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An Israeli newspaper is reporting that the US has rejected a request from Israel to provide it with advanced weapons, fearing they could be used against Iran.
The Ha'aretz report says Israel had asked the US for bunker-busting bombs, mid-air refuelling planes, and clear passage over Iraq for its air force.
The paper says the Americans have knocked back the request, fearing it would give a green light to an attack on Iran.
Nuclear experts responsible for monitoring Iran's nuclear programme have discovered that enough enriched uranium, which if processed to weapons grade level could be used to make up to six atom bombs, has disappeared from the main production facility at Isfahan.
American spy satellites have identified a number of suspicious sites, which the Iranians have not declared to nuclear inspectors, that intelligence officials believe are being used for covert research.
The new discoveries emerged as it was revealed that Israel had asked America for military supplies, including "bunker buster" bombs and re-fuelling planes, suitable for an attack on Iranian nuclear installations.
The Israeli paper Haaretz reported yesterday that Israel has also asked for permission to use an air corridor through Iraqi airspace, currently controlled by America, to Iran.
So far the requests have been turned down by Washington, which is currently not as keen as Israel to consider a military strike against Iran.
But concern that Iran has resumed work on building atom bombs has deepened following the revelation that large quantities of uranium has gone missing from Iran's conversion facility at Isfahan.
The Isfahan complex, which enriches raw uranium "yellow cake" into material that can be used for either nuclear power or atomic weapons, is supposed to be subject to close supervision by the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). But the Iranians only allow IAEA inspectors access to the final stage of the production process, where the uranium in gas form - UF6 - is stored.
By conducting a careful study of the amount of material stored at Isfahan, and the amount of "yellow cake" known to have been processed at the plant, nuclear experts believe between 50-60 tons of uranium - which if enriched to weapons grade level would be sufficient to produce five or six atom bombs - has gone missing from the plant.
IAEA officials believe the Iranians have deliberately removed the uranium at a stage in the production process that is not under their supervision. "The inspectors only have limited access at Isfahan, and it looks as though Iranian officials have removed significant quantities of UF6 at a stage in the process that is not being monitored," said a nuclear official. "If Iran's nuclear intentions are peaceful, then why are they doing this?" Nuclear inspectors have also been concerned to discover that Gholamreza Aghazadeh, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation, recently ordered scientists to increase the amount of UF6 being diverted from Isfahan to another storage facility.
IAEA officials have no idea where the missing uranium is being stored, but suspect it could be held at one of several suspicious installations that have been spotted by American spy satellites.
The Iranians will be asked to give a full account of the missing enriched uranium when the IAEA's board of governors meets in Vienna later this month to discuss the continuing crisis over Iran's nuclear enrichment programme.
The mounting concern over Iran's nuclear intentions has intensified Israeli efforts to prepare for a possible pre-emptive strike on Iran, which has led Jerusalem to presenting Washington with a "wish list" of military equipment.
In the past America has been prepared to provide Israel with "bunker buster" bombs, known by their serial number GBU-28. They weigh over two tons each and are designed to penetrate deep underground, even through reinforced concrete, before detonating.
Israel used them in unsuccessful attempts to take out the leadership of Hizbollah, the militant Shia group, during the war of 2006.
The United States government has imposed new sanctions on Iran, this time targeting its shipping industry, by blacklisting the main shipping line and 18 subsidiaries, accusing the maritime carrier of being engaged in contraband nuclear material, a charge vehemently denied by Iran.
While the economic impact of the measures against Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) will be minimal in light of the near absence of any connection between the shipping company and US businesses, this latest US initiative against Iran sends a strong signal about the US's intention to escalate pressure on Iran, even unilaterally if need be. And, perhaps, it is a prelude for more serious and dangerous actions in the near future, above all a naval blockade of Iran to choke off its access to, among other things, imported fuel.
The outgoing George W Bush administration is slowly but surely taking strident actions that will effectively tie the hands of the next US president, particularly if that happens to be Democratic candidate Senator Barack Obama, who in the past has expressed an interest in direct dialogue with Tehran.
Should the new sanctions prove as catalysts for more aggressive US actions against Iran in international waters or the Persian Gulf, as called for by some members of US Congress seeking the interdiction of Iranian cargo ships, then by the time Bush's successor takes over at the Oval Office next January, the climate in US-Iran hostility may have degenerated to such depths that it would take a monumental effort to undo what appears to be Bush's last hurrah.
On the other hand, on the eve of US presidential elections in November, more tensions between the US and Iran are tantamount to greater prioritization of national security issues by the average American voter, something that benefits Obama's Republican rival, "bomb, bomb Iran" John McCain.
Indeed, the coupling of crisis in Georgia and the Iran crisis represents a major bonus for McCain and his "get tough" approach toward the US's external foes.
According to American investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, who has done several reports on US covert actions against Iran, Bush has on more than one occasion vowed not to leave the White House with Iran's nuclear program still intact.
With the new tensions with Russia over Georgia lessening the prospects for fresh "multilateral" Iran diplomacy at the United Nations this autumn, the White House has now begun a new chapter in coercive, unilateral action against Iran that may well be part of a comprehensive "package approach". This could include the interdiction of Iranian ships on the high seas and even incremental steps toward imposing a regime of "smart blockade" aimed at denying Iran access to badly needed imported fuel.
The purpose of the latter would be to in effect target the Iranian population by applying tangible pain that could dissipate the popular support for the government's nuclear policy, that is, its insistence that it has the right under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to enrich uranium. Doubtless, this is playing with fire and things could get nasty and rather quickly, spiralling out of control in the event of a stern Iranian reaction.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says he will not accept military action or new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear activities.
"We should not take any unilateral steps. It is not acceptable to opt for a military scenario," President Medvedev said Friday at the Valdai Club, which sees journalists and academics specializing on Russia.
His remarks come as speculation runs high that Israel and the US are drawing up plans to launch a military strike against Iran in a bid to hamper the country's nuclear program.
JERUSALEM — A key member of Congress said U.S. sanctions on Iran have not been enforced and are ineffective.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a former House Foreign Relations subcommittee chair, said U.S. and international sanctions on Teheran have failed to make a dent in Iran's nuclear program. In an address to the Institute for Contemporary Affairs, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen said sanctions approved by Congress has been ignored or diluted by the White House.
Russia announced Friday it was renovating a Syrian port for use by the Russian fleet in what signals an effort for a better foothold in the Mediterranean amid the rift with the United States over Georgia.
Syria was Moscow's strongest Mideast ally during the Cold War. The alliance largely waned after the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union, though Russia has continued some weapons sales to Damascus. Syrian President Bashar Assad has increasingly reached out to Russia recently, including seeking weapons and offering broader military cooperation.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vowed Friday to keep supporting the Palestinian militant group Hamas until the "collapse of Israel."
The Iranian news agency Khabar quoted Ahmadinejad as telling Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh that Iran views the support of the Palestinian people as part of its religious and national duty and that Iran will stand behind the Palestinian nation "until the big victory feast which is the collapse of the Zionist regime."
Iran on Friday condemned U.S. sanctions on the country's largest shipping line as "illegal and unjustifiable," insisting the company never engaged in any illicit activities such as the transfer of equipment for Tehran's missile and nuclear programs.
In the Iranian government's first reaction to the sanctions, its UN mission accused the United States of targeting "the welfare of the Iranian nation" and exerting "undue pressure on thousands of shareholders" of the shipping company with baseless allegations.
Originally posted by namehere
reply to post by welivefortheson
israel nor pakistan signed the npt and therefore are not bound to it, but iran did and are.