Senior Iranian officials now say that Tehran will not suspend its contested nuclear enrichment program until the West first agrees to lift all economic sanctions on the country.
Tehran issued its new demands on Tuesday, just days after Western nuclear negotiators failed to hammer out a deal to halt Iran’s contested enrichment program for at least six months.Sponsored Ads
Top Iranian officials now say that they will only continue negotiations if the West agrees to first lift the crippling economic sanctions that originally pushed Tehran to the bargaining table.
But thanks to the Syrian civil war, the threat of Iranian retaliation has been dramatically reduced. Partly, of course, that’s because two of Iran’s principal allies, Syria and Hezbollah, are too preoccupied with that war to be able to mount serious reprisals against anyone. But even more importantly, the tremendous importance Iran attaches to Syria gives both Israel and America a powerful lever with which to restrain any Iranian reprisals.
Iran has poured billions of dollars and thousands of crack fighters–from Hezbollah, Iranian-backed militias in Iraq, and its own Revolutionary Guards Corps–into propping up Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria, because it deems Assad’s survival strategically vital. As one senior Iranian cleric explained in February, “Syria is the 35th province [of Iran] and a strategic province for us. If the enemy attacks us and wants to take either Syria or Khuzestan [in western Iran], the priority for us is to keep Syria….If we keep Syria, we can get Khuzestan back too, but if we lose Syria, we cannot keep Tehran.”
Graphic: Saudi Arabia has built a new missile base with launch pads aimed at both Israel and Iran, satellite photographs shown to The Telegraph have suggested.
Military experts at IHS Jane’s Intelligence Review made the discovery while studying images of a base in desert south-west of Riyadh that housed medium-range ballistic missiles. A pair of launch pads could be seen with launch markings apparently pointing north-west towards Tel Aviv and north-east towards Tehran.
The configuration of the launch pads, believed to have been built within the last five years, suggests that Saudi Arabia could perceive both countries as potential threats.
One of the most significant results of Iran’s election of a relative moderate as its next president will likely be to postpone any Israeli decision on military action against Tehran’s nuclear program until next year.
Ever since U.S. President Barack Obama visited here in March, Israel has toned down its threats to attack, due to an agreement with Washington to wait until after the Iranian election.
But now, with Hasan Rowhani’s surprise victory last Friday, it seems the West will want at least several months to assess the meaning of this change. Until then, Israel will have trouble mustering international support for an attack on Iran. Though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s associates have frequently hinted that this will be the absolutely final year of decision on Iran, it seems he will have to wait another one.
Unchecked, Tehran and its ally will emerge more aggressive than ever.
For those who have hoped that the Syrian quagmire might swallow up Iran’s influence in the region, it’s time to wake up: Tehran and its ally Hezbollah are set to emerge from the Syrian conflict more aggressive than ever.
Iran is also likely to continue leveraging the Assad regime to transport weapons to Hezbollah’s coffers, despite threats of additional Israeli airstrikes. …
Rather than confront the looming threat of Hezbollah, Western strategists are still grappling with concerns over which rebel group to arm, or what regime might replace Assad’s. They fail to realize that if Hezbollah’s involvement continues unchecked, these questions will become irrelevant. The time has come for the West to stop obsessing about the risks of stopping the Assad regime, Hezbollah and Iran, and start considering the consequences of not stopping them.
Mr. Nisman is the Middle East and North Africa intelligence director at Max Security Solutions, a geopolitical and security risk consulting firm.
There are “clear signs” that terrorist networks first established by Iran in several South American countries in the 1980s and 1990s are still in place, and there are indications that Iran has similar networks in Europe, the Argentinian prosecutor who investigated the 1994 AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires told The Times of Israel.
In a telephone interview a week after he issued a 500-page report on the bombing and Iran’s wider terrorist infiltration of South America, Alberto Nisman said that Tehran had established its terror networks for the strategic long term, ready to be used “whenever it needs them.”
Confirmed: Iran has installed hundreds of additional centrifuges for uranium enrichment, while continuing enrichment activities, and is creating a plutonium enrichment plant at Arak.
At a time when news headlines from the Middle East are dominated by battles in Syria, growing Sunni-Shi’ite conflict in Iraq and Lebanon, and mass disturbances in Turkey, it is easy to forget about Iran’s nuclear program; but early warning indicators are signaling an impending, explosive crisis over Iran’s refusal to halt its covert nuclear weapons program.
At enrichment facilities in Natanz and Fordow, Iran is continuing to inch closer to the point of nuclear breakout, as a report by the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recently noted.
The report confirmed what defense analysts had been saying for months: that Iran installed hundreds of additional centrifuges for uranium enrichment, enhancing its nuclear program, while continuing enrichment activities.
Tehran has also taken steps to create a parallel path to nuclear weapons through its plutonium plant at Arak.
Iran is working round the clock to enlarge its nuclear infrastructure with the eventual aim of developing an industry capable of building up to 30 bombs a year, an Israeli minister charged on Monday.
Speaking to reporters in Jerusalem, Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said Tehran was “very close” to crossing the red line laid out by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last year.
But he said it was biding its time and building uranium-enrichment facilities before making the final push for weapons-grade material.
Iranian leaders have given the go-ahead to a coalition of terrorists to attack American soil, in effect all but declaring war on the United States.
As I reported recently and according to a source in the Islamic regime’s intelligence apparatus, Iran created the Coalition of Muslim Soldiers to wreak havoc on the United States and its allies. The goal is to change the field of battle from the Middle East to the American homeland, and the opening salvos — if indeed the Boston bombing wasn’t the first — are due imminently unless U.S. authorities can short-circuit Tehran’s plans.
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