Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Silent Majority in the Islamic Republic of Iran?

World Public Opinion.org recently took a poll of Iranians living in Iran, over subjects that included Iranian politics, world relations and Iran's nuclear program. The results have surprised many Western analysts, while some questioned the truthfulness of the poll's Iranian respondents.

WPO conducted the poll of 1,003 Iranians across Iran between Aug. 27 and Sept. 10, 2009. The margin of error is 3.1%. Telephone surveys were conducted by a professional survey organization calling in from outside Iran in Farsi.

- Full WPO Iran Report (PDF)
- Iranian Public on Current Issues Questionnaire with Findings (PDF)
- Iranians on their Nuclear Program Questionnaire with Findings (PDF)

Selected poll results:
- Most Iranians express acceptance of the outcome of the Presidential election. Eighty-one percent say they consider Ahmadinejad to be Iran's legitimate president, and 62 percent say they have a lot of confidence in the declared election results.

- Among the 87 percent of respondents who say they voted in the June presidential election, 55 percent say they voted for Ahmadinejad. Only 14 percent say they voted for Mir Hossein Mousavi, the leading opposition candidate.

- Eight in 10 say Ahmadinejad is honest.

- Overall most Iranians express support for their current system of government. Nine in ten say they are satisfied with Iran's system of government.

Reactions to the poll results:
Professor Farideh Farhi: "If I were in Iran and someone called me to ask those direct questions, I would be leery of answering them honestly or directly. I have to ask whether fear may have been a factor in the results."

Jim Lobe: "Some analysts, notably neo-conservatives closely identified with Israel, have asserted that negotiations are a waste of time and that the regime has become so unpopular that imposing tough sanctions now could bring about its collapse. The WPO survey, however, casts serious doubt on the latter assumption, in particular. In addition to the broad acceptance of Ahmadinejad as the "legitimate president", the poll found a relatively high degree of confidence in the country's main governing institutions."

Mark Pyruz: "These poll results remind me of a period of American history I lived through during the late 1960's, early '70's. The civil rights and antiwar protests were regular events. There were massive demonstrations, violent police crackdowns, even a number of protesters shot and killed by security forces. The most radical of the demonstrators were openly calling for a revolution. Yet during that time, there emerged an American politician that claimed these protesters did not represent America. He declared that there was a "silent majority" that rejected this kind of thing, were even repulsed by it. And he was proven right. He was elected president. And during the height of the demonstrations, he was actually reelected by a substantial landslide. So to me, these WPO poll results suggest the possibility of an Iranian "silent majority'."
Chicago Pre-Election 1968 / Tehran Post-Election 2009
Kent State Shooting 1970 / Neda on YouTube 2009


Two Observations on Great Prophet IV

Sejil-2 Launch Coverage::
It was interesting to note that the latest declared Sejil-2 launch appears to have lacked on-the-spot media coverage, in terms of photography and video. Instead, the now common sight of the Shahab-3 was selected for Iran state media to cover in detail.

Photos have appeared on military forum boards purporting the latest Sejil-2 launch, but cannot be verified. Below are some grainy examples:Two new photos of better quality have recently arisen, and can be found at MRBMs of Great Prophet IV.

It's possible that security concerns prevented photography and video of the latest claimed Sejil-2 launch. Given the sensitive issue of Iranian ballistic missile technology, as well as a desire for secrecy, this may have had something to do with the limited level of media coverage afforded to the claimed Sejil launch.

A More Accurate Translation of General Salami's Speech:The USG Open Source Center translated remarks to Iranian television of General Hossein Salami, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Air Force concerning Iran's Monday missile tests (Islamic Republic of Iran News Network Television (IRINN), Monday, September 28, 2009):

Gen. Salami said, "as long as our enemies act within a political domain, our behavior will be completely political. However, if they want to leave the domain of political action and enter the domain of military threat, then our action will be exactly and completely military." . . .

'Salami said the strategic objective in staging the war game was "to demonstrate the Iranian nation's resolution in defending revolutionary and national values and ideals as well as to make a new attempt to upgrade the level and quality of the Islamic Republic's deterrence against any probable threat given the current political and international atmosphere."

Note: This translation offers a far less bellicose sounding speech from IRGC Brigadier General Hossein Salami, than current reporting by the mainstream media. The General's statements can be interpreted as rational, given prevailing Western rhetoric.

According to Professor Juan Cole:
Many Western media reports implied that the missile tests were launched along with threats to wipe out Israel. But note that the commanding officer overseeing them explicitly restated Iran's "no first strike" pledge. To my knowledge, no current high official in the Iranian executive has threatened war against Israel, which in any case would be foolhardy given Israel's nuclear arsenal. [emphasis added] Iranian officials do say they hope the "Zionist regime" will collapse as the Soviet Union did.

Salami linked the tests strongly to Iran's defensive needs and pointed out they came before the anniversary of Iraq's 1980 attack on Iran, which kicked off a highly destructive 8-year war that killed on the order of 250,000 Iranians. (The United States supported Iraq in that war.) The trauma of being invaded by a rapacious enemy at a moment of national weakness after the 1979 revolution has deeply informed Iranian political leaders' views of the world ever since.

H/T Juan Cole at Informed Comment


Monday, September 28, 2009

Student Protest at University of Tehran

University of Tehran. Monday 28 September 2009. Student Protest
Slogans: Marg barg Dictator "Death to Dictator"; "Ahmadi, Ahmadi, This is the Last Message, the Green Movement is Ready for Uprising!"

MRBMs of Great Prophet IV - Updated

(Click photos to enlarge)
Shahab-3 "Shooting Star" MRBM

Sejil-2 "Baked Clay" MRBM

Great Prophet IV Wargames, Stage 2 & 3 - Updated

Iran's IRGC Air Force successfully conducted its second and third rounds of ballistic missile tests, during the Great Prophet IV wargames.

Monday morning, the IRGC successfully tested an optimized version of the Shahab-3 MRBM, with an improved navigation system and greater accuracy. Range of the Shahab-3 is claimed at up to 1,200 miles (2,000 kilometers). Fars News Agency reported that Iran has equipped its Shahab class missiles with new warheads, capable of destroying multiple targets simultaneously.

There are media reports that Iran also fired a solid-fueled Sejil MRBM. (Note: above photos distributed by Iranian state media are actually file pics from a previous launch date.)

There were test firings reported Sunday night for the Shahab-1 and Shahab-2 MRBMs, with ranges of 185 miles (300 kilometers) and 435 miles (700 kilometers) respectively. (Note: right-side photo distributed by Iranian state media is actually a file pic from a previous launch date. Not sure about the left-side photo.)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

IRGC Muscles Into Iran Telecommunication Business

The IRGC, an Iranian elite military organization, has just scored another big business acquisition through the privatization of Iran's communication organization.

From the Associated Press:
A consortium connected to Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard bought a majority share in the country's telecommunications company Sunday, Iranian state media reported, bringing the strategic sector under the elite military force's control.

The Etemad-e-Mobin consortium's $7.8 billion purchase gives it a 50 percent plus one share stake in the Iranian Telecommunications Company, Iran's state media reported Sunday.

The deal underscores the Guard's increasing clout in Iran since hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — himself a former Guard member — came to power in 2005. Over that period, Companies affiliated with the Guard have been awarded more than 750 government contracts in construction and oil and gas projects.

State television said Etemad-e-Mobin was selected over another Iranian consortium that had submitted a bid for the majority stake. A third group was eliminated after authorities decided it did not hold the necessary security credentials.

Apparently, the most likely consortium to afford the asking price of $8 billion dollars was the Pishgaman Kavir Yazd Cooperative (Pishgaman-e Kavir-e Yazd). The other interested party was the Iranians' Economic Investment Company of Mehr (Moasese Mehr Eghtesade Iranian)- formerly called Basij Loan Institution, a firm associated with the Basij paramilitary force.

However, late in the game a new bidder emerged, the consortium of Etemaad-e-Mobin, consisting of three companies, two of which belong to the IRGC, with 92% share ownership.

Today, the sale took place. Pishgaman Kavir Yazd Cooperative was suddenly excluded from bidding, being ruled ineligible on grounds it lacked the necessary security qualifications. With only the IRGC and Basij bidding against each other, the auction lasted barely 30 minutes and Etemad-e-Mobin (IRGC) won. According to Naj at the neo-resistance blog, this has raised concerns that the whole privatization scheme was merely a guise with which to take Iran's communication organization away from public domain, and put it under military control.

SRBMs of Great Prophet IV

(Click photos to enlarge)
Tondar-69 (CSS-8) "Thunder" SRBM
Fateh-110 "Conquerer" SRBM
Zelzal "Earthquake" SRBM with new twin launcher system

Great Prophet IV Wargames, Stage 1 - Updated

The first day of "Great Prophet IV" (Payambar-e Azam) wargames included test firing of the Fateh-110, Tondar-69 and Zelzal missile systems. These three types are solid-fueled, short-range ballistic missiles (SRBM).

Brigadier General Hossein Salami, head of the IRGC Air Force, told reporters that the IRGC tested an experimental multiple launcher for the first time. Fars News Agency provided a photo of a dual launcher setup for the Zelzal missile system.

"The message of the war game for some arrogant countries which attempt to intimidate us is that we are able to give a proper, strong answer to their hostility quickly," Press TV quoted Brigadier General Salami as saying. He said the missiles successfully hit their targets. He further stated that Iranian engineers had enhanced the speed and precision of the missiles so they could be used in short-term or quick engagements. Now these missiles are able to be launched from positions that are not as easy to hit, he added.

Iran's Fateh missile has a range of 155 miles (250 kilometers), and is the most accurate missile in the IRGC arsenal. Fateh means "conqueror" in Farsi and Arabic. The Tondar-69 (CSS-8), meaning "thunder" in Farsi, has a range of about 95 miles (150 kilometers). Zelzal missiles, which come in three variants, have ranges of 95, 130 and 250 miles (150, 210 and 400 kilometers). Zelzal in Farsi means "earthquake".

Brigadier General Salami said the IRGC would test newly modified medium-range Shahab-1 and Shahab-2 missiles on Sunday night and long-range Shahab-3 missiles on Monday, during the drill which is set to last several days.


Specific aims of the Great Prophet IV missile exercises:
- Analysis of technical developments and tactics
- Increase accuracy
- Reducing the missile launch timing using new navigational systems
- New modifications to the warheads
- Using unprepared launch sites
- Testing multiple warheads
- Coordinated launch timing of multiple rockets and missiles
- Multiple launch coordination from unprepared sites to predetermined targets
- Reducing launch preperation timing

Above: IRGC Sukhoi Su-25UBK attack planes participating in the wargame.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Imminent IRGC Ballistic Missile Exercises

The Iranians have scheduled another show of strength for tomorrow, Sept. 27. From Fars News Agency:

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Air Force is scheduled to stage massive missile exercises tomorrow, an IRGC statement announced on Saturday. In the statement, the IRGC underlined that the wargames, codenamed as "Payambar-e Azam 4 (The Great Messenger)", are aimed at exercising annual and regular defense programs as well as maintaining and promoting the deterrent power of the Islamic Republic Armed Forces.

Western nations opposed to Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile ambitions are certain to react negatively toward this display of Iranian military deterrence. It is sure to ratchet up tensions even further before the Oct. 1 talks in Geneva, Switzerland.

It will be interesting to see which missile types take part in the wargame.

Ahmadinejad: No secrecy on nuclear Iran

During an interview with Time Magazine, President Ahmadinejad states that Iran complies with established IAEA procedures for disclosing nuclear sites. BBC broadcast of the interview clip can be accessed here. Later, speaking at a press conference at the Intercontinental Hotel in New York, he stated that the recently disclosed pilot enrichment facility at Qom is under construction and scheduled to be operational in about eighteen months. He went on to say:

"According to the IAEA rules, countries must inform the Agency 6 months ahead of the gas injection in their uranium enrichment plants. We have done it 18 months in advance, and this should be appreciated not condemned."
- President Ahmadinejad

Professor Stephen Walt at ForeignPolicy.com provides an explanation on the alleged "secrecy" issue:
According to the Washington Post, Iran notified the IAEA on September 21 that it was constructing a new pilot enrichment plant. Assuming that it has not already introduced nuclear material into this facility (and Tehran says it hasn't), Iran is therefore in compliance with the NPT's Comprehensive Full Scope Safeguards Agreement, which requires it to notify the IAEA six months before nuclear material is introduced into any new facility. Iran previously withdrew from the more demanding Subsidiary Agreement 3.1, which would have required more detailed and timely notification, in response to the IAEA's decision to refer Iran's nuclear program to the U.N. Security Council. So from Tehran's perspective, this new facility is not a violation at all: they are permitted to enrich under the NPT and they have complied with the Comprehensive Safeguards agreement by notifying the IAEA of the new facility. [emphasis added]

The United States response: unilateral withdrawal from Agreement 3.1 is not permissible, and so technically Iran is still in violation of its past commitments, but this legalistic back-and-forth is part of a long pattern. In addition, the U.N. Security Council has passed several resolutions demanding that Iran cease all enrichment, and its refusal to comply provides the main legal basis for sanctions. Iran is hardly the first country to ignore Security Council resolutions, however, and Tehran undoubtedly believes that the construction of a second plant is not a direct violation of its more basic obligations under the NPT.

What remains unclear is the West's assertion that the Qom site was under surveillance for years, but somehow was not brought to world attention during the Bush administration. The Bush administration certainly held little to no reservations on heaping a wide range of accusations upon the Islamic Republic. Why was this specific one supposedly held back? Also, the fact that it took the West four days from the time of Iran's disclosure to the IAEA, to make its grand "announcement" at the G-20 summit, tends to support the view that the opportunity was specifically selected in order to negatively impact Iran's recent disclosure.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Russia’s “Serious Concern” over New Enrichment Facility

Russian President Dmitriy Medvedev said today the reports that Iran is building a second uranium enrichment is a cause for "serious concern."

"Information that Iran has for several years already been building a uranium enrichment plant near the city of Qom, without the IAEA's authorization, has, naturally, caused serious concern among all the participants in the summit, including the Russian Federation. The construction of the plant runs counter to the demands of the UN Security Council to the effect that Iran should stop all uranium enrichment activities,” said Medvedev during a news conference in Pittsburgh at the sideline of the G-20 Summit.

Medvedev said the construction of the new uranium enrichment plant was conducted in "secret," which he said was "the worst thing about this situation."

"We must create comfortable conditions, so that Iran starts cooperation, and create a system of stimuli; there is such a thing as freezing uranium enrichment in return for freezing sanctions. But if, at the time of the meeting of the group of six [1 October 2009], Iran does not demonstrate the desire to cooperate, then other mechanisms could come into play,” Medvedev said.

Russia is expected to support severe economic sanctions against the country, such as an international ban on the sales of gasoline to Iran, if the Iranian position does not change by the time the group of six meet on October 1st.

Informed sources in Washington say that the US intelligence detected the new enrichment facility near Qum some three months ago. The White House shared the information with the Russians in the days leading to this week’s gathering of the leaders in New York to attend the UN General Assembly. On Monday 21 September, Iran informed IAEA that it was indeed building a new enrichment facility.

Latest Moves on Iran's Nuclear Chessboard

Before President Ahmadinejad's visit to the UN this week, the United States appeared to have pulled off a masterstroke of diplomacy. President Obama decided to scrap the controversial missile defense shield, and it was obvious to most observers that one of the intended consequences of the move would be to sign up the Russians for further potential sanctions to be used against Iran, in the West's drive to coerce it into stopping its nuclear enrichment activities- an activity Iran has the legitimate right to pursue as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Western observers appeared confident that the Islamic Republic was rapidly being placed into a diplomatic box, from where it could no longer wiggle.

Surprise! President Ahmadinejad shows up in New York, and in one of his many interviews, makes an informal request to purchase- of all things- medium enriched uranium from the United States. In addition to that, Ahmadinejad stated that Iran is willing to have its nuclear experts meet with scientists from the United States and other world powers, as a confidence-building measure aimed at resolving concerns about its nuclear program.

Now, it turns out that on Monday, the IAEA was told by Iran that it is in construction of a new pilot fuel enrichment facility. Media sources describe the new facility to be located near Qom, 160 kilometers southwest of Tehran. Contrary to the way this newly disclosed nuclear facility is being depicted in the Western media, the Iranians were under no obligation to disclose this nuclear site until six months before they introduce nuclear materials into it, per established IAEA procedure. They've done this.

These clever, chess-like moves by Iran were surmised well by a commentator at the ACW blog:

1. Under the NPT obligations Iran signed, it has to announce nuclear facilities to the IAEA only 6 months before introducing nuclear material to such a facility. The alleged “secrecy” is thereby a non issue as the facility is not yet in use and was announced to the IAEA on Monday.

2. The NYT says it is a small site for only 3,000 centrifuges. Such a site does NOT make sense to be used as a secondary for the big 50,000 centrifuges (planned end state) site in Natanz.

3. Ahmedinejad asked Thursday for U.S. supply for the Tehran research reactor, which was launched with U.S. help in 1968. That 5 MW reactor has medical and scientific use. It runs with medium enriched Uranium–i.e. 18-20% enrichment–and is under IAEA control.

4. Iran can not make, without some serious re-engineering, such fuel in Natanz.

5. An extra 3,000 centrifuge site makes perfect sense to enrich especially for the Tehran research reactor.

6. Now Iran can say: “Either sell us fuel for the research reactor or we, unfortunately, will have to make that fuel ourselves at the new site.”

Colonel Pat Lang over at his Sic Semper Tyrannis blog put it best, where he said: "Outwitted again!! Damnation!! How do these Iranians do it?"


The Emerging Solution for Iran’s Nuclear Impasse

We are approaching the end of a long process of UN Security Council’s attempts to force Iran into abandoning its uranium enrichment program by imposing largely symbolic and naturally ineffective economic sanctions on the country. The Islamic Republic has ignored three UNSC resolutions. Today, IAEA reported that Iran has actually admitted to building a second enrichment facility [AFP, 25 September].

We are now approaching a new phase in international community’s attempt to stop Iranian enrichment program. For the first time, Russia seems to be on board for imposing severe economic sanctions against Iran, including an embargo on the sale of gasoline to the country. The US has apparently paid a price to bring Russia on board, scrapping its planned missile defense program in Eastern Europe.

The Islamic Republic can ill afford to ignore the new international push against it enrichment activities. Internally, the current government in Tehran is in its weakest position in the thirty-year history of the Islamic Republic. Large segments of the population are supporting the opposition. The Green movement has rubbed the Islamic Republic of its legitimacy. The government cannot even hold any public gatherings in Tehran without fearing that it would turn into a massive anti-government protest. A severe economic sanction, such as a ban on sale of gasoline to Iran, might further inflame the public sentiment against the government, holding it responsible for bringing in further miseries to the country as a result of a foreign policy that has so isolated the country. Even Russia might have joined the others.

The unfortunate fact about a disabling sanction is that the population will suffer the most. But the opposition can turn around such hardship into a major political gain against the government if it can effectively argue that it is the government’s misguided foreign policy that has created such condition. We have already heard opposition leaders starting to talk in those terms. The government, aware of such danger to its existence, might (just might) back down this time in the face of an expanding international alliance against its nuclear policies.

Because of the strength of the Green movement, the diplomacy might work this time. The threat of severe sanctions should be coupled with a serious push to bring the Islamic Republic into serious negotiations with the international community. A solution to guarantee Iran’s rights to have access to enriched uranium for its nuclear power plants might now be acceptable for the government to give up its own enrichment program.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Commanders of the Islamic Republic - 9/09

(Click photo to enlarge)
Left to right:
- Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari (Commander of the Navy)
- Brigadier General Hassan Shah-Safi (Commander of the Air Force)
- Brigadier General Ahmad Mighani (Commander of Air Defense)
- Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan (Commander of the Ground Force)
- Major General Ataollah Salehi (Commander-in-Chief of the Army)
- Major General Hassan Firouzabadi (Head of the Armed Forces General Command Headquarters)
- President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Civilian Head of State)
- Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari (Commander-in-Chief of the IRGC)
- Major General Yahya Rahim-Safavi (Senior Advisor to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution)
- Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi (Defense Minister)
- Rear Admiral Morteza Saffari (Commander of IRGC Navy)
- Brigadier General Hossein Salami (Commander of IRGC Air Force)

Commanders present at the Sacred Defense Parade in Tehran, September 22, 2009 (31st Shahrivar 1388).

Ghillie Suits of the Iranian Military

Iranian ghillie suits in varieties of woodland, swamp and mud camouflage.

On display at the 2009 Sacred Defense Parade in Tehran.

Iranian Chemical Defense Equipment

(click photos to enlarge)

Above: Chemical defense ensembles worn by members of the Iranian armed forces, include protective mask and chemical overgarment (pants and hooded jacket) in desert 6-color camo, desert 3-color camo, or olive drab.

Close up of a decontamination nozzle fixed atop a chemical defense vehicle.

Inside details of decontamination vehicles. (Container truck sidings have been removed for purposes of parade visibility.)

Iran has extensive combat experience as a target of Saddam Hussein's chemical warfare campaigns, during the Imposed War (1980-88).

On display at the 2009 Sacred Defense Parade in Tehran.

Photos: Borna News Agency, Sami Hozni, IRNA, Nestor@Military.ir

IRGC Mine Clearance Technicians

Two IRGC Mine Clearance Technicians in a simulated clearance operation. Technicians are wearing protective body armor and full-face shields. They employ electronic and mechanical detection equipment.

On display at the 2009 Sacred Defense Parade in Tehran.

Self-Propelled SAMs of the Islamic Repubic

Top to bottom:
- SA-6 (2K12 "Kub"), likely operated by Artesh (Army).
- SA-15 (Tor-M1), operated by the IRGCA.

On display at the 2009 Sacred Defense parade in Tehran.

Iranian Motorized MANPADS Teams - Updated

Two teams on two motorcycles, armed with the Misagh-2 man-portable infrared guided surface to air missile (MANPADS).

Note camouflage full-face helmets worn by motorbike operators (foregoing riding gloves), as well as the bike's camo bodywork and seat upholstery.

Visible in the upper left portion of the photo is an encased Koran, opened to a specific passage, as part of the parade decoration.
IRGC now using 3-color desert camo BDUs. Sepah insignia seen on helmet and BDU front left pocket.

On display at the 2009 Sacred Defense parade in Tehran.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

MiG-29 Fire at the 2009 Sacred Defense air show

An IRIAF MiG-29 caught fire upon its return to Mehrabad airport. Taxiing to its park location, the right engine burst into flames, causing extensive damage to the plane's fuselage. The MiG-29's home base was Tabriz (TFB-2).

[source: IIAF-JSF@ACIG]

Top to bottom:
- Trio of IRIAF F-5s performing a flyby
- IRIAF MiG-29 participants of the air show

2009 Sacred Defense Parade in Tehran (video)

Iranian F-4 "Flying Tigers" over Tehran - Updated

At least three IRIAF F-4E Phantoms sported shark mouth nose art at the 2009 Sacred Defense air show in Tehran. These Iranian "Flying Tigers" hail from Bushehr/TFB.6. The first F-4 was painted on June 2009, upon refurbishment at Bushehr.


Iran Air Force Il-76 Crash Details and Video

NOTE: This information supersedes previous posting.

Facts are now in concerning the tragedy at the 2009 Sacred Defense air show in Tehran. On the 22nd of September, at 09:02 hours, IRIAF Il-76MD "Simorgh" (Baghdad-2/Adnan-2, No. 1 with 5-8208 serial) crashed near Varamin City, killing all seven crew members aboard. At 09:02 hrs, the pilot radioed to Mehrabad control tower that the aircraft's engines under the right wing had caught fire. The tower signaled the aircraft to attempt an emergency landing on 29LeftRWY. Upon final approach, due to the aircraft's undesirable angle of attack, the over-fuselage rotordome detached and collided into the vertical tail sections. After that, the aircraft suffered a catastrophic crash.

Video from the crash scene:

Above: Photo of ill-fated IRIAF Il-76MD taken the day before the crash.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New Attractions at Sacred Defense 2009 Parade - Updated

Top to bottom:
- Sejjil two-stage, solid propellent SSM on parade.
- Sejjil aboard a transporter erector launcher.
- Tor M1 air defense short range missile system. (Note IRGC markings on hull)

Air Crash Over Sacred Defense Parade - Update 2

Note: The following text information is superseded here.

It appears that there has been a crash at the 2009 Sacred Defense air show over Tehran, involving an IRIAF F-5 and Il-76 Adnan. There appears to be no survivors; initial reports indicate seven crew members killed. [Source: ACIG]

The official IRNA news bulletin stated that a plane crashed into farmlands just south of the Iranian capital, during an exhibition flight over a military parade marking the beginning of the Imposed War [Iran-Iraq War]. However, inexplicably, the bulletin was subsequently removed from IRNA's news website.

Update: Details remain sketch concerning the aircraft type(s) involved. Boeing aircraft have been suggested, as well as a Saeqeh.

Fars News Agency quoted the Iran Red Crescent relief chief Ahmad Esfandiari as saying that relief workers had found the bodies of seven passengers from a plane which crashed in an area called Qarchak, south of Tehran. The report said the crash took place at around 10:00 am (0630 GMT) in Qarchak, an area close to where an army parade was taking place. Fars, however, quoted a statement by the Iranian air force as saying the plane that crashed was not part of the parade, but was a training aircraft.

Update 2: The involved plane was the ex-Iraqi Il-76MD Adnan 1 "Simorgh" - the only AWACS airframe in IRIAF service (5-8208).

Iran builds new centrifuges

The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation has stated:

"Iranian scientists have built new generation of centrifuges and cascades consisting of 10 centrifuges each. They are currently undergoing necessary tests."

The output capacity of the new-generation centrifuges will be 10 times more than that of Iran's earlier standard centrifuges.

Sacred Defense Week

Today Iranian Armed Forces have begun the week long Sacred Defense week held to commemorate the defense of Iran during the eight year war with Iraq in the 1980's.

The parade, which began this morning will have the main branches of Iran's armed forces, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), the Iranian Military, and the Basij voluntary force.

Also taking part was the IRIAF (Iranian Air Force) fighter jets, tactical planes, reconnaissance aircrafts and tankers.

President Ahmadinejad has stated also today that no power shall dare to attack Iran, he also stated that Iranians offer a message of peace for all nations.

"The Iranian nation seeks the establishment of peace and sustainable security based on justice. Our people are strong to defend their rights and land," he stated.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

To Our Readers

I am on an extended work-related tour, unfortunately unable to post on the blog. These are important days in the country and I wish I could have been as active.

I am so happy that Paul Iddon could take some time off his busy schedule to post on the blog.

See you all soon.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Israel threatens Iran over it's air defence

Since 2007 there has been talk of Iran acquiring S-300 surface to air defensive missiles from Russia.

The S-300 system was developed by Russia to defend against aircraft and cruise missiles.

Iran have stated they will use them to defend their nuclear sites from air or missile attack from Israel.

Israeli air force chief Major-General Ido Nehushtan today has expressed concern:

"We need to make every effort to stop this system from getting to places where the IAF (Israeli Air Force) needs to operate or may need to operate in the future," he has stated.

He failed to emphasize how these missiles posed any threat to Israel.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Iran sets date for nuclear talks

It has been agreed by the Iranian government that talks regarding Iran's nuclear program with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- Russia, China, Britain, France and the United States will commence on October 1st.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has stated that he is ready to negotiate with the international community but has stated Tehran will not hold talks on Iran's right to nuclear power.

"We are ready to hold talks on international cooperation and ways to resolve ongoing economic and security problems in the world as we believe that such issues cannot be settled without collective participation," he stated.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

new US and Iran nuclear talks

Talks between Iran and the United States over Iran's nuclear program have seen considerable progress today when it was agreed by President Obama to send a representative to talk to Iranian officials face to face over Iran's nuclear program and other political and economic issues.

This marks the first time since the revolution in 1979 that the US accepted to have diplomatic face to face talks with the current regime in Iran showing new developments between the two countries.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Iranian F-14 Tomcat achievements

The F-14 was only ever exported to Iran under the Shah, 79 were delivered between 1976 and 1979 and shortly after the Iranian Revolution and the seizure of American hostages in their embassy in Tehran, shortly afterwards the US and the west put aside the rules that govern how states behave by aiding Saddam Hussein in his bloody war against Iran and spreading propaganda one of the most famous ones to this day was the status of Iran's fleet of F-14's, which were told be sabotaged and left useless.

These lies changed from the whole IRIAF being inactive by 1984 and the air war remaining "uninteresting" according to US sources, however the post revolution Iranian air force the IRIAF had;

* scored the first kill for an F-14 in September of 1980 against an Iraqi Mi-24 Hind helicopter gunship using it's Vulcan cannon!

* Managed to service and maintain the Tomcat's air frame and keep a hefty amount of the fleet active throughout the war, this was a big burden considering they were under complete arms embargo from most of the world and the F-14A's they had had the TF30 engines which were a problem even for the IIAF!

* Shot down over 159 adversaries, and saw more air to air combat than the entire USAF and US Navy saw in the Vietnam War!

However as the US mainstream media made several claims sometimes contradicting each other, for instance in 1987 stating Iran no longer even had an air force which was followed by an engagement (one of several over the course of the war) in which a single F-14 ambushed an Iraqi attack force of eight MiG-23's, downed one in plain sight and scared off the rest!

After nearly 20 years of declaring the IRIAF dead and not a threat the US Navy had all of their F-14's destroyed to ensure Iran didn't get spare parts required for their air force, proving how much of threat the US considers the "long dead" IRIAF to be!

Iranian F-14 Tomcat Units in Combat

Friday, September 4, 2009

Khamenei’s Intervention in Majlis Vote

Iran’s deputy speaker of parliament, Mohammad Reza Bahonar, told reporters in Tehran today that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s supreme leader, had to personally intervene to make sure that the Majlis approved Ahmadinejad’s cabinet. According to Bahonar, Khamanei sent a message to parliament members just prior to their votes, asking (ordering) them to cast yes vote during yesterday’s confidence vote [ISNA, 4 September].

Bahonar added that without Khamenei’s intervention, eight or nine nominees would have been rejected. Majlis did approve all but three nominees, including two women.

The episode is a blow to the independence of Majlis, and points to the growing power and influence being exercised by Khamenei.