Saturday, October 9, 2010

Iran Admits It Could Pull Nuke Trigger on US, Israel

Iran Admits It Could Pull Nuke Trigger on US, Israel
Tuesday, 05 Oct 2010 12:11 PM
By: Ken Timmerman

For the first time since the expansion of Iran’s nuclear program was exposed in 2002, the Iranian government is dropping the pretense that it is developing nuclear technology purely for peaceful purposes. Iran has developed nuclear war plans to deter U.S. and Israeli aggression and retaliate against it, a top adviser to Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi announced in a strategic analysis.

Defense Ministry analyst Alireza Saeidabadi’s detailed analysis, published last week on a website that Iran’s intelligence ministry runs, examines several scenarios in which Iran could become embroiled in a shooting war with the United States or Israel.

One of the scenarios Iranian military planners must consider is a strategic nuclear U.S. strike on Iran, he writes. If that occurred, Iranian planning documents call for attacks against U.S. interests “on the world stage,” his analysis says.

The Iranian military should “prioritize its air force and ballistic missile fleet” in dealing with a conventional attack from Israel, Saeidabadi writes.

But in the event Israel uses unconventional weapons against Iran, “then Iran should employ a nuclear strategy.”

Similarly, if Iran and the United States get engaged in naval clashes in the Persian Gulf, Iran should “use its sea power for hit-and-run attacks, commando attacks, and use anti-shipping missiles” against U.S. naval vessels.

“But if the United States launches an unconventional attack, Iran needs to respond with a nuclear strategy,” the Iranian defense ministry analyst contends.

The meaning is clear to former Revolutionary Guards officer Reza Kahlili. “He means that Iran should be prepared with the capability of nuclear weapons to respond” if an enemy were to launch a nuclear strike against Iran, says Kahlili, author of a recent memoir, “A Time to Betray.”

“The use of nuclear technology for peaceful means is just a front,” Kahlili told Newsmax. “They are prepared to go to war and will not give up the bomb project, which they feel is very close to being able to arm their ballistic missiles with nuclear war heads.”

This is the first time that a senior Iranian government official has made an authorized public statement acknowledging that Iran has developed the military doctrine needed to employ nuclear weapons on the battlefield.

Although both President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei insist that Iran has the right to enrich uranium and to develop nuclear technology, both have stated consistently that Iran has no interest in nuclear weapons, and that Islam even forbids the use of such weapons.

Defense ministry officials’ talking openly about a nuclear war fighting doctrine turns on its head the long-stated public position of the Islamic Republic that Iran “couldn’t possibly want a nuclear weapon because their ideology and the religious rulings of Ayatollah Khomeini prohibited it,” says Kenneth Katzman, a former CIA analyst who is the top Iran expert at the Congressional Research Service.

Many U.S. experts have been skeptical of such Iranian disclaimers for years. But these latest Iranian statements give added weight to the view that Iranian officials say one thing in public, while doing exactly the opposite behind closed doors.

Former Assistant Secretary of State Paula DeSutter, who tracked nuclear weapons proliferation and verified arms control treaties with the Russian Federation and others for the Bush administration, believes that these latest Iranian statements “can only mean that Iran would target Israeli or U.S. nuclear facilities, or that it would employ nuclear weapons.”

“This language appears to take Iran from nuclear weapons acquisition planning into nuclear weapons employment doctrine, and is therefore quite serious,” DeSutter told Newsmax.

The article, which appeared at intelligence ministry website, carried a blaring headline with a quote from the deputy chairman of Iran’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“Iran could get involved in a military conflict in the future,” the vice chief said.

While the deputy chief of the joint staff was not named in the article, a brief item on Iran’s state-run television network in July noted that Ayatollah Khamenei has just named Rear Admiral Saleh as deputy chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff with specific responsibilities for planning and budgetary affairs.

The brief television announcement gave no further information about the new vice chief and in the article last week his quote ran with his title and a picture with a blank face.

The article also states that Iran should be prepared to launch attacks against the continental United States, against economic targets, with the aim of “weakening the morale of the people,” language similar to that used by Osama bin Laden to justify the 9/11 attacks.

The Defense Ministry analysis is not a fiery propaganda document, but rather a measured examination of the real-world environment, and this is why it should be taken so seriously.

The Islamic Republic authorities “need to examine more closely what war with Israel would mean,” he states. “To do so, we first need to analyze Israel’s military capabilities. Israel has an estimated 200 nuclear warheads, as well as chemical and biological weapons. So if there is a conflict, one must first determine whether it will be a conventional war, or a nuclear war.”

Israel believes that Iran “threatens its existence,” and is therefore worried about Iran’s steadily improving relationships with its neighbors, especially Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, the Iranian Defense Ministry analyst writes.

To counter Iran’s regional influence, “Israel is expanding relations with Russia, Georgia, and some Central Asia states,” he writes. “Iran must keep Israel’s intentions in mind and therefore should pursue friendly cooperation with its neighbors, especially its Arab neighbors, to reduce Israel’s influence in the region.”

Satellite images reveal: Hezbollah training in Syria missile base
Google Earth photos reveal Scuds at base near Damascus.
By Avi Scharf
The Syrian army has a Scud missile base near Damascus, according to recent satellite photos. The photos also suggest that Hezbollah activists are being trained in the Scuds' use at the base.

Reports that Syria may have given Hezbollah Scuds ratcheted up tensions between Jerusalem and Damascus about six months ago, according to foreign media.

The photos, taken on March 22, can be seen by any web surfer on Google Earth. They show extensive construction at several military bases throughout Syria, including at one of the country's three largest missile bases, located 25 kilometers northeast of Damascus, near the city of Adra.

The base is in a deep valley surrounded by 400-meter-high mountains. Concrete tunnels lead from the base into the mountains, where the Scuds are apparently stored.

The photos show five 11-meter-long missiles (the length of both the Scud B and the Scud C ) at the Adra base. Three are on trucks in a parking lot. Two others are in a training area where 20 to 25 people can be made out along with about 20 vehicles. One of the two missiles appears to be mounted on a mobile launcher; another is on the ground.

In April, the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Rai reported that Syrian President Bashar Assad was arming Hezbollah with Scuds. The paper did not mention the type of Scud, but the Scud C has a range of approximately 600 kilometers.

About a month later, Amos Harel reported in Haaretz that Damascus had given Hezbollah highly accurate and lethal M-600 rockets with a range of 300 kilometers.

In late May, the Sunday Times of London reported that shipments of weapons from the Adra base were going to Hezbollah, and that according to anonymous security sources, Iran was sending missiles and other weapons to that base via the nearby Damascus airport. It also said Hezbollah had been given a section of the base for barracks, warehouses and a fleet of trucks to transport weapons to the Lebanese border, 40 kilometers away.

Earlier that month, Brig. Gen. Yossi Baidatz, the head of research for Military Intelligence, told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, "The long-range missiles Syria recently gave to Hezbollah are just the tip of the iceberg. Hezbollah already has thousands of rockets of all kinds and all ranges."

Due to the rising tensions at the time, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Saudi King Abdullah invited Assad to an urgent summit at Sharm al-Sheikh. Assad, however, canceled at the last minute. A senior analyst told Haaretz at the time that while Assad was presenting himself to Europe as a peace-seeker, he continued to maintain his strategic alliance with Iran and Hezbollah.

Iran’s ICBM Capability on Global Display
By Sean Osborne, Assistant Director, Military Affairs Specialist

3 February 2010: According to various news sources Iran launched an indigenously manufactured Omid (Hope) satellite into a 55 degree inclined low earth orbit (LEO) at 18:30 GMT yesterday via their indigenously developed Kavoshgar-3 (Explorer-3) launch vehicle. Other reports cite the launch vehicle as being the Safir-2 making the specific identification unconfirmed.

Early direct and parametric observations are indicating that this was a 2-stage launch to orbital altitude. One orbit of the Omid and rocket body is accomplished in 90 minutes and the orbital altitudes range from an apogee of 200 miles to a perigee (closest approach to earth) of 150 miles. The perigee altitude is just 50 miles above the minimum altitude required for sub-orbital space flight, making the Omid’s orbit analogous to that of an orbiting ICBM warhead.

The launched satellite is reportedly a capsule carrying live animals (a rat, some turtles and worms). The live animals onboard the satellite would tend to indicate that Iran intends to precisely de-orbit the satellite for a return to earth at some point. Even if the animals fail to survive this “space mission” a successful de-orbiting of the capsule would be the primary objective of the mission. I cannot help but to speculate that given Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad recent statements of a “surprise” on 11 February that this capsule is to be de-orbited on that date.

Assessment: Iran is using the anniversary of its Shi’a Islamic revolution to demonstrate its new intercontinental ballistic missile system and warhead de-orbiting capability to the West and to Israel despite months and months of futile Western-imposed economic sanctions. The message sent by this launch is now crystal clear: time has now expired with respect to making a decision to act against the Iranian nuclear weapons and delivery program. EMP 101

Reports of an Iranian Submarine Unloads Suspicious Cargo in Beirut

According to a number of sources, a submarine flying the Iranian flag docked at Beirut harbor and unloaded some cargo that was whisked away on a number of small trucks.

A visual observer located about half a mile from the harbor suggested that the submarine was a Russian-made Kilo Class submarine.

An even more troubling report mentioned that the crew members who manipulated the cargo were wearing "hazmat" suits, which indicates, if true, that the cargo contained hazardous material, possibly chemical, biological or radiological agents.

The use of a submarine would have ensured that the cargo would not be intercepted by the UN forces patrolling the waters off Lebanon to prevent the supply of weapons to Hezbollah, or the Israeli navy nearby.

The delivery of weapons of mass destruction to Hezbollah by Iran would be intolerable to Israel as it alters greatly the strategic balance in the region, and increases the potency of the Iranian proxy by at least an order of magnitude.

The fact that the delivery followed a direct route from the the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to Hezbollah might point to a level of distrust between Iran and Syria, or a Syrian reluctance to participate in such a dangerous escalation.

One word of caution, however, the reports are not from the most reliable of sources and may not be accurate. Similar information was reported by PJTV, an online conservative media outlet.

October 6, 2010: The Israeli Air Force has increased its training of air base personnel to keep bases operating after attacks by ballistic missiles. These warheads will either be filled with high explosives, cluster bombs or chemical weapons. Israelis know what kind of damage this stuff can do, and set up training programs that assume hits in different areas during each training exercise. The air base personnel then go through the procedures they have practiced to deal with each type of hit. Last year, twelve of these drills were held. So far this year, 25 have been conducted. The training exercises also often expose problems in the existing plans, which are then upgraded.

The danger is real. Syria has underground storage and launch facilities for its arsenal of over a thousand SCUD missiles. Armed with half ton high explosive or cluster bomb warheads, the missiles have ranges of 500-700 kilometers. Syria also has some 90 older Russian Frog-7 missiles (70 kilometer range, half ton warhead) and over 200 more modern Russian SS-21 missiles (120 kilometer range, half ton warhead) and M-600 missiles (250 kilometers range) operating with mobile launchers. There are also 60 mobile SCUD launchers. The Syrians have a large network of camouflaged launching sites for the mobile launchers. Iran and North Korea have helped Syria build underground SCUD manufacturing and maintenance facilities. The Syrian missiles are meant to hit Israeli airfields, missile launching sites and nuclear weapons storage areas, as well as population centers. Syria hopes to do enough damage with a missile strike to cripple Israeli combat capability. Hezbollah is also now armed with some SCUDs, but is more interested in killing civilians, and would aim their missiles at Israeli cities.

Israel has long been aware of the Syrian missile capabilities and any war with Syria would probably result in some interesting attacks on the Syrian missile network. The SCUD is a liquid fuel missile and takes half an hour or more to fuel and ready for launch. So underground facilities are a major defensive measure against an alert and astute opponent like Israel. In the past, Israel has threatened to use nukes against anyone who fired chemical weapons at Israel (which does not have any chemical weapons).

Over the last three years, the Israeli government has been passing around, to local governments, a war planning document. This study assumes a future war with Syria, and gives the local officials an idea of what to expect. Currently, the Israelis estimate that there would be as many as 3,300 Israeli casualties (including up to 200 dead) if Syria tried to use its long range missiles against Israel. If the Syrians used chemical warheads, Israeli casualties could be as high as 16,000. Over 200,000 Israelis would be left homeless, and it's believed about a 100,000 would seek to leave the country. Hezbollah apparently wants to be part of this, or maybe Iran just ordered the whole thing.

Hezbollah training in Syria missile base

Iran is advancing on dual nuclear bomb track: uranium plus plutonium
Straight from the Debka File: “DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the UN inspectors’ October visit to Iran turned up dual-track progress in support of its nuclear weapons program: Feverish activity was registered in the production of plutonium at Isfahan as an alternative to the Fordo enriched uranium plant near Qom which starts up in 2011.

The IAEA experts discovered 30 metric tons-IS of heavy water hidden in 600 tanks, each holding 13 gallons, according to the report they handed in last week to agency headquarters in Vienna.

From the shape of the tanks and other indications, the experts concluded that this stock had not come from the heavy water plant at Arak but was imported.

Metric tons-IS measure the amount of energy a given quantity can release. The force and types of nuclear bombs are gauged in kilotons or megatons. The American nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima in World War II was equal to 20 kilotons of TNT. By this standard, the amount of heavy water discovered at Isfahan would be enough to make at least one plutonium bomb when the plutonium reactor under construction near the Arak heavy water facility is finished.

Other than its civilian uses, heavy water may be used to produce tritium, which intensifies the explosive force of nuclear warheads. The discovery of quantities of heavy water at Isfahan confirms the suspicions surrounding Iran’s nuclear program in three respects.

1. The long concealment of the Fordo site suggested to the UN inspectors that Iran has more hole-in the-corner nuclear facilities in the country. The discovery of a stock of heavy water further confirmed that Tehran is working hard to attain a nuclear weapon capacity on more than one track and at additional covert sites.

2. The IAEA wants to know who is selling Iran heavy water in violation of Security Council resolutions banning the sale or export of nuclear materials to Iran.

The very fact that some government or outside entity is willing to flout UN resolutions demonstrates that any further international sanctions would be ineffective for halting Iran’s nuclear drive, even assuming that President Barack Obama gained Russian and Chinese backing for such penalties. This backing has so far been withheld.

DEBKAfile’s sources report from Vienna that on November 10, IAEA director Mohamed ElBaradei sent a request to the Iranian Nuclear Energy Committee asking it to confirm the presence of the heavy water and document its origin with a full explanation. Tehran has yet to reply.

3. The presence of the heavy water tanks at Isfahan is additional proof that the reactor at Arak is designed for military purposes, not a peaceful installation as Tehran claims.”

Hezbollah training in Syria missile base

Japanese intelligence has learned that in late May, Iran, Syria and North Korea secretly test-launched in southern Syria a new short-range ballistic missile developed jointly by Pyongyang, Tehran and Damascus as a substitute for the outdated Scuds still in use in their armed forces, DEBKAfile‘s military sources report. In May, several new missiles were flown from North Korea and Iran to the Damascus military airfield and thence to Syria’s southeastern missile-testing site at Jebel Druze near the small town of Salakhand.

After two weeks’ preparation, two of the new projectiles had their first trial-launch – and failed with disastrous results.

DEBKAfile‘s sources report that they targeted an uninhabited desert area in the North, 500 kilometers away, just south of Ayn Diwar and east of Al Qamishli not far from the Syrian-Turkish-Iraqi border intersection.

(It was here that Syria and Iraq, with Russian help, interred Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction in 2001.)

However, one of the missiles strayed 350-400 km west of its projected course, indicating a problem with its guidance system. It exploded in the center of the small town of Manbij north of Aleppo near the Turkish border, killing at least 20 people, injuring 60 and badly damaging the market town.

The second missile exploded in mid-course in the South, over the north of the town of Abu Kamal and 200 kilometers from its launching site. Syrian military authorities closed the area around the stricken town of Manbij for more than a month, attributing the disaster to a gas explosion.

Japanese intelligence sources, who are anxiously tracking the growing missile collaboration between North Korea, Iran and Syria, do not name the failed new missile, but DEBKAfile‘s military sources suggest it was a short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) propelled by solid fuel with a range of 800-1,000 kilometers and fitted with a warhead containing between 800 kilos and one ton of explosives. This would be an improvement on most of the three nations’ short-range missiles which are powered with liquid fuel.”

Iranian Arms Shipment Seized En Route to Terrorist Group Background: The Threat of Iranian Missile Development and Export Photos of Israeli naval force intercepting Iranian weapons ship (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Photo of Israeli naval force intercepting Iranian weapons ship (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

A cargo ship filled with tons of weaponry en route from Iran to Syria was intercepted Tuesday (Nov. 3) 100 miles (161 km) off of Israel’s coast. The ship, carrying hundreds of tons of advanced weaponry and missiles,[1] including Katyusha rockets, assault rifles, mortar shells, grenades, and anti-aircraft platforms, was to be delivered to the Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah.[2]

On the same day, Israeli military intelligence revealed that the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hamas successfully tested a rocket with a range of up to 37 miles (60 km), which places Israel’s second largest city Tel Aviv within firing range.[3] Hamas also possesses other Iranian-manufactured rockets like the Fajr-3, which has a range of up to 29 miles (47 km).[4]

UN Resolutions limiting Iranian Export and Arms Trade
Resolution summary Excerpt from original text UN Security Council Resolution 1737 (December 23rd, 2006)

A UN resolution determining, inter alia, a limit on export of certain Iranian products and items -"Decides that Iran shall not export any of the items in documents S/2006/814 and S/2006/815 and that all Member States shall prohibit the procurement of such items from Iran by their nationals, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, and whether or not originating in the territory of Iran." UN Security Council Resolution 1474 (March 24th, 2007)

Explicitly forbids all export of arms from Iran (not only to terrorist organizations), without relating to methods of enforcement. "Decides that Iran shall not supply, sell or transfer directly or indirectly from its territory or by its nationals or using its flag vessels or aircraft any arms or related material, and that all States shall prohibit the procurement of such items from Iran by their nationals, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, and whether or not originating in the territory of Iran." החלטה 1803 של מועבי"ט (3 מרס 2008) - UN Security Council Resolution 1803 (March 24th, 2008)

Calls for supervision over the movement of aircraft and naval vessels owned by the companies Iran Air and IRISL (Annexes 11 and 12) "Calls upon all States, in accordance with their national legal authorities and legislation and consistent with international law, in particular the law of the sea and relevant international civil aviation agreements, to inspect the cargoes to and from Iran of aircraft and vessels, at their airports and seaports, owned or operated by Iran Air Cargo and Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, provided there are reasonable grounds to believe that the aircraft or vessel is transporting goods prohibited under this resolution or resolution 1737 (2006) or resolutions 1747 (2007);"

UN Security Council Resolution 1835 September 27th, 2008
Reconfirms earlier resolutions dealing with the issue of Iranian exports and arms trading, and calls on Iran to immediately fulfill its obligations as they appear in prior resolutions. “Reaffirms the statement of its President, S/PRST/2006/15, of 29 March, and its resolution 1696 (2006) of 31 July 2006, its resolution 1737 (2006) of 23 December 2006, its resolution 1747 (2007) of 24 March 2007, and its resolution 1803 (2008) of 3 March 2008…

Calls upon Iran to comply fully and without delay with its obligations under the above-mentioned resolutions of the security council…

Iranian Attempts to Smuggle Arms Have Been Uncovered
A. December 2001 – The Karin A vessel, loaded with weapons in Iran, bound for the Gaza Strip, sailed in the direction of Egypt with the intention of unloading its cargo in Egypt. Small fishing boats were meant to pick up the cargo and deliver it to the Gaza Strip. The ship, loaded with rockets, anti-tank rockets, and light arms, was seized on January 3rd, 2002 by Israeli Naval Commandos.

B. December 2003 – January 2004 - The Iranian Revolutionary Guard directed an aerial convoy to transfer weapons and supplies to Hezbollah via Syria. The aerial convoys were disguised as humanitarian aid intended for those injured in an earthquake in Bam, a city in southern Iran. The Iranians took advantage of the open airspace by trying to smuggle weapons to Hezbollah while humanitarian aid flights were landing in Iran from all over the world.

3. May 2007 – An Iranian train carrying arms (mortar shells, light arms, rocket launchers and ammunition) was uncovered in Turkey. The arms were destined to reach Hezbollah. The Iranians attempted to conceal and disguise the arms in order to avoid suspicion by the Turkish authorities.
4. January 2009-An arms shipment sent by Iran was intercepted and seized in Cyprus after it was found on the Cypriot vessel Monchegorsk which had been leased by the Iranian Irisl shipping company. The Cargo was found to include tank, artillery and mortar shells as well as materials to be used for producing rockets.

5. October 2009-The Hansa India, which sailed from Iran flying a German flag was due to unload a cargo of eight containers in Egypt. Following warnings from the German authorities the vessel was not unloaded and continued to Malta where it was seized and found to be carrying bullets and industrial material intended for the production of weapons, seemingly bound for Syria.

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