Posts tagged iran
“Let them all be confounded and turned back that hate Zion.” Psalm 129:5
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told an annual anti-Israel protest in Tehran on Friday that the Jewish state was a “cancerous tumour” that will soon be excised, drawing Western rebukes.
Washington said Ahmadinejad’s statements were “reprehensible”, while Paris viewed them as “outrageous.” Ahmadinejad’s diatribe against Israel in his Quds (Jerusalem) Day address was the latest in a long line to have drawn criticism from Western governments.
“The Zionist regime and the Zionists are a cancerous tumour,” he said.
“The nations of the region will soon finish off the usurper Zionists in the Palestinian land…. A new Middle East will definitely be formed. With the grace of God and help of the nations, in the new Middle East there will be no trace of the Americans and Zionists,” he said.
The diatribe took place amid heightened tensions between Israel and Iran over Tehran’s controversial nuclear programme. The Jewish state has in recent weeks intensified its threats to possibly bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities to prevent it having the capability to produce atomic weapons.
Iran, which is suffering under severe Western sanctions, denies its nuclear programme is anything but peaceful. Its military has warned it will destroy Israel if it attacks.
“They (the Israelis) know very well they don’t have the ability” to successfully attack Iran, foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast was quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency.
“If they make a mistake, our nation’s reaction will lead to the end of the Zionist regime,” he said.
State television showed crowds marching under blazing sunshine in Tehran and other Iranian cities to mark Quds Days, an annual commemoration launched by the founder of the Islamic republic, the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, just after the 1979 revolution that brought him to power.
Demonstrators held up Palestinian flags and pictures of Khomeini’s successor as Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and banners reading “Death to Israel” and “Death to America.”
The head of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, told the Fars news agency as he attended the Tehran rally that “the Iranian nation has always been at the forefront of the (regional anti-Israeli) resistance in showing its animosity with Israel.”
He added that Iran intended to maintain that virulent stance.
Ahmadinejad, in his speech, claimed that “Zionists” triggered World Wars I and II, and had “taken control over world affairs since the moment they became dominant over the US government.”
US National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor told AFP that Ahmadinejad’s comments were “hateful and divisive.”
“We strongly condemn the latest series of offensive and reprehensible comments by senior Iranian officials that are aimed at Israel,” Vietor said.
“The entire international community should condemn this hateful and divisive rhetoric.”
French deputy foreign ministry spokesman Vincent Floreani hit out at the “latest provocations” from the Iranian president.
“We firmly condemn these outrageous and totally unacceptable statements and we remind (Iran) that we would never allow the right of Israel to live in peace to be called into question,” he said.
Ahmadinejad’s past broadsides against the Jewish state, and his denial that the Holocaust occurred, have earned him opprobrium from Western and other nations, and walkouts during his addresses to the UN General Assembly.
Israel has been employing its own invective against Iran and its leaders, invoking the image of Hitler and the Nazis on the eve of World War II and accusing Tehran of being bent on Israeli genocide. source – Yahoo News
A great shaking in the land of Israel
“For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel…Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD.” Ezekiel 38
Matan Vilnai, who is stepping down as home front defence minister to become ambassador to China, said the country was “ready as never before”.
“The assessments are for a war that will last 30 days on a number of fronts,” he told the Maariv newspaper. “It could be that there will be less fatalities, but it could be there will be more, that is the scenario that we are preparing for according to the best experts.”
Western governments share the fears about Iran’s nuclear ambitions but oppose military action and want to give more time to diplomacy. And in Israel, critics have warned that the country is not ready for the promised Iranian retaliation, pointing to a shortage of gas masks, for example.
Mr Vilnai declined to say whether he thought Israel should take military action against Iran, but warned any such decision required serious consideration. “The only question is if a clash is necessary. War is something that is better to postpone and weigh carefully,” he said.
Mr Vilnai is to be replaced by Avi Dichter, a former internal security minister and ex-head of the country’s Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency. source – Telegraph UK
Israeli military: Blasts heard in southern city
JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli military says explosions have been heard in the southern city ofEilat, and it’s suspected that rockets were fired from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
The military said soldiers searched the area for several hours after the blasts were heard late Wednesday, but no exploded rockets were found. No injuries or damage were reported. There was no immediate comment from Egypt.
Eilat is next to the Sinai, scene of militant attacks in recent weeks. This month militants killed 16 Egyptian soldiers where the borders of Egypt, Israel and Gaza converge. They stole vehicles and crashed into Israel, where Israeli forces stopped them.
Eilat has been the target of previous rocket attacks, apparently from Sinai. Israel has expressed concern about extremist Islamists and Palestinian militants from Gaza operating there. source – Yahoo News
Iran said it is not taking discussions of a possible Israeli attack very seriously, saying that the leadership in Tehran views them as “hollow and baseless,” AFP quoted Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramim Mehmanparast as saying Tuesday.
“In our calculations, we aren’t taking these claims very seriously because we see them as hollow and baseless,” Mehmanparast told reporters in a weekly briefing. “Even if some officials in the illegitimate regime (Israel) want to carry out such a stupid action, there are those inside (the Israeli government) who won’t allow it because they know they would suffer very severe consequences from such an act,” he said.
Meanwhile, Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi referred to Israeli threats of a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities as “as sign of weakness,” by “brainless leaders,” according to Iran’s ISNA news agency.
The comments come amid a flurry of commentary and speculation from current and former government officials on how Israel should deal with Iran’s nuclear ambitions, many of them voicing criticism at the open discussion of a possible military strike.
Former IDF Chief of Staff Amnon Lipkin Shahak on Monday joined the chorus of voices opposing an Israeli strike on Iran, saying that Israel must not rush to act. Speaking at an event to mark 20 years since the establishment of the second Rabin government, Lipkin asserted his faith in the opinion of security officials.
Lipkin dismissed talk that Israel must attack Iran’s nuclear facilities by the Fall, saying that the option would still be on the table after presidential election in the United States, and that it is wrong to present the situation as otherwise.
He added that there is no doubt that the US has a must stronger ability to remove the Iranian threat. Playing down the imminence of such an attack, Vice Premier Silvan Shalom called for imposing stricter sanctions against Iran on Sunday
In an interview with Army Radio, Shalom said “At this time we can bring the US to accept the right choices, and that is to impose even stricter sanctions that are made to subdue and topple the Iranian regime and perhaps bring it to abandon its nuclear program.”
On Friday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a press briefing that a military strike could wait while the West pursues diplomatic options, in part because “we feel confident that we would be able to detect a break-out move by Iran towards the acquisition of a nuclear weapon.
Former Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Tzahi Hanegbi responded on Sunday, telling Israel Radio that there is no certainty that intelligence agencies will discover Iranian nuclear advancements in time, and that essential information may only be uncovered after the fact.
Hanegbi went on to condemn the public debate on a possible military strike, saying that the flood of headlines and articles in the media are a serious betrayal by those trying to tie the government’s hands. source – JPost
At its present rate of enrichment, Iran will have 250 kilograms of 20-percent grade uranium, exactly enough to build its first nuclear bomb, in roughly six weeks, and two-to- four bombs by early 2013, DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources report. Hence the leak by an unnamed Israeli security source Sunday, Aug. 12, disclosing Iran’s progress in developing the detonator and fuses for a nuclear warhead which can be fitted onto Shehab-3 ballistic missiles capable of reaching Israel.
Since 20 percent refined uranium is a short jump to weapons grade fuel, Iran will have the capability and materials for building an operational nuclear bomb by approximately October 1.
This knowledge is not news to US President Barack Obama, Saudi King Abdullah, Syrian ruler Bashar Assad, or Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu – and certainly not to Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Netanyahu’s comment at the opening of the weekly cabinet meeting Sunday: “All threats against the home front are dwarfed by one – Iran must not be allowed to have nuclear arms!” – was prompted by that deadline.
Ex-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert did not have that information when he “assured” Tel Aviv students Sunday, “Iran’s nuclear program has not reached the threshold necessitating Israeli action now or in the near future.” He further claimed that Israel’s “defense leaders” don’t subscribe to the view that “action now is unavoidable.” Olmert, who stepped down under a cloud of suspected corruption in 2009, has not since then had access to regular intelligence briefings on Iran. So either he spoke out of ignorance or willfully joined an opposition chorus of voices speaking out against Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
The fact is that when Olmert approved the Israeli strike for destroying a nuclear reactor under construction by Iran and North Korea in northern Syria in September 2007, Iran was years away from accumulating enough enriched uranium and the capability to build nuclear warheads.
Both are now within Tehran’s grasp in weeks.
Leading an opposition campaign to bring down the incumbent government is legitimate. Discrediting belated Israeli action to pre-empt a nuclear Iran as fodder for that campaign is not. If what Olmert and Barack (the same defense minister as today) did in 2007 was necessary then, action now for delaying Iran’s imminent “breakout” to a bomb is many times more necessary and far more urgent.
However Netanyahu and Barak have put themselves in a straitjacket by two lapses:
1. By foot-dragging on their decision for two years, they have led their opponents at home and in Washington – and Khamenei’s office too – to believe that, by turning on the heat, they can hold Israel back from military action against Iran’s nuclear program until it is too late. The time has been used not just for Iranian nuclear progress, but to enlist ex-politicians and retired generals at home and add them to the voices, especially in the White House, which believe Israel can learn to live with a nuclear-armed Iran.
2. Netanyahu and Barak have behaved as though a decision on Iran is in their exclusive province, insulated from the turmoil and change swirling through Israel’s Arab neighbors in the past two years.
But the Middle East has a way of catching up with and rushing past slow-moving politicians:
Sunday, at 10:00 a.m. Netanyahu warned his ministers that no threat was worse than a nuclear Iran. At 17:55 p.m., Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi dropped a bombshell in Cairo. In one fell swoop, he smashed the Egyptian military clique ruling the country for decades, sacked the Supreme Military Council running Egypt since March 2011 and cut the generals off from their business empire by appropriating the defense ministry and military industry.
That fateful eight hours-less-five-minutes have forced Israel’s leaders to take a second look at their plans for Iran.
Morsi’s lightning decisions were the finishing touches that proved the Islamist Bedouin terror attacks in Sinai of Aug. 5 fitted neatly into a secret master plan hatched by Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood to seize full control of rule in Cairo – a plan DEBKAfile first revealed exclusively last Friday, Aug. 10.
Netanyahu now faces one of the hardest dilemmas of his political career – whether to go forward with the Iran operation, which calls for mustering all Israel’s military and defense capabilities – especially for the repercussions, after being suddenly confronted with unforeseen security challenges on its southwestern border, for thirty years a frontier of peace.
The exceptional talents of Netanyahu and Barak to put off strategic decisions until they are overtaken by events has landed Israel in an especially perilous plight, surrounded now by a soon-to-be nuclear-armed Iran from the east; threatened Syrian chemical warfare from the north and the Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Egypt to its south. source – DEBKA
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Twin earthquakes in Iran have killed at least 250 people and injured over 2,000, Iranian state television said on Sunday, after thousands spent the night outdoors after their villages were leveled and homes damaged in the country’s northwest.
Images broadcast on the main news channel showed dozens of families sleeping on blankets laid out on the ground in parks. Some were crying, others shivering from chilly weather in the mountainous region hit by the quake, near neighboring Azerbaijan.
Over a thousand rescuers worked through the night to free people trapped under rubble and to reach some of the more remote villages affected. Television also showed people being evacuated on stretchers, while others underwent treatment for broken limbs and concussions on hospital beds.
By early afternoon on Sunday, state television was reporting that search operations had ceased. Hundreds of tents had been set up to house the homeless, it added.
The U.S. Geological Survey reported that Saturday’s first quake at 4:53 p.m. (1223 GMT) had a magnitude of 6.4 and struck 37 miles (60 kilometers) northeast of the city of Tabriz at a depth of 9.9 kilometers (6.2 miles). State TV quoted local Crisis Committee chief Khalil Saei as saying the epicenter was a region between the towns of Ahar and Haris, about 200 miles (500 kilometers) northwest of the capital Tehran.
The second quake with a magnitude of 6.3 struck 11 minutes later, the U.S.G.S. reported. Its epicenter was 29 miles (48 kilometers) northeast of Tabriz at a depth of 6.1 miles (9.8 kilometers).
The quakes hit the towns of Ahar, Haris and Varzaqan in East Azerbaijan province, Iranian televisionreported. At least six villages were totally leveled, and 133 others sustained damage ranging from 50 to 80 percent, it said.
Some 36 aftershocks jolted the same area and were felt in a wide region near the Caspian Sea, causing panic among the population.
Iran is located on seismic fault lines and is prone to earthquakes. It experiences at least one earthquake every day on average, although the vast majority are so small they go unnoticed.
In 2003, some 26,000 people were killed by a magnitude 6.6 quake that flattened the historic southeastern city of Bam. source – Yahoo News
The entire equation in the Middle East will change, Walid Sakariya tells al-Manar TV
“Let them all be confounded and turned back that hate Zion.” Psalm 129:5
Hezbollah MP Walid Sakariya told Lebanese television this week that the nuclear weapon Iran is allegedly developing is intended to annihilate Israel.
In a segment recorded and translated by MEMRI (the Middle East Media Research Institute), Sakariya, also a retired general, told his interviewer on Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV Tuesday that should Iran acquire a nuclear weapon it would serve Syrian as well as Iranian interests, namely the eradication of the Jewish state.
“This nuclear weapon is intended to create a balance of terror with Israel, to finish off the Zionist enterprise, and to end all Israeli aggression against the Arab nation,” Sakariya said.
“The entire equation in the Middle East will change,” he asserted.
Iranian officials typically assert that their controversial nuclear program is meant solely for peaceful purposes.
On July 27, just before Friday prayers, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei summoned top Iranian military chiefs for what he called “their last war council.” “We’ll be at war within weeks,” he told the gathering, DEBKAfile’s exclusive Iranian and intelligence sources disclose.
Present were Defense Minister General Ahmad Vahidi, Khamenei’s military adviser General Yahya Rahim-Safavi, Armed Forces Chief Major General Seyed Hassan Firuzabadi, Revolutionary Guards Corps commander General Mohammad Ali Jafari and Al Qods Brigades chief General Qassem Soleimani. The commanders of the air force, the navy and ground forces were also there.
Each of the participants was tapped to report on the readiness of his branch or sector for shouldering its contingency mission.
While retaliation had been exhaustively drilled in regular military exercises in the past year, Khamenei ordered the biggest fortification project in Iran’s history to save its nuclear program from even the mightiest of America’s super-weapons.
Rocks are being gathered from afar, piled on key nuclear installations, covered with many tons of poured concrete and finally plated with steel. That same Friday, the US Air force unveiled its new Massive Ordnance Penetrators. Each bunker buster weighs 30,000 pounds and is able to penetrate 60 feet of reinforced concrete.
Turning to retaliation, the war council endorsed a battery of paybacks for potential US and/or Israeli pre-emptive strikes against its nuclear program. They would start by announcing enhanced uranium enrichment up to 60 percent – that is close to weapons grade. Oft-tested ballistic missiles, Shehab-3, would be loosed against Israel, Saudi Arabia and American Middle East and Gulf military installations.
Hizballah in Lebanon and Hamas and Jihad Islami in Gaza stand ready to pitch in against Israel with attacks from the north and the southwest.
Saudi oil export terminals would be blown up and mines sown in the Strait of Hormuz to impede the export of one-fifth of the world’s oil.
Khamenei put before his war council a timeline of weeks for the coming conflict – September or October. source – DEBKA