Iran threatens action if US carrier returns

Reuters
January 3, 2012

Iran will take action if a U.S. aircraft carrier which left the area because of Iranian naval exercises returns to the Gulf, the state news agency quoted army chief Ataollah Salehi as saying on Tuesday.

“Iran will not repeat its warning … the enemy’s carrier has been moved to the Sea of Oman because of our drill. I recommend and emphasise to the American carrier not to return to the Persian Gulf,” Salehi told IRNA.

“I advise, recommend and warn them (the Americans) over the return of this carrier to the Persian Gulf because we are not in the habit of warning more than once,” the semi-official Fars news agency quoted Salehi as saying.

Salehi did not name the aircraft carrier or give details of the action Iran might take if it returned.

Iran completed 10 days of naval exercises in the Gulf on Monday, and said during the drills that if foreign powers imposed sanctions on its crude exports it could shut the Strait of Hormuz, through which 40 percent of the world’s traded oil is shipped.

The U.S. Fifth Fleet, which is based in Bahrain, said it would not allow shipping to be disrupted in the strait.

Iran said on Monday it had successfully test-fired two long-range missiles during its naval drill, flexing its military muscle in the face of mounting Western pressure over its controversial nuclear programme.

Iran also said it had no intention of closing the Strait of Hormuz but had carried out “mock” exercises on shutting the strategic waterway.

Tehran denies Western accusations that it is secretly trying to build atomic bombs, saying it needs nuclear technology to generate electricity.

The United States and Israel have not ruled out military action against Iran if diplomacy fails to resolve the Islamic state’s nuclear row with the West.

The European Union is considering following the United States in banning imports of Iranian crude oil. U.S. President Barack Obama signed new sanctions against Iran into law on Saturday, stepping up the pressure by adding sanctions on financial institutions that deal with Iran’s central bank.

CIA Rushing Operations on Iranian Soil

by Helen Kennedy
NY Daily News
November 15, 2011

In public Sunday, President Obama was at a summit unsuccessfully leaning on Russia and China to back diplomatic efforts to curb Iran’s nuke program.

In private Sunday, there was more evidence of an efficient and brutal covert operation that continues to degrade Iran’s military capabilities.

Iranian officials revealed that one of the 17 men killed in a huge explosion at a munitions depot was a key Revolutionary Guard commander who headed Iran’s missile program. And the IRNA state news agency reported that scientists had discovered a new computer virus in their systems, a more sophisticated version of the Stuxnet worm deployed last year to foul up Iran’s centrifuges.

Iran said the army base explosion was an accident and the new Duqu virus was contained. But Israeli newspapers and some U.S. experts said it appeared to be more from an ongoing secret operation by the CIA and Israel’s Mossad to eliminate Iran’s nuclear threat.

The covert campaign encompasses a series of assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists since 2007 and a similar explosion at another Iranian missile base two years ago both widely attributed to the Mossad.

“May there be more like it,” was all Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said when Army Radio asked about the new blast.

There was a third mysterious event: The son of a top Iranian hard-liner was found dead — a seeming suicide — in a Dubai hotel on Sunday. His father called it “suspicious” and linked to the base explosion, without elaborating.

Israel was accused of deploying the 11 agents who killed a top Hamas terrorist in a Dubai hotel last year.

Tension has risen in recent weeks between Iran and the United States as a key United Nations report said Iran was close to being able to build a nuclear weapon.

At the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in Hawaii, Obama tried to get Russia and China to back a bid to tighten sanctions on Iran, meeting individually with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Chinese President Hu Jintao.

Afterward, Hu didn’t even mention Iran, and Medvedev said only that he had spoken with Obama about Iran.

Obama came under withering fire from the GOP presidential candidates at a debate Saturday, when the front-runners agreed he had been too weak on Iran and vowed to go to war to stop Iran’s nuclear ambitions if needed.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) slammed Obama for not being “smart” on Iran.

Gingrich said he would launch “maximum covert operations” against Iran, “including taking out their scientists. . . . All of it covertly, all of it deniable.”

White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters that pressure on Iran had put its leadership in disarray, and “the Iranian economy has ground to a halt.”