Iran warns of missile strikes
TEHRAN, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- A senior Iranian official warns that his country will use missiles against Israel or Western forces in the Gulf if attacked.
"The world knows Iran has a ballistic missile power with a range of 2,000 km (1,300 miles)," General Yahya Rahim Safavi said on state-run television. "We have no intention to invade any country (but) we will take effective defence measures if attacked."
International pressure to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council has became more urgent since Iran resumed work at its uranium enrichment facility. Tehran claims its nuclear program is designed only for civilian purposes, The London Observer reported.
For the moment, Iran's most powerful weapon is the Shahab-3 missile, which can strike more than 1,242 miles from their launch site, putting Israel and U.S. forces in the Middle East in easy range, the newspaper said.
"We are producing these missiles and don't need foreign technology for that," Safavi said in his speech.
Copyright 2006 by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.
Nuke the bastard, What the hell is his problem.
from a Blog:http://mensnewsdaily.com/blog/2006/01/nuke-iran-with-bunker-busters-bombs-to.htm
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Nuke Iran With Bunker Busters Bombs To Save Israel
By Timothy D. Naegele
Democrat activist Bob Beckel—sitting in for Alan Colmes on Fox’s “Hannity & Colmes” —said on January 26th that he believes the United States should use bunker buster bombs against Iran to prevent it from developing and using weapons of mass destruction, and that “we owe it to Israel.” When a guest on the show suggested that Iran’s nuclear weapons facilities are built so deep that a “nuclear bunker buster” might have to be used, Beckel stated emphatically that he would support the U.S. bombing of Iran’s nuclear facilities in “an air campaign where you use your bunker buster bombs or whatever the best you've got available to do that.”
While Beckel may be the first Democrat to espouse such views publicly, they are by no means new—or any less frightening. It has been speculated for years that a major consideration in our latest war against Iraq involved pressure from, as well as the perceived need to defend Israel. Also, Beckel’s comments may simply reflect the fact that Iran’s nuclear weapons facilities are hardened against long-rumored Israeli attacks, and the Israelis would have to fly through American-controlled Iraqi airspace—and probably refuel in Iraq—to reach their Iranian targets.
All of this is very disturbing because the last thing that the Bush Administration needs is to expand the Iraq war into neighboring Iran, or to be perceived as having given Israel a “green light” to attack Iran, by aiding and abetting such actions. According to most reports, the situation today is vastly different from 1981, when Israel's Prime Minister Menachem Begin ordered a raid by F-15s and F-16s that destroyed the Osirak nuclear reactor south of Baghdad.
If Iran’s sites are hardened already, it would take the most sophisticated bunker-buster bombs to penetrate and eliminate them including, but not limited to, our own nuclear weaponry. Also, the Iranians are denying that they have any interest in building nuclear weapons, just as Saddam Hussein did. The White House acted on WMD intelligence estimates that were consistent with what members of Congress and our allies knew; and both Democrats and Republicans supported the need for action in Iraq. Yet, when WMDs were not found, Democrats and the Liberal media commenced a unified chorus, blaming George W. Bush and accusing him of lying, and even going so far as raising the specter of impeachment.
The Bush White House does not consist of fools, and they are not about to be led down the primrose path again—or climb out on an “Iranian limb”—just to be “ambushed” politically like they have been concerning Iraq. Having defeated Saddam’s regime so brilliantly, the Administration learned quickly that some proponents of such actions became its harshest and most strident critics; and the likelihood of that happening again should convince the White House to be very hesitant about doing anything militarily against Iran.
The U.S. has its hands full in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have sapped George W. Bush’s support among the American people, in no small measure because of opposition to the war from Democrats and the Liberal media. Also, their latest drumbeat is that our Army is stretched to the “breaking point,” which certainly argues against taking any military action against Iran.
As Michael Slackman observed in the New York Times: “[The] Iranians know that American forces, now stretched thin, are unlikely to invade Iran. And if the United States or Europe were to try a small-scale, targeted attack, the proximity of American forces makes them potential targets for retaliation. Iranians also know the fighting in Iraq has helped raise oil prices, and any attempt to impose sanctions could push prices higher.” Slackman added: “With the Americans stuck fighting a protracted, murky war in Iraq, the Iranians felt they were in a position to defy the West even over the nuclear issue.”
If the Israelis feel compelled to address Iran’s nuclear capabilities because of their own national security interests, then Israel might choose to do it alone, without involving the United States, just as it did in 1981. Because Iran has threatened to respond with missiles if attacked, and because Iran's improved version of the Shahab-3 missiles can strike more than 1,300 miles from their launch sites—putting Israel and Coalition forces in Iraq within easy range—the U.S. and its allies must restrain Israel, while insuring that it is armed with anti-missile systems to protect itself.
Richard Nixon drew on Samuel P. Huntington’s warning against a “clash of civilizations” between Islam and the West, when he wrote: “The United States must not let the ‘clash of civilizations’ become the dominant characteristic of the post-Cold War era. As Huntington observed, the real danger is not that this clash is inevitable but that by our inaction we will make it a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we continue to ignore conflicts in which Muslim nations are victims, we will invite a clash between the Western and Muslim worlds.” That is prescient advice, worth heeding today.
According to a recent Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll, 57 percent of Americans favor taking military action against Iran if its Islamic government continues to produce material that can be used to develop nuclear weapons—despite Americans’ disillusionment with the war in Iraq. Even among Democrats, forty-nine percent support such action. Also, 53 percent of Americans who were polled said they believe the situation in Iraq was not worth going to war. If the United States were to contemplate waging war against Iran, serious consideration must be given to reinstituting the draft, so that our all-volunteer military forces (and their families) are not victims of a Middle Eastern quagmire, or worse.
We are in Iraq now; Saddam Hussein is in jail and in the midst of a trial, and may be condemned to death in the not too distant future for his heinous crimes; Iraqis have conducted democratic elections; and there are reasons to be optimistic about that country’s future. Free elections have taken place in Afghanistan too; its women are enjoying unprecedented freedoms; and that country is moving forward democratically. Why the White House or the Congress would want to do anything with respect to Iran, other than seek stringent international sanctions—which China and Russia may attempt to dilute—is mind-boggling.
It calls to mind Joel Chandler Harris’ famous story, “Br'er Rabbit and the Tar-Baby,” in which Br'er Fox tricks Br'er Rabbit by creating a baby made out of tar. Br'er Rabbit sees the Tar-Baby, which does not say a word; and annoyed, he hits the Tar-Baby on the jaw, but his fist gets stuck and he can’t pull it loose because of the tar. Undaunted, he repeats the process and his other hand sticks fast too. Then he kicks the Tar-Baby with both of his feet, and they too stick fast; and finally he becomes totally stuck in the tar.
Having liberated Afghanistan and Iraq successfully, our continuing commitments to both countries take precedence over any actions against Iran. Moreover, by attacking Iran and failing to heed Nixon’s warnings, the United States might find itself knee-deep in Middle Eastern “tar.” The clash of civilizations would be in full tilt, and query whether America in prepared to embark on such a world war—in addition to the War on Terror—and whether it is in our long-term best interests to do so? Also, query whether such a war is winnable or necessary?
As President Bush has stated, we are not at war with Islam, but rather with extremists within the Muslim world who have subverted one of the world’s great religions. Also, the U.S. is not at war in the Middle East to protect Israel against the Palestinians or more than a billion followers of Islam throughout the world. Israel is an ally, to be sure; however, few if any Americans believed that by invading Iraq, we would be fighting to make the Middle East safe for Israel, which is not worth the loss of American lives or the “quagmire” that has resulted in Iraq.
To expand American military activities beyond Iraq and Afghanistan to neighboring Iran seems foolhardy at best, and likely to trigger the clash of civilizations that both Nixon and Huntington warned about. We are not at war with Islam—in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, in the Palestinian territories, or in the War on Terror—nor should we ever be drawn into such a war. It is certain that if the White House acted militarily with respect to Iran, the same Liberals and Liberal-dominated media that are undermining this country’s noble efforts in Iraq would turn against President Bush and his Iranian policies in short order, and raise the issue of impeachment.
Mr. Naegele was counsel to the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, and chief of staff to former Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass). He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates (www.naegele.com). Also, he served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal. Mr. Naegele is an Independent, and has written extensively over the years, with two articles appearing in the Banking Law Journal and the American Banker in 2005.
North Korea's plutonium pile attracts Iran
Michael Sheridan, Beijing
THE drab compound that houses the Iranian embassy in Pyongyang is the focus of intense scrutiny by diplomats and intelligence services who believe that North Korea is negotiating to sell the Iranians plutonium from its newly enlarged stockpile — a sale that would hand Tehran a rapid route to the atomic bomb.
It would confound the international campaign to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions by restricting its ability to make bombs through the alternative method of enriching uranium.
The risk is viewed with such gravity in Washington that the United States has launched a concerted diplomatic and covert effort to prevent it, according to diplomats based in Pyongyang and Beijing.
The belief that Iran and North Korea are talking about plutonium stems from a recently reported offer of oil and gas from Tehran in exchange for nuclear technology.
The discovery by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 2004 that North Korea had sold an estimated 1.7 tons of uranium to Libya established a precedent for the sale and showed how hard it is to stop, diplomats say.
The Americans were aghast to learn last year that while engaging in disarmament talks, North Korea had made enough plutonium to amass a stockpile of about 43 kilograms, perhaps as much as 53kg. For the first time since the nuclear crisis began in 1994 it has sufficient fissile material to sell some to its ally while retaining enough for its own purposes.
Plutonium is the element used to fuel the bomb that destroyed Nagasaki in 1945. Between 7kg and 9kg are needed for a weapon. According to Siegfried Hecker, the eminent American nuclear scientist, officials in North Korea intend to restart a reactor that will produce 60kg a year.
Iran already has a nuclear programme devoted to plutonium research, according to John Bolton, US ambassador to the United Nations. In a 2004 speech Bolton said the Iranians were building a research reactor “optimal for the production of weapons-grade plutonium”.
Making a plutonium bomb can be more complicated than making a uranium bomb, but Iran and North Korea work well together on military science. The Americans believe Iran is sharing data on missile tests with North Korea in exchange for nuclear technology.
The US State Department revealed last summer that 11 shipments of nuclear materials bound for North Korea and Iran had been intercepted under the proliferation security initiative, in which 60 nations including Britain co-operate in air and sea searches. It refused to disclose any details.
Alarm bells sounded again in Washington late last autumn after nuclear disarmament talks in China ground to an inconclusive and ill-tempered halt. Christopher Hill, the American negotiator, came out of a meeting to tell colleagues that “those f***ers say they’re going to go right ahead and build nuclear weapons no matter what we do”, according to an official who overheard the remark.
In November western intelligence sources told Der Spiegel, the German news magazine, of a clandestine visit to Pyongyang by an unnamed high-ranking Iranian official who offered North Korea a huge amount of oil and natural gas in exchange for help on nuclear research and missiles.
Sources in Tehran say Iran’s Revolutionary Guards recently established their own institutional links with North Korea, bypassing traditional policy channels. “Whatever they’re up to, it’s probably done through the Revolutionary Guards,” commented a western diplomat.
Last week the Americans were pushing their campaign to strangle North Korea’s illicit fundraising through currency and cigarette counterfeiting, drug smuggling — including one speciality, fake Viagra — and weapons sales.
Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, is due to meet foreign ministers from Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China in London tomorrow to discuss their differences on how to stop Iran going nuclear. Rice hopes that a meeting of the IAEA on Thursday will resolve to refer Iran to the UN security council as a prelude to sanctions.
The United States is also mounting a diplomatic offensive to get the message across, through China and South Korea, that a transfer of plutonium would cross a political red line.
One wild card remains the ability of Kim Jong-il, the North Korean leader, to take a gamble like Colonel Muammar Gadaffi of Libya, who abandoned his nuclear programme in exchange for international acceptance.
Back in Pyongyang, diplomats are left guessing as people enter and leave the Iranian embassy. One fact, however, is known. Jalaleddin Namini Mianji, Iran’s ambassador who was appointed by the previous “reformist” government, is being recalled. His successor’s credentials are certain to reflect the hard line of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who threatened to wipe Israel off the map.
Who cares? I say we pull out of the mideast, let them nuke each other while we sit back and watch the fireworks.
Then move in and take the oil