November 07, 2011 – Tehran vows to retaliate if Israel and the West attack nuclear plants inside Iran.
In its long isolation by international community, financial sanction and development is rarely seen inside the country, Iran declared that it is ready to fight back if America and other country tries to attack Iran militarily.
Iran ratcheted up tensions in the Middle East yesterday when its foreign minister declared the country was ‘ready for war’ with Israel and the West.
In inflammatory remarks certain to fuel uncertainty in the volatile region, Ali Akbar Salehi warned that Tehran would ‘not hesitate’ to retaliate if attacked.
His posturing came as Foreign Secretary William Hague urged Israel’s defense minister not to fan the flames during top-level talks in London.
Iran has come sharply back into focus following the end of the Libya conflict. Mr Hague made it ‘very clear’ to Ehud Barak – who reportedly favors a pre-emptive strike against the rogue Islamic state – to pursue a diplomatic solution.
Iran’s hardliners, led by president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have been increasingly aggressive in recent weeks sparking fears that the belligerent regime is close to producing a nuclear bomb.
Israel reacted on Wednesday by test-firing a new long-range missile.
Downing Street has also been warned that Iran is concealing technology to enrich uranium – used in atomic weapons – in a mountain base beneath the city of Qom to protect it from air strikes.
Aggressive stance: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been linked to assassinations on foreign soil and is pressing closer to building a nuclear bomb.
Britain is now developing plans for military action against Iran amid mounting alarm about the nuclear
threat from Ahmadinejad, who has vowed to ‘wipe Israel off the face of the earth’.
Submarines armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles and Royal Navy warships could be deployed within range of Iran and RAF planes could carry out reconnaissance, surveillance and air-to-air refueling.
Diplomats in Whitehall are keen to rein in Iran using a diplomatic solution but admit that ‘all options
should be kept on the table’. However, the UK would take part only if the U.S. launched an attack.
Barack Obama is unlikely to strike before seeking re-election in a year, but the president is aware that
action is needed before Iran acquires a nuclear bomb.
Last night, Mr Salehi, Iran’s foreign minister, said the regime was ‘ready for war’ while on a visit to Libya. He said: ‘We have been hearing threats from Israel for eight years. Our nation is a united nation. Such threats are not new to us. ‘We are very sure of ourselves. We can defend our country.’ He warned of retaliation a day after Iran’s chief of staff said Israel and the West would be ‘punished’ for any attack on its nuclear sites.
Surprise visit: Speaking at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire Deputy PM Nick Clegg welcomes home RAF, Royal Navy and Army personnel who have returned from flying and supporting missions in Libya.
Personal trip: Nick Clegg with, from left, Air Commodore Gary Waterfall and Station Commander Chris Jones during the visit to RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire.
General Hassan Firouzabadi said: ‘We take every threat, however distant and improbable, as very real, and are fully prepared to use suitable equipment to punish any kind of mistake.
‘The United States is fully aware that a military attack by the Zionist regime on Iran will not only cause
tremendous damage to that regime, but it will also inflict serious damage to the U.S.’
Iran insists it has a nuclear programme only to produce energy.
But a report by the International Atomic Energy Association, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, to be published next week, will conclude that Iran is attempting to produce nuclear weapons in defiance of UN sanctions.
Yesterday Mr Hague said it was vital to continue tackling ‘shared concerns such as … the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear programme’.
Standby: A convoy of mine-resistant U.S. trucks, pictured in Iraq, could now be deployed to Iran.
Jim Murphy, Labour defense spokesman, said: ‘Iran’s efforts to acquire and weaponise nuclear capabilities are well known. ‘The international community has a responsibility to prevent this from happening through a combination of economic sanctions and diplomatic efforts.
‘Should the Government be thinking of going beyond that, this would be a very serious development indeed.’
Meanwhile, Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered a probe into alleged leaks of plans to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. Ministers in Tel Aviv believe that domestic opponents who authorized the leaks were undermining the government and ‘gambling with Israel’s national interest’.
In other developments, Mr Hague accused Israel of undermining peace efforts by accelerating settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. He condemned the decision to build at
least 2,000 apartments in Jewish-held areas in retaliation for Palestinian efforts to secure recognition as a state at the United Nations.
Speaking after yesterday’s talks, Mr Hague insisted the UK remained ‘fully committed to Israel’s security’. But he said: ‘I urged Israel to revoke the plan for new settlements and to avoid further provocative steps which only make more difficult the attempt to facilitate a return to talks.
‘These steps undermine efforts to achieve peace, and increase Israel’s isolation.’ ‘The U.S. has unfortunately lost its wisdom and prudence in dealing with international issues. It only depends on power,’ he said on a visit to the Libyan city of Benghazi.
‘Of course we are prepared for the worst, but we hope they think twice before they put themselves on a collision course with Iran.’
In an interview published in Turkish newspaper Hurriyet, Mr Salehi had said that ‘Iran was always ready for war’.
BREACHED OBLIGATIONS, DEAD SCIENTISTS AND A COMPUTER WORM: IRAN DEVELOPS ITS NUCLEAR CAPABILITY
Work to develop nuclear facilities began in the 1990s, with the Russian Federation providing experts, although the U.S. blocked the trade of equipment or construction of technology for Iran.
International attention was drawn to its developing nuclear potential in 2002 after an Iranian dissident revealed the existence of two sites that were under construction – a uranium enrichment facility in Natanz and a heavy water facility in Arak.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) sought access to these facilities, but it wasn’t until 2003 that Iran agreed to cooperate with it and suspend enrichment activities. The investigation revealed Iran had failed to meet several obligations, including divulging the importation of uranium from China.
The following year, work began on the construction of a heavy water reactor, but again Iran announced a suspension of uranium enrichment under the terms of the Paris Agreement.
After Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s election as president in August 2005, Iran removed the seals on its enrichment equipment and effectively rejected the Paris Agreement.
President Ahmadinejad announced that Iran had successfully enriched uranium in a televised address in 2006, where he announced the country had joined those with nuclear technology.
Then U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had urged the UN Security Council to consider ‘strong steps’ to force Tehran to shelve its nuclear ambitions. Subsequently the UN Security Council has passed seven resolutions on Iran insisting it ends its enrichment activities.
These have included freezing the assets of people and organizations linked to its nuclear and missile programmes.
Three nuclear scientists working on the programme have been killed in the last two years and a computer virus also affected enrichment at the Natanz plant in 2010.
TIMELINE OF DEVELOPMENT
February, 2009: IAEA Director-General Mohamed El Baradei said Iran was not allowing UN inspectors to determine if it was working developing nuclear weapons.
June, 2009: IAEA reveals it was blocked from inspecting nuclear facilities, but Mr El Baradei voices opposition to Israel support for military strike, saying it would turn region into ‘ball of fire’.
July, 2009: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had agreed with President Barack Obama to engage with Iran until the end of the year, but the country would be free to take on the ‘existential threat’ with military force after the deadline passed. Mr Obama also gave Iran until September to adhere to IAEA proposals or ‘face consequences’. Iran threatens to strike back at Israel if its nuclear facilities were targeted.
September, 2009: Second enrichment facility is revealed 20 miles north of Qom, Iran.
January, 2010: Masoul Ali Mohammadi – a particle physicist – is killed by a remote-control bomb as he left for work.
August, 2010: Iran acquires nuclear fuel rods from Russia and begins fueling of Bushehr I reactor – reportedly to generate electricity.
October, 2010: Stuxnet computer worm infects systems at Natanz enrichment plant, causing centrifuges to crash and suspending work.
November, 2010: Second physicist, Majid Shahriar, killed when bomb was stuck to the side of his car by a motorcyclist.
July, 2011: Darioush Rezaie – third physicist involved in Iran’s nuclear programme – shot dead.
‘Iran has always been threatened by Israel. This is not new for us. We have been hearing threats from Israel for eight years,’ he continued.
‘Our nation is a united nation. Its roots are deep in history. Such threats are not new to us.
‘We are very confident of ourselves. We can defend our country.’
An MoD spokesman said: ‘The British government believes that a dual track strategy of pressure and engagement is the best approach to address the threat from Iran’s nuclear programme and avoid regional conflict.
‘We want a negotiated solution – but all options should be kept on the table.’
A special unit at the MoD has been instructed to work out the UK’s strategy if the Army should invade Iran.
War planners will look at potential deployments of Royal Navy ships and submarines equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles and RAF fighter jets armed with precision-guided Pave way IV and Brimstone bombs and missiles, surveillance planes and air-to-air refueling.
Mr Netanyahu’s office said 2,000 new apartments would be built in Jewish areas of east Jerusalem.
Officials said the move was a response to recent unilateral steps by the Palestinians, particularly its acceptance into the UN cultural agency UNESCO.
He has blamed Israel for disruptions to the nuclear programme, including the mysterious assassinations of a string of Iranian nuclear scientists and a computer virus that wiped out some nuclear centrifuges.
But a report by the UN’s nuclear watchdog due to be published next week will provide fresh evidence of Iran’s activity, bringing the Middle East a step closer to another devastating conflict.
It is the latest of a series of quarterly bulletins on Iran’s arms programme, but will contain an unprecedented level of detail on research and experiments carried out in recent years.
It comes as a draft report revealed China is continuing to provide advanced missiles and other conventional arms to Iran, in violation of UN sanctions against the regime.
The report, from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, revealed China sold $312million of arms to Iran, second only to Russia.
It also noted that after Russia began cutting back arms transfers to Iran in 2008, China became the largest arms supplier to the Iranian military.
Most of the weapons transfers involved sales of Chinese anti-ship cruise missiles, including C-802 missiles that China promised the U.S. in 1997 would not be exported to Iran.
The report says: ‘Because of the relatively short range of these missiles, China’s provision of them to Iran does not violate the Iran, North Korea and Syria Non-proliferation Act of 2006, which seeks to prevent the transfer of only those missiles that can carry a 500kg warhead more than 300km.
‘It is possible, however, that these transactions violate the Iran Freedom Support Act, or the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act of 2010, which both use the ambiguous term “advanced conventional weapons”.’
Source: Images and Text from – The Dailymail