attack, believing that it would derail an increasingly successful international economic sanctions program and other non-military efforts to stop Iran from crossing the threshold. But the White House hasn’t yet decided precisely how the United States would respond if the Israelis do attack.The Obama administration is conducting intense discussions about what an Israeli attack would mean for the United States: whether Iran would target U.S. ships in the region or try to close the Strait of Hormuz; and what effect the conflict and a likely spike in oil prices would have on the fragile global economy.The administration appears to favor staying out of the conflict unless Iran hits U.S. assets, which would trigger a strong U.S. response.This U.S. policy — signaling that Israel is acting on its own — might open a breach like the one in 1956, when President Dwight Eisenhower condemned an Israeli-European attack on the Suez Canal. Complicating matters is the 2012 presidential campaign, which has Republicans candidates clamoring for stronger U.S. support of Israel.Administration officials caution that Tehran shouldn’t misunderstand: The United States has a 60-year commitment to Israeli security, and if Israel’s population centers were hit, the United States could feel obligated to come to Israel’s defense.Israelis are said to believe that a military strike could be limited and contained. They would bomb the uranium-enrichment facility at Natanz and other targets; an attack on the buried enrichment facility at Qom would be harder from the air. Iranians would retaliate, but Israelis doubt that the action would be an overwhelming barrage, with rockets from Hezbollah forces in Lebanon. One Israeli estimate is that the Jewish state might have to absorb 500 casualties.Israelis point to Syria’s lack of response to an Israeli attack on a nuclear reactor there in 2007. Iranians might show similar restraint, because of fear the regime would be endangered by all-out war. Some Israelis have also likened a strike on Iran to the 1976 hostage-rescue raid on Entebbe, Uganda, which was followed by a change of regime in that country.
Israeli leaders are said to accept, and even welcome, the prospect of going it alone and demonstrating their resolve at a time when their security is undermined by the Arab Spring.“You stay to the side, and let us do it,” one Israeli official is said to have advised the United States. A “short-war” scenario assumes five days or so of limited Israeli strikes, followed by a U.N.-brokered cease-fire. The Israelis are said to recognize that damage to the nuclear program might be modest, requiring another strike in a few years.U.S. officials see two possible ways to dissuade the Israelis from such an attack: Tehran could finally open serious negotiations for a formula to verifiably guarantee that its nuclear program will remain a civilian one; or the United States could step up its covert actions to degrade the program so much that Israelis would decide that military action wasn’t necessary.U.S. officials don’t think that Netanyahu has made a final decision to attack, and they note that top Israeli intelligence officials remain skeptical of the project. But senior Americans doubt that the Israelis are bluffing. They’re worrying about the guns of spring — and the unintended consequences. | HERE