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« Reply #240 on: January 17, 2009, 09:20:40 PM »

Iran green lights 'escalation'
Fears Hamas will be severely damaged if truce not reached
Posted: January 16, 2009
11:50 pm Eastern

By Aaron Klein
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

JERUSALEM – Palestinian organizations in Lebanon were given a green light by Iran, Syria and by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia to escalate tension along Israel's northern border if a truce is not reached over the weekend and if Israel's continued war in Gaza begins to severely damage Hamas in the coming days, according to informed Israeli defense sources.

Hamas' chief Kheled Meshaal announced yesterday at an Arab conference his group will not accept Israeli conditions for a cease-fire in Gaza and would continue attacking the Jewish state until the Israeli offensive in Gaza ends.

Meshaal joined Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a surprise visit to a Doha conference aimed at dealing with the Gaza crisis. But Hamas sources said the terror group will send representatives to Egypt this weekend to continue truce talks with Israel.

Israeli officials have made no secret of their desire to reach a cease-fire in the near future.

"I hope we are entering the end game and that our goal of sustained and durable quiet in the south (of Israel) is about to be attained," government spokesman Mark Regev said.

According to Jerusalem diplomatic sources, Israel has demanded in the truce talks a complete halt to Hamas rocket-fire against Jewish communities outside Gaza; international monitors along the Egypt-Gaza border – the site of rampant Hamas weapons smuggling; and the reinstatement in key Gaza areas of security forces from the U.S.-backed Fatah party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Up for talks is some sort of armed international contingent to patrol Gaza.

Hamas rejects any Fatah presence in Gaza and demands the opening of crossings along the Israel-Gaza border as well as the extension of any truce to the West Bank, which is said to be dominated by Fatah.

Meanwhile, according to informed Israeli defense sources, Iran, Syria and Hezbollah are concerned that if a cease-fire is not reached, the IDF will be allowed to continue the third phase of its offensive – a large-scale ground effort to sweep clean Gaza's terrorist infrastructure.

The IDF has launched two portions of a planned assault on Gaza. The first stage was Israel's continuing aerial bombardment of Hamas targets, which the terror group admits dented its government infrastructure. Israeli sources said it resulted in some damage to the group's military capabilities. The second stage began last week, with some ground troops entering Gaza, taking up peripheral positions in central and northern Gaza and mounting small offensives within Gaza City and select northern Gaza camps.

But defense sources say to deal a decisive blow to Hamas, the IDF must embark on an extensive, large-scale ground operation that would clean out central and northern Gaza of Hamas' intact military wing.

The sources said Syria, Iran and Hezbollah have given a green light to Palestinian groups in Lebanon to attempt to escalate tensions along the northern border with rocket and mortar fire or with shootings along the Israel-Lebanese border.

Two days ago, at least three Katyusha rockets were fired from Lebanon at northern Israel, prompting the IDF to fire eight shells back at the source near the village of Kfar Hamam in southern Lebanon. The IDF immediately sent warplanes and gunships to fly reconnaissance missions into southern Lebanon in a clear warning signal to Hezbollah, which largely controls the territory. Also, according to local reports, the U.N., which maintains a 13,000-strong force in south Lebanon, sent out patrols to seek out the source of fire.

The shelling ignited immediate fears from pundits speaking to the Israeli media of the opening of a second front outside Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza. Although no group has yet taken responsibility for the rocket-fire from Lebanon, it is extremely unlikely any rockets can be launched from Lebanon without coordination with Hezbollah.

Defense officials in Tel Aviv earlier this week told WND that Israel estimates the rockets were fired by Palestinian groups on behalf of Hezbollah.

But the defense officials said Israel doesn't believe either Hezbollah or its Syrian patron are looking to engage in any direct conflict with the IDF. They said they estimate Hezbollah, backed by Iran, is trying to prompt Israel into fortifying its northern border with Lebanon in a bid to draw some Israeli forces out of fighting the Iranian-backed Hamas terrorist group in Gaza.

Currently, a large contingent of the Golani Brigades, the elite force charged with protecting northern Israel, is fighting inside Gaza or stationed along the Israel-Gaza border.

Last Thursday, two Israelis were lightly wounded in a rocket attack from Lebanon. Later, small arms fire was reported along Israel's border with Syria. Defense officials said in both cases Israel estimated Syria and Hezbollah were looking to draw Israeli troops from Gaza back to the north but that Israel's foes in the north were not interested in engaging the IDF.

Two weeks ago, WND was the first to report Hezbollah may allow Palestinian groups in south Lebanon to launch rockets into Israel. An Egyptian intelligence official told WND at the time the probability is low Hezbollah would directly engage Israel. But the official said Hezbollah is considering allowing Palestinian groups in south Lebanon to launch Katyusha rockets into Israel in hopes of complicating the IDF focus on Gaza.
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« Reply #241 on: February 27, 2009, 11:44:03 PM »

No limit for Tehran-Baghdad cooperation expansion
Tehran, Feb 27, IRNA – President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said here Friday that Tehran considers no limit for expansion of cooperation with Baghdad.
Addressing Iranian and Iraqi senior officials’ consultation meeting, which started immediately after official welcoming of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, President Ahmadinejad said, “Today, Iraqi nation takes important steps one after another for guaranteeing security and progress.”

He said expansion of cooperation among regional states in different sectors, economic domain in particular, is of prime importance regarding ongoing global conditions.

“Quadrilateral cooperation among Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria is of extreme significance and basic pillar of sustainable security and promotion of fraternity,” added Ahmadinejad.

The Iranian and Iraqi presidents in the meeting underlined all-out expansion of mutual cooperation and relations, saying there are proper grounds available for cooperation in the fields of politics, culture, military, security, higher education, energy, commerce, housing and transportation.

Talabani said political, security, military and cultural relations and cooperation between Iran and Iraq should be upgraded to the highest possible level.

“There is no impediment on the way of expansion of bilateral ties,” said Talabani, adding that there are facilities and potential for maximum expansion of Tehran-Baghdad relations in line with interests of their nations.

No limit for Tehran-Baghdad cooperation expansion
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« Reply #242 on: February 27, 2009, 11:45:12 PM »

 Syrian PM in Tehran for 3-day visit

Tehran, Feb 27, IRNA – Syrian Prime Minister Naji Otri arrived here while ago heading a delegation and was officially welcomed by the First-Vice President Parviz Davoodi at Tehran Mehrabad Airport.
National anthems of Iran and Syria were played at the welcoming ceremony and then Otri and Davoodi reviewed guard of honor.

During his three-day stay in Tehran, Otri will meet and confer with Davoodi, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani, Secretary of Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili, a number of ministers and several other senior officials.

Talks on issues of mutual interest as well as regionally relevant subjects are expected to figure prominently in the talks.

Syrian PM in Tehran for 3-day visit
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« Reply #243 on: February 27, 2009, 11:46:14 PM »

Iran aiming to expand ties with Persian Gulf states
Tehran, Feb 27, IRNA – Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said here Friday that Iran’s general policy is based on establishing and promoting close and upward-looking ties with the Persian Gulf littoral states.
“So, it will be natural for the said ties to be subject to jealousies, misunderstandings and insinuations,” Mottaki said in a joint press conference with his visiting Bahraini counterpart Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed al-Khalifa here on Friday.

The Iranian top diplomat said the two countries’ officials have taken the initiative in this regard as is testified by the visit of Iran’s Interior Minister to Manama that has been reciprocated by Bahraini Foreign Minister’s visit to Iran as Bahraini king envoy.

Khalifa for his part said he was carrying a message to President Ahmadinejad. “The message is in response to those who try to harm mutual relations,” he said.

Noting that his country is determined to expand ties with Iran, the Bahraini minister said the two countries should not allow enemies abuse the ties.

Iran aiming to expand ties with Persian Gulf states
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« Reply #244 on: May 11, 2009, 02:54:16 AM »

Iranian Army General Commander Ataollah Salehi: It Will Take Us 11 Days "To Wipe Israel Out of Existence"

Following are excerpts of statements by Iranian military commanders, from a TV report which aired on LBC TV on May 3, 2009.

To view this clip on MEMRI TV, visit http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/2099.htm.

"I Do Not Think We Will Need More Than 11 Days to Wipe Israel Out Of Existence"

Voiceover: "Nothing can prevent Iranian missiles from targeting the heart of Israel, if Iran is subjected to a military strike by Israel. This was the response of the Iranian military commanders to the Israeli statements about a possible military strike against Iran, because of its insistence on obtaining nuclear energy. Yet an [Israeli] attack seems improbable to the Iranians, because Tel Aviv does not have the ability to go through a war with Tehran."

Iranian Chief-of-Staff General Hassan Firouzabadi: "We are fully prepared to confront any attack that would threaten the interests of Iran. We have sufficient means and the necessary force to defend our territory."

General Ataollah Salehi, general commander of the Iranian army: "The truth is that Israel does not have the courage to attack us. If we are subjected to any attack by Israel, I do not think we will need more than 11 days to wipe Israel out of existence."

Voiceover: "Tehran denies that its military preparations are aimed at attacking any neighboring country. Iran justifies its military preparedness as a means to defend Iran and the region, which may alleviate the fears and concerns of countries in the region."

"Our Military Capabilities Are Not Meant to Threaten the Neighboring Countries - But Only to Defend Iran"

General Yahya Rahim Safavi, Khamenei's chief advisor on military affairs: "Our military capabilities are not meant to threaten the neighboring countries, but only to defend Iran. Iran strives for peace, security, and stability with the countries in the region."

General Reza Pourdastan, commander of the Iranian army ground forces: "The neighboring countries can rest assured that by no means will we attack any country."

Voiceover: "But fears about Iran's missiles remain, especially among Western countries, concerned that Iran might arm its missiles with nuclear warheads, since the superpowers doubt that Iran's nuclear program is peaceful. This is categorically denied by Tehran, which says that according to the shari'a and the law, it is forbidden to obtain a nuclear bomb."

Iranian Army General Commander Ataollah Salehi: It Will Take Us 11 Days "To Wipe Israel Out of Existence"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Memri is an amazing source of info... For those who don't know, they translate Arab media to English, which really exposes the hypocrisy and motivations of those who claim in English that want Peace, and then say in Arabic, "Death to Israel"...

I don't think Iran has a chance against Israel. Given that God has promised to protect Israel, though Iran's fate is already known.
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« Reply #245 on: May 12, 2009, 10:33:18 PM »

Tehran preparing for attack on its nuclear sites

Saudi media quotes top Iranian official as confirming Revolutionary Guard has recently deployed anti-aircraft missile batteries in Persian Gulf following reports of imminent US-Israeli attack on country's nuclear facilities

Roee Nahmias
Published:    05.12.09, 10:49
Israel News

Saudi daily 'Al-Watan' is reporting that over the past several weeks Iran's Revolutionary Guard has deployed several mobile surface-to-air and anti-ship missile batteries in the Strait of Hormuz and other areas in the Persian Gulf.

The paper attributed to the information to a high-ranking Iranian official. The source added that the decision to deploy the missile batteries was made following recent "secret reports" indicating the United States and Israel are preparing to attack Iran's nuclear facilities.

According to the official, Tehran alerted neighboring Arab states of the move and stressed that it should not be seen as an act of aggression against them.

Noting that internal threats should not be ignored, the commander reiterated that Iranian armed forces are always ready to combat enemies and "this readiness has foiled their plots".

In comments reported by the Fars news agency, Revolutionary Guards chief, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, discussed both the military and non-defense related threats facing Iran over the coming period, considered particularly sensitive due to the upcoming presidential elections next month.

"Enemies led by the US could try to subvert the Islamic Republic through soft tactics," he warned.

Jafari has said in the past that "the most important and main mission of Basij (volunteer forces) is confronting the soft threats and cultural invasion which are stealthily targeting (Iranian) youth," Jafari added at the time.

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned last week of Washington's tough response if the Islamic Republic rejects the US dialogue proposal. In his testament before the Senate Appropriations Committee earlier in May, Gates said however that a military attack on Iran's nuclear facilities would not be enough to remove the threat.

"(It) will only buy us time and send the program deeper and more covert," he said. "Their security interests are actually badly served by trying to have nuclear weapons," Gates said. "They will start a nuclear arms race in the Middle East and they will be less secure at the end than they are now."

Tehran preparing for attack on its nuclear sites
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« Reply #246 on: May 12, 2009, 10:34:34 PM »

Iran to procure Chinese defense system
May. 10, 2009
The Media Line News Agency , THE JERUSALEM POST

Iran will turn to China instead of Russia to acquire an advanced air defense system after relations between Iran and Russia hit rock bottom, the official Iranian news agency PressTV reported.

For years Iran has been trying to purchase the S-300 anti-aircraft missile, which is considered to one of the most advanced systems available on the market and would dramatically increase Iran's air defense capabilities against any attacks on its nuclear installations.

The S-300 surface-to-air missile system, which can track targets and fire at aircraft 75 miles away, features high jamming immunity making it harder to incapacitate the system electronically, and is able to engage up to 100 targets simultaneously.

Teheran will now turn to China for the HongQi-9/FD-2000 system which reportedly combines elements "borrowed" from the Russian S-300 and the American MIM-104 Patriot system, according to the Iranian news agency.

The negotiations between Teheran and Moscow began in 2007, but neither side has ever issued an official confirmation of the deal.

The Russian sale of arms to Iran is a thorn in Moscow's relationship with Washington, which opposes Iran's quest for nuclear weapons and labels it "a sponsor of state terrorism," according the United States State Department.

In addition to American pressure on Russia not to sell weapons to Iran, Israel is also trying to persuade Russia not to export the system.

It is believed that when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu meets with US President Barack Obama in Washington on May 18 that Iran's nuclear program will top the agenda.

In April, London's Times reported that Israeli military forces were in the final stages of preparation for launching a "massive aerial raid" on Iranian nuclear facilities "within days of being given the go-ahead by its new government."

The paper cites the acquisition of three AWACs (early warning system) platforms and planned civil defense drills in support of its theory. The Times quoted an unnamed Israeli defense official as saying that Israel's "message to Iran is that the threat is not just words."

However, an airstrike against Iran's nuclear installations will be much tougher than the bombing raid that Israel launched in 1981 to destroys Iraq's nuclear reactor in Osirak, since the Iranian installations are not only further away from Israel but also spread out all over Iran in addition to being heavily fortified.

Iran to procure Chinese defense system
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« Reply #247 on: May 12, 2009, 10:35:38 PM »

Iran deploys missiles in Persian Gulf
May. 12, 2009
The Media Line News Agency , THE JERUSALEM POST

Iran's Revolutionary Guards have begun deploying mobile launchers for surface-to-air and surface-to-sea missiles in the Strait of Hurmuz and other areas in the Gulf, it has been revealed.

An Iranian official, quoted anonymously in the Saudi daily Al-Watan, said Iranian forces deployed the missile bases following secret reports that the United States and Israel were working on a military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.

Iran's preparations for a potential military strike are not new. The republic has conducted several military exercises over the past few years, some with the explicit intention of preparing the armed forces for a possible confrontation with the West.

The source said the missiles were deployed a few weeks ago. Iran is said to have informed Arab countries in the region of its activities and reassured its neighbors that the missiles were not aimed at states in the region, a reference to Sunni Arab states such as Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, which has a Shi'ite majority but Sunni government.

Sunni Muslim Gulf states are allied with the US in and share Western concerns over Shi'ite Iran's nuclear plans.

Bahrain, for example, is closer to Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant than the Iranian capital Teheran. Any strike on the facility will affect Bahrainis more than Iran's center of power.

Hady 'Amr, Director of the Brookings Doha Center, said there were too many variables at play in the region to draw conclusions as to the deployment's underlying meaning. 'Amr spoke of the Obama administration's disposition towards dialogue with Iran, shifting alliances in the US dialogue with Syria, the Iranian presidential elections and the global financial crisis which has made both Iran and the Gulf states less secure.

On several occasions Iran has expressed its displeasure over potential US bases in its Arab neighbors' territories. "This may be part of their muscle-flexing in that regard," 'Amr told The Media Line, "to make sure that the Gulf states hosting American and French bases understand that there will be a price to pay."

The reports of missile deployments coincide with the US's declared intentions to bridge the rift with Iran.

US President Barack Obama is attempting a dialogue with Teheran to defuse tensions built up during the Bush Administration over Iran's controversial nuclear program.

The release of Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi from Teheran's Evin prison on Monday could be a response to US overtures.

Saberi, 31, was originally sentenced to eight years in prison on charges of espionage and had been held in prison since January, 2009. An appeals court in Iran reduced her sentence to a two-year suspended term and a five-year ban on reporting in Iran.

Iran has been under international pressure to abandon its nuclear program and uranium enrichment activities since 2002. The US, Israel and other countries are concerned that Iran is secretly pursuing nuclear weapons, although Teheran vociferously denies these accusations and claims its program is for peaceful purposes.

The US has not ruled out the possibility of a military strike on Iran.

Iran has threatened to retaliate to any aggression on its soil by closing down the strategic Strait of Hormuz, which will disrupt global oil supplies.

Last year Iran opened a new naval facility in Jask, in the entrance to the Gulf, the declared aim of which was to enable Iran to block the enemy from entering Iran in the event that the country were attacked.

Gulf countries, including Iran, hold more than half of the world's crude oil reserves and more than 40 percent of the world's proven gas reserves.

Iran deploys missiles in Persian Gulf
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« Reply #248 on: May 29, 2009, 11:17:30 AM »


Iran-Syria Alliance in Harmony

www.globalpolitician.com

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and President Bashar Assad of Syria reconfirmed the close alliance between their two countries during the Iranian president's visit to Damascus this week.

Ahmadinejad's visit came on the eve of the return of two senior US officials, Jeffrey Feltman and Daniel Shapiro, to Damascus. Their visit is part of ongoing US efforts at engagement with Syria. The tone struck by Ahmadinejad and Assad this week, however, did not suggest a mood for compromise.

Syrian President Bashar Assad, in his address to the joint press conference held by the two presidents after their meeting, accurately summed up the Iranian-Syrian alliance as based upon both "principles and interests."

It is sometimes suggested that the Syrian-Iranian alliance is a marriage of convenience between two essentially incompatible regimes. This view is incorrect. The alliance is of long standing, is rooted in shared interests and expresses itself in a shared ideological conception - that of the idea of muqawama (resistance) to the supposed ambitions of the West and Israel in the region.

Ahmadinejad's and Assad's statements following their meeting offer evidence of the depth and nature of the alliance.

The Iranian president mocked US attempts at engagement, saying "We don't want honey from bees that sting us. Efforts must be made to rid the region of the presence of foreigners." He went on to demand US withdrawal from "Afghanistan and the borders of Pakistan."

Ahmadinejad's speech radiated the sense that Iranian defiance was bringing results. The Iranian president noted that those who once sought to put pressure on Syria and Iran were now obliged to seek the assistance of these countries.

"Harmony and steadfastness," he said, "are the secret of victory." He went on to demand reform of the United Nations, reiterating a claim he made in his recent Geneva speech that the international body failed to reflect a world in which the balance of forces was changing.

The Syrian president struck a similar tone. Assad said that Ahmadinejad's visit confirmed once more the "strategic relationship" between the two countries. He expressed the support of Syria and Iran for Palestinian "resistance."

Assad then detailed Syria and Iran's common satisfaction regarding current developments in Iraq, and noted Syria's support for the Iranian nuclear program. He also cast an eye over the history of the relationship between the two countries. He noted that Syria had supported Iran at the time of the Islamic Revolution and in the subsequent Iran-Iraq War, and that Damascus had in return benefited from Iranian support when under pressure in recent years.

The words of the two presidents, for those listening closely, are instructive in grasping both the principles and the interests underlying the Syrian-Iranian alliance.

Regarding principles - the two speeches reflect the joint adoption of a secular language of nationalist, anti-Western assertion which is reminiscent of earlier times.

These ideas may have faded from view in the West in recent years, but they retain popularity among broad populations in the Arab world. The Iranians - non-Sunnis and non-Arabs - want to enlist this appeal to their own banner, presenting themselves as the natural representative of all those countries and forces opposing the West in the region.

Syria, meanwhile, has long been the chief guardian among the Arabs of the archaic slogans of third-worldism and defiance. Iranian rhetoric of this kind sits well with the Syrians. The Assad regime, of course, is committed ultimately to its own survival, and not to any ideological path. But there is no sense that an alliance based on an appeal of this kind is in any way unnatural or uncomfortable for the Syrians. On the contrary, it fits perfectly the defiant stance that has enabled the Syrian Ba'athists to punch above their weight in the region for a generation.

Regarding interests, Assad's whistle-stop tour through the history of the relationship reminds us of its longevity.

The mullahs in Teheran and the Ba'athist family dictatorship in Damascus have stuck together for a long time.

The Syrian dictator's expressions of quiet satisfaction at the current turn of events in Iraq, and Ahmadinejad's characteristic tone of triumphalism confirm that the partnership continues to bear fruit.

The next arena for the meeting point of Syrian and Iranian principles and interests is Lebanon, which may shortly be added to the regional alliance headed by these countries. Next month's Lebanese elections formed the backdrop to Ahmadinejad's visit, and perhaps explain the hurried return of Feltman and Shapiro. No doubt the two US officials will reassert the need for noninterference in the upcoming polls, which the Hizbullah-led alliance is favored to win.

Lebanon has long been the ideal arena for the meeting of Iranian and Syrian principles and interests. It is worth remembering that as far back as 1982, it was Syrian facilitation of the entry of 1,500 Iranian Revolutionary Guards into the Lebanese Bekaa which made possible the subsequent foundation of Hizbullah. This long investment may be about to pay off.

In any case, the general direction of events in the region appears to the liking of the two good friends from Damascus and Teheran - offering the prospect of many good years of friendship to come.
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« Reply #249 on: June 13, 2009, 01:48:17 PM »

Report: Iranian missile threat on US by 2015 

ynetnews.com/

The US Air Force's National Air and Space Intelligence Center, in a new report, says Iran, with support from outside sources, within six years could produce an ocean-leaping missile capable of hitting the United States.

The report, made available by the Federation of American Scientists, said North Korea's Taepodong 2 missile also could be developed as an intercontinental ballistic missile that could put the United States in range and said the weapon "could be exported to other countries in the future."

The Obama administration has asked Congress for $7.8 billion for missile defense in fiscal 2010, down about $1.2 billion from 2009. Congress is considering adding more funds.

Joining forces with North Korea

Meanwhile Thursday, the head of the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency said that Iran and North Korea have worked together and made significant progress on ballistic missiles that could carry deadly warheads.

"It really is an international effort going on out there to develop ballistic missile capability between these countries," Army Lieutenant General Patrick O'Reilly told a forum on Capitol Hill.

Iran and North Korea each are at odds with their neighbors and with much of the international community over nuclear programs. Each has demonstrated a capability to launch missiles that fired through their second stages this spring.

They represent the most pronounced example of a kind of international "coalition" sharing know-how on avionics, propulsion and materials among other things, O'Reilly said.

"We've seen it for years and it continues," he said of such cooperation between North Korea and Iran.

Their ability to fire missiles with a stable ignition and launch a second stage represents "a significant step forward" for both of them, O'Reilly said.

Asked which was further along in missile development, he said it could be described as a "horse race" with no clear leader.

"Iran has ambitious ballistic missile and space launch development programs and, with sufficient foreign assistance, Iran could develop and test an ICBM capable of reaching the United States by 2015," the report released Thursday said.
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« Reply #250 on: June 13, 2009, 01:55:34 PM »

All Eyes On Iran   

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All eyes are on Iran today. Please be praying for the Iranian people. Humanly speaking, it’s almost impossible for anything good to come out of today’s rigged “elections.”

First, the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his cabinet of clerics (the “Guardian Council”) have already chosen four presidential contenders. They denied another 450 or so applicants from even being considered. This gives you a little taste of what democracy means in Iran. Thus, Khamenei and the Radical mullahs around him have already chosen four people they want the country to know would be acceptable to them — that is, people who are loyal to the Revolution, will follow the wishes of the Supreme Leader, and will prepare the way of the coming of the Islamic Messiah known as the Twelfth Imam or the Mahdi.

Second, no matter who “wins,” it doesn’t really matter in any practical sense. In Iran’s Sharia-law driven legal system, all authority is vested in the hands of the Supreme Leader. The role of the president in many ways is to be the public face and voice of the Supreme Leader to the nation and the world. For the last four years, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been been that face and voice precisely because Khamenei wanted him to be.

Third, the system really is rigged. Iranians will feel like they are exercising their right to choose their next leader. But Khamenei is pulling strings behind the scenes to engineer the “choosing” of his preferred candidate. The only drama is finding out whom Khamenei wants to be the face and voice of Iran for the next four years, and whether he believes Ahmadinejad has outlived his usefulness.

Fourth, that said, the God of the Bible — the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob — is in control. The Lord God Himself is all sovereign and He ultimately will determine who will run Iran, and will do so for His own purposes. Daniel 2:21 tells us that “He removes kings and establishes kings.” While humanly speaking all seems to be lost in Iran, this isn’t really the case. The truth is that Jesus Christ is drawing millions of Iranians away from Islam to become His followers. As I describe in Inside The Revolution in detail, the Lord is using radio broadcasting, satellite TV technology and the Internet to get the good news of salvation to the Iranian people. Jesus is also appearing to many personally, telling them to, “Come, follow Me” — and they are. Iranian Christian leaders tell me they expect more than 10,000 house churches to be planted in Iran in the next 12 to 18 months because Christianity is growing so fast in that country. And one of the main reasons people are abandoning Islam and becoming followers of Jesus is because of the tyrannical leadership of the country. Starting with the Ayatollah Khomeini, and right up to the present with the Ayatollah Khamenei, such cruel, Radical dictators are causing Iranians to become deeply disillusioned with Islam and eager to search for true peace. They are finding it in the Prince of Peace. So, let us pray earnestly for the Iranian people that no matter who wins, they will choose Jesus Christ, the King of kings and the Lord of lords this year.

Alireza Jafarzadeh is a leading Iranian pro-democracy dissident. He is based in Washington. He gives a summary of the background of the four “candidates” running for president in Iran today. Even this brief snapshot shows how Radical any one of them will be.

“Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, by his own admission, was part of the quintet of the Central Committee of the Office of the Unity which led and operationally oversaw the takeover of the US Embassy in Tehran in 1979. He was the special operations officer in the 6th special corps of IRGC’s Qods Force, responsible for sabotage and cross-border missions. In his current hat, he oversees his government’s expanding drive to perfect the nuclear fuel cycle and acquire the ultimate weapon.

“Mir Hossein Moussavi is the current reincarnation of the moderate political animal in Iran. He was a founding member of the Islamic Republic Party - think of it as the mullahs’ Third Reich. Among honors on his resume, he lists: 144 extraterritorial assassinations during the premiership, the massacre of nearly 30,000 political prisoners on the eve of the signing of the 1988 UN Iran-Iraq cease-fire accord, and the 1983 embassy and marine barrack bombings in Beirut.

“Mohsen Rezai ranks high in the pantheon of terror. He commanded the IRGC during the disastrous war with Iraq, with ultimate responsibility for sending tens of thousands of under-aged adults to their death in the battle fronts as human mine sweepers, many of whom were shrouded in army-issued blankets to prevent their body parts from splattering. Rezai played a decisive role in coordinating and directing the 1994 bombing in Buenos Aires, for which he was implicated by an Argentine court and for whom, in 2007, Interpol issued an arrest warrant.

“Mehdi Karoubi is the least consequential. Nevertheless, he occupies a special place among the regime hierarchy. For, he is a permanent member of the Expediency Council, chaired by former president, Rafsanjani.”
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« Reply #251 on: June 16, 2009, 11:42:56 AM »

Violence flares as Ahmadinejad wins Iran vote
Official results show landslide for incumbent; pro-reform rival alleges fraud


June 13, 2009

TEHRAN, Iran - Opponents of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad clashed with police in the heart of Iran's capital Saturday, pelting them with rocks and setting fires in the worst unrest in Tehran in a decade. They accused the hard-line president of using fraud to steal election victory from his reformist rival.

The brazen and angry confrontations — including stunning scenes of masked rioters tangling with black-clad police — pushed the self-styled reformist movement closer to a possible moment of truth: Whether to continue defying Iran's powerful security forces or, as they often have before, retreat into quiet dismay and frustration over losing more ground to the Islamic establishment.

But for at least one day, the tone and tactics were more combative than at any time since authorities put down student-led protests in 1999. Young men hurled stones and bottles at anti-riot units and mocked Ahmadinejad as an illegitimate leader. The reformists' new hero, Mir Hossein Mousavi, declared himself the true winner of Friday's presidential race and urged backers to resist a government based on "lies and dictatorship."
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Authorities, too, pushed back with ominous measures apparently seeking to undercut liberal voices: jamming text messages, blocking pro-Mousavi Web sites and Facebook and cutting off mobile phones in Tehran.

Reformist leaders arrested
The extent of possible casualties and detentions was not immediately clear. Police stormed the headquarters of Iran's largest reformist party, the Islamic Iran Participation Front, and arrested several top reformist leaders, said political activists close to the party.The activists spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

Mousavi did not appear in public, but warned in a Web message: "People won't respect those who take power through fraud."

Many backers took this call to the streets. Thousands of protesters — mostly young men — roamed through Tehran looking for a fight with police and setting trash bins and tires ablaze. Pillars of black smoke rose among the mustard-colored apartment blocks and office buildings in central Tehran. In one side road, an empty bus was engulfed in flames.

Police fought back with clubs, including mobile squads on motorcycles swinging truncheons.

The scuffles began when protesters gathered hours outside the Interior Ministry around the time officials announced the final election results showing a nearly 2-to-1 landslide for Ahmadinejad. Demonstrators chanted "the government lied" and waved the ribbons of Mousavi's "green" movement — the signature color of his youth-driven campaign.

"I won't surrender to this manipulation," said a statement on Mousavi's Web site. "The outcome of what we've seen from the performance of officials ... is nothing but shaking the pillars of the Islamic Republic of Iran's sacred system and governance of lies and dictatorship."

No compromise
The door for possible compromise was closed by Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He could have used his near-limitless powers to intervene in the election dispute. But, in a message on state TV, he urged the nation to unite behind Ahmadinejad, calling the result a "divine assessment."

There are no independent election monitors in Iran. Mousavi's claims, however, point to some noticeable breaks with past election counting.

The tallies from previous elections — time-consuming paper ballots — began to trickle in hours after polls closed. This time, huge chunks of results — millions at a time — poured in almost immediately from a huge turnout of about 85 percent of Iran's 46.2 million voters. The final outcome: 62.6 percent of the vote to Ahmadinejad and 33.75 for Mousavi, a former prime minister from the 1980s.

Click for related content
Iranian expats in U.S. cast ballots
CFR: Why Iran's election may not matter
Q&A: The issues, the candidates
Dateline: Behind the veil — Inside Iran

The U.S. refused to accept Ahmadinejad's claim of a landslide re-election victory said it was looking into allegations of election fraud.

U.S. watching outcome
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said she hoped the outcome reflects the "genuine will and desire" of Iranian voters. At a joint appearance with Clinton, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said his country was "deeply concerned" by reports of irregularities in the election.

Past Iranian elections were considered generally fair. In 2005, when Ahmadinejad was first elected, the losing candidates claimed irregularities at the polls, but the charges were never investigated.

"The majority of Iranians are certain that the fraud is widespread," said Tehran-based analyst Saeed Leilaz. "It's like taking 10 million votes away from Mousavi and giving them to Ahmadinejad."

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« Reply #252 on: June 16, 2009, 11:45:25 AM »

Cont'd from last post

Much depends on how much they are willing to risk. The heartland of Iran's liberal ranks is the educated and relatively affluent districts of north Tehran. It's also the showcase for the gains in social freedoms that began with the election of President Mohammad Khatami in 1997: makeup, Internet cafes, head scarves that barely cover hair and satellite dishes that are technically illegal but common.

The ruling clerics tolerate all that to a point — part of a tacit arrangement that the liberties stay as long as reformists remain politically meek. A real protest movement could threaten their coveted Western-looking lifestyle and risk a brutal response from groups vowing to defend the Islamic system.

The political chief of the powerful Revolutionary Guard has warned it would crush any "revolution" against the Islamic regime by Mousavi's "green movement" — drawing parallels to the "velvet revolution" of 1989 in then-Czechoslovakia.
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Foreign media blamed
Ahmadinejad accused the foreign media of producing coverage that harmed the Iranian people, saying "a large number of foreign media ... organized a full-fledged fight against our people."

Authorities also called foreign journalists with visas to cover the elections, including members of The Associated Press, and told them they should prepare to leave the country. Italian state TV RAI said one of its crews was caught in the clashes in front Mousavi's headquarters. Their Iranian interpreter was beaten with clubs by riot police and officers confiscated the cameraman's tapes, the station said.

"The massive demonstrations of police and army presence on the streets was designed to show that they were quite ready to kill protesters if they had to in order to impose order," said Patrick Clawson, deputy director at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. "On the whole, these guys in north Tehran who are terribly upset about what is happening are not ready to die."

Hadi Ghaemi, spokesman for the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, denounced the outcome as "a Tehran Tiananmen" — a reference to China's brutal 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy activists — and urged the international community not to recognize the result.

There were also protests by Mousavi supporters in the southern city of Ahvaz in the oil-rich province of Khuzestan who shouted, "Mousavi, take our votes back!" witnesses said.

Talking tough
Mousavi called on his backers to avoid violence, but he is still talking tough about pressing his claims of election fraud. He charges the polls closed early but has not fully outlined all of his fraud allegations.

Unlike his ally Khatami, Mousavi is a hardened political veteran who led the country during the grim years of the 1980-88 war with Iraq. He also could join forces with the powerful political patriarch Heshemi Rafsanjani, who strongly opposed Ahmadinejad's re-election during the intense monthlong campaign.

Amjad Atallah, a Washington-based regional analyst, called it "one of the most existential moments" in Iran since 1979 Islamic Revolution.

"You can't overstate how important what is happening now is for Iran," he said.

In Tehran, several Ahmadinejad supporters cruised the streets at dawn waving Iranian flags out of car windows and shouting "Mousavi is dead!"

They were quickly overwhelmed by the Mousavi backers.

The protesters — some hiding their faces with masks — still wandered the streets after nightfall as some fires still burned. The pungent smell of burning rubber and smoldering trash lingered in some parts of the city.

Hundreds of anti-riot police blocked the streets leading to Tehran University's dormitory, home to thousands of students and the site of the 1999 student riots that marked the biggest disturbances in post-revolution Iran. University exams nationwide were postponed until next month.

Normal life amid clashes
Oddly, normal life was interspersed with the anger. People continued shopping and stores remained open.

With the Internet and mobile texting down, some Iranians turned to Twitter to voice their views.

"Very disappointed with Iran elections," said one entry."Apparently still a backward regressive nation."

Another: "Elections in Iran: stayed tuned as it gets interesting (& maybe scary)."

Ahmadinejad addressed a crowd in Tehran, but did not mention the unrest, saying only "a new era has begun in the history of the Iranian nation."

But there were no hints of any new policy shifts on key international issues such as Iran's standoff over its nuclear program and the offer by President Barack Obama to open dialogue after a nearly 30-year diplomatic estrangement. All high-level decisions are controlled by the ruling theocracy.

Violence flares as Ahmadinejad wins Iran vote
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« Reply #253 on: June 16, 2009, 11:47:40 AM »


Well, somebody else COULD have won, if they'd had the same apocalyptic religious fanaticism that Imanutjob had. But his opponent was all for "change" (sound familiar?).

Nothing is going to change in Iran, as long as Khameini is the supreme ruler. I should think that between the two of them, (Khameini and his "face", Imanutjob), the next term should be interesting, to say the least.
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« Reply #254 on: June 24, 2009, 10:45:05 PM »

Iran police use tear gas, clubs to crush protest
Associated Press Writer Brian Murphy
Wed Jun 24, 7:13 pm ET

EDITOR'S NOTE: Iranian authorities have barred journalists for international news organizations from reporting on the streets and ordered them to stay in their offices. This report is based on the accounts of witnesses reached in Iran and official statements carried on Iranian media.

___

A flood of security forces using tear gas and clubs quickly overwhelmed a small group of rock-throwing protesters near Iran's parliament Wednesday, and the country's supreme leader said the outcome of the disputed presidential election will stand — the latest signs of the government's growing confidence in quelling unrest on the streets.

As the election showdown has shifted, demonstrators are finding themselves increasingly scattered and struggling under a blanket crackdown that the wife of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi compared to martial law. In Wednesday's clashes, thousands of police crushed hundreds of Mousavi supporters.

The statement by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that the June 12 election of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would not be reversed was accompanied by a vow that the nation's rulers would never yield to demands from the streets.

Since last week's protests, the government has unleashed days of escalating force, including the full weight of the powerful Revolutionary Guard and its feared civilian militias on the opposition.

Social networking sites carried claims of brutal tactics by police such as savage beatings with batons, but the report could not be independently confirmed.

In the battle for public opinion, the leaders also ramped up a familiar smear campaign: that the opposition was being aided by the United States and other perceived foes of Iran.

What began as groundswell protest of alleged vote fraud increasingly appears to be splintering into random acts of rage and frustration against emboldened and well-armed security forces determined to hold their ground.

Many experts in Iranian affairs do not believe the dwindling street protests signal an end for the challenges to Khamenei and the regime. Many foresee lower-risk — but still potent — acts of dissent such as general strikes, blocking traffic with sit-ins, and the nightly cries of protest from rooftops and balconies.

"It will carry on until the regime changes: Weeks, months, years. You'd be a fool to predict," said Robert Hunter, a former U.S. ambassador to NATO and head of Middle East Affairs in the Carter administration. "But the beast of the desire for something different is on the prowl."

Senior Israeli Defense Ministry official Amos Gilad told The Associated Press that he sees no "signs of Ahmadinejad's regime collapsing any time soon."

"The intelligence community worldwide were surprised by the protests," he said.

There are still signs of life in the protest movement. Small groups battled police Wednesday and there were calls on reformist Web sites for a gathering Thursday at the shrine of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

But Mousavi has increasingly turned his back on mass street demonstrations, fearing the likelihood of more violence or deaths.

Wednesday's unrest showed the lopsided odds. Groups of protesters — perhaps several hundred — tossed rocks and trash at riot police in running clashes outside parliament. The demonstrators fled as police used tear gas and fired in the air, possibly with live ammunition.

Throughout the day, black-clad security agents and police watched main streets and squares to prevent any major gatherings — a stark difference from last week when authorities generally stood aside and allowed a series of marches that brought more than 1 million people streaming through Tehran.

Mousavi's wife, Zahra Rahnavard — a former university dean who campaigned beside her husband — said on a Web site that the crackdown is "as if martial law has been imposed in the streets."

It also could be an indication of what's ahead — unless the protest movement can recapture its momentum.

The fallout may leave Khamenei and the ruling theocracy battered by once-unthinkable defiance of their leadership. But they still control the Revolutionary Guard and its vast network of volunteer militias that watch every corner of Iran.

The Guard — sworn to defend the Islamic system at all costs — has been steadily expanding its authority for years to include critical portfolios such as Iran's missile program, its oil pipelines and other energy infrastructure, and some oversight of the nuclear program.

Their stake in the Islamic system is deep and they appear now to have the green light to move against any perceived threats.

Their militia wing, known as the Basij, can operate like a neighbor-by-neighbor intelligence agency.

"The Revolutionary Guard may well emerge as the big winner of all this," said Patrick Clawson, deputy director at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

State television aired a documentary Wednesday lauding the Revolutionary Guard and another show about the dangers of the Internet and claiming that "Iran's enemies" were using the Web to whip up dissent.

Dozens of activists, protesters and Iranian journalists — and at least one foreign reporter — have been detained since the election, human rights groups say. The overall death toll is not clear; state media said at least 17 people have been killed. Amateur video showed the death Saturday of a woman identified as Neda Agha Soltan, who has become a worldwide symbol of the bloodshed.

A 53-year-old Tehran woman described the intense security around Baharestan Square near parliament: "There was a lot of police, riot police and Basiji everywhere." The woman spoke by phone to the AP, asking for anonymity because of fears of reprisals from authorities.

The chief of Israel's Mossad intelligence agency, Meir Dagan, told a closed session of the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that he believes the demonstrations in Iran would die down and Ahmadinejad would stay in power.

He also said the Mossad expects Iran to have nuclear weapons by 2014. Meir's statements were recounted by a participant in the meeting, speaking on condition of anonymity because the meeting was closed.

The United States and its allies worry that Iran's program could lead to nuclear weapons, but Iran insists it only seeks peaceful reactors to produce electricity.

President Barack Obama has offered to open talks with Iran's leaders to ease a nearly 30-year diplomatic estrangement. But he sharpened his rhetoric Tuesday, saying he was "appalled and outraged" by Tehran's heavy hand against protesters.

It's not clear how the unrest — Iran's worst internal turmoil since the Islamic Revolution — would influence possible talks with Washington. It's clear, however, that the leadership has no intention of abandoning Ahmadinejad.

An offer for Iranian envoys around the world to attend U.S. Embassy Fourth of July parties has been rescinded "given the events of the past many days," said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs. The invitation was part of a U.S. outreach to Iran, but so far no Iranian officials had accepted.

Khamenei said the government would not buckle to pressures over the election, closing the door to compromise over Mousavi's claim that the vote was rigged and he was the rightful winner.

"On the current situation, I was insisting and will insist on implementation of the law. That means, we will not go one step beyond the law," Khamenei said on state television. "For sure, neither the system nor the people will give in to pressures at any price." He used language that indicated he was referring to domestic pressures.

A conservative candidate in the disputed election, Mohsen Rezaie, said he was withdrawing his complaints about vote fraud for the sake of the country, state TV reported. Rezaie is a former commander of Revolutionary Guard and his decision suggests the Guard seeks to avoid possible rifts as Ahmadinejad begins his second, four-year term.

State TV reported that Ahmadinejad would be sworn in between July 26 and Aug. 19.

Khamenei also reinforced Iran's accusations that the United States, Britain and other foreign powers were encouraging the unrest — apparently part of a coordinated strategy to disgrace Mousavi and his followers.

State television showed detained demonstrators whose faces were blurred out. Some of them made "confessions," saying they had been incited by the British Broadcasting Corp. and Voice of America. They said demonstrators, not security forces, had used violence.

"We torched public property, threw stones, attacked cars and smashed windows," said one woman, who was not identified.

State-run Press TV also said police raided a building it identified as a Mousavi campaign office and allegedly used as a base to promote unrest. The report said the suspected plotters had been arrested and placed under investigation.

Iran police use tear gas, clubs to crush protest
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