Tuesday, September 18, 2007

News from Iran

The rising tensions over the possibility of a military attack on Iran dominated the coverage in the Iranian media. The commanders of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corp. (IRGC) warned the US that IRGC is capable of hitting targets 2,000 kilometer (1,250 miles) away by its Shahab-3 missiles. The website of a basiji group closely linked to IRGC also warned that the Revolutionary Guards have aimed some six-hundred Shahab-3 at US military installations in the region as well as targets inside Israel. The French foreign minister warned that the world should prepare for war over Iran’s nuclear program. Iran’s supreme leader declared that President Bush and senior American officials should be tried in an international court for their role in Iraq. And the Iranian Air Force flew night sorties with the home-made supersonic jet fighter, Saegheh. The coming war with the US is the talk in town.

The Warning, French Style

· French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said the world should prepare for war over Iran’s nuclear program; referring to Iran’s nuclear program, Kouchner said the world should “prepare for the worst, and the worst is war.”
· The French prime Minister Francois Fillon said that the tensions with Iran are “extreme”; Fillon insisted, however, that there was still room for diplomacy.
· Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that Iran does not take seriously a warning from the French foreign minister that the world should prepare for war with Iran over its nuclear program; he said the French foreign minister’s comments were for media consumption and his real position on the subject are different from what he said.
· Iran’s Under-Secretary of Supreme National Council, Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, said Iran expects that the French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner review his stand against Iran; Rahmani Fazli said Kouchner’s allegations against Iran’s nuclear program are unacceptable; he said that stirring up sentiments would not lead to any solutions.
· IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei warned against increasing hype to start a war with Iran; ElBaradei said he saw no clear and present danger, and the talk of war was counter-productive.
· China said it was opposed to threats of force in world politics; Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said China believes diplomatic negotiation is the best way of resolving issues; the Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman was reacting to French foreign minister’s warning that the world should be prepared to go to war with Iran over its nuclear program.
· Russia cautioned against the use of force against Iran over its nuclear program; Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said he was concerned about the prospect of military action; Lavrov was speaking to reporters after a meeting with French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner who had earlier issued the warning of a military attack on Iran.
· German government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm said the German Government was only considering a diplomatic solution of the conflict with Iran; Wilhelm added that at the moment, no other option is being discussed.

Developments on the Military Front

· Islamic Revolution Guards Corp. (IRGC) Brig. Gen. Mohammad Hassan Koussechi said Iran has the capacity to hit US military targets in the region; Gen. Koussechi said Iran’s Shahab-3 missiles have a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles); the IRGC commander for the Western regions of Iran said the Americans who are all around Iran are our targets.
· Assar Iran, a group closely identified with IRGC, announced that the IRGC has 600 Shahab-3 missiles aimed at US military installations in the region and at Israeli targets; Iran will shoot at Israel 600 missiles if it is attacked, the website was quoted as saying; Assar Iran reports that dozens of US military installations throughout Iraq have also been targeted.
· Israeli air strike against a site in northern Syria has triggered speculation over its motives; there are published reports indicating the sortie was a dry run for a US-Israeli attack on Syria and Iran; the Arab League called the incursion “unacceptable.”
· Islamic Republic of Iran air Force (IRIAF) flew two of its newly-built “Saegheh” jet fighter; Saegheh is a home-made jet fighter; IRIAF commander, Brig. Gen. Ahmad Mighani, said Iran will mass produce the fighter in the coming months; Gen. Mighani also denied published reports that Iran was purchasing 250 Sukhoi-30 jetfighters from Russia.
· NATO forces reported that Iranian arms shipment destined for the Taliban was intercepted 6 September in Afghanistan; the officials of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) have told reporters that the intercepted shipment included armor-piercing bombs which have been especially deadly when used as roadside bombs against foreign troops in Iraq.

US – Iran Relations

· Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared he was certain that one day President Bush and senior American officials will be tried in an international court for “the tragedies they have created in Iraq”; Khamenei added that Americans will have to answer for why they don't end occupation of Iraq and why waves of terrorism and insurgency have overwhelmed the country during their occupation.
· Iranian Presdident Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proposed holding a public debate with President Bush; Ahmadinejad, who will attend the upcoming UN General Assembly in New York on 23 September, said his proposal is for debating international questions at the UN General Assembly in order to solve them; he also asked for a “global referendum” to who out of Iran and the United States had the better ideas.
· Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Mohammad-Ali Hosseini, said Iran would prefer a gradual withdrawal of the US forces in Iraq; Hosseini added that the withdrawal should take place in such a way as to avert a sharp drop of security and stability in Iraq.

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