MOSCOW, June 30 (RIA Novosti) - Seven Slovak nationals have been arrested in Iran for violating the country’s law, Iran’s Foreign Ministry said on Sunday, according to local media reports.
They had come to the Islamic republic as tourists, but their actions and behavior was “unconventional” and they were in possession of “unconventional equipment,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Araqchi said, without providing any more details.
The investigation is underway, and the Slovak government has been informed about the incident, he said.
On Saturday, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, chairman of Iran Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee said, the Slovaks “were present in sensitive areas”, Press TV reported.
Nukes are useless because nobody dare use them – Ahmadinejad to RT.
RT.com July 02, 2013 17:14
Nuclear arms – as “the most inhumane weapon” – cannot be ever deployed and therefore they are useless for Iran, said outgoing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in an exclusive interview with RT’s Sophie Shevardnadze.
“This is something that I said many times before. It is not of any use to us to have nukes. Where can we use nuclear weapons? They are useless, nobody can use them. The US has most of the nukes in the world – where can it use them?” he said.
The Iranian President believes society is “well over this one”.
“It is so 20th century, even the people of the US are not going to allow the government to make use of them,” the Iranian president suggested, because “It is the most brutal and inhumane weapon that can be used against others.”
Throughout its history Iran “has always been a defender and has always used conventional weapons only,” claimed President Ahmadinejad.
“Iran has never used chemical weapons. Iran is still defending itself with mostly a political-cultural defense,” Ahmadinejad said.
However, the outgoing president whose term finishes on August 3 warned that “one cannot get away with bombarding” Iranian nuclear facilities.
“[Nuclear facilities] are securely localized in the heads of our scientists,” he said, referring to American and Israeli threats to carry out unilateral strikes on Iran in recent years.
The west headed by the US has been putting pressure on Iran over the country’s controversial nuclear program. Though Tehran always stressed the program is peaceful, Washington as well as Tel Aviv have suspected Iran of building nuclear weapons, something Tehran has consistently denied.
While the US has frequently stated that “all options are on table” while dealing with Iran, Israel threatened a unilateral strike on the Iranian nuclear facilities.
“Iran’s territory is 1,873 million square kilometers, that’s a vastness, are they going to bomb them all?”
“This is a psychological war and of course we’re ready to defend ourselves,” Ahmadinejad concluded.
However, the Iranian leader remarked that a direct dialogue between Iran and the US would be possible – if Washington agrees to “equal circumstances” dialogue, not a dictate.
“If somebody comes to you and holds a hammer over your head and forces you to have a dialogue – that is not right. A dialogue is about gaining understanding and resolving differences. It should not be used as a method to impose on others,” President Ahmadinejad said.
‘Every country will be affected by economic recession’
The world is facing an economic recession, the current economic crisis is an international one and it affects every country, be it Iran, Russia, the US or the EU, Iranian leader said.
“Iran has been under unilateral, one-sided, unfair sanctions, but despite severe unprecedented sanctions the country develops economically – nothing short of a miracle. All economic indexes are improving, per capita income is going up, the human development index is on the rise,” he said.
In late 2011 - early 2012, the US and EU imposed sanctions on Tehran targeting its banks and oil industry effectively banning the oil trade between Europe and Iran, and putting significant barriers to trade. Iran is still exporting oil, it has also begun to export electricity, steel and cement and the total exports, excluding oil, has grown seven fold, Ahmadinejad revealed.
“In many fields related to technology we are among the top 10 in the world,” Ahmadinejad said adding that in terms of scientific progress the country rose from 32nd to 14th in eight years and scientific growth is 11 times higher than the world average.
Western countries started to ignore Iran after the Islamic Revolution in 1979 and continued to do so over the last 34 years, but they have not succeeded in halting Iran’s economic development, President Ahmadinejad stated.
‘Fighting cyber war has become Iran’s second nature’
During the interview with RT, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has also talked of Tehran having always been aware of the cyber warfare conducted against it.
In March, law and technology experts agreed that the Stuxnet worm used against Iran in 2009-2010 was a cyber-attack. Stuxnet was allegedly used to change the speeds of around 1,000 gas-spinning centrifuges without being detected, thus sabotaging Iran's nuclear research. The US and Israel have been accused of collaborating on the virus in a bid to damage Iran’s nuclear program.
“This is a world of communications. Once you get connected to the internet – there are going to be problems of a kind,” Ahmadinejad said.
“We’re talking to each other right now, right?” he told RT’s Sophie Shevardnadze. “Do you think that we’re being bugged? That this place is bugged? Maybe we’re bugged, it is not difficult to do,” laughed the problem off the president.
“Naturally, there is a software war going on in the virtual world, our agencies are doing this – if it is necessary,” Ahmadinejad said.
Iranian electronic communication networks, banking systems, nuclear research network, electricity networks have all been attacked, but Iranian specialists “diffused the threats and counter-attacked,” Iranian President said. “This is a routine for us. These are the harms and disadvantages of communication technology.”
‘No ruler should feel safe’
As for a possibility of an uprising similar to the Arab Spring, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that such revolutions were managed from the outside.
“No ruler should feel safe, nowhere in the world, not only Iran,” he concluded adding that saying there is no ideal place despite humanity’s constant strife for perfection.
The planet with about seven billion population is being ruled by maybe 1,000 people, while the governments just come and go, the Iranian President declared, so legislation is imperfect everywhere in the world and the rulers should think about ordinary people – or be overthrown.
“In the next five-six year the countries run in a limited way by narrow-minded rulers will witness revolutions – including the US,” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad predicted.
In this regard the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is a historical movement, a popular way of thinking that is going to stay in power unless something else of a comparable size and power emerges, Iranian President pointed out. “It cannot be eliminated completely.”
The same applies to the situation in Syria, where people should have a right “to choose elected rulers themselves,” Ahmadinejad said. Those who want to come to power militarily should be ready that the same rules of war would be applied to them.
“The westerners do not want the Syrian issue to come to an end,” he said, and the west would like to redraw the Middle East map through developing the Syrian crisis – even if it would last for 20 years, believes the Iranian President.
Iran Leader Asks Putin for Go-Ahead to Build New Nuclear Plant.
MOSCOW, July 2 (RIA Novosti) – Iran’s president said Tuesday that preliminary talks for Russia to help build a new Iranian nuclear power plant had been completed, and the project just needed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s approval to go ahead.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told Putin in the Kremlin that the Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power plant, now running at full capacity, was a “good symbol of bilateral collaboration.”
He said that such collaboration could be expanded with a “new power plant,” adding that the two countries had “good mutual understanding” on partnerships in oil and gas.
In April, the former Iranian manager of the Bushehr plant said that Iran planned to build a new 360-megawatt nuclear power plant in the south of the country. In February, Iran’s foreign minister said that Tehran expected to start joint work with Russia on a second power unit at the Bushehr plant.
Post by TsarSamuil on Jul 12, 2013 13:12:46 GMT -5
Photos suggest Saudis targeting Iran, Israel with ballistic missiles.
Daily Telegraph says analysts who examined satellite images from surface-to-surface missile base deep in Saudi desert spotted two launch pads with markings pointing north-west towards Tel Aviv and north-east towards Tehran.
ynetnews.com - 07.11.13, 00:17 / Israel News
Satellite images indicate that Saudi Arabia has deployed ballistic missiles that are pointed towards Israel and Iran, the Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday evening.
According to the report, images analyzed by experts at IHS Jane's Intelligence Review have revealed an undisclosed surface-to-surface missile base deep in the Saudi desert, with capabilities for hitting both countries.
The British daily said analysts who examined the photos spotted two launch pads with markings pointing north-west towards Tel Aviv and north-east towards Tehran. They are designed for Saudi Arabia's arsenal of lorry-launched DF 3 missiles, which have a range of 1,500-2,500 miles and can carry a two-ton payload, the experts said.
The report said the base believed to have been built within the last five years, gives an insight into Saudi strategic thinking at a time of heightened tensions in the Gulf.
The newspaper mentioned that while Saudi Arabia does not have formal diplomatic relations with Israel, it has long maintained discreet back channel communications as part of attempts to promote stability in the region.
"The two countries also have a mutual enemy in Iran, though, which has long seen Saudi Arabia as a rival power in the Gulf. Experts fear that if Iran obtains a nuclear weapon, Saudi Arabia would seek to follow suit," the report said.
According to The Telegraph, analysts at IHS Jane's believe that the kingdom is currently in the process of upgrading its missiles, although even the DF3, which dates back to the 1980s, is itself potentially big enough to carry a nuclear device.
The report said the missile base, which is at al-Watah, around 125 miles south-west of the Saudi capital, Riyadh, was discovered during a project by IHS Jane's to update their assessment of Saudi Arabia's military capabilities.
The missiles are stored in an underground silo built into a rocky hillside. To the north of the facility are two circle-shaped launch pads, both with compass-style markings showing the precise direction that the launchers should fire in, according to the report.
The Telegraph noted that the Chinese-made missiles, which date back to the 1980s, are not remotely-guided and therefore have to be positioned in the direction of their target before firing.
"One appears to be aligned on a bearing of approximately 301 degrees and suggesting a potential Israeli target, and the other is oriented along an azimuth (bearing) of approximately 10 degrees, ostensibly situated to target Iranian locations," said the IHS Jane's article cited in the report.
Robert Munks, deputy editor of IHS Jane's Intelligence Review, was quoted by The Telegraph as saying: "Our assessment suggests that this base is either partly or fully operational, with the launch pads pointing in the directions of Israel and Iran respectively. We cannot be certain that the missiles are pointed specifically at Tel Aviv and Tehran themselves, but if they were to be launched, you would expect them to be targeting major cities.
"We do not want to make too many inferences about the Saudi strategy, but clearly Saudi Arabia does not enjoy good relations with either Iran or Israel," he said.
David Butter, an associate fellow with the Middle East and North Africa program at Chatham House, the London-based foreign affairs think-tank, said there was "little surprise" that the Saudis had the missiles in place.
"It would seem that they are looking towards some sort of deterrent capability, which is an obvious thing for them to be doing, given that Iran too is developing its own ballistic missiles," he said.
He added, though, that the Saudis would know that the site would come to the attention of foreign intelligence agencies, and that the missile pad pointed in the direction of Israel could be partly just for "for show."
"It would give the Iranians the impression that they were not being exclusively targeted, and would also allow the Saudis to suggest to the rest of the Arab world that they still consider Israel a threat," he said.
Post by TsarSamuil on Jul 25, 2013 11:21:40 GMT -5
Putin to offer advanced antimissiles to soothe Iran’s S-300 grudge – report.
RT.com July 24, 2013 11:00
Russian President Vladimir Putin may visit Tehran next month, according to a newspaper report. Among other things he is to discuss with Iran’s new president is a possible deal to supply advanced antiballistic missiles to the Islamic Republic.
Putin is expected to fly to Iran on August 12 to meet in person the country’s newly-elected President Hassan Rouhani, reports the Russian business daily Kommersant citing anonymous sources. Iran's Mehr news agency said Putin would arrive on August 16, without citing a source.
The trip would probably be the first visit of a foreign head of state to the country after Rouhani is sworn in on August 4 and replaces Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the head of Iranian government.
The two leaders are likely to discuss a number of pressing political and economic issues from Iran’s controversial nuclear program to Russia’s participation in the expansion of Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant, the report says. Among them is a possible arms deal, which is certain to draw objections from some countries.
Russia is offering Iran to purchase S-300VM Antey-2500 air defense systems, according to defense industry sources. It’s a cousin of the S-300 long-range surface-to-air missile family. S-300s were developed for the Soviet air defense forces, but the ground forces, an organizationally distinct branch of the army, wanted a similar system tailored for their own needs. On their order the S-300V was developed and later upgraded to the better S-300VM version.
Kommersant first reported that S-300VMs may be offered to Iran last month, citing anonymous sources. The move is meant to convince Tehran to revoke its complaint against Russia over the canceled deal to deliver five batteries of S-300 antimissiles, which was signed in 2007 but scrapped in 2010 when then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a law limiting Russia’s military cooperation with Iran.
The scrapped deal was worth an estimated $800 million. After it was canceled, Tehran sought damages and filed a lawsuit with an international arbitrage in Geneva, demanding $4 billion in compensation.
Russia is not planning to revoke the 2010 decree which put an end to the deal and came following a UN Security Council resolution issuing sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program. But the S-300VM systems are not listed among the weapons banned from sales to Iran and a not subject to the decree.
Over the years Moscow explored several approaches to mend the rift with Tehran that the broken deal caused. Among those was an offer to supply Tor-M1E air defense systems, which Iran rejected, according to Iranian and Russian sources.
Military experts believe that the Antey-2500 deal would be more attractive to Tehran. The system was tailored to intercept tactical ballistic missiles. A possible Israeli attack on Iran is expected to start with a massive missile attack on Iran’s key air defense sites and military air bases before follow-up airstrikes at its fortified nuclear enrichment facilities. S-300VMs are well-suited to counter this threat, Kommersant said.
Earlier, top Iranian officials, including outgoing President Ahmadinejad, confirmed that negotiations to settle the conflict over the scrapped S-300 deal out of court are underway.
An S-300VM battery is capable of taking down both aerial targets moving as fast as 4,500kph, tracking and engaging up to 24 aircraft or up to 16 ballistic missiles simultaneously. It has a range of up to 200km for aircraft and up to 40km for ballistic missiles. It takes no more than 6 minutes for a trained crew to deploy the system from travel position to combat position.
The system is cleared for international export. Russia sold two S-300VM batteries to Venezuela in April this year, which was the first deal fort the hardware. Turkey and India are among possible buyers of the system.
Putin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov would not immediately comment on the report of the planned Putin visit to Iran.
“There are a large number of visits currently under preparation, but this one I cannot confirm,” he told Interfax.
Post by TsarSamuil on Aug 20, 2013 13:25:55 GMT -5
CIA admits role in 1953 Iranian coup.
Declassified documents describe in detail how US – with British help – engineered coup against Mohammad Mosaddeq.
Saeed Kamali Dehghan and Richard Norton-Taylor The Guardian, Monday 19 August 2013 19.26 BST
The CIA has publicly admitted for the first time that it was behind the notorious 1953 coup against Iran's democratically elected prime minister Mohammad Mosaddeq, in documents that also show how the British government tried to block the release of information about its own involvement in his overthrow.
On the 60th anniversary of an event often invoked by Iranians as evidence of western meddling, the US national security archive at George Washington University published a series of declassified CIA documents.
"The military coup that overthrew Mosaddeq and his National Front cabinet was carried out under CIA direction as an act of US foreign policy, conceived and approved at the highest levels of government," reads a previously excised section of an internal CIA history titled The Battle for Iran.
The documents, published on the archive's website under freedom of information laws, describe in detail how the US – with British help – engineered the coup, codenamed TPAJAX by the CIA and Operation Boot by Britain's MI6.
Britain, and in particular Sir Anthony Eden, the foreign secretary, regarded Mosaddeq as a serious threat to its strategic and economic interests after the Iranian leader nationalised the British Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, latterly known as BP. But the UK needed US support. The Eisenhower administration in Washington was easily persuaded.
British documents show how senior officials in the 1970s tried to stop Washington from releasing documents that would be "very embarrassing" to the UK.
Official papers in the UK remain secret, even though accounts of Britain's role in the coup are widespread. In 2009 the former foreign secretary Jack Straw publicly referred to many British "interferences" in 20th-century Iranian affairs. On Monday the Foreign Office said it could neither confirm nor deny Britain's involvement in the coup.
The previously classified US documents include telegrams from Kermit Roosevelt, the senior CIA officer on the ground in Iran during the coup. Others, including a draft in-house CIA history by Scott Kock titled Zendebad, Shah! (Viva, Shah!), say that according to Monty Woodhouse, MI6's station chief in Tehran at the time, Britain needed US support for a coup. Eden agreed. "Woodhouse took his words as tantamount to permission to pursue the idea" with the US, Kock wrote.
Mosaddeq's overthrow, still given as a reason for the Iranian mistrust of British and American politicians, consolidated the Shah's rule for the next 26 years until the 1979 Islamic revolution. It was aimed at making sure the Iranian monarchy would safeguard the west's oil interests in the country.
The archived CIA documents include a draft internal history of the coup titled "Campaign to install a pro-western government in Iran", which defines the objective of the campaign as "through legal, or quasi-legal, methods to effect the fall of the Mosaddeq government; and to replace it with a pro-western government under the Shah's leadership with Zahedi as its prime minister".
One document describes Mosaddeq as one of the "most mercurial, maddening, adroit and provocative leaders with whom they [the US and Britain] had ever dealt". The document says Mosaddeq "found the British evil, not incomprehensible" and "he and millions of Iranians believed that for centuries Britain had manipulated their country for British ends". Another document refers to conducting a "war of nerves" against Mossadeq.
The Iranian-Armenian historian Ervand Abrahamian, author of The Coup: 1953, the CIA and the Roots of Modern US-Iranian Relations, said in a recent interview that the coup was designed "to get rid of a nationalist figure who insisted that oil should be nationalised".
Unlike other nationalist leaders, including Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser, Mosaddeq epitomised a unique "anti-colonial" figure who was also committed to democratic values and human rights, Abrahamian argued.
Some analysts argue that Mosaddeq failed to compromise with the west and the coup took place against the backdrop of communism fears in Iran. "My study of the documents proves to me that there was never really a fair compromise offered to Mosaddeq, what they wanted Mosaddeq to do is to give up oil nationalisation and if he'd given that of course then the national movement would have been meaningless," he told the Iranian online publication, Tableau magazine.
"My argument is that there was never really a realistic threat of communism … discourse and the way justifying any act was to talk about communist danger, so it was something used for the public, especially the American and the British public."
Despite the latest releases, a significant number of documents about the coup remain secret. Malcolm Byrne, deputy director of the national security archive, has called on the US intelligence authorities to release the remaining records and documents.
"There is no longer good reason to keep secrets about such a critical episode in our recent past. The basic facts are widely known to every school child in Iran," he said. "Suppressing the details only distorts the history, and feeds into myth-making on all sides."
In recent years Iranian politicians have sought to compare the dispute over the country's nuclear activities to that of the oil nationalisation under Mosaddeq: supporters of the former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad often invoke the coup.
US officials have previously expressed regret about the coup but have fallen short of issuing an official apology. The British government has never acknowledged its role.
Post by TsarSamuil on Aug 29, 2013 15:52:18 GMT -5
Iran-bound S-300 anti-aircraft systems ‘dismantled’ – Russia.
RT.com August 29, 2013 17:22
The S-300 anti-aircraft systems that Moscow planned to deliver to Iran under agreements from 2007 are now completely dismantled and recycled, the head of the company producing the S-300 systems said.
“The equipment, which was intended for Iran, is no more,” Vladislav Menshikov, CEO of air-defense systems manufacturer Almaz-Antei, told RIA Novosti news agency. “We’ve dismantled it completely. The individual elements, which could’ve been used, were partially used. Partially, the utilization was performed.”
“This is absolutely credible information,” he said.
According to Menshikov, the recycling of the Iran-bound S-300 systems was necessary as each contract is designed for a specific buyer and "therefore, can’t be reoriented for some other client.”
“The list of equipment is different here, the special requirements are different and the software is different too,” he said.
Moscow and Tehran have signed the $800 million deal in late 2007, but three year after Russia decided not to ship the S-300 missile systems to Iran.
The move followed a new batch of sanctions against Iran and its nuclear program by the UN Security Council, which prohibited the sale of modern weaponry to the country.
Moscow said the contract to supply the S-300 systems produced by Almaz-Antei to Iran fell under the international restrictions.
Tehran reacted by filing a $4 billion lawsuit against Russian weapon exporter Rosoboronexport to the International Court of Arbitration in Geneva, Switzerland.
In June, media reports claimed that Russia had offered Iran to replace the S-300s with the more capable Antey-2500 anti-aircraft systems, but Tehran denied those reports.
This week Iran’s ambassador to Russia said that his country was “ready to show flexibility” on the S-300 issue, but didn’t reveal any further details.
Post by TsarSamuil on Sept 3, 2013 14:51:59 GMT -5
Iran frees six Slovaks accused of spying - Paragliders detained on suspicion of taking photographs near uranium facility in central Iran.
Reuters in Prague theguardian.com, Monday 2 September 2013 11.30 BST
Six out of eight Slovak citizens detained in Iran since May on suspicion of spying have been released and returned home, the prime minister, Robert Fico, said.
Iranian state media said they had been held on suspicion of taking photographs of restricted areas while paragliding. The group was picked up near the central Iranian city of Isfahan, where there is a uranium conversion facility.
Speaking at a news conference attended by the freed Slovaks, Fico said the government had a plan to secure the release of its two remaining citizens.
"Negotiations were fair and their result is the release of six out of eight detainees," Fico said in a recording of Sunday evening's briefing posted on the government's website.
He said Slovakia did not make any "financial commitments" in the process.
Iran has repeatedly levelled accusations of espionage against foreign nationals and Iranians in recent years.
Last year, Iranian-American Amir Hekmati was sentenced to death for spying for the CIA but judges overturned the decision and ordered a retrial.
One of the released paragliders, Vladislav Frigo, said the group had not been aware that they were breaking any rules.
"We had information that there was a ban on taking photographs below the height of 2,300 metres. We were taking pictures from higher [altitudes]," Frigo said.
Frigo said the detainees were well treated, had access to television, a refrigerator and could cook for themselves as well as getting regular meals.
In 2011, Iran freed two US citizens – Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer – who had been sentenced to eight years in jail for spying after being arrested while hiking along the Iraq-Iran border in 2009. They denied being spies.Oman helped secure their release by posting bail of $1m (£64,000).
A third person detained with them, Sarah Shourd, was freed in 2010.
Iran’s cyber warfare commander shot dead in alleged assassination – report.
RT.com October 03, 2013 02:13
The commander of Iran’s cyber warfare program has been killed in an alleged assassination, according to media reports. Iran has accused outside forces of perpetrating the attack.
Iran’s head of cyber warfare, Mojtaba Ahmadi, was last seen leaving home and heading to work on Saturday, according to The Telegraph.
Later, Ahmadi was found dead with two bullets in the heart in a wooded area of the town of Karaj, located northwest of the country’s capital of Tehran, reported Alborz News, which has close links to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.
“I could see two bullet wounds on his body and the extent of his injuries indicated that he had been assassinated from a close range with a pistol,” an eyewitness told Alborz.
The commander of the local police said that two people on motorcycles were involved in the suspected assassination.
Ahmadi’s death is under investigation, according to the Imam Hassan Mojtaba division of the Revolutionary Guard Corps. The division has warned against guessing “prematurely about the identity of those responsible for the killing.”
Additional confirmation of Ahmadi’s death came from a Facebook page of officers of the Cyber War Headquarters, who said that he was one of their commanders and expressed their condolences.
Readers of Alborz news website responded to the information by warning individuals not to disclose any more information about Ahmadi because it could give the wrong people personal information that could be further used against Iran. “It sounds like a hit…Counter-revolutionaries will take advantage of his murder,” said one post.
Iranian top officials possible assassination targets
Top Iranian officials and researchers have remained vulnerable over the past decade. Five nuclear scientists and the head of the country’s ballistic missile program have been killed since 2007.
Iran has increased security and accused Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency of carrying out the assassinations.
The last assassination case is from 2012, involving a chemist from the uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, who died after an explosive device exploded on his car.
Iran has been accused of completing a number of cyber attacks detected in the West. However, some experts argue that the alleged attacks are not nearly as threatening as the country’s nuclear program.
“Iran’s cyber attacks on Israel and elsewhere in the region are a rising threat and a growing threat, but it hasn’t yet been seen as a major and sustained onslaught, so it would be pretty novel and significant to take this step in the field of cyber-warfare at this time,” Shashank Joshi, an expert at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), told The Telegraph.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani mentioned the “assassination of common people and political figures in Iran” in his UN speech on Thursday, asking the General Assembly “For what crimes have they been assassinated? The United Nations and the Security Council should answer the question: Have the perpetrators been condemned?”
The suspected assassination comes after Rouhani’s 15-minute phone conversation with US President Barack Obama on Friday during his US visit, which marked the end of a 30-year silence between the two countries.
Rouhani faced severe criticism from Iranian hardliners who hurled shoes and eggs at his car after he returned to Tehran.
Iran presents copycat ScanEagle drone to Russian military (VIDEO)
RT.com October 23, 2013 16:30
In an attempt to prove its ability to reverse-engineer captured American drones, Iran has presented a functional copycat model of the US ScanEagle to a Russian military delegation visiting Tehran.
On Sunday, a delegation led by Russian Air Force Commander Lieutenant-General Viktor Bondarev visited several military and engineering facilities in Iran. At one such facility in Tehran, Iranian Air Defense Force Commander Farzad Esmayeeli personally presented his Russian counterpart with a copy of the ScanEagle drone.
“The drone built by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is a symbol of the technical capabilities of the Islamic Iran and today we presented a real model of it as a gift to Lieutenant General Viktor Bondarev and the Russian people,” said Brigadier-General Farzad Esmayeeli, the commander of Iran’s Major Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base.
“Where’s its control console?” was the first question posed by Bondarev following the presentation.
According to Iran’s state-run Tehran Times newspaper, the two generals discussed a range of air defense issues, but a more detailed report was not available.
Over the last few years, Iran has been claiming considerable advances in producing new UAV models at home.
The model of the ScanEagle drone was produced at the Khatam al-Anbia military factory, also known as GHORB, controlled by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
The original ScanEagle Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, made by a Boeing subsidiary, was said to be intercepted by Iranian air defenses in December 2012. Back then, the Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards, Navy Rear-Admiral Ali Fadavi, announced that a drone that had violated Iranian airspace was successfully intercepted.
Tehran said it would analyze the aircraft and put it into reverse-engineering mass production. Washington, however, maintained that all of its drones were fully accounted for in a statement.
In February 2013, Tehran demonstrated images of a ScanEagle UAV drone production line, revealing that this low-cost, high endurance drone would provide low-altitude reconnaissance for the Iranian military.
Iran’s official Fars news agency reported that a ScanEagle clone could carry various types of cameras, track stationary and moving targets and provide real-time intelligence while cruising at altitudes of up to 5 kilometers.
Iran has claimed on several occasions that it has intercepted signals of a number of American and Israeli reconnaissance UAVs that violated Iranian airspace, and made them land on Iranian airfields.
In late 2011, Iran declared it was in possession of the US’s top-secret RQ-170 Sentinel UAV, produced by Lockheed Martin and operated by the CIA when it was captured.
After claiming for some time that the aircraft had been lost due to a malfunction, Washington finally demanded that Tehran return the RQ-170, an aircraft with a wingspan larger than that of an F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet. But Tehran said it would decode Sentinel’s computers and attempt to produce a similar aircraft domestically.
The head of the aerospace forces of the Iran's Revolutionary Guards, General Amir Ali Hajizadeh (R) and the head of the Russian Air Force, General viktor Bondarev (C) in Tehran on October 21, 2013 (AFP Photo)
Iran launches mass production of new surface-to-air missiles.
RT.com November 09, 2013 19:06
Iran has launched the production line of high-precision surface-to-air (SAM) missiles which would be able to destroy cruise missiles, bombers, drones and helicopters at medium range.
The production line of missiles dubbed the Sayyad-2 (Hunter-2) was inaugurated on Saturday by Iran's Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan, local media reported.
The home-made weaponry is designated “for confronting [possible] air raids,” Dehqan said at the ceremony in Tehran.
The Sayyad-2 solid-fuel missiles have a combined guidance system and high operational capabilities to hit “different kinds of cruise missiles, bombers, drones, helicopters and targets with small radar cross-section and high speed and maneuverability within its operational range,” Dehqan added.
Sayyad-2 is an upgraded version of the Sayyad-1 which has been used against medium-altitude targets, but it has higher precision, range and defensive power. It is equipped with a 200-kilogram warhead and has a speed of 1,200 meters per second, local media reported.
On Saturday the Iranian Defense Minister also announced the successful test-firing of the country’s new air defense system Talash (Struggle) which was built to detect and intercept targets for the Sayyad-2 missile.
Talash is designated to protect the country’s sensitive points against “surprise air threats of hi-tech combat fighters.”
“Talash (Struggle) is a mid-range and high-altitude air defense system used to confront the flying targets, including fighter jets and bombers, and is also capable of destroying different helicopters and drones,” Dehqan said adding that production was expected to be launched in the near future.
In August, air defense base commander Brigadier General Farzad Esmayeeli told reporters that the domestic-designed Sayyad-2 missiles have been used in S-200 surface-to-air missile system. Tehran successfully test-fired the S-200 in November 2010, according to media reports.
The S-200 system is a long range, medium-to-high altitude surface-to-air missile system designed to defend large areas from bomber attacks. Each battalion has 6 single-rail missile launchers and fire control radar. It can be linked to other, longer-range radar systems.Each missile is launched by 4 solid-fuel strap-on rocket boosters, while the maximum range is between 200 and 350 kilometers.
Saturday’s announcement comes as Tehran and five world powers, including the US, Russia, Britain, France and Germany, are holding talks in Geneva on Iran’s nuclear program. The international community claims Iran is enriching uranium to create atomic weapons. However Tehran denies the claims stating that its nuclear program is being developed for civil purposes.
Post by TsarSamuil on Nov 20, 2013 11:39:48 GMT -5
Iran unveils ‘biggest’ attack drone with ‘2,000 kilometer range’
RT.com November 18, 2013 20:32
Iran on Monday revealed a new missile-equipped drone which it is calling its biggest one yet. The unmanned aerial vehicle has a range of some 2,000 kilometers and is capable of launching air-to-surface missile strikes, according to IRNA news agency.
“The Fotros drone has an operational range of 2,000 kilometers and can fly at an altitude of 25,000 feet, with a flight time of 16 to 30 hours,” defense minister Mohammad Dehgan said during the drone’s unveiling ceremony.
Dehgan added that the aircraft had been “successfully” tested and that its development “shows that sanctions imposed by the enemies are not an obstacle to the progress of the defence industry.”
The machine was developed by scientists at Iranian Aircraft Manufacturing Industries, which is closely affiliated with Iran's Defense Ministry. According to Deghan, it has been tested under international standards in the most specialized centers.
The new drone will be able to undertake reconnaissance missions and launch air-to-surface missile strikes.
Iran’s drone program has sparked a great deal of concern from the US and its allies in recent years. In September, Tehran unveiled the ‘Shahed 129’ drone, which capacitates eight missiles and has a range of 1,700km.
The country also publicized its development of ‘Yasseer,’ a reconnaissance drone. The vehicle can fly for eight hours straight and has a range of 200km. Yasseer was thought to have been modeled after the US ‘ScanEagle’ drone - which Iran claims to have seized just over one year ago.
The plane entered Iranian airspace from eastern Afghanistan, and Iran “reverse-engineered” it in December 2012, according to a state TV report.
Iran is also thought to be undertaking the production of a new attack drone series called the Rad-85.
An Iranian made missile-equipped drone dubbed "Fotros", is unvieled during a ceremony in Tehran on November 18, 2013. (AFP Photo / ISNA)
Post by TsarSamuil on Nov 26, 2013 15:38:48 GMT -5
Netanyahu to Putin: Resolve Iran like you did Syria.
RT.com November 20, 2013 18:30
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has suggested Iran’s nuclear issue should be resolved with the same approach as Russia offered for Syria, saying it will be peaceful for Tehran just like it was for the war-torn Arab state.
“This will be a peaceful, diplomatic solution of Iran’s nuclear issue just the way it [solution] has been achieved in Syria regarding its chemical weapons,” the Israeli Prime Minister said at a press-conference with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
For his part, President Putin said he was hopeful of a positive outcome from the talks in Geneva, stressing that both Russia and Israel were optimistic that a "mutually acceptable resolution" could be found.
Netanyahu has compared Iran’s nuclear issue to Syria's possession of chemical weapons saying that it was a matter “very similar” to what the “states [P5+1 group] involved in Geneva talks” are now negotiating.
Netanyahu stressed that Israel is interested in a peaceful and diplomatic solution for Iran, just like with Syria, where the disarmament process going on.
"I think that we can draw serious conclusions from the resolution that the powers have reached on Syria's non-conventional weapons. In the case of Syria, Russia and other powers quite justifiably insisted on full the disarmament of Syria," he said.
Netanyahu said that the International community would not agree to allow Syria to reduce its chemical weapons ability but allowing it to keep its capacity to amass more stockpiles in the future.
The Israeli PM said "the international community must definitely watch closely the implementation of the UN Security Council resolution by Iran, namely, to cease uranium enrichment, to dismantle the centrifuges, to withdraw the enriched material from Iran and dismantle the reactor in Arak".
Since 2006, the UN Security Council has imposed a series of sanctions targeting entities, people involved in Iran's nuclear program. Besides that, separate US and EU sanctions have targeted Iran's energy and banking sectors.
If reached, the deal could see Iran’s nuclear program put on hold for six months, in exchange for Western nations lifting sanctions.
Under the deal, the US said it would unfreeze no more than $10 billion of Iran’s money.
Netanyahu has reiterated that Iran’s nuclear activity and “attempts to develop a nuclear weapon” remain the main threat for “Israelis existence” and “peace and security” in the whole world.
The Israeli Prime Minister is in Moscow to try to persuade Russia to impose tougher terms in a nuclear deal with Iran that the Jewish state strongly opposes.
Netanyahu has met President Vladimir Putin behind closed-doors to voice his concerns about the deal being discussed at Iran nuclear talks in Geneva, where senior diplomats from Britain, China, France, Russia, the US and Germany (known together as P5+1 group) are back at the negotiating table.
Israel considers Iran’s stockpile of nuclear material a mortal threat and wants its enriched uranium to be removed and capabilities dismantled.
Russia is hopeful the sides will hammer out a deal during talks in Geneva this week. It is also seeking to freeze or curb Iran's nuclear activities in exchange for some relief from international sanctions.
The previous round of talks in Geneva two weeks ago failed to produce an agreement. Some blamed the failure on France, while others, particularly the US, pointed at Tehran, saying that it “couldn't take” it as the P5+1 “presented our proposal to the Iranians”.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) speaks with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their meeting in Moscow's Kremlin, on November 20, 2013. Netanyahu arrived today in Moscow.(AFP Photo / Alexei Nikolsky)
Lavrov: Win-win Iran deal only became possible after Rouhani came to power.
RT.com November 24, 2013 13:22
The nuclear deal agreed between Iran and the P5+1 group is a win-win situation for everyone, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, adding that it only became possible after Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, came to power.
“The very long and difficult negotiations on the Iranian nuclear program have ended, an agreement has been reached, and this deal crowns [our] longstanding relations, during which we’ve seen both ups and downs,” Lavrov told journalists.
The agreement means that “we agree with the necessity to recognize Iran’s right to the peaceful atom, including the right to enrichment, with the understanding that all questions we currently have for the program will be [settled] and the whole program will be put under the IAEA’s strict control,” he said. “It’s the final aim, but it’s already fixed in today’s document.”
The agreement was based on the “concept promoted by the Russian president and fixed in Russia’s foreign policy,” Lavrov said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin reacted to the news saying that the Geneva agreement is a “step towards solving one of toughest global problems,” adding that it was a “breakthrough, but only the first step on a long and difficult path.”
Russia is “ready to continue the enduring search for a mutually acceptable, wider integrated solution that will ensure Iran’s inalienable right to develop a peaceful nuclear program under IAEA control and the security of all countries in the Middle East, including Israel,” he said.
The deal means that the International Atomic Energy Authority will have an expanded role in controlling Iran’s nuclear program.
“Iran has agreed to a range of additional measures apart from those that the agency is already undertaking. So I believe that in the long run, it’s win-win for everyone,” Lavrov said, adding that the Iranians had changed their stance since the election of Hassan Rouhani as the country’s president. Lavrov said that he and the other P5+1 ministers “felt that the declarations [from Iran] about wishing to find a solution had a serious basis. This became apparent in the negotiating positions of our Iranian colleagues.”
Lavrov said he was now “sure that Iran will conscientiously collaborate with IAEA.”
“We’ll reaffirm mutual confidence after reaching this agreement, the confidence we often lacked and which caused unnecessary tensions in the region, in the Middle East, in the Persian Gulf region,” he said, adding that this confidence would allow “the US and EU partners to ease the sanctions pressure that was imposed against Iran.”
The pressure on Iran should be reduced by canceling unilateral sanctions, Lavrov said.
“We didn’t recognize those unilateral sanctions, and I think it would be right to reduce them,” he added.
A reduction in pressure on Iran would also help in “promoting the aim outlined by the international community in 2010,” Lavrov said, namely, “a conference to create a WMD-free zone in the Middle East.”
Under the Geneva agreement, Iran has pledged to freeze its nuclear program for six months while the P5+1 countries and Tehran seek a permanent agreement, Lavrov said.
This time is needed to figure out “the parameters Iran will require for peaceful nuclear activities, fuel production, nuclear power facilities and nuclear research reactors which produce isotopes for medical and other humanitarian purposes,” Lavrov said.
Over those six months, “Iran will not add any centrifuges, and will refrain from taking any steps toward the construction of the heavy-water-moderated reactor in Arak. In other words, the whole current Iranian nuclear program – which is, by the way, fully controlled by the IAEA – will stay the same for the next six months.”
Resolving the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program could also help to resolve the Syrian conflict, too, by “involving Iran in the constructive work” on this problem, Lavrov said.
UK tells Israel not to disrupt Iran deal as defiant Netanyahu comes under fire.
RT.com November 25, 2013 20:51
Britain will “discourage” Israel from trying to undermine the nuclear deal with Iran, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague says. Israeli media criticizes PM Benjamin Netanyahu for reacting over “personal failure” as he refuses to be “bound” by the deal.
“We would discourage anybody in the world, including Israel, from taking any steps that would undermine this agreement and we will make that very clear to all concerned,” Hague told the UK parliament on Monday.
He said that there was no apparent sign that any country opposed to the agreement would try to disrupt it “in any practical way,” adding that the UK would still be “on its guard.”
Hague’s words came after Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu proclaimed that “Israel is not bound by this agreement” and his government “will not allow Iran to obtain military nuclear capability,” calling Sunday’s deal of the six world powers with Iran a “historic mistake.”
But Netanyahu’s statement of Israel being “by itself” and ready to act at any moment in defiance of the peaceful international agreement has prompted media criticism at home.
The Telegraph quoted the mass circulation Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper as saying that the Israeli Prime minister’s words were prompted by a “sense of personal failure.”
“This happened on his watch, and it happened despite the fact that he turned this fight into the battle slogan of his term. But in his position, personal disappointments cannot go to a person’s head,” wrote the newspaper’s chief columnist, Nahum Barnea.
Another writer at the same paper, Alon Pinkas, agreed with Netanyahu’s viewpoint on the deal, but accused the prime minister of “behaving oddly in the international arena,” saying such rhetoric “destabilizes” the US-Israeli alliance and thus only weakens Israel.
“Do insults, aspersions, accusations and complaints advance or harm the country’s national interests? Is perpetual petulance and in-your-face bellyaching really a constructive form of diplomacy?” wondered journalist Chemi Shalev, writing in Haaretz.
Shalev suggested that Netanyahu’s belligerent personal style had only contributed to Israel’s diplomatic isolation on the Iran issue, saying that “the question isn’t whether Israel is right, but whether it’s smart as well.”
The Haaretz’ correspondent argued that despite the Israeli Prime Minister’s tone, most of the world’s Jews were “likely to welcome” the peaceful deal aimed at scaling back the Iranian nuclear program in return for limited easing of sanctions against Iran.
Netanyahu “has lost this battle” and has no choice but to “swallow hard and accept the deal,” stressed another Haaretz writer, Amos Harel.
Saudis welcome the deal, mad at US
The landmark deal on the Iranian nuclear program was reached between Iran and the P5+1 group – Russia, China, the US, the UK, France and Germany – on Sunday in Geneva. As part of the deal Iran has been obliged to halt the enrichment of uranium above 5 per cent, dilute its store of 20 per cent-enriched uranium, and to cease construction on the Arak nuclear reactor. Iran also agreed to provide the IAEA inspectors with daily access to the Natanz and Fordo sites. In return, Tehran will be allowed access to part of its funds frozen abroad as a result of sanctions.
Saudi Arabia on Monday cautiously welcomed the nuclear deal on Iran.
“If there was goodwill, this agreement could represent a preliminary step towards a comprehensive solution to the Iranian nuclear program,” Saudi Arabia’s cabinet said in a statement carried by state news agency SPA.
Riyadh said it hoped further steps would guarantee the rights of all states in the region for peaceful nuclear energy.
However, the Saudis also expressed their discontent with how their Western allies, particularly the US, failed to brief them on the progress of talks in Geneva.
“We were lied to, things were hidden from us. The problem is not with the deal struck in Geneva but how it was done,” a senior advisor to the Saudi royal family, Nawaf Obaid, said at a think tank meeting in London, stressing that the kingdom was determined to pursue its own foreign and policy goals.
The official recognition of the deal by the Saudis followed the welcoming statements by other Gulf States, including Qatar, Kuwait, the UAE and Bahrain.
Turkey also welcomed the Geneva agreement on Monday. Turkish President Abdullah Gül earlier tweeted his approval of the deal with Iran, calling it “a major step forward.”
Ankara hopes the two countries could improve their economic relations, which suffered due to sanctions, with Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, heading to Tehran on Tuesday for talks on increasing trade volume and renewing energy projects.
Other than coming from Tel-Aviv, rare criticism of the deal in the region surprisingly came from Hamas.
“Israel will become the only country now with nuclear and chemical weapons,” said Musa Abu Marzouk, a senior Hamas official.
While making Israel “feel safer,” the deal would also end Iran’s isolation, helping its economy to recover and allowing it to increase its international influence, the Palestinian argued.
As the US Secretary of State John Kerry is reportedly going to visit Israel after the Thanksgiving holiday, speculation also arose, if Netanyahu would give the top US diplomat the cold shoulder.
According to Israeli newspaper Maariv, there are concerns that the Israeli Prime Minister’s stance on the Iranian deal could harm the US-brokered talks with the Palestinians.
Allies ask Netanyahu not to undermine Iran deal without credible 'plan B'
Israeli Prime Minister's insistence that his country doesn't have to go along with the deal has got short shrift from Britain's top diplomat. William Hague has warned Binyamin Netanyahu against undermining what was achieved in Geneva.
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