Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Khamenei: No to Nuclear Compromise

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in Tehran today that Iran will not accept the compromise proposal by Group 5+1.

“Taking one step back against arrogant powers will lead to them to take one step forward,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.

The major powers had proposed a compromise “freeze-on-freeze” approach, whereby Iran would have frozen at current level its uranium enrichment activities, and the UN would have not introduced any new sanctions against Iran. The freeze-on-freeze confidence-building period was to last for six weeks, at the end of which the US and the Europeans would have started direct talks with Iran to end the nuclear standoff.

“The idea that any retreat or backing down from righteous positions would change the policies of arrogant world powers is completely wrong and baseless," Khamenei said, directly addressing those inside Iran who had been increasingly vocal in their support of a negotiated end to the standoff.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Talks Before an Attack?

The Jerusalem Post today is quoting top Israeli defense officials as saying that recent talks the US held with Iran were aimed at creating legitimacy for a potential attack against Iranian nuclear facilities.

“This way they will be able to say they tried everything,” an official told The Jerusalem Post. “This increases America's chances of gaining more public support domestically as well as the support of European nations which are today opposed to military action.”

A top Israeli defense official, however, told The Jerusalem Post that any attack on Iran is not imminent.

“There is a lot of strategic thinking concerning Iran going on right now but no one has yet to make a decision what to do,” the official said. “We are still far away from the point where military officers are poring over maps together planning an operation.”

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Baraq today headed to Washington for talks with senior US officials.

Gates: War with Iran would be 'disastrous'

A war with Iran would be "disastrous on a number of levels," according to U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

In an article appearing in the latest issue of Parameters, the U.S. Army War College quarterly, Gates wrote that with the army already bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan, "another war in the Middle East is the last thing we need" - despite the fact that Iran "supports terrorism," is "a destabilizing force throughout the Middle East and Southwest Asia and, in my judgment, is hell-bent on acquiring nuclear weapons."

Gates also wrote, "the military option must be kept on the table, given the destabilizing policies of the regime and the risks inherent in a future Iranian nuclear threat, either directly or through nuclear proliferation."

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Jundallah Executes Two More Iranian Police

The Iranian rebel group Jundallah (Soldiers of God) announced it has executed two more Iranian policemen from a group of 16 uniformed personnel of Iran’s Law Enforcement Force (LEF) taken hostage in the town of Saravan in Iranian Baluchistan on 13 June 2008.

Jundallah had previously killed one of the policemen. Jundallah’s announcement was aired today by Al Arabiya satellite television.

Jundallah is a Sunni group active in Iran’s Baluchistan. In the past two years, they have staged several terrorist attacks in the province and have been involved in armed clashes with IRGC and LEF forces.

Israel: Doubts over Iran’s 6,000 Centrifuges

Israeli officials have expressed doubt over claims by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Iran now possesses up to 6,000 uranium-enrichment centrifuges. Ahmadinejad said on Saturday in Tehran that Iran had already installed 5.000 centrifuges at Natanz Uranium Enrichment Facility and will continue installing new units until they reach 6,000 centrifuges.

An Israeli official who closely monitor Iran’s nuclear program told The Jerusalem Post today that Ahmadinejad was probably “lying.”

"Our assessment, based on the latest available information and recent reports from the International Atomic Energy Agency, is that the figure of 6,000 centrifuges is unlikely," the official said. "We believe a figure of between 3,400 and 3,500 is more accurate" [7/27 The Jerusalem Post].

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Iran Installs 5,000 Centrifuges

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said today that Iran has already installed 5,000 centrifuges at Natanz Uranium Enrichment Facility (UEF). Ahmadinejad said Iran previously had only 3,000 centrifuges in operation.

Ahmadinajad said the installation of the additional centrifuge started last April and will continue until it reaches 6,000 units in near future. He did not provide any details on the new units, whether they included any IR-2 models, the more advanced machines capable of enriching uranium three to five times faster than the older P-1 models in operation at Natanz.

With 6,000 centrifuges in place, Iran can enrich a significant amount of uranium in short order. Iran does not have any civilian nuclear reactor in operation. Bushehr power plant is being built by the Russians, but they have already provided the uranium fuel needed for the plant to start operation.

There has never been a precise explanation by the Iranian government as why it is accelerating its program now to produce all this enriched uranium where there are no power plants in existence, with the Russian having already supplied fuel for Bushehr. The West suspects Iran’s growing inventory of enriched uranium could be further enriched to build uranium metal, the basic element in building nuclear bomb.

Iran denies plans to make a bomb, but on Thursday announced that it will stop its cooperation with IAEA on answering questions raised on its “alleged studies,” a term used by IAEA to refer to an alleged research program to make nuclear weapon.

Ahmadinejad also claimed today that Iran has been given green light to install up to 6,000 centrifuges by Group 5+1. The claim has not yet been verified by any of those countries.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

IDF Chief: All Options against Iran Must be Prepared

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi said today in Washington that all options must be prepared to counter Iran's nuclear program. Gen. Ashkenazi is holding talks in Pentagon this morning with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen.

"We are all united over the understanding that Iran must not be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon and that there is no doubt that diplomacy must be given priority," Ashkenazi said. "But we all realize, both the Americans and us, that all options must be prepared."

Iran to End Cooperation with IAEA on “Alleged Studies”

Iran will no longer cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in its investigation of “alleged studies.” The term is used by IAEA in reference to research allegedly undertaken in Iran to build nuclear weapons. Iran’s VP and head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Qolam Reza Aghazadeh, made the announcement on Thursday in Tehran.

Investigating such allegations "is outside the domain of the agency," Aghazadeh said.

Last May, IAEA raised serious concerns that Iran was withholding information on the issue.

“The alleged studies remain a matter of serious concern. Clarification of these is critical to an assessment of the nature of Iran's past and present nuclear program,” IAEA said in its report released on 27 May 2008. “Substantive explanations are required from Iran to support its statements on the alleged studies and on other information with a possible military dimension.”

Iran had earlier agreed to answer allegations that it studied how to design nuclear bombs. IAEA chief Mohammad ElBaradei had called the agreement a “milestone.”

The decision by Iran to stop its cooperation with IAEA would add to the tensions surrounding the Iranian nuclear program.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ahmadinejad Says No to Nuclear Compromise

Ahmadinejad Saying No to Nuclear Compromise
Kohgelouyeh . 23 July 2008 . Fars Photo

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today vowed Iran would not step back “an inch” in the nuclear standoff with the West.

“The Iranian people are steadfast and will not step back an inch against the oppressive powers,” Ahmadinejad told a rally in the southwestern province of Kohgelouyeh-Boyerahmad.

The world major powers had given Iran a limited time to accept the freeze-on-freeze compromise, with Iran not expanding its current level of enrichment activities and the UN not imposing any new sanctions.

There are 10 days remaining for Iran to formally respond to the compromise proposal. If Iran had accepted the proposal, direct talks for reaching a final agreement on its nuclear program would have started.

Ahmadinejad’s defiant comments today all but killed the prospects for any early resolution of the crisis.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

US/Coalition Naval Exercise

USS Theodore Roosevelt
Atlantic Ocean . March 2008 . Navy File Phote

More than 15,000 service members from four countries are participating in Joint Task Force Exercise "Operation Brimstone." The exercise off the eastern US coast began on 21 July and will continue for ten days.

US and coalition naval assets taking part in the exercise include the US aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (pictured above), the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima with associated units including the British aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, and the French submarine FS Amethyste. The French Rafale fighter aircraft also joined US Carrier Air Wing aircraft during the exercise.

Units of US Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, who are trained to operate in the littorals and riverine environment, shallow coastal waters and rivers, are taking part in the exercise. This environment approximates the coastal waters of the Persian Gulf and the small islands around its chokepoint, the Strait of Hormuz.

Military analysts believe that Operation Brimstone is aimed at giving military teeth to the two-week ultimatum the six world powers gave Iran in Geneva Saturday to accept the suspension of uranium enrichment or face harsh sanctions and isolation.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Rice Warns Iran of “Punitive Measures”

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met Arab allies in the United Arab Emirates today after warning Iran of "punitive measures" if it does not respond seriously in two weeks to an international incentive to freeze uranium enrichment activities.

Meanwhile, the White House signaled that it expected Iran to reject a US-backed freeze-on-freeze proposal that could open the doors for serious negotiations to end the nuclear standoff.

"It is the position of the P5-plus-one that Iran should suspend its uranium enrichment, that we provided a very generous incentives package that they apparently are going to miss an opportunity to accept," said spokeswoman Dana Perino.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

IDF Chief in Washington

Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi and Adm. Mullen
AP File Photo

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi is currently visiting Washington. The Jerusalem Post reported today that Gen. Ashkenazi’s week-long visit to Washington centers on the Iranian nuclear program.

Ashkenazi is holding talks with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen, Vice President Dick Cheney and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, as well as top members of the Senate Arms Services Committee and senior US intelligence officials

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak is to visit Washington early August.

Working on Roadmap - Iran

Iran said today it is “serious” about settling its nuclear dispute with the West and was working on a "road map" to resolve the issue.

“The two sides' common points could be used as a road map and for future negotiations," Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili told Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak [20 July ISNA].

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Iran Given Two Weeks to Accept Freeze-on-Freeze Compromise

EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana Announcing
Iran’s Non-Response to Freeze-on-Freeze Compromise
Geneva. Saturday 19 July 2008. Reuters photo

World major powers today gave Iran two weeks to accept the “freeze-on-freeze” compromise as a start to end the nuclear standoff. Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, was not ready to accept the offer at the Geneva meeting, attended by US Undersecretary of State William Burns.

The freeze-on-freeze compromise requires Iran not to expand its current level of uranium enrichment for a period of six weeks, while the UN and the West would not impose any new sanctions on Iran. During this confidence-building period, preliminary talks on a long-term solution to the nuclear standoff will take place.

Iran was expected to accept the compromise during the meeting in Geneva today. Now it has two weeks to accept the freeze-on-freeze approach. Iran could be subjected to new sanctions at the end of the two-week period.

"The Iranians know very well what will continue to happen (with further sanctions)," European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana said after talks with Jalili.

The inconclusive outcome of Geneva meeting dimmed hopes of a quick turnaround in nuclear talks.

UPDATE: State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack said after the Geneva meeting that Iranian leaders need to choose between nuclear cooperation or confrontation.

McCormack added that Undersecretary of State William Burns delivered a "clear simple message" that Washington was "serious" in backing proposed international incentives for Iran to halt uranium enrichment and that it will only engage in negotiations with Iran when it does so

US, Iran in Nuclear Talks

US envoy William Burns (right) meets with Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili (center) for talks in Geneva today [Reuters photo].

William Burns, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, is the first senior US official to take part in international talks with Iran over the nuclear standoff.

UPDATE: Talks resumed this afternoon in Geneva. Delegations had broken for lunch and European Union's High Representative Javier Solana and the Secretary of the Iranian Supreme National Security Council, Saeed Jalili continued the talks at lunch in a tete-a-tete environment. The formal talks resumed at 3 pm Geneva time.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Turkey Mediating Iran-US Nuclear Talks

The Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan is mediating between Iran and US officials on nuclear issues. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki is in Ankara today for talks with Babacan. US National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley was in Ankara yesterday for a meeting with Babacan. Hadley later called for dialogue aimed at resolving the disputed nuclear program.

On Saturday, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili is to meet US Under Secretary of State William Burns in Geneva during a meeting with Group 5+1 officials.

Turkey is also mediating Israel-Syria peace talks.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Freeze on Freeze

The road to normalize relations with Iran starts this Saturday when State Department’s top diplomat, William Burns, meets with Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili.

The next move in the new diplomatic roadmap is freeze on freeze, as outlined by EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana. For a period of six weeks, preliminary negotiations with Iran takes place, with US representative present at the negotiating table. During this period, Iran will keep or “freeze” uranium enrichment activities at its current level, while the UN do the same, keeping or “freezing” sanctions as is. If you believe this six-week period will blur previous Bush administration’s policy on suspension before negotiations, you are right.

At the end of the six-week period, Iran is expected to formally suspend all its uranium enrichment activates (closing Natanz temporarily) and the UN will suspend its sanctions against Iran. The double suspension period lasts until the two sides come to a final agreement: Iran getting acceptable economic incentives and normalization of relations with the US in return for not enriching uranium inside Iran, getting enriched uranium for nuclear reactors from an international consortium.

To sweeten the deal, US will not wait for final negotiations on normalizations of relations with Iran and will open an interests section, staffed with US diplomats, in Tehran next month.

If the roadmap is executed as planned, as expected, we can say with high confidence that the military option is finally off the table.

UPDATE: Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki welcomed US involvement in the nuclear talks, hoping the US presence would produce positive developments.

“We hope that the meeting in Geneva on Saturday will produce positive developments on the ground,” Mottaki, on a visit to Syria, told the reporters in Damascus.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

US to Open Interests Section in Tehran

The US is planning to establish a diplomatic presence in Tehran for the first time in 30 years, The Guardian reported today. The announcement will be made in the next month to establish a US interests section in Tehran. Iran already has an interests section in Washington.

The report came hours after the US State Department announced that it was sending one of its top diplomats to Geneva on Saturday to join other high ranking officials from Group 5+1 at a meeting with Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator. William Burns, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, will meet Saeed Jalili, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, at the gathering.

The turn of events in US-Iran relations is remarkable and represents a clear break with past Bush administration policy of not dealing with Iran directly.

The opening of an interests section in Tehran will be a major development in restoring normal diplomatic relations between the two countries. US closed its embassy in Tehran in 1979 when militants occupied the embassy and took 52 US diplomats hostage for 444 days.

High Ranking US Diplomat to Meet Iran’s Nuclear Negotiator

William Burns, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, will join other high-ranking officials from world’s major powers at a meeting this Saturday with Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili.

Burns, the third-highest ranking US diplomat, will for the first time attend Group 5+1 talks with the Iranian envoy in Switzerland aimed at persuading Iran to halt uranium enrichment activities.

Secretary Burns’ meeting with Mr. Jalili is a clear break with past Bush administration policy on Iran. A State Department official has told AP that Burns is going to the Saturday meeting to demonstrate US commitment to a negotiated deal.

Burns is a career diplomat who has previously served as US ambassador to Russia. He holds a doctorate degree in international relations from Oxford.

Last Wednesday, during a testimony to House Foreign Affairs Committee, he said Iran’s behavior and policies pose wide-ranging challenges to US interests and for international community.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Iran to Hold Air Maneuvers

Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) announced today that it will hold new war games dubbed “The Protectors of Velayat.” IRIAF Commander Brig. Gen. Ahmad Mighani said the war games are to present the defense and battle power of IRIAF.

The war games are to take place soon, but no exact dates have been announced. Our military expert Mark Pyruz will follow the exercises as they get underway.

Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) have just completed Great Prophet III exercises in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz region, test-firing long- and mid-range missiles and a rocket torpedo.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Iran: Who Lost Syria?

Assad at Bastille Day Military Parade
Paris . 14 July

Syrian President Bashar Al Assad was a guest of honor at France’s Bastille Day ceremonies in Paris today. Reviewing the French military parade, Assad stood next to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and other dignitaries (pictured above).

Since the victory of Islamic revolution in Iran, Syria has consistently been Tehran’s closest ally. All that began to change when Ahmadinejad came to power three years ago. His policies and rhetoric have isolated Iran to an extent not seen in the thirty years of the Islamic Republic. Syria, the closest ally, is probably no more.

This is the most damaging consequence of Ahmadinejad’s presidency for Iranian foreign policy so far, and it could well be the beginning of worst days to come; notably the possibility of a military attack on the country.

Leadership Changes at the IRGC and Basij

From a report by Iran Daily:
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei appointed new commanders of the Islamic Revolution’s Guards Corps (IRGC). In separate decrees, Ayatollah Khamenei appointed the new commanders of IRGC’s ground force, the country’s volunteer Basij force and the Sarallah Military Base. The chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces and high-ranking IRGC commanders attended the ceremony for the inauguration of the new commanders, Presstv reported.

Brigadier General Mohammad Jafar Asadi was appointed commander of IRGC’s Ground Force, while Hojjatoleslam Hossein Taeb was named the new commander of IRGC’s Basij force. Brigadier-General Asadi described the new appointments within the IRGC as highly sensitive. Hojjatoleslam Taeb said at the ceremony that Basij has a sensitive and difficult mandate to fulfill and expressed hope that the force could help the Iranian nation take big strides toward advancement.Brigadier-General Mohammad Hejazi, retaining his post as acting IRGC commander, was appointed commander of the Sarallah Military Base.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Amber Light to Attack Iran

The Sunday Times is reporting today that President Bush has told the Israeli government that he may be prepared to approve a future military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities if negotiations with Tehran break down.

A senior Pentagon officials told The Sunday Times that despite opposition of his own generals, the president has given an "amber light" to an Israeli plan to attack Iran's main nuclear sites with long-range bombing sorties.

"Amber means get on with your preparations, stand by for immediate attack and tell us when you're ready," the official said.

CENTCOM in Farsi

United States Central Command (CENTCOM) now offers its website in Farsi. The URL is as follows:

IRGC Navy Video of Holy Prophet III

Saturday, July 12, 2008

No New Shahab-3 -- New York Times

The New York Times is reporting today that Iran did not launch a new variant of Shahab-3 as claimed.

“Iran’s missile test this week did not demonstrate any new capabilities, according to a US official familiar with the intelligence, and the test may not have included one of the longer-range missiles Iran claims as among those launched,” The New York Times reported on 12 July.

Iranian officials claimed the tests demonstrated a new variant of the Shahab missile that had a range of 1,250 miles. Such a missile would put Israel in striking distance.

Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said the test should still be taken seriously.

“They were not testing new technologies or capabilities, but rather firing off old equipment in an attempt to intimidate their neighbors and escalate tensions in the region,” Morrell said [The New York Times, 12 July].

Iran to Target 32 US Bases and Israel if Attacked

Iran will target "32 US bases and the heart of Israel" if it is attacked, Mojtaba Zolnoor said. Zolnoor is Ayatollah Khamenei's deputy representative to IRGC.

"If America and Israel shoot any bullets and missiles against our country, Iranian armed forces will target the heart of Israel and 32 US bases in the region before the dust from this attack has settled," Zolnoor said [Fars News Agency, 12 July].

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki had said on Friday that Iran would give a crushing response to any attack by the US or Israel.

Commenting on the test-firing of Shahab-3 missile, Mottaki said the exercise was aimed at displaying Iran's combat readiness and military potentials.

Fars News Agency in a dispatch from Tehran speculated that Israel could bomb Iran.

“In the first week of June, 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighters reportedly took part in an exercise over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece, which was interpreted as a dress rehearsal for a possible attack on Iran's nuclear installations,” Fars News Agency reported on 12 July.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Notes on the Missiles of Holy Prophet III

It is obvious that the missiles fired during Great Prophet III were intended to achieve political purposes, but economic aspects of the event should not be overlooked. Iran's primary intent was to once again demonstrate its power of deterrence against a foreign attack by Israel and the United States. But in addition, it was also serving its own short term economic interests, knowing full well that the move would increase the price of crude oil on the world market. Doing so using proven assets from its ballistic missile force makes perfect sense, in terms of cost expenditure and intelligence exposure. The results of this relatively cheap exercise were phenomenal on the world stage. US television news at the local level even picked up the story. The price of crude oil has jumped accordingly. For the cost of a handful of ordinary missiles, Iran's oil revenue has increased measurably. That the demonstration disappointed certain observers intent on seeing a demonstration of technological advancement is really beside the point, as is the usual practice of Iranian press irregularities, this time in the form of a single doctored photograph posted on the internet. From Iran's perspective, Holy Prophet III appears to have served its purposes well.

Official Iran Armed Forces Website

IRNA is reporting the launch of a new official Iran armed forces website. The site contains a news and gallery section. Find it at the following URL:

Thursday, July 10, 2008

More Missiles Launched on Day 3 of Great Prophet III

From PressTV:
Iran has test fired additional long and medium range missiles over the Persian Gulf waters on the third day of military maneuvers.

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) successfully test fired various classes of missiles Thursday including shore to sea, surface to surface and sea to air rockets in what is now the third day of a large-scale military maneuver dubbed Great Prophet III.

IRGC forces also test fired the 'Hoot Torpedo', which only Iran and another country are said to be capable of building.

On Wednesday, the IRGC fired nine long and medium range missiles including the Shahab 1, 2, 3, Fateh and Zelzal rockets.

The maneuvers have also included IRGC scuba divers and marines who conducted practice assaults with speed boats on hypothetical enemy targets.

File photos and video at IribNews.Ir.

These latest Iranian war games are receiving an unprecedented amount of coverage in the US media. So far, the Iranian media has made use of a fair amount of archival footage and photos from previous military exercises to publicize Great Prophet III.

Top of post: File photo of a Hoot rocket torpedo.

IRGC Missile Test Video

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Iran Seeking Seat at the UNSC

According to Betsy Pisik at The Washington Times:
Tehran will seek a seat on the powerful U.N. Security Council next year, despite the trade sanctions the body has imposed to slow Iran's nuclear program.

"It is our right, we have not been on the council in 50 years, and we are trying our best," an official from the Iranian Mission told The Washington Times on Tuesday.

The official, who insisted that his name not be used, said Iran's bid for a seat on the 2009-10 council already has the "confirmation" of the Asian Group, whose members Tehran would represent.

Asian diplomats confirmed Tuesday that Iran has sought the group's approval to run for the council seat, which currently is filled by Indonesia and is reserved for an Asian country. Regional blocs often agree in advance which country will get a seat.

IRGC Test-Fires Nine Ballistic Missiles

From PressTV:
Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps has successfully test-fired new long and mid-range missiles in response to threats coming from US and Israel.

The IRGC tested the Shahab 3 missile, which can hit any targets within a range of 2,000 kilometers on the second day of a military exercise dubbed The Great Prophet III. Shahab 3 is equipped with a one-ton conventional warhead. Nine highly advanced missiles with improved accuracy were simultaneously tested including the Zelzal and Fateh missiles with ranges of 400km and 170km respectively .

The Great Prophet III is a joint maneuver carried out by the IRGC naval and ground forces in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz region. Press TV correspondent reporting from the site of the maneuver says the missiles could strike any target within the specified range regardless of climate conditions or the time.

IRGC Naval Commander Morteza Saffari said various missile, rocket and torpedo launchers as well as military vessels and land-to-sea missiles were tested during the exercise. "The IRGC Navy is carrying out this maneuver to show it is fully prepared to counter any possible enemy aggression or adventurism," said Saffari. "The maneuver also sends out a reassuring message to regional countries that together we can secure the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz without the presence of foreign forces," he added.

Meanwhile, IRGC Air Force Commander Hossein Salami told Press TV that the aim of the exercise was to demonstrate "just how strong-willed the Islamic Republic is in defending its sovereignty against any challenges by those enemies that have used harsh and threatening words against Iran in recent weeks."

From IRIB:

"The aim of holding this maneuver is to show (Iran's) will and authority to the enemies that have threatened Iran with harsh language in recent weeks," state broadcaster IRIB quoted a Revolutionary Guards commander as saying.

"We ... launch these missiles in honor of Iran, to show that this is only a small part of Iran's capability and defensive power," said the commander, Hossein Salami.

From Bloomberg:
Crude oil rose for the first time this week, rebounding from its biggest decline in three months, after Iran test-fired a long-range missile capable of reaching Israel and the dollar fell.

This can be considered the Islamic Republic of Iran's response to the reporting of Israel's recent air exercise over the Mediterranean. The obvious fact is that heightened tensions produce certain constructive economic benefits for Iran in its confrontation with the West, and that Israeli and American moves of a similar nature are counterproductive.

Top of post: file photo of Shahab missile launch from Fars News Agency.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

US Moves against Iranian Officials, Companies

The US Department of the Treasury today designated four individuals and four entities for their alleged ties to Iran's nuclear and missile programs.
The individuals targeted for financial sanctions are:

- Dawood Agha-Jani (Atomic Energy Organization of Iran - AEOI)
- Moshen Hojati (Aerospace Industries Organization - AIO)
- Mehrdad Akhlaghi Ketabachi(Shahid Bakeri Industrial Group -SBIG)
- Naser Maleki (Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group - SHIG)

AEOI, AIO, SBIG and SGIG have already been designated as WMD proliferators.
Newly targeted corporations are:

- Shahid Sattari Industries
- Seventh of Tir [7th of Tir]
- Ammunition and Metallurgy Industries Group (AMIG)
- Parchin Chemical Industries

Shahid Sattari Industries is designated for involvement in the manufacturing and maintenance of ground support equipment for SBIG.

The other three entities were designated for their work for Iran's Defense Industries Organization (DIO). The U.S. Department of State designated DIO in 2007 for engaging in proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or their means of delivery.

The assets of the individuals and entities under the US jurisdiction (such as bank accounts in US dollars) are frozen, and any transactions between the designees and US persons and entities are prohibited.

Law Enforcement Equipment Exhibition

Photos from a recent law enforcement equipment exhibition in Tehran.

Top to bottom:
- Assault Weaponry I
- Tracked ATV and Police bikes
- Helicopter UAV
- Remote Weapons Station
- Assault Weaponry II

IRGC and US Military Maneuvers in the Gulf

From PressTV:
Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) have begun military maneuvers in the Persian Gulf, reports released by news agencies say.

The war games, called Payambar-e Azam 3 are conducted by missile units of the IRGC naval and air forces, Mehr and Fars news agencies reported.

The reports noted that the exercises early Tuesday morning are aimed at improving combat readiness and capability.

Meanwhile, Reuters is reporting:
The U.S. Navy said it was carrying out an exercise in the Gulf, days after vowing that Iran will not be allowed to block the waterway which carries crude from the world's largest oil-exporting region.

"The aim of Exercise Stake Net is to practice the tactics and procedures of protecting maritime infrastructure such as gas and oil installations," Commodore Peter Hudson said in a U.S. Fifth Fleet statement.

Two U.S. vessels were taking part in the exercise alongside a British warship and one from Bahrain, a Gulf Arab ally which hosts the Fifth Fleet. "Stake Net seeks to help ensure a lawful maritime order as well as improve relationships between regional partners," the fleet's statement said.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Iranian Jet Fighter Crash

An Iranian F-7 jet fighter crashed today during a training mission near Omidiyeh Air Base in Dezful, in southwestern Khuzestan province. The Iranian authorities did not disclose the fate of pilots.

It appears that the fighter was an IRIAF Chinese-made FT-7. Iran started receiving these MiG-19 type fighters in mid-80s and it is believed to have more than 25 in service today.

The file photo above shows a pair of Iran’s F-7 and FT-7 fighters getting ready to participate in Iranian Military Parade 2008, Tehran, 17 April.

Sadly the two pilots on board the FT-7 were killed during crash landing.

Ahmadinejad: No Suspension

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today insisted Iran would not suspend its uranium enrichment program. Speaking from Malaysia, where he is attending a D-8 Summit, Ahmadinejad called the latest proposals by world’s major power to settle the nuclear dispute a “repetitive scenario.”

“On one side they (world powers) ask to negotiate and on the other they threaten and say that we must give in to their illegal demands and renounce our rights,” Ahmadinejad said.

In Paris, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who is scheduled to visit Tehran on behalf of the major powers, said he was not optimistic about prospects for a breakthrough with Iran on the nuclear standoff. “It is difficult,” Solana said.

Ahmadinejad’s latest remarks show no willingness on part of Iran to accept any compromise that would require a temporary suspension or even a freeze on the current level of enrichment activities.

The Daily Telegraph today quoted Western intelligence officials as saying that Iran has resumed it nuclear weapon project. The work is reportedly aimed at developing the atomic bomb blueprint provided by A. Q. Khan. The report accuses IRGC of setting up a number of civilian companies to work on the project while concealing their existence from IAEA inspectors.

Meanwhile in Tokyo, President George Bush, attending the G-8 Summit, met for the first time with Dmitry Medvedev, the new Russian president. The two said they will work jointly to block Iran’s uranium enrichment efforts. They mentioned Iran as an area of common interest which requires their cooperation.

“We had a good discussion about Iran,” said Bush.

“The two nations have a general agreement on their approach on Iran,” said Medvedev.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

New US Naval Commander in Persian Gulf

Vice Adm. William Gortney
New US NAVCENT/Fifth Fleet Commander
Reuters Photo

US Navy Vice Admiral William E. Gortney, the new commander of US NAVCENT and the US Fifth Fleet, said in Bahrain on Saturday that the US naval presence in the Persian Gulf poses no threat to Iranian interests. Adm. Gortney said the US only seeks to send a “very clear message” that its naval presence will help maintain security and provide stability in the region.

Adm. Gortney took over the command of US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) and the US Fifth Fleet on Saturday from Vice Admiral Kevin J. Cosgriff. Adm. Gortney’s area of responsibility will include the Persian Gulf. He took command as Iran’s armed forces chief warned that Tehran would shut the Strait of Hormuz if its interests were threatened.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Iran Warns of Swarming Tactics, Hormuz Closure

IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Alai Jafari said in Tehran today that if Iran is attacked, IRGC speed boats would use swarming tactics to sink enemy ships in the Persian Gulf. IRGC would also use advanced missiles to attack the ships, he said.

“Swarming tactics and operations of IRGC boats will not leave a chance for the enemies to run away,” Gen. Jafari said. “IRGC is also equipped with the most advanced missiles that can strike the enemies’ ships and naval equipment with fatal blows” [Fars News Agency, 5 July].

Earlier today, chairman of Iranian armed forces joint staff, Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi, renewed Iran’s threat to close down the Strait of Hormuz.

“All the countries should know that if Iran’s interests in the region are ignored, it is natural that we will not allow others to use the [Strait of Hormuz],” Gen. Firouzabadi said [Fars News Agency, 5 July].

Friday, July 4, 2008

Tehran Offers Nuclear Compromise

Unconfirmed reports from Tehran indicate that Iran has offered to freeze its uranium enrichment activities at the current level if the UN refrains from adding new sanctions.

Iran analysts do not expect the offer to end the nuclear standoff with the West. At its current level, Iran can still enrich enough uranium to be of major concern.

The Iranian ambassador to Brussels today delivered Iran’s response to Javier Solana, EU foreign policy chief. Solana is expected to meet with Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, in mid-July. The exact date and place for the meeting has not been announced.

Iran’s offer to freeze enrichment at its current level is believed to be the highlight of its response delivered today to Solana.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

US Navy: Iran Will Not Be Allowed to Close Strait of Hormuz

US NAVCENT and 5th Fleet Commander Vice Adm. Kevin Cosgriff said today in Abu Dhabi that Iran will not be allowed to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf.

"We will not allow Iran to close [the Strait of Hormuz]," Adm. Cosgriff told a gathering of naval commanders of Gulf countries in the UAE capital. He said allowing Iran to close the strait is “saying to the world that 40 percent of oil is now held hostage by a single country.”

Cosgriff's comments follow a threat by IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari that Iran could seal off the key passageway in case of a Western attack on Iran. Cosgriff had earlier said that such move by Iran would be viewed as an act of war.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Iran's Asymmetric Naval Warfare Doctrine

In a 2006 research paper prepared for the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, Jahangir Arasli addresses how Iran might apply its asymmetric naval warfare doctrine in a future conflict, in a piece titled Obsolete Weapons, Unconventional Tactics and Martyrdom Zeal. Excerpt provided below:

The asymmetric warfare (dubbed as ‘unbalanced warfare’ in Iranian discourse) is interpreted by [Iran's] strategists as a way to deter, deny, mitigate or negate the use of overwhelming military force even by a much more powerful foe (which in fact implies the USA). The essence of [asymmetric warfare] was worded in a simple and explicit way in August 2005 by the IRGC Brig. General Mohammad-Ali ‘Aziz” Jaafari: ‘As the likely enemy is far more advanced technologically than we are, we have been using what is called asymmetric warfare methods,... our forces are now well prepared for it’. Its principles and parameters in Iranian interpretation appear as follows.

In Peacetime:
- Deter military attack; contain any hostile behavior by all means available (hard power, soft power, deception).
- Maintain high combat readiness of its military forces, prepared for a continued, high-intensity stand against an enemy’s much more sizeable, hi-tech, military force.
- Develop and rely upon indigenous, [self-] sufficient defense industry capabilities (self-sustainment).
- Train to survive, prepare to react to—and under—a surprise attack, fast-changing situational developments, operational degradation, high pressure and partial loss of its own command and control (C2) capacities.

In Wartime:
- Decentralize military forces (‘dispersed warfare’) to mitigate enemy’s airpower, firepower, intelligence capabilities, battlefield informational dominance and control [of the] electro-magnetic spectrum.
- Incorporate unconventional tactics, assets and tools into all response scenarios.
- Act aggressively, be agile and innovative, and the use of the element of surprise as core elements of war on the strategic, operational and tactical levels.
- Intimidate enemy to accept (impose upon) [Iranian war-] scenarios.
- Concentrate decisive capabilities (i.e. make a ‘main effort’) when it is needed to address strategic weak points of the enemy (a center of gravity, or COG), which are not necessarily of a military nature, or directly linked to an attacking side (i.e. could be a third country).
- Conduct offensive retaliatory attacks against areas regarded by the enemy as safe and remote from the war zone (a sort of ‘pay a price’ deep strike).
- Use allied and proxy forces abroad to multiply harmful effect.
- Wage intensive political, information and psychological warfare, indivisible from the military efforts and targeting enemy’s moral and political will.
- Emphasize and exploit the human factor, primarily the religious zeal and martyrdom effort.

While the premise of Arsali's research paper can be challenged, that Iran is fully determined to achieve its final goal to get weapons of mass destruction, nonetheless the study does contain useful information on Iran's defense capabilities, particularly those of the Iranian Navy and IRGC Navy. Articles on Iran's Military

Below are links to Iranian military related features currently posted at

Persian Cats by Tom Cooper and Farzad Bishop

Shahab 3: an Advanced IRBM by Pedro B.D. and Tom Cooper

IRIAF Since 1988 by ACIG Team

I Persian Gulf War, 1980-1988 by Tom Cooper and Farzad Bishop

I Persian Gulf War, Iraqi Invasion of Iran, September 1980 by Tom Cooper, Farzad Bishop and N.R.

Hard Target: Rolling-Back Iranian Nuclear Programmes by Dr. Michael Knight

Fire in the Hills: Iranian and Iraqi Battles of Autumn 1982 by Tom Cooper and Farzad Bishop

22 September 2004: Parade in Tehran by Liam F. Devlin and Tom Cooper

22 September 2003: Iranian Military Parade by Liam F. Devlin and Tom Cooper

Tanker War, 1980-1988 by ACIG team

Iranian Air-to-Air Victories, 1982-Today by ACIG Team

Iranian Air-to-Air Victories 1976-1981 by ACIG Team

Exotic Fulcrums by Tom Cooper

Phantoms Forever, Part 6: Iran by Tom Cooper

Mirage F.1s in Combat by ACIG Team