Sunday, February 5, 2012

Iran launches new military exercises after threat to close strategic Strait of Hormuz

( Office of the Supreme Leader / Associated Press ) - In this photo released by an official website of the Iranian supreme leader’s office, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, delivers Friday prayers sermon, at the Tehran University campus, Iran, Friday, Feb. 3, 2012. Iran will help any nation or group that confronts the “cancer” Israel, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Friday. He also said in remarks delivered to worshippers at Friday prayers in Tehran and broadcast on state TV that the country would continue its controversial nuclear program, and warned that any military strike by the U.S. would only make Iran stronger.
Tehran has stepped up its rhetoric as international pressure mounts over allegations that it is seeking to develop atomic weapons, a charge it denies.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has issued stern warnings against any possible U.S. or Israeli attacks against Tehran’s nuclear facilities. Western forces also have boosted their naval presence in the Gulf led by the American aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln.
The new military maneuvers came weeks after Iran rolled out its troops and arsenals in an unprecedented display of military readiness, with 10 days of naval maneuvers that included the first threats to block Gulf oil tankers in early January. Ground forces also were sent on winter war games — against what a Tehran military spokesman called a “hypothetical enemy” — with U.S. forces just over the border in Afghanistan.
Plans for new Iranian naval games in the Persian Gulf off the country’s southern coast have been in the works for weeks.
Iranian state media reported the ground maneuvers of the elite Revolutionary Guard started Saturday near Jiroft, 745 miles (1,200 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran. No more details were available, but it appeared that they were small-scale exercises and not linked to the planned major naval maneuvers near the Strait of Hormuz, the route for one-fifth of the world’s crude oil.
Iranian officials and lawmakers repeatedly have threatened to close the strait, which funnels down to a waterway no wider than 30 miles (50 kilometers) at the mouth of the Gulf, in retaliation for sanctions that affect Iran’s oil exports. But they have as yet made no attempts to disrupt shipping through the waterway, and the U.S. and other Western powers have warned they would respond swiftly to any attempts at a blockade.
Washington and its allies fear Iran could use its uranium enrichment labs — which make nuclear fuel — to eventually produce weapons-grade material. Tehran insists it only seeks reactors for energy and medical research.
So far, the West is relying primarily on the threat of economic sanctions to pressure Iran over its nuclear program.
Tehran has claimed that the most recent move — EU sanctions approved on Jan. 23, which include an oil embargo and the freezing of central bank assets — will be ineffective, while members of Iran’s parliament say they have drafted a bill which would cut off the flow to Europe early, before it can find alternative suppliers.
Iran’s Oil Minister Rostam Qassemi also said Saturday the Islamic Republic would “definitely” cut off oil to “hostile” European countries, without specifying which ones they were.
However, he said Iran is moving toward reducing reliance on oil revenues, a hint that Tehran is preparing for the worst. Oil sales account for about 80 percent of Iran’s foreign revenues.
Qassemi, the oil minister, reiterated Iran’s argument that the EU oil embargo will not cripple Iran’s economy, claiming that the country already has identified new customers to replace the loss in European sales that accounted for about 18 percent of Iran’s exports.
“We’ve made the necessary planning to deal with that. We have friends in the world and will assist each other,” he said. “We won’t back down a single step under political pressures and won’t give up our right position even if we can’t sell a single barrel of oil.”
In contrast, he said, the ban would rebound on oil consumers.
“If Iran’s oil is totally deleted from the market, then a terrible tension will be created. The costs will be intolerable. The option of imposing a total ban on Iran’s crude exports is unenforceable,” he said.
Qassemi also reinforced Iran’s warning to Saudi Arabia and other fellow OPEC members against boosting production to offset any potential drop in Tehran’s crude exports, saying the cartel should not be used as a political weapon against a member state.
Israel, for its part, has so far publicly backed the efforts by the U.S. and European Union for tougher sanctions that target Iran’s oil exports. But Israeli leaders have urged even harsher measures and warn that military action remains a clear option despite Western appeals to allow time for the economic pressures and isolation to bear down on Iran.
Khamenei, in a nationally broadcast speech on Friday, staked out a hard line after suggestions by Israel that military strikes are an increasing possibility if sanctions fail to rein in Iran’s nuclear program.
He pledged to aid any nation or group that challenges Israel and said any military strikes would damage U.S. interests in the Middle East “10 times” more than they would hurt Iran. The comments also may signal that Tehran’s proxy forces — led by Lebanon’s Islamic militant group Hezbollah — could be given the green light to revive attacks on Israel as the showdown between the rivals intensifies.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

11:44 AM GMT+0900
These threats don't mean anything. Once the Ayatollahs get their nukes I'm sure all this will calm right down. Think of it as sort of like giving a screaming baby a pacifier.
11:32 AM GMT+0900
I am not impressed. Iran is not a threat to me. I do take up their obsolete cause. I think they are in the right. GO!
11:34 AM GMT+0900
Long Live Religious Rule!!!
10:35 AM GMT+0900
I believe the western powers should not try to dissuade Israel from bombing Iran. they have done it before and have proven their superiority over Iranian pilots
11:33 AM GMT+0900
Goo goo dad mad? Bomb Iran sounds like a Beach Boys song. I don't like John McCain nor the lot.
11:38 AM GMT+0900
Actually, Israel bombed Iraq, not Iran. 
6:30 AM GMT+0900
War with Iran would be sad for sure. But, sometimes war is necessary. 

Whenever you have a leader of a country that says that a part of history didn't exist (The holocaust) and that the complete destruction of another country (Israel) is goal of their government; One has to ask themselves if the entire world would be a better place without them.

Especially when those views are based mostly on religion! Something none of can prove beyond a reasonable doubt. That's why they call it faith!

Seems that the only truly happy Muslim these days are those living in America where they can practice their religion without fear of their own!

Muslim people been fighting each other for thousands of years. And for what??? Even when they're not fighting does it seem that they've made any progress on what they were fighting about!

I know that America gets involved sometimes where we shouldn't however, that happens when your responsible for policing the world. When bad things happen, who is one of the first in line to lend a helping hand? Even with countries we're at odds with!

If America didn't do what it does, this place would have went to hell in a hand basket a long, long time ago!
3:32 AM GMT+0900
The fact that the idiot Iranian government would put up a cardboard Khomeini and have their troops salute it shows how disparate they are to have someone with charisma to rally their country. If I hadn't seen pictures of it, I never would have believed that a country would do something so ludicrous! How about we put up cardboard cutouts of Washington, Roosevelt, and Reagan for our troops to salute? I bet our cardboard leaders could beat up their cardboard leader!
1:32 AM GMT+0900
"Hypothetical Enemy"? Panetta announced a timeline on when we can expect Israel to attack Iran. The IAEA talk was a planning meeting. The next round of meetings will focus on key issues. As a reminder, Mossad has killed Iranian scientist with collateral damage.  

Let's take ownership of our war mongering. Israel has committed terrorist attacks on their scientists, we've rallied for increasing sanctions and we're sending massive military personnel into the area. On top of that, Panetta says Israel will attack in the April-June timeframe. Can we blame them for going on defense?
1:30 AM GMT+0900
We must use diplomacy. We have thousands of diplomats, let's put them to work.  

Don't watch this presentation if you can't stomach the ravages of war. But it is important to be reminded of the reality if you can.  
1:30 AM GMT+0900
Rather than view the doofus-Iranians' so-called "military exercises" as a provocation, let's view them as an opportunity for the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Air Force and the SEALs and the Delta Force to see what the Iranians practice during their so-called "exercises", thereby giving our Armed Forces and Israel's a much better ability to develop plans to send Iranian vessels to their fates "in the drink" when they repeat in a real situation what they have practiced for all the world to see over the next few days.
3:31 AM GMT+0900
You will defeat the Iranians surely in a war. No doubts. You will damage their electricity grids, dams, radar systems, agriculture fields, railways blah blah blah. Now face the reality. If you damage their livelihood you know what they will become ? They will become a million hard core terrorists (especially the IRGC, Basij and defense guys) who will get you for the next 50 years. You may not be able to manage and slowly but steadily go downhill and let China and Russia overtake you and capture your land ! We are not living in a fancy world here. And mind you there will be no use of a single nuclear weapon throughout future. And you know what will happen later - Iran will slowly become Iran again, but I see a bleak future of the West if they go to war.
3:43 AM GMT+0900
In fact a very possible occurring that could happen if the orders are given to actually go to war. The entire top brass of the military of the invading countries will resign from their jobs, so there could be a war with no strategy.
11:06 AM GMT+0900
Why ruin the Iranians' infrastructure unnecessarily?  

Why not simply sink their vessels if the vessels are being used to blockade Europe's oil? Are we going to allow the Iranians' blockade to become an offensive maneuver which if allowed to go on will threaten the USA's economy due to fears that the USA's sources of oil could become unable to fill the USA's needs because Europe will start buying from suppliers of our oil.

Hopefully our satellites are watching the Iranians' war games and we already know what they plan to try to do with their vessels. We need to sink each and every one of their vessels which violate international laws that have been on the books for centuries.

Frankly I still blame the Iranians for Ronald Reagan being elected in 1980 and I thus blame the Iranians for all that occurred in the aftermath of that election, including the anti-union movement getting a fresh start when Reagan fired the air traffic controllers.

In 2012, President Obama cannot allow the Iranians to force him to lose his re-election bid this year. If President Obama loses to a Republican there will be harm for generations to come, here in the USA.
1:21 AM GMT+0900
The United States have a fleet of aircraft carriers sitting outside of Iran's territorial waters as we speak. It has military bases in Qatar, US Army Bases in Saudi Arabia, US Army Bases in United Arab Emirates, US Army Bases in Kuwait, US Army Bases in Bahrain and US Army Bases in Oman. All of which are in the Middle East and who is the warmonger.
1:17 AM GMT+0900
The USA must rid itself of this warmongering parasite called Israel, before it drags US into a nuclear war!
2:37 AM GMT+0900
Right on Thomasmc! But riddance may be difficult. AIPAC functions as a lobby and is amply funded by Israeli and Israel Firsters. Politicians partner with AIPAC (accept campaign money to sway voters and act as directed on Israeli and Jewish matters) to gain or retain their positions. This weak-willed compromise of integrity permits them to serve constituents on other matters. AIPAC collaterally causes election of weak-willed politicians to replace the strong-willed. The whole of the elected United States Government is increasingly corrupted.
1:00 AM GMT+0900
I wonder how the Iranian people, particularly young people, feel about war mongering by their religious, political and military leaders.
1:11 AM GMT+0900
the warmongering is on the part of the u.s. and israel. the west knows little if anything about any military use of nuclear energy by Iran. the u.s. has committed every form of terrorism known to man, as has jewsreel. both are rogue nations with terrorist regimes. terrorism is a tool for large countries to use on small countries to facilitate stealing natural resources and opening markets. the u.s has been using terrorism since it's birth.
4:09 AM GMT+0900
Hey Pollyanna, you forgot to Blame Bush..
6:26 AM GMT+0900
It is not Israel that is threatening to exterminate a neighbor. You are just another pathetic anti Semite revisionist.
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12:57 AM GMT+0900
Media are irresponsible in fanning this story. The Post's David Ignatius is a mouthpiece for the CIA. Thinking people know this. Stop these kinds of headlines and dangerous rhetoric. After our experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, American taxpayers will not stand for another "conflict." People should read "The Operators" by Michael Hastings. It's well-documented and it shows how up their own a--holes the U.S. military leadership is. Also, it's security leaders (CIA< FBI) - not to speak of elected officisls, But the milityary is so arrogant, it's its own universe.

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