Do US Missile Defense Plans Herald Iran Strike? (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Gabe Kahn 04/07/12)
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Russia charged last Friday that a unified missile defense system
comprising the United States and six Arab states is a signal that a
military strike on Iran could be on the horizon.
"The formation of the missile defense system is a new step to signal
the possibility of a military strike on Iran, at least in a political
context," Chairman Alexey Pushkov of the State Duma´s International
Affairs Committee said.
Pushkov was commenting on reports that the Pentagon has agreed to
form a single missile defense system with the members of the Gulf
Cooperation Council – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates,
Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar.
"A missile defense system is only needed in the event that Iran
decides to retaliate, since there are no reasons to think that Iran
would be the first to launch a strike all of a sudden," Pushkov said.
These latest developments come as the so-called P5+1 – the five
permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany – prepare
for talks with Iran on April 13-14.
The talks will focus on Iran’s nuclear research activities, which
Washignton, its European and Gulf Arab allies, and Israel believe are
a cover for an illicit nuclear weapons program.
Tehran claims its nuclear program is 100-percent peaceful, but two
recent reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency have
buttressed Washington´s claims.
IAEA officials have said Iran has sought – and likely continues to
seek – nuclear technology of a military nature. They also sharply
criticize Iran´s systemic refusal to allow international inspectors
access to their nuclear facilities.
As a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty the Islamic
Republic is obligated to allow IAEA inspectors full access to
facilities where nuclear work is done.
The new talks come as analysts say Israel will be entering a critical
window of opportunity for a preemptive strike on Iran should the
upcoming round of talks fail to yield tangible results.
Israeli officials have repeatedly expressed concern that Iran´s
nuclear program is reaching a "zone of immunity" in which its key
uranium enrichment activities are so diffuse and well fortified as
the be effectively invulnerable to attack.
Russian officials say Israel may be more inclined to launch a
preemptive attack on Iran’s nuclear weapons sites while the United
States is occupied with its presidential election season, and
President Barack Obama is not in a position to appear weak before the
pro-Israeli Republican opposition.
Other factors, including Germany’s decision to sell six Dolphin-class
submarines to the Israeli Navy – as well as US missile defense moves –
also led to dour assessments of "a worst-case scenario" in Moscow.
"As you know, we have several scenarios on the table, among them the
so-called military scenario of settling the Iranian problem,” Pushkov
noted. “Judging by statements made by some countries, this military
scenario is becoming increasingly probable."
Moscow has repeatedly expressed the concern that a strike on Iran´s
nuclear facilities could lead to a regional war that may spill across
its own borders.
However, Pushkov expressed what could best be described as cautious
optimism that a breakthrough may occur in the upcoming talks.
"Much will depend on the talks on Iran´s problem," Pushkov told the
Russian lawmakers. "Everyone hopes that these talks will be
effective. But there is skepticism, too, given that the situation is
not abating, but deteriorating, despite a flurry of political and
diplomatic activity surrounding the Iranian problem.”
Early last month, a key advisor to Iran´s Surpeme Leader Ayatollah
Ali Khamenei indicated Tehraan was willing to back away from
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad´s belligerent nuclear stance.
Mohammad Javad Larijani said the West should accept Iran´s "peaceful
nuclear program," sell Iran 20 percent enriched uranium, and provide
the customary assistance nuclear nations provide to those building
nuclear power plants.
In return for cooperation from the West Iran would offer "full
transparency," Larijani said.
He did not say Iran would halt uranium enrichment – a key demand by
Jerusalem and Washington to avoid military strikes – but observers
say the stipulation that the West provide 20% enriched uranium
indicates Iran is open to doing so. (IsraelNationalNews © 2012
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