Today's happy news is that Iran has test-fired some missiles capable of ducking radar. I guess that means that when the nuclear attack from Iran does come, it will be a surprise.
TEHRAN, Iran - Iran's military said Friday it successfully test-fired a missile not detectable by radar that can use multiple warheads to hit several targets simultaneously, a development that raised concerns in the United States and Israel.
The Fajr-3, which means "victory" in Farsi, can reach Israel and U.S. bases in the Middle East, Iranian state media indicated. The announcement of the test-firing is likely to stoke regional tensions and feed suspicion about Tehran's military intentions and nuclear ambitions.
"I think it demonstrates that Iran has a very active and aggressive military program under way," State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli said in Washington. "I think Iran's military posture, military development effort, is of concern to the international community."
Gen. Hossein Salami, the air force chief of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, did not specify the missile's range, saying how far it can travel depends on the weight of its warheads.
But state-run television described the weapon as "ballistic" — suggesting it is of comparable range to Iran's existing ballistic rocket, which can travel about 1,200 miles and reach arch-foe Israel and U.S. bases innd the Persian Gulf region.
But hey -- enjoy your weekend!
OK, OK. Sorry for the tone of this post, but I'm fed up with this kind of appeasement folly from the Los Angeles Times and the U.N.'s so-called "nuclear watchdog" Chihuahua, the IAEA. This from the Los Angeles Times:
BERLIN — United Nations atomic energy chief Mohamed ElBaradei urged the international community Thursday to steer away from threats of sanctions against Iran, saying the country's nuclear program was not "an imminent threat" and that the time had come to "lower the pitch" of debate. [Yes, it's important that we wait until the nuclear weapons are an "imminent threat" before we do anything. At that point, of course, it will be too late.]
U.N.'s "nuclear watchdog" the IAEA, on duty
ElBaradei's remarks at a forum in Doha, the capital of Qatar, came at a sensitive moment in the discussions over Iran, as the United States and other members of the U.N. Security Council calculate their next steps. His comments publicly expressed the dismay that many diplomats privately have voiced about what they consider an air of crisis that the Bush administration and some European governments have created with recent statements. [That's right. Blame the U.S. and "some European governments" for "creating" the crisis. Did Iran have anything to do with creating the crisis when it voted to resume uranium enrichment in a parliamentary session in which it shouted "Death to America"? Did Iran have anything to do with creating the crisis when it stated repeatedly in recent months that it will not stop uranium enrichment? How are the U.S. and Europe "creating" the crisis when all they've done so far is to note the threat that Iran is explicitly making?]
He spoke on the same day that ministers of major powers meeting here struck a more conciliatory tone on Iran than heard in recent weeks. The meeting followed agreement Wednesday by the U.N. Security Council to give Iran 30 days to respond to requests from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, that it halt uranium enrichment research. [In other words, the U.N. decided to proceed in a sheep-like manner. As I've illustrated here before (so forgive me if this is all too familiar), here is a visual depiction of the U.N. at work:
. . . and here are the U.N. and other civilized democracies including Europe, the U.S. and Israel, as viewed by Iran:
That's right: future mutton.
The U.N. is not "striking a more conciliatory tone" by acting sheepishly when it comes to stopping Iran's nuclear program. It treating Iran in exactly in the same proven-failure-of-a-way it has for years. The result is that Iran will be fully armed and ready to strike with nuclear warheads before the U.N. eventually gets around do thinking about maybe possibly doing something about it some time in the possible future, at which point it will be too late.]
The United States and members of the European Union have made increasingly confrontational statements about what they claim is Iran's goal of eventually manufacturing a nuclear weapon. [The only appropriate response to this remark consists of a series of universally recognized symbols: @*#X#!
OK, OK, I'll try using logic instead of cartoon symbols: What does the Los Angeles Times expect the U.S. and EU to do when Iran threatens death to countries including the U.S. and Israel, simultaneously cranks up its nuclear centrifuges to enrich mass quantities of uranium, and test-fires radar-ducking missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads? Nothing? Because if forceful action is off limits, and talk is off limits, what's left? Feeble sheep-like baas?]
"There is no military solution to this situation," said ElBaradei, the Nobel Prize-winning director-general of the IAEA. "It's inconceivable. The only durable solution is a negotiated solution." [There's no military solution? It's "inconceivable"? Only solution is a "negotiated" one? Thank you, Mr. Nuclear "Watchdog." You are doing your best to take the option of requiring Iran to disarm off the table and instead putting the safety of all decent civilized nations into one big box labeled "Safe from Nuclear Attack Only if Iran Feels Like It." Because that's what "negotiated solution" means -- Iran will disarm only if Iran feels like it, which it obviously does not.]
"I work on facts," ElBaradei said in his remarks reported by Reuters news agency. "We fortunately were proven right in Iraq, we were the only ones that said at the time that Iraq did not have nuclear weapons, and I hope this time people will listen to us." [It's not your facts I have a problem with, Mr. ElBaradei. It's your lack of foresight and your lack of concern for the safety of the men, women and children who will be on the receiving end of Iran's nuclear weapons, not to mention your deliberate attempt to undermine the U.N. in its attempt to halt Iran's nuclear weapons program before it is too late.]
The statement approved by the Security Council essentially buys the United Nations 30 days to figure out what to do if Iran remains defiant. Once the monthlong period ends, ElBaradei is required to issue another report on whether Iran has complied with the IAEA requests, which include: halting uranium enrichment research, answering questions about the nuclear program and ratifying IAEA regulations allowing U.N. nuclear inspectors more access to Iranian nuclear facilities and plants where parts are manufactured for its nuclear industry. [In other words, the Western civilized nations have made NO PROGRESS today toward stopping Iran, and won't be making any more feeble progress for at least a month, while Iran has made EXCELLENT progress today in perfecting its nuclear weapons missile strike capability. THANK YOU, Mr. ElBaradei and the U.N.!
The new score in the "game" called "Iran Acquires Enough Nuclear Weapons to Wipe Out Western Civilization": IRAN 24, WESTERN CIVILIZATION, ZERO.]
Iran insists that its nuclear program is purely for peaceful purposes such as civilian energy generation. Uranium enriched to low levels can be used to generate electricity, but enriched more intensively, it can be used to make nuclear weapons. [Any reporter who continues to repeat this laughable nonsense without noting the overwhelming evidence that shows that this is preposterous is a fool or is deliberately attempting to dupe readers.]
Iran's initial response to the Security Council statement was unbending. Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, said Thursday, "We will not, definitely, suspend again the enrichment." [What a surprise! Iran definitely will not suspend enrichment no matter how much the U.N. pleads or, to make it sound better, "negotiates"! Someone should tell Mr. ElBaradei!]
Tehran, under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, has the right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes. However, Iran's intentions have come under international scrutiny because it hid its nuclear program for 18 years, in violation of the treaty of which it had long been a signatory. Although Tehran is now largely in compliance with the treaty's requirements, the U.N. nuclear inspectors say there are still key questions Iran needs to answer about its program. . . . . [Gee, I wonder what kind of nuclear capability Iran might already have after 18 years of unimpeded secret work . . . .]
The IAEA, in its most recent report on Iran, said it could not rule out that Tehran had secret nuclear facilities or materials. [Wait a minute: I thought Mr. ElBaradei was crowing about having been right in Iraq and insisting that Iran has no nuclear capability. Now we hear that Mr. ElBaradei himself can't rule out that Iran has secret nuclear facilities and materials? What gives here -- besides Mr. ElBaradei's credibility, I mean?]
The vague language underscores the chief problem for policymakers dealing with Iran: Key aspects of its program remain opaque.
Yes, and the new radar-ducking missiles will make Iran's nuclear weapons program even more "opaque," right until the missiles reach their intended targets.
According to reports cited in the Washington Post, "Iran has had unexpected success in assembling 164 centrifuges into a system known as a cascade, for uranium enrichment. That would be too small to produce enough fuel for a bomb, but Iran previously had worked with just 20 centrifuges. It appears to have completed the project about two months earlier than IAEA technical experts in Vienna had expected."
Accprding to the the same Washington Post article, China and Russia seem determined to prevent any U.N. Security Council action against Iran. "A senior U.S. official in Rice's entourage said after the meeting that participants had demonstrated "substantial support" for considering the option of "moving toward sanctions." But in public comments afterward, Russian and Chinese officials expressed opposition to sanctions, on grounds they could lead to escalation and confrontation."
If the U.N. is to prevent Iran from arming itself with nuclear weapons, it would seem that a minimum step would be "confrontation." If the U.N. cannot confront danger before it comes to fruition, then what is the U.N. for?