Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Haaretz - Israel News - Israel Panics over Quality of Iranian Rockets

Haaretz - Israel News - Analysis / Iran-Syria-Hezbollah s rocket array: "Analysis / Iran-Syria-Hezbollah's rocket array

By Ze'ev Schiff

The threat from the rockets supplied by Iran and Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon has grown both in range and quantity.

The commander in chief of the army in Syria army considers the rocket array to be part of his country's general deployment against Israel in case of war. More significant from Israel's viewpoint is the part played by Iran in deploying the rocket array in supplies provided by air, sea, and overland from Syria to Lebanon. There is also Syrian and Iranian logistic support and training of Hezbollah in the use of the rockets.

Not everything is known about the new Iranian-made rockets, with possible ranges of 115, 170 - perhaps even 210 kilometers. They may number a few dozen, and they apparently are not deployed in southern Lebanon.

It is not possible Lebanon's prime minister and military chiefs don't know these rockets have arrived, and if they are stored in the Beirut area. This is a major logistic operation requiring planes or sea transport to Lebanese ports. Some of the rockets have been transported by land from Syria and others flown from Iran to Damascus airport.

All through the years that the rocket deployment has been building in Lebanon, Israel did not hit any convoy transporting them. The rockets requires numerous storage depots that could have been hit from the air and by other means.

The rockets in Lebanon should not be viewed as merely a Hezbollah array. It is an Iran-Syria-Hezbollah.

The threat to Israel that was building up for such a long time is therefore a threat from Syria and Iran, operated by a Lebanese proxy. It has a strategic aspect because of the range of the rockets, and it is clear that if it is exercised, this could not be considered a serious border incident, but a shot in an all-out war. This is known in Syria - and especially well known in Lebanon."

Telegraph | News | Secret Atomic Summit Thursday in Paris

Telegraph | News | Iran starts atom tests in defiance of EU deal: "Iran starts atom tests in defiance of EU deal
By Anton La Guardia, Diplomatic Editor
(Filed: 27/07/2004)

Iran has broken the seals on nuclear equipment monitored by United Nations inspectors and is once again building and testing machines that could make fissile material for nuclear weapons.

Teheran's move, revealed to The Daily Telegraph yesterday by western sources, breaks a deal with European countries under which Iran suspended "all uranium enrichment activity".

It will also exacerbate fears that the regional power is determined to make an atomic bomb within a few years.

Enrichment is the most controversial part of Iran's "peaceful" nuclear programme because the same technology used to make low-enriched uranium to fuel nuclear reactors can be used to refine material for bombs.

America has in recent weeks renewed its call for Iran to be referred to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.

However, diplomats said senior officials from the "EU-3" - Britain, France and Germany - would try to coax Teheran back to the path of co-operation at a secret meeting in Paris on Thursday.

Their chances of success seem slim, however, because Teheran now appears to have calculated that America is paralysed by the presidential election campaign and that Europe is too divided to exert real pressure.

Western sources said Iranian officials last month reclaimed equipment for uranium enrichment centrifuges sealed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The centrifuges separate the fissile isotope U235.

In what may be a further escalation, some western sources said Iran was carrying out its threat to begin producing uranium hexafluoride, the gas fed into the centrifuges, but the claim could not be corroborated last night.

Under a deal reached with the EU-3 in October, Iran agreed to come clean about its nuclear programme and announced it would suspend "temporarily" all uranium enrichment as a confidence-building measure.

However, Iran interpreted this to mean only that it would not introduce gas into the centrifuges while remaining free to build and test them.

Under a deal in February, the EU-3 closed this loophole when Iran accepted a wider definition of "suspension" - and it is this "Brussels agreement" which has collapsed.

Angered by the IAEA's condemnation last month of repeated failures to reveal all about its nuclear programme, Hassan Rowhani, the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, wrote to the EU-3 saying his country would resume manufacture, assembly and testing of centrifuges.

Iran argues that its nuclear programme is designed solely to generate electricity for civilian use.

It argues that it is entitled to enrich uranium under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and insists that the suspension deal was a voluntary agreement that could be revoked.

America believes that a succession of reports by IAEA inspectors "revealing that Iran [has lied] systematically for 18 years and has yet to answer many troubling questions about its activities" provide ample evidence that Teheran has violated the treaty.

Inspectors have found that Iran made small quantities of weapons-grade uranium and plutonium.

Teheran has yet to explain the origin of highly-enriched uranium "contamination" detected at several sites.

Nor has it revealed the extent of its more sophisticated "P2" centrifuge programme that only came to light this year, with the unravelling of the "nuclear supermarket" operated by the disgraced Pakistani nuclear scientist, AQ Khan.

British officials say they have no illusions about Iran's intentions, but have hitherto advocated patient diplomacy.

They want to allow inspectors to keep working to "box in" the Iranians to the point where they either give up nuclear weapons ambitions or commit such a blatant violation that the West can win international support for sanctions.

"Iran has resumed research and testing, and every day that passes means it gets closer to mastering the technology," said one western source.

"If the Europeans think they can outfox the Iranians in the carpet bazaar, they are deeply mistaken.""

BBC NEWS | Middle East | US 'protects' Iranian Terrorists in Iraq

BBC NEWS | Middle East | US 'protects' Iran rebels in Iraq: "US 'protects' Iran rebels in Iraq

The People's Mujahideen opposed Iran's Government
The US has granted "protected status" under the Geneva Conventions to 3,800 members of an Iranian opposition group interned in Iraq.
This meant that People's Mujahideen's fighters were not considered belligerents during the Iraq war, State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said. But the new status did not affect the US view that the group was a terrorist organisation, Mr Ereli said.

Iran said the decision undermined US claims to be fighting terrorist groups.

Controversial move

"We have determined that they were not belligerents in this conflict and we are according them the human rights protections consistent with the Geneva Conventions," Mr Ereli said in Washington. The new status gives the militants access to the Red Cross and the United Nations refugee agency. But it will not protect any individuals who are suspected of carrying out terrorist acts.

About 3,000 members of the People's Mujahideen were disarmed by the US-led coalition after Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was removed from power last year. They are being held in Camp Ashraf, northeast of Baghdad. Tehran wants the militants sent to Iran but human rights organisations say they will face persecution if that happens. Previously, the Iraqi authorities have said they wanted the group to be expelled.

The controversy highlights the group's rather awkward position, the BBC's Pentagon correspondent Nick Childs says. He adds that what will ultimately happen to the fighters is not clear.

Washington says it is working with the Iraqi government and international organisations to find a solution

Thorn in side

The People's Mujahideen, or Mujahideen-e Khalq, has been a thorn in Tehran's side for more than two decades. A militant organisation, whose ideology combines elements of both Marxism and Islam, the group based itself in Iraq after being expelled from Iran. Members then carried out cross-border raids into Iran, which fought a war with Iraq between 1980 and 1988. Although the group kept out of this year's US-led Iraq war, their bases were bombed by US warplanes but after negotiations they reached a truce with the Americans. "

Daily Times - Iran says it's ready to find journalist's killer

Daily Times - Site Edition: "Iran says it’s ready to find journalist’s killer

TEHRAN: Iran’s reformist government on Monday volunteered to help the hardline judiciary find out who killed a Canadian journalist who died in custody last year after being struck on the head.

The judiciary on Saturday acquitted an Intelligence Ministry agent accused of killing Kazemi and moved to close the case, prompting protests from Ottawa, human rights groups and lawyers representing Kazemi’s family who want the case re-opened. They accuse the powerful and conservative judiciary of covering up key evidence pointing to the involvement of judiciary officials in Kazemi’s death.

President Mohammad Khatami’s government has long been at odds with the judiciary over its handling of investigations into the death of Iranian-born Zahra Kazemi, 54, who was arrested for taking photographs of Tehran’s Evin prison.

Judiciary and government on bad terms: Asked whether the reformist-run Intelligence Ministry had already identified who was responsible for Kazemi’s death, Ramazanzadeh said the ministry believed it “is able to identify (them) and is ready to do it.” Khatami’s government, which from the start proclaimed the innocence of the intelligence agent charged with killing Kazemi, constantly clashes with the judiciary which has jailed dozens of government supporters and closed scores of pro-government newspapers in the last four years. agencies"

Iran 'months' from atomic bomb

Iran 'months' from atomic bomb: "Iran 'months' from atomic bomb
27/07/2004 10:06 - (SA)
London - Iran is just 'months away' from being able to enrich uranium for a nuclear bomb, Britain's The Times newspaper reported on Tuesday, quoting Western diplomatic sources.
'Iran appears to be further advanced in acquiring the relevant nuclear technology than we had initially thought,' a British official told the newspaper.
Teheran had bought time through appearing to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency and with a diplomatic initiative led by Britain, France and Germany, the report said.
But officials now believed the situation was 'grave', it added.
'Actually they have just continued with the research work and now they are only a few months away from completing the programme,' a source told The Times.
Iran is a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty but is allowed to develop nuclear technology for civilian purposes.
US President George Bush has named Iran as part of the 'axis of evil' and accused Tehran of wanting to develop nuclear weapons.
Officials told the Times the IAEA was monitoring Iran closely, and that the country could be referred to the United Nations Security Council in coming months.
Teheran had chosen to use centrifuge technology to enrich uranium for making a bomb, rather than extracting plutonium from used fuel from a reactor under con"

Iran Rejects Charges Of Interference In Iraq

RADIO FREE EUROPE/ RADIO LIBERTY: "Iran Rejects Charges Of Interference In Iraq
27 July 2004 -- Tehran today rejected allegations by Iraq's interim Defense Minister Hazim al-Shalan that Iran is fomenting violence in Iraq.

Iranian government spokesman Abdullah Ramezanzadeh told AFP the Iraqi official's remarks are 'contrary to the official messages we get from Baghdad, and it is even contrary to comments made by [Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad] Allawi.'

Ramezanzadeh said Iran does not consider al-Shalan's remarks to reflect 'Iraq's official position.'

Al-Shalan said in an interview with the U.S. daily 'The Washington Post' that Iran remains his country's 'first enemy.'

The minister said in the interview published yesterday that he had seen 'clear interference in Iraqi issues by Iran.'

He accused Iran of taking over some Iraqi border posts and sending spies and saboteurs into Iraq.


albawaba.com: Israel Fears Hizbullah Rockets t

albawaba.com: Israel says Hizbullah rockets threaten Tel Aviv as Iran vows to ''wipe Israel off'' map: "Israel says Hizbullah rockets threaten Tel Aviv as Iran vows to ''wipe Israel off'' map
27-07-2004, 09:13

Lebanon's Hizbullah might have a few dozen long-range rockets capable of hitting Tel Aviv area if launched from southern Lebanon, the head of Israel's Military Intelligence told ministers at the weekly cabinet meeting Sunday, Haaretz reported on Tuesday.

Intelligence Chief Major-General Aharon Ze'evi-Farkash said the Iranian-backed resistance movement had a few dozen rockets 'apparently' with a range of 115 kilometers and perhaps as great as 200 kilometers.

Israel is certain that the Iranian Fajar 3 and Fajar 5 rockets, with a range of 45 to 75 kilometers, and Syrian-made 200-millimeter rockets, with a range of 70 kilometers, are included among Hizbullah's arsenal.

Farkash's comments were published as a spokesman for Iran's Revolutionary Guards was quoted as saying the Islamic Republic will wipe Israel 'off the face of the earth' if it dared to attack the its nuclear facilities.

'The United States is showing off by threatening to use its wild dog, Israel,' the public relations head of the Revolutionary Guards, Commander Seyed Masood Jazayeri, was quoted as saying by the Iranian student news agency ISNA.

'They will not hesitate to strike Iran if they are capable of it. However, their threats to attack Irans nuclear facilities cannot be realised. They are aware Tehran's reaction will be so harsh that Israel will be wiped off the face of the earth and US interests will be easily damaged,' he warned. (albawaba.com) "