Posts Tagged ‘nuclear proliferation’

Will there be an Iranian missile crisis?

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

At the Jerusalem Post, ‘Die Welt’: Iran building rocket bases in Venezuela
German paper says Iranians paid cash to build mid-range missile launch pads on Paraguana Peninsula; Iranian engineers visited site in Feb.

Iran is building intermediate-range missile launch pads on the Paraguaná Peninsula, and engineers from a construction firm – Khatam al-Anbia – owned by the Revolutionary Guards visited Paraguaná in February. Amir al-Hadschisadeh, the head of the Guard’s Air Force, approved the visit, according to the report. Die Welt cited information from “Western security insiders.”

The rocket bases are to include measures to prevent air attacks on Venezuela as well as commando and control stations.

The Iranian military involvement in the project extends to bunker, barracks and watch tower construction. Twenty-meter deep rocket silos are planned. The cost of the Venezuelan military project is being paid for with Iranian oil revenue. The Iranians paid in cash for the preliminary phase of the project, which amounted to “dozens of millions” of dollars, Die Welt wrote.

The Paraguaná Peninsula is on the coast of Venezuela and is roughly 120 kilometers from America’s main South American partner, Colombia.

According to Die Welt, the clandestine agreement between Venezuela and Iran would mean the Chavez government would fire rocket at Iran’s enemies should the Islamic Republic face military strikes.

The Daily Caller also has the story, which you can find in the original German here.

Doug Mataconis has questions as to how “serious a project” this is, while Ron Radosh asks Are We Facing an Iranian Missile Crisis?

Writing at the Fox News website, Reza Kahili notes that Die Welt’s report:

Confirms that the bilateral agreement signed in October [between Venezuela and Iran] was for a missile installation to be built inside Venezuela. Quoting diplomatic sources, Die Welt reports that, at present, the area earmarked for the missile base is the Paraguaná Peninsula, located 120 kilometers from the Colombian border. A group of engineers from Khatam Al-Anbia, the construction arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, covertly traveled to this area on the orders of Amir Hajizadeh, the commander of the Revolutionary Guard Air Force.

Even more shocking is the following:

Die Welt writes that the Iranian delegation had been ordered to focus on the plan for building the necessary foundations for air strikes. The planning and building of command stations, control bases, residential buildings, security towers, bunkers and dugouts, warheads, rocket fuel and other cloaking constructs has been assigned to other members of the Revolutionary Guard Corps of Engineers. The IRGC engineers will also be interfacing with their Venezuelan counterparts in fabricating missile depots that are said to go as deep as 20 meters in the ground.

The Iranian-Venezuelan deal evidently also includes housing of Hezbollah cells and Quds forces in the new facilities, ready to expand their activity in Latin American in conjunction with drug cartels in the region, including those causing so much trouble now in Mexico.

Indeed, as long-term readers of this blog may recall, Iran and Venezuela have had secret flights between the two countries for years now, Iran is actively recruiting in Latin America, Venezuela has embarked on an arms race, and both the Iranians and Venezuela are involved with the drug trade.

Now, here’s an important point: The missiles, once they are operative, do not have to be fired at the USA or its territories to cause chaos and death here in the USA. In strategic terms, an attack on the Panama canal, US navy ships in the Caribbean, and military installations manned by US personnel would be enough.

26266

Iranian missiles in Venezuela

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

I have been posting about the close ties between Iran and Venezuela for years.

Last month Welt on Line published this report,
Achse Caracas–Teheran
Iran plant Bau einer Raketenstellung in Venezuela
(Caracas-Tehran Axis: Iran plans to build a missile base in Venezuela. You can read the Google translation here).

The article refers to an agreement signed on October 19 this year,

According to information received by Welt on Line, Iran’s Supreme Security Council had proposed a joint military facility on Venezuelan soil to increase the deterrent power of Iran against the West. The cooperation would be a way for Iran to build a strategic base in South American – in the backyard of the United States.

Coincidentally, on October 19, Barack Obama was saying that a nuclear Venezuela is fine by him.

Anna Mahjar-Barducci at Hudson New York has more on the Iran-Venezuela missile agreement,
Iran Placing Medium-Range Missiles in Venezuela; Can Reach the U.S.

At a moment when NATO members found an agreement, in the recent Lisbon summit (19-20 November 2010), to develop a Missile Defence capability to protect NATO’s populations and territories in Europe against ballistic missile attacks from the East (namely, Iran), Iran’s counter-move consists in establishing a strategic base in the South American continent – in the United States’s soft underbelly.

According to Die Welt, Venezuela has agreed to allow Iran to establish a military base manned by Iranian missile officers, soldiers of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Venezuelan missile officers. In addition, Iran has given permission for the missiles to be used in case of an “emergency”. In return, the agreement states that Venezuela can use these facilities for “national needs” – radically increasing the threat to neighbors like Colombia. The German daily claims that according to the agreement, Iranian Shahab 3 (range 1300-1500 km), Scud-B (285-330 km) and Scud-C (300, 500 and 700 km) will be deployed in the proposed base. It says that Iran also pledged to help Venezuela in rocket technology expertise, including intensive training of officers.

Of course, considering the secret flights between Iran and Venezuela, Iranian personnel may be manning the technology in Venezuela.

Back in 2008 Italian daily La Stampa and AFP reported about Iran’s use of Venezuela to bypass UN sanctions. This strategy continues,

Venezuela has also become the country through which Iran intends to bypass UN sanctions. Following a new round of UN sanctions against the Islamic Republic, for example, Russia decided not to sell five battalions of S-300PMU-1 air defence systems to Iran. These weapons, along with a number of other weapons, were part of a deal, signed in 2007, worth $800 million. Now that these weapons cannot be delivered to Iran, Russia is looking for new customers; according to the Russian press agency Novosti[2], it found one: Venezuela.

Novosti reports the words of Igor Korotchenko, head of a Moscow-based think tank on international arms trade, saying that if the S-300 deal with Venezuela goes through, Caracas should pay cash for the missiles, rather than take another loan from Russia. “The S-300 is a very good product and Venezuela should pay the full amount in cash, as the country’s budget has enough funds to cover the deal ,” Korotchenko said. Moscow has already provided Caracas with several loans to buy Russian-made weaponry, including a recent $2.2-mln loan on the purchase of 92 T-72M1M tanks, the Smerch multiple-launch rocket systems and other military equipment.

If Iran, therefore, cannot get the S-300 missiles directly from Russia, it can still have them through its proxy, Venezuela, and deploy them against its staunchest enemy, the U.S..

Iran has missile technology,

But that is not all. According to Reuters, Iran has developed a version of the Russian S-300 missile and will test-fire it soon, as declared by the official news agency IRNA, two months after Moscow cancelled the delivery to comply with United Nations sanctions[3]. Iran, in fact, has its own capabilities for constructing missiles that could carry atomic warheads. According to a study recently released by the International Institute of Strategic Studies in London, Iran is presently aiming to perfect the already existing solid-fuel, medium-range missile that can carry a nuke to hit regional targets, such as Israel[4]. If a missile base can be opened in Venezuela, many US cities will be able to be reached from there even with short-medium range missiles.

The Hudson article goes on to say that the Obama administration has a lax attitude. Don’t I wish the attitude was “lax”; as you can see from the link above, Obama’s given his blessing to a nuclear Venezuela.

The deadline on this? According to the Welt article, “both sides want to start building the project’s infrastructure by 2011.”

The Gateway Pundit, Israel Matzav and Doug Ross have more on this story. Also at Q&O.

Cross-posted in The Green Room and Real Clear World.

UPDATE
Welcome, Babalu readers!

24188

Iran: A series of fortunate events? UPDATED

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Maybe it’s all coincidental,
First, the Stuxnet virus at work for 17 months,

the worm was designed to allow the Iranian program to continue but never succeed, and never to know why.

Then all those hints from Arab leaders wanting Iran stopped “by all means necessary“, as revealed by the Wikileaks.

Now this,
Blasts target Iranian nuclear scientists
One professor dies, another is injured on their morning commutes
.

Both scholars’ wives and a driver were also injured in the attacks, according to the news agencies. The slain scientist, Majid Shahriari, was a member of the nuclear engineering team at the Shahid Behesti university in Tehran, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency, or IRNA.

It almost looked like an old-fashioned Mafia hit out of a movie,

The assassins, riding motorcycles, tossed bombs at — or attached them to — vehicles of the two Shahid Behesti University professors as they drove with their spouses en route to work between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m..

“A Pulsar motorbike drove close to Dr. Shahriari’s car and stuck a bomb on his car which after a few seconds exploded,” Tehran police chief Hossein Sajednia was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars news agency

Not the first blast to kill a scientist in the Iranian nuclear program,

A powerful and still mysterious Jan. 12 explosion killed Iranian physicist Massoud Ali Mohammadi near his home.

By now Iran ought to take the hint that Someone Is Trying To Sabotage The Iranian Nuclear Program.

Yes, but the word “someone” implies a single entity. One shouldn’t rule out a group of entities acting together.

Just sayin’.

UPDATE
Ace:

I sure would like to think my government was capable of stuff like this. Or had the balls to do it. But I don’t.

24044

Today’s “WTF? moment” goes to Fidel Castro VIDEO

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

Fidel Castro is not only alive, he’s back wearing green fatigue shirts roomy enough for his colostomy bags. Yesterday he gave a totally incoherent speech on Middle East nuclear war, world peace, reversing climate change and planting trees to students at his former alma mater, the University of Havana.

Here’s the video,

WTF?

By the way, this is the same guy who was telling Nikita Khrushev to nuke the USA during the Cuban missile crisis.

I wonder if Barbara Walters will now want to show up by his bedside and boink him, like she did in the 1960s. After all, groupies never die.

22819

Iran’s bomber “has a main message of peace and friendship.” UPDATED

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

As you already know, Iran opened its first nuclear plant at Bushehr last week – “for peaceful purposes.”

Iran ‘12 months from nuclear weapon’ US warns as Bushehr reactor started
The US sought to reassure Israel that Iran is still a year away from building a nuclear weapon, as Iran’s leadership hailed the fuelling of its first nuclear power plant on Saturday.
(emphasis added)

Gary Samore, President Obama’s adviser on nuclear issues, tried to ease tensions among Israeli officials by telling the New York Times that the process of converting nuclear material into a weapon that worked would take at least 12 months.

Tried to ease tensions among Israeli officials? by telling them the nukes are a year away?

Oh, I forgot, that’s “smart diplomacy.” Of course the Israelis will feel at ease to hear that a country which has declared itself willing to wipe them off the map and is headed by a messianic lunatic who thinks bringing Armageddon will make the 12th Imam turn up is a year away from actually having a nuclear bomb.

It all depends on if you’re a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty kind of person.

Imagine how much more at ease the Israelis are feeling with this other bit of news:
Iran unveils ‘ambassador of death’ bomber
But unmanned aircraft has ‘message of peace,’ President Ahmadinejad says

EHRAN, Iran — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Sunday inaugurated the country’s first domestically built long-range unmanned bomber aircraft, calling it an “ambassador of death” to Iran’s enemies.

Speaking to a group of officials, Ahmadinejad said, “The jet, as well as being an ambassador of death for the enemies of humanity, has a main message of peace and friendship.”

The goal of the aircraft is to “keep the enemy paralyzed in its bases,” he said, adding that the jet is for deterrence and defensive purposes.

The president championed the country’s military self-sufficiency program and said it will continue “until the enemies of humanity lose hope of ever attacking the Iranian nation.”

Here in the USA we should be at ease too, contemplating the thought that Hugo Chavez is flying Hezbollah, members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) and other intelligence personnel right into our hemisphere (h/t Silvio).

Even more at ease, for those who understand the power of symbolism in Ahmadinejad’s mentality, the dates of all these happenings coincide with the commemoration of Muhammad’s flight on a winged horse to Jerusalem and then to heaven and back.

And a rocket or two, to bring home the “message of peace and friendship.”

UPDATE:
Via Larwyn, Jim Hoft has a photo of Ajad’s baby,

The unveiling of the aircraft comes as Iran marks on Sunday its annual Defence Industry Day.

Any resemblance to a German V1 is purely coincidental.

22512

Why appeasement never works VIDEO

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

Bill Whittle explains,

Found it via Larwyn at Gerard’s who asks,

Bill Whittle talks about how policies of appeasement encouraged our enemies in the years leading up to World War II. Are modern policies of appeasement encouraging Islamic extremists? Will we pay the price for Obama’s cowardice?

While we’re enjoying this lovely weekend afternoon, Richard Fernandez ponders The Fatal Summer.

Over in Iran,
Iran Opens Its First Nuclear Power Plant – for “peaceful purposes”, of course.

Video
,

While on the subject of appeasement, Jennifer Rubin looks at Obama Pressuring Israel (Still) Not to Hit Iran

This raises several issues. First, why is this appearing on the front page of the Times? Second, do we imagine that the Israelis were “persuaded”? And finally, is everyone now in agreement that it is one year before the mullahs go nuclear, rather than one to three years, as some in the administration have declared?

The real question remains, however, what the administration intends to do when it becomes apparent that sanctions have failed and the mullahs are on the verge of success in their dream of attaining status as a nuclear power. Will the administration think of new excuses for inactivity? What should concern the American people is that the administration uses the Gray Lady to send a message of restraint to our ally rather than as a platform to put forth a message to Iran that we will use force before the year is up. The dog that didn’t bark is also sometimes news.

Don’t count on it.

22472

Sharks circling the waters news roundup

Monday, July 26th, 2010

While we talk about the Afghan war document dump (and the eventuality of a hasty withdrawal and defeat in Afghanistan), here are a few noteworthy news items:

Signals in the Yellow Sea
China tries to deny U.S. aircraft carriers access to international waters.

The People’s Daily tips China’s hand that the top priority is keeping the carriers away. Not only is Beijing going to try to forbid the activity of surveillance in its economic zone, any ship with surveillance capability is unwelcome: “As the Yellow Sea is a high sea, the aircraft carrier can also detect the hydro-geological conditions of China’s submarines’ channels out to sea. Therefore, the two purposes of the joint military exercise, strategic reconnaissance and testing initial combat plans, will pose a threat to China.”

Such a blatant attempt to expropriate the rights of the U.S. Navy or any other navy to operate in international waters is not acceptable. The Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen said recently that his attitude toward China has “moved from being curious to being genuinely concerned.” It’s easy to see why.

China Rejects U.S. Suggestion for Asean Mediation on Territory

The dispute has raised concerns that an increasingly powerful Chinese military could seek to dominate Asian waters. Tensions have risen as Chinese companies have increased exploration efforts in the region to look for new deposits of energy and minerals.

North Korea Threatens to Nuke South

Iran Will Retaliate if Inspected

And one more step towards the narcostate at the southern border,
Mexico prisoners ‘freed for killings’ in Durango state
Gunmen who killed 17 people at a party in northern Mexico earlier this month were let out of prison to carry out the attack, state prosecutors say.

As my friend Richard said, when I asked if there’s lots more to come, “probably, but you wouldn’t know it if you were at the golf course.”

Worried yet?

21926

The picture of bad news: Iran, Brazil, Turkey

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Hugo Chavez is not the only Latin American leader in bed with the Iranians:

From the Wall Street Journal,

From left to right, Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, joined hands after signing a nuclear fuel swap deal, in Tehran on Monday.

Iranian Nuclear Deal Raises Fears, as it well should:

A new Iranian offer to ship out about half of its nuclear fuel—in a surprise deal brokered by Brazil and Turkey—posed a fresh obstacle to U.S.-led efforts to punish Iran for its nuclear program, and underlined U.S. difficulties in affirming its global leadership amid the assertiveness of smaller powers.

Tehran agreed to the proposal during a weekend meeting between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the leaders of Turkey and Brazil—two developing economies aiming to wield more clout on the diplomatic stage, often by opposing the U.S. “Diplomacy emerged victorious,” Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said on Brazilian radio. “It showed that it is possible to build peace and development with dialogue.”

And possibly line one’s pockets in the process?

Here’s the deal:

The Obama administration is about to use some strongly-worded language,

The Obama administration said it had “serious concerns” about the new offer, a weaker version of one that Iran negotiated last October with a broader group of countries to avoid sanctions—but which Tehran’s government declined to approve.

For instance, in the previous agreement Iran would have halted its efforts to enrich uranium to a level of more than 3%-4%. In the new offer, Iran isn’t called upon to stop its higher enrichment, now at 20%. (Weapons-grade uranium is enriched to 90%.) Though Iran would still ship out the same amount of fuel to be enriched elsewhere for its use in medical research, it has more of the fuel now—so it would keep more.

U.S. and European diplomats worried Tehran’s renewed fuel-swap plan could upend progress toward enacting new sanctions on Iran’s program through the United Nations Security Council.

The Obama administration didn’t want to step on Brazilian and Turkish toes, either:

The U.S. has had to tread carefully around the efforts of Brazil’s President da Silva and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Both countries are current members of the Security Council, and though they don’t hold veto powers, agreement of 10 of the 15 members is needed for the sanctions the U.S. seeks to take effect.

Washington has been aware of the two leaders’ forays, and some officials fear they are participating in a ploy by Iran to crack international unity. But the U.S. did not appear to press the countries to cease. They have said they are standing up for the right of smaller countries to gain civilian nuclear programs. The White House was cautious not to criticize the leaders Monday, acknowledging “the efforts” they had made.

The EU was underwhelmed by America’s stance and responded in equally strongly-worded language:

Still, some U.S. and European leaders spoke bitterly Monday of Turkey’s and Brazil’s actions, saying the Iran issue could imperil Ankara’s effort to join the European Union and Brasilia’s hopes of becoming a permanent Security Council member.

Considering how the EU is falling apart, and China and Russia have permanent seats in the Security Council, I’m sure the mullahs, Erdogan and Lula are quaking in their collective boots.

Meanwhile, Hillary says U.S. Reaches Iran Sanctions Agreement With Russia and China (emphasis added):

Mrs. Clinton said the new sanctions agreement was “as convincing an answer to the efforts undertaken in Tehran over the last few days as any we could provide.”

Particularly when you consider,

Mrs. Clinton’s announcement was difficult to square with China’s embrace earlier Tuesday of the new nuclear fuel-swap proposal.

And let’s not forget Russia’s helpfulness, too.

UPDATE
While Brazilian President In Holocaust-Denying Iran, Thousands at Home Pay Tribute to Millions of Jewish Dead

The picture of bad news: Iran, Brazil, Turkey

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Hugo Chavez is not the only Latin American leader in bed with the Iranians:

From the Wall Street Journal,

From left to right, Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, joined hands after signing a nuclear fuel swap deal, in Tehran on Monday.

Iranian Nuclear Deal Raises Fears, as it well should:

A new Iranian offer to ship out about half of its nuclear fuel—in a surprise deal brokered by Brazil and Turkey—posed a fresh obstacle to U.S.-led efforts to punish Iran for its nuclear program, and underlined U.S. difficulties in affirming its global leadership amid the assertiveness of smaller powers.

Tehran agreed to the proposal during a weekend meeting between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the leaders of Turkey and Brazil—two developing economies aiming to wield more clout on the diplomatic stage, often by opposing the U.S. “Diplomacy emerged victorious,” Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said on Brazilian radio. “It showed that it is possible to build peace and development with dialogue.”

And possibly line one’s pockets in the process?

Here’s the deal:

The Obama administration is about to use some strongly-worded language,

The Obama administration said it had “serious concerns” about the new offer, a weaker version of one that Iran negotiated last October with a broader group of countries to avoid sanctions—but which Tehran’s government declined to approve.

For instance, in the previous agreement Iran would have halted its efforts to enrich uranium to a level of more than 3%-4%. In the new offer, Iran isn’t called upon to stop its higher enrichment, now at 20%. (Weapons-grade uranium is enriched to 90%.) Though Iran would still ship out the same amount of fuel to be enriched elsewhere for its use in medical research, it has more of the fuel now—so it would keep more.

U.S. and European diplomats worried Tehran’s renewed fuel-swap plan could upend progress toward enacting new sanctions on Iran’s program through the United Nations Security Council.

The Obama administration didn’t want to step on Brazilian and Turkish toes, either:

The U.S. has had to tread carefully around the efforts of Brazil’s President da Silva and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Both countries are current members of the Security Council, and though they don’t hold veto powers, agreement of 10 of the 15 members is needed for the sanctions the U.S. seeks to take effect.

Washington has been aware of the two leaders’ forays, and some officials fear they are participating in a ploy by Iran to crack international unity. But the U.S. did not appear to press the countries to cease. They have said they are standing up for the right of smaller countries to gain civilian nuclear programs. The White House was cautious not to criticize the leaders Monday, acknowledging “the efforts” they had made.

The EU was underwhelmed by America’s stance and responded in equally strongly-worded language:

Still, some U.S. and European leaders spoke bitterly Monday of Turkey’s and Brazil’s actions, saying the Iran issue could imperil Ankara’s effort to join the European Union and Brasilia’s hopes of becoming a permanent Security Council member.

Considering how the EU is falling apart, and China and Russia have permanent seats in the Security Council, I’m sure the mullahs, Erdogan and Lula are quaking in their collective boots.

Meanwhile, Hillary says U.S. Reaches Iran Sanctions Agreement With Russia and China (emphasis added):

Mrs. Clinton said the new sanctions agreement was “as convincing an answer to the efforts undertaken in Tehran over the last few days as any we could provide.”

Particularly when you consider,

Mrs. Clinton’s announcement was difficult to square with China’s embrace earlier Tuesday of the new nuclear fuel-swap proposal.

And let’s not forget Russia’s helpfulness, too.

UPDATE
While Brazilian President In Holocaust-Denying Iran, Thousands at Home Pay Tribute to Millions of Jewish Dead

20372

Hillary to Ahmadinejad: “Beee-have!”

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Rather than deny the little toad a visa, Hillary’s telling Ahmadinejad to behave:
Clinton cool to Iran’s Ahmadinejad attending UN nuclear meeting
Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will likely receive a visa to attend next week’s Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference in New York. But Hillary Clinton says he won’t have a ‘receptive audience.’

Hillary believes that granting Ahmadinejad a visa “means little,” and she used strong language.

I’m sure they mullahs are quaking in their boots.