(Photo Credit- Reuters) DUBAI (Reuters) – The United States and its allies will stage a naval exercise in the Gulf in May to practise minesweeping and escorting ships, the U.S. Navy said on Monday, a maneuver likely to be…
Clinton: Iran wants to be attacked
Secretary of State discusses potential of nuclear Tehran with seasoned diplomat James Baker; says attack would unify Iranian public, legitimize regime. ‘US is only country in world that can stop Iran,’ says Baker
By Yitzhak Benhorin
WASHINGTON – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed on Wednesday the top priorities of US diplomacy around the world, saying that Iran wants to be attacked by somebody because it would unify the Iranian public and legitimize the Islamic regime.
However, Clinton clarified in an interview with Charlie Rose and Former Secretary of State James Baker, that the US is “serious that they (Iran) cannot be allowed to have a nuclear weapon.”
In an installment of “Conversations on Diplomacy,” which was moderated by Rose, Clinton made a series of harsh analytical remarks regarding the possibility of nuclear arms development in Tehran.
Baker and Clinton spoke about the necessity of preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, noting that containment is not an option, and in the opinion of Baker, any military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities should come from the United States because it is the only country with the ability to stop Iran’s program with force.
By Jonathan S. Tobin Veteran foreign policy pundit Leslie Gelb taps into an uncomfortable truth today when he writes in the Daily Beast about the unspoken agendas at play in the debate about how to stop a nuclear Iran. As Gelb puts it, both the Obama administration and the Islamist regime in Iran are employing a common tactic as well as a shared goal in their diplomatic maneuverings in the dispute about Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. Both are doing their best to pretend there is a serious chance for substantive negotiations on the nuclear issue. And both are doing so because their priority is not so much to actually resolve the issue but to prevent Israel from attacking Iran. Given that President Obama has been escalating his rhetoric about his determination to stop Iran’s plans, this is a shocking charge, since it casts everything Washington is saying on the subject in a cynical light. The problem though is Gelb is almost certainly right.
Gelb stipulates that the common agenda between Washington and Tehran does not mean they are acting in concert. The lines of communication between the two governments are so tenuous that such collaboration would be impossible even if suspicion between them were not so intense. But the priority for both is to be able to postpone any resolution of the issue. Obama’s hope is that by holding out the prospect sanctions will bring Tehran to heel, he can exert sufficient leverage on Israel in order to prevent them from attacking Iran. Such an attack would unleash a host of unforeseen circumstances that might upset his re-election plans. Similarly, the ayatollahs would like to give just enough room for talks about talks in order to play for more time to continue developing their weapon plans. Yet, because it is painfully obvious sanctions will not work and the only point of negotiations would be to allow Iran to run out the clock on their nuclear timetable, the push to put off any attack appears to be tantamount to a concession that the West and Israel will have to live with a nuclear Iran.
By BBC Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said “all needs of the Iranian nation” would be met by its nuclear scientists
Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, says “great” nuclear achievements will be announced in the next few days.
He did not give any details, but insisted that Iran would never halt its programme to enrich uranium, which can be used to make a nuclear warhead.
Mr Ahmadinejad was speaking at a rally in Tehran as Iranians marked the 33rd anniversary of the Islamic revolution.
By Joel Greenberg and Simon Denyer JERUSALEM — Israel accused Iran of responsibility for twin bombing attempts aimed at Israeli embassy personnel in New Delhi and Tbilisi, Georgia, on Monday, fueling a growing confrontation over Iran’s nuclear program.
The rare coordinated attempts on the lives of Israeli diplomatic representatives came a month after the latest assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist and were set against an escalating war of words between Israel and Iran over a possible Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear facilities. The attempted attacks also coincided with the fourth anniversary of the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh, a leader of Hezbollah, a militant Shiite Lebanese group backed by Iran.
Tehran has vowed revenge for the killing of its scientists, which it has blamed on Israel, and Hezbollah has vowed to avenge the slaying of its leader, considered a mastermind of some of the group’s deadliest attacks.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the incidents, but Israeli officials said they appeared to have been directed by Iran, and they warned that if the Islamic republic becomes a nuclear power, it could provide greater protection for militant groups that would be emboldened by its support. Iran denied responsibility for the bombing attempts, calling them an Israeli provocation.
The U.S. warned Iran Wednesday that it will not tolerate any disruption of naval traffic through the Strait of Hormuz, after Iran’s navy chief said the Islamic Republic is capable of closing the vital oil route if the West imposes new sanctions targeting Tehran’s oil exports.
Iran’s Adm. Habibollah Sayyari told state-run Press TV that closing the strait, which is the only sea outlet for the crucial oil fields in and around the Persian Gulf, “is very easy” for his country’s naval forces.
It was the second such warning by Iran in two days, reflecting Tehran’s concern that the West is about to impose new sanctions that could hit the country’s biggest source of revenue, its oil sector. On Tuesday, Vice President Mohamed Reza Rahimi threatened to close the strait if the West imposes such sanctions.
In response, the Bahrain-based U.S. 5th Fleet’s spokeswoman warned that any disruption at the strait “will not be tolerated.”
A member of the Iranian parliament’s National Security Committee said on Monday that the military was set to practice its ability to close the Gulf to shipping at the narrow Strait of Hormuz, the most important oil transit channel in the world, but there was no official confirmation.
The legislator, Parviz Sarvari, told the student news agency ISNA: “Soon we will hold a military maneuver on how to close theof Strait Hormuz. If the world wants to make the region insecure, we will make the world insecure.”
Contacted by Reuters, a spokesman for the Iranian military declined to comment.
Iran’s energy minister told Al Jazeera television last month that Tehran could use oil as a political tool in the event of any future conflict over its nuclear program.
Tension over the program has increased since the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported on November 8 that Tehran appears to have worked on designing a nuclear bomb and may still be pursuing research to that end. Iran strongly denies this and says it is developing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
Exercise in east Iran aimed at ‘heightening level of preparedness amid possible threats to airspace, nuclear centers’
The Iranian army was set to launch an air defense drill Friday evening simulating an attack on the country’s nuclear facilities, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
According to the regime’s mouthpiece, the four-day drill will be held in eastern Iran and stress “the characteristics of the Islamic Republic’s defense doctrine in the framework of the heightened air defense alert level.”
The military exercise comes just six days after a blast at an army base outside Tehran left several members of the Revolutionary Guard dead, including a senior officer who was a key figure in Iran’s missile program. Some western media outlets claimed Israel was behind the explosion.
Blogger Richard Silverstein claims Israel orchestrated explosion that killed 17 at Iranian missile storage facility, in collaboration with local militant group ByDudi Cohen
US blogger Richard Silverstein said Saturday that Israel was the mastermind behind the blast the killed at least 17 people at an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps base near Tehran.
In his blog, Tikun Olam, Silverstein quotes an Israeli expert as saying that the Mossad was responsible for the explosion, in collaboration with the Iranian militant opposition group Mojahedin-e-Khalq.
“It is widely known within intelligence circles that the Israelis use the MEK for varied acts of espionage and terror ranging from fraudulent Iranian memos alleging work on nuclear trigger devices to assassinations of nuclear scientists and bombings of sensitive military installations,” Silverstein said.
Second computer worm ‘hits Iran’
Iranians surf the internet at a cybercafe in central Tehran in January. Ira…
Iran has been hit with new malicious software as part of cyber attacks against the country, a military officer told Mehr news agency on Monday without specifying the target.
“Certain characteristics about the ‘Stars’ virus have been identified, including that it is compatible with the (targeted) system,” Gholam Reza Jalali, commander of the Iranian civil defence organisation, told the agency.
“In the initial stage, the damage is low and it is likely to be mistaken for governmental executable files,” Jalali said, adding that Iranian experts were still investigating the full scope of the malware’s abilities.
He did not say what kind of equipment the virus was targeting or when and how it had been spotted.