Nasrallah: Iran Supports Palestine with No Expectation

“Iran has helped Palestine’s resistance (groups) for 30 years without any condition and has not expected even a simple appreciation. All what Iran wants is seeing Palestine retake its land and nothing more,” Nasrallah said on Sunday.

He further added that Lebanon stands by Iran in the Palestinian issue. “Therefore, we say that we stand beside you and move behind you for the sake of Palestine.”

Elsewhere, Nasrallah rejected allegations on disputes between Iran and the Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, and said that there were some analyses that Hamas has preferred Arab countries, but not Iran, “but based on experiences we know that these are all hopes and wishes and are not real”.

“To all those who talked during the Gaza War about Hamas’ relations with Hezbollah and Iran, our relations with everyone are normal,” Middle-East Online quoted Nasrallah as saying.

“Iran did not interfere with the Palestinian resistance and its structure and decisions, it only offered support. It was only doing its duty for Gaza,” he said, adding, “Day after day, it is confirmed that Iran is an ally of Arabs and Muslims… and this was confirmed during the recent confrontation in Gaza and before that in Lebanon.”  Continue reading

US, allies set to launch anti-mine naval exercises in Persian Gulf

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A photo provided by the U.S. Navy, 5th Fleet and dated Aug. 29, 2012, shows USS Navy mine counter measure ships, from right to left, USS Dexrous and USS Sentry get in line to conduct an astern replenishment-at-sea. The United States and more than two dozen allies are gearing up for the largest naval exercises ever in the Middle East focused on countering the threat of anti-ship mines. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy, Toni Burton)

Adam Schreck, AP

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The United States and more than two dozen allies are gearing up for the largest naval exercise ever in the Middle East focused on countering the threat of anti-ship mines. A wary Iran says it will be watching closely.

The maneuvers starting next week are the latest flexing of American military muscle in and around the Persian Gulf, even as Washington tries to convince ally Israel that diplomacy and sanctions aimed at pressuring Iran to scale back its nuclear program need more time to work.

U.S. Navy officials insist that the anti-mine exercise is not about any specific country or a response to Iranian threats to shut the narrow Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf, the route for one-fifth of the world’s oil.

But the drills will likely be perceived around the world as a challenge to Tehran, which has thousands of anti-ship mines it could deploy to disrupt shipping and drive up oil prices in response to any airstrike on its uranium enrichment facilities. The U.S. and several of its allies accuse Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons, but Iran says its atomic program is solely for peaceful purposes.

‘‘This is one of many engagements conducted alongside regional defense forces,’’ said Lt. Greg Raelson, a spokesman for the Navy’s 5th Fleet. ‘‘Freedom of navigation through international waterways is critical to the international community and to nations in the region, including Iran.’’

The exercises, which will focus on a hypothetical extremist organization, are a way to boost cooperation with foreign navies and prepare to deal with threats that could block vital trade routes at sea, American officials say.

Raelson noted that waterborne bombs have struck a number of ships in the region in recent years, including a mysterious blast that damaged the Japanese oil tanker M. Star as it entered the Strait of Hormuz in 2010. An obscure al-Qaida-linked group later claimed responsibility for that attack.

Even so, the maneuvers carry an implicit message for Tehran.

Continue reading

Iran in full command of Persian Gulf region: MP

 

Iranian naval vessels during a military drill near the Strait of Hormuz (file photo)

An Iranian lawmaker says the upcoming war games by the United States and 20 other countries near the Persian Gulf will not have the slightest impact on the power of the Islamic Republic since Iran is fully in command of the region.

“Holding the maneuver certainly aims to boost morale among Western powers and some of their agents in the region. They are fighting tooth and nail to display their power to the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Vahid Ahmadi said on Wednesday.

The US has announced that it would hold demining drills near the Persian Gulf in cooperation with 20 other countries on September 16-27.

On Wednesday, Navy Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Rear-Admiral Ali Fadavi warned that should the US attempt the folly of staging an act of aggression in the Persian Gulf, such military action will cost the lives of all the American forces engaged. Continue reading

Iran to build new missile defence base

The events around Syria dramatically increase the danger of an attack against Iran and force it to strengthen its security. Such was Russian experts’ comment on Tehran’s announcement about the beginning of the construction of a large missile defence base in the south of the country.

Iran is suffering from acute budget deficit due to the oil embargo. Nevertheless, it is allocating $300mln to build this facility, which is a huge sum in its current situation. Earlier, though, one of Iran’s high military officials declared that the existing facilities and missile defence systems of the country were completely prepared to repel any attacks from the air. Continue reading

Commander: All Vessels Need Iran’s Permission to Pass through Strait of Hormuz

TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps said that all vessels, including the US warships, enter the Persian Gulf waters through the Strait of Hormuz only after they are checked by the IRGC naval forces.

“The alien vessels which enter the Persian Gulf via the Strait of Hormuz always provide the needed answers and information to the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) units,” Lieutenant Commander of the IRGC Naval Force Alireza Tangsiri said on Wednesday.

He further noted the deployment of a US aircraft carrier in the region, and said, “This vessel, similar to the other warships, answered all the questions asked by the IRGC Navy without any problem or making any particular move and then continued the path to its specified destination.”

In relevant remarks today, Commander of the Iranian Army Major General Ataollah Salehi downplayed deployment of two aircraft carriers by the US in waters near the Persian Gulf, and warned the US naval forces not to approach the red zones announced by the Iranian armed forces.

“We have warned them (foreign naval forces) before that some areas in the Persian Gulf are considered by us as zones of threat and they should not stop in those areas,” Salehi told FNA on Wednesday.

“Of course, they have paid attention to the warning and are respecting it,” Salehi underscored.

The remarks by the Iranian army commander came as the US announced the deployment of the nuclear-powered USS Enterprise along with the Abraham Lincoln carrier in waters near the Persian Gulf.

The US says that the deployment is “routine” and the two carriers will support the American military operations in Afghanistan and anti-piracy efforts off Somalia’s coast and in the Gulf of Aden.

Source: Fars News

Breaking: Iran Claims It Has A Blockade On The Strait Of Hormuz

An Iranian Peykaap class speedboat armed with missile launchers

We reported a couple weeks ago that Iran was demanding all U.S. ships entering the Strait of Hormuz stop and check in with the Revolutionary Guard, and now it seems they’re taking the move one step farther.

FARS News Agency, Tehran’s state run media outlet, announced  Tehran is implementing a full blockade on all ships entering the Strait and each must undergo inspection.

From FARS:

“The alien vessels which enter the Persian Gulf via the Strait of Hormuz always provide the needed answers and information to the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) units,” Lieutenant Commander of the IRGC Naval Force Alireza Tangsiri said on Wednesday. 

He further noted the deployment of a US aircraft carrier in the region, and said, “This vessel, similar to the other warships, answered all the questions asked by the IRGC Navy without any problem or making any particular move and then continued the path to its specified destination.” 

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/iran-announces-its-blockading-on-the-strait-of-hormuz-2012-4#ixzz1srtD5kNS

Pentagon has ‘successful plan’ with hundreds of Tomahawks deployed near Iran

An operational tomahawk missile launch (Reuters / Handout)

America’s plan B for Iran “will be successful,” promises US defense secretary, Leon Panetta. Reports suggest this is no sable rattling, as the US strike groups deployed to the Persian Gulf may be carrying some 430 Tomahawk missiles.

Washington has not yet dropped its “all options” stance towards Iran, who, they fear, may be building nuclear weapons. The confirmation was obtained by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer from Panetta on Thursday.

We are prepared with all options on the table if we have to respond,” Panetta said, adding that “there are plans” to deal with Iran if the country does not give up its nuclear ambitions.

I don’t think there is any question that if we have to implement that plan, it will be successful,” he added.

This practical approach sees two American aircraft carriers, their battle groups, several submarines and additional Marines deployed to the Gulf waters. Both the US Navy and the Pentagon say the commissions are “routine.” Continue reading

The Road To Tehran Goes Through Damascus

Written by Nile Bowie

Source: Nile Bowie’s Website

Between the chaos and artillery fire unfolding in Homs and Damascus, the current siege against the Ba’athist State of Bashar al-Assad parallels events of nearly a century ago. In efforts to maintain its protectorate, the French government employed the use of foreign soldiers to smother those seeking to abolish the French mandated, Fédération Syrienne. While former Prime Minister Faris al-Khoury argued the case for Syrian independence before UN in 1945, French planes bombed Damascus into submission. Today, the same government – in addition to the United States and its client regimes in Libya and Tunisia – enthusiastically recognize the Syrian National Council as the legitimate leadership of Syria. Although recent polls funded by the Qatar Foundation claim 55% of Syrians support the Assad regime, the former colonial powers have made a mockery of the very democratic principles they tout.
Irrespective to the views of the Syrian people, their fate has long been decided by forces operating beyond their borders. In a speech given to the Commonwealth Club of California in 2007 retired US Military General Wesley Clark speaks of a policy coup initiated by members of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC). Clark cites a confidential document handed down from the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 2001 stipulating the entire restructuring of the Middle East and North Africa. Portentously, the document allegedly revealed campaigns to systematically destabilize the governments of Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Syria, Lebanon and Iran.Under the familiar scenario of an authoritarian regime systematically suppressing peaceful dissent and purging large swaths of its population, the mechanisms of geopolitical stratagem have freely taken course. Continue reading

Iranian navy shadows USS Abraham Lincoln through Hormuz Strait

USS Abraham Lincoln (AFP Photo / US Navy)

Iranian patrol boats and planes have trailed the American aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln as it passed through the Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday.

Iran’s navy never approached the battle group closer than half a mile, making a point to stay in the Iranian waters. Radar operators also revealed an Iranian drone and surveillance helicopter zooming in the Persian country’s airspace near the strategic strait. A patrol plane buzzed over the Lincoln, said Rear Adm. Troy Shoemaker, commander of the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Force.

We would do the same things off the coast of the United States… It’s more than reasonable. We’re operating in their backyard,” he said.

Flanked by several choppers and enforced by the cruiser USS Cape St. George and destroyer USS Sterett, the American battle group passed the narrow strait without incident, reports the Associated Press. Continue reading

What Is Really Going On In Syria: Insider Update

By Boris Dolgov

Source: Oriental Review

The current situation in Syria remains one of the most important components of the Middle Eastern and international policies. Using Syria’s domestic crisis and pursuing their own goals NATO, Israel, Turkey and the monarchies of the Persian Gulf are trying to undermine the Syrian regime.

Since the beginning of the crisis in Syria I have made two trips to that country as a member of international delegations in August 2011 and in January 2012. If we watch the dynamics of situation’s development over that period on the one hand we can state intensification of terrorist groups in Syria and on the other hand we see a broader people’s support of President Bashar Assad and a clear demarcation of political forces’ positions.

Two car bombers blew themselves up outside the heavily guarded compounds of Syria’s intelligence agencies, killing at least 44 people and wounding dozens more in a brazen attack in December 23, 2011.

In the last two months Syria has seen a number of terrorist attacks. The terrorist attacked Syrian servicemen and military facilities, law enforcement agencies institutions, blasts on oil pipelines, railroads, murders and taking of hostage among peaceful citizens (In the city of Homs insurgents killed five well known scientists), arson of schools and killing of teachers (since March 2011, 900 schools have been set on fire and 30 teachers have been killed).

Terrorist attacks in Damascus became one of the bloodiest. Two of them were carried out on December 23, 2011 when cars loaded with explosives went off in front of the buildings of state security service killing 44 and injured about 150 people. On January 6, 2012 on a busy street a suicide bomber attack killed 26 and wounded 60. There were officers of the law enforcement agencies among the victims but most of the victims were occasional by-passers.

In January 2012, Damascus has a more severe look in comparison with summer of 2011. Security officers check passports on the way to the airport, asking people what country they are from. Entrances of many state institutions are protected with concrete blocks. There are check points with sand bags near the police stations Continue reading