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Tuesday 14 February 2012

Another War? War against Iran?Israel says Iran behind India, Georgia attacks!Asia key as U.S., EU tighten sanctions against Iran!

Another War? War against Iran?Israel says Iran behind India, Georgia attacks!Asia key as U.S., EU tighten sanctions against Iran!

Indian diplomacy is in deep crisis as it has already violated US Sanctions against Iran. New Delhi Blast has made the situation Grim as India is a Partner in the War aginst Terror as well as Nuclear strategic Alliance led by US and Israel!Even before the demise of USSR, India failed to do anything about the Gulf oil War!

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today strongly condemned the bombing on Israeli diplomatic vehicles in India and attempted attack on the Israeli diplomatic personnel in Georgia.

Troubled Galaxy Destroyed Dreams, chapter 743

Palash Biswas

The Special Cell of Delhi Police will investigate the blast in an Israeli embassy car that left four people, including an Israeli woman, injured Monday, said Delhi Police Commissioner BK Gupta.

Within minutes of the blast in Israeli Embassy car in New Delhi, forensic teams were buzzing around the remains of the diplomat's car, trying to salvage any evidence, that might lead to those who were behind the attack. While officially, India has stopped short of dubbing this attack as a terror attack, Israel has come out and pointed the finger of blame at Iran. It's a worrying development for India, which seems to be fast becoming the epicentre of a global war.
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Israel has not given the name of the wounded official citing security reasons. AP

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Another War? War against Iran?Israel says Iran behind India, Georgia attacks!

A TV grab of the burning Israeli embassy car is seen following an explosion in Delhi. AFP/NDTV photo

Israel accused arch-enemies Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah of being behind twin bomb attacks that targeted embassy staff in India and Georgia on Monday, wounding four people.Israeli Prime Minister BenjaminNetanyahu accused Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah of involvement.

Tehran denied involvement in the strike, which has amplified tensions between two countries at loggerheads over Iran's contested nuclear programme. Hezbollah, the powerful Shi'ite Muslim movement in neighbouring Lebanon, declined comment.

In targeted attacks against Israeli mission personnel in India and Georgia, a bomber destroyed an embassy vehicle in the heart of New Delhi this afternoon, leaving at least four persons injured, including an embassy official. The Tbilisi bomb was defused by Georgian police.

Indian diplomacy is in deep crisis as it has already violated US Sanctions against Iran. New Delhi Blast has made the situation Grim as India is a Partner in the War aginst Terror as well as Nuclear strategic Alliance led by US and Israel!Even before the demise of USSR, India failed to do anything about the Gulf oil War!

The Indian government has not ruled out a terror link to an explosion in an Israeli embassy car in the capital on Monday that injured two people.

The car belonging to the Israeli embassy was gutted, metres away from Prime Minister ManmohanSingh's 7 Race Course Road residence.

It was not immediately clear whether it was a blast or whether a CNGcylinder exploded in the car bearing registration number 109 CD 35. The occupants of the car are not known.

Home ministry sources said police investigators have already begun probe and a team of forensic experts has collected evidence from the spot. The entire area has been barricaded and sleuths were still collecting material from the site.

The sources didn't rule out a terror link, saying anything was possible.

"It was a minor blast. But nothing is being ruled out or ruled in at this stage," an official said.

The sources said an alert has been sounded in the capital and the government has asked foreign missions to be on vigil following the car explosion.

Menwhile,US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today strongly condemned the bombing on Israeli diplomatic vehicles in India and attempted attack on the Israeli diplomatic personnel in Georgia.

"I condemn in the strongest possible terms the bombing of an Israeli diplomatic vehicle in India and the attempted attack on Israeli Embassy personnel in Georgia. The scourge of terrorism is an affront to the entire international community," Clinton said in a statement.

"The United States places a high priority on the safety and security of diplomatic personnel around the world and we stand ready to assist with any investigation of these cowardly actions," she said.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured personnel in New Delhi and their loved ones," she said.

Clinton's statement came hours after an Israeli embassy car went up in flames following an explosion in New Delhi and a second bomb was safely defused in Georgia's capital Tbilisi.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran and its "protege" Hezbollah of carrying out the attacks. The incident came a day after the fourth anniversary of the killing of Hezbollah's deputy leader Imad Moughniyeh. The Hezbollah had vowed to avenge Moughniyeh's death in a Damascus car-bombing, blaming it on the Jewish state.

Western states hope new oil sanctions will deter Tehran from pursuing its disputed nuclear program but ultimately it will be China, India and other Asian powers that determine their effectiveness impact on already volatile Iranian politics.

Both the United States and European Union have introduced tough new restrictions coming into force later this year and designed to effectively choke off Iran's oil exports. But -- unlike rounds of sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council -- they are not binding on other countries.

Although China has almost halved its imports of Iranian oil recently, Chinese officials are negotiating new contracts. Beijing has also made it clear it wants other Asian nations to continue their purchases.

India, currently the largest single purchaser of Iranian oil, has struck a deal to pay for new deliveries with shipments of food. The U.S. and EU restrictions effectively block off large parts of the global financial system to purchasers of Iranian crude but also inevitably leave multiple loopholes.

"To be truly effective, in this case, sanctions would have to be applied universally and internationally," said Dina Esfandiary, research analyst and sanctions specialist at London's International Institute for Strategic Studies.

"That won't happen. They will have some effect, but it will be diluted."

What Beijing, New Delhi and others do look to be doing, however, is using the new sanctions and broader diplomatic pressure from Washington in particular to negotiate much better pricing from Tehran.

Just how far China and others beat the price down will have dramatic implications for Iran's economy and politics. A parliamentary election is due on March 2 and it will probably deepen an increasingly apparent split within the ruling elite.  

The injured official has been identified as Tal Yehoshua, wife of Alon Yehoshua who is the No. 3 in the defence department of the embassy. Tal too works in the accounts department of the embassy located on Aurangzeb Road in the high-security zone of New Delhi.

Israel had put its foreign missions on especially high alert ahead of the February 12 anniversary of the assassination, in 2008, of the military mastermind of Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrillas, Imad Moughniyeh.
Iranian-backed Hezbollah had vowed to avenge Moughniyeh's death in a Damascus car-bombing, blaming it on the Jewish state. Israel is also believed to be locked in a wider covert war with Iran, whose nuclear programme has been beset by sabotage, including the unclaimed killings of several scientists.

"Iran, which stands behind these attacks, is the largest exporter of terror in the world," Netanyahu told lawmakers from his Likud party in Jerusalem. He linked the incidents to allegations of similar but foiled attacks in Thailand and Azerbaijan last month for which, he said, Iran and its 'proxy' Hezbollahwere responsible. There was no immediate comment from Tehran or Beirut.

The New Delhi blast took place some 500 metres from the official residence of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. "I heard a bomb blast near the petrol pump. I went to see what happened and the next thing I saw was the car ablaze. There was a lady and a driver inside the car. The people pulled them out of the car," said Ravi Singh, a witness.

A number of witnesses told Indian television they saw two people on a motorbike sticking a device onto the rear of the car when it stopped at a traffic signal. Georgian police prevented a similar incident, defusing a bomb found in a car of an Israeli embassy staff member. Thailand said last month it had arrested a Lebanese man who had links with Hezbollah and a confiscated cache of explosives. Israel responded by urging its citizens to exercise caution while visiting Thailand.

Separately last month, authorities in Azerbaijan arrested two people suspected of plotting to attack Israel's ambassador and a local rabbi. In a January 24 speech, Israel's military chief, Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz, accused Hezbollah of trying to carry out proxy attacks while avoiding direct confrontation. Israel and Hezbollah fought an inconclusive and costly war in 2006.

"During this period of time, when our enemies in the north avoid carrying out attacks, fearing a harsh response, we are witnesses to the ongoing attempts by Hezbollah and other hostile entities to execute vicious terror attacks at locations far away from the state of Israel," Gantz said. "I suggest that no one test our resolve."


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An embassy official said Tal was on her way to fetch her three children from school when she was attacked. She is being treated for splinter injuries at the Primus Super Speciality Hospital in Chanakyapuri.

The attack on the Innova car, bearing the diplomatic corps registration number 109 CD 35, took place barely 500 metres from the residence of the Prime Minister shortly after 3 pm.
Others injured in the attack have been identified as Manoj Sharma who was at the wheels of the Innova and two men, Arun Sharma and Manjeet Singh, who were following in a red Indica car. They are being treated at the RML Hospital.

Police in New Delhi said a bomb wrecked a car carrying the wife of the Israeli defence attache as she was going to pick up her children from school. She needed surgery to remove shrapnel but her life was not in danger, officials said.

Three others suffered lesser injuries in the same blast. Israeli officials said an attempt to bomb an embassy car in the Georgian capital Tbilisi had failed and the device was defused.

Israel had put its foreign missions on high alert ahead of the anniversary of the February 12, 2008 assassination in Syria of the military mastermind of Hezbollah, Imad Moughniyeh -- an attack blamed on the Jewish state.

Israel is also believed to be locked in a wider covert war with Iran, whose nuclear programme has been beset by sabotage, including the unclaimed killings of several Iranian nuclear scientists, most recently in January.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to blame both Iran and Hezbollah, accusing them of responsibility for a string of recent attempted attacks in countries as far apart as Thailand and Azerbaijan.

"Iran and its proxy Hezbollah are behind each of these attacks," said Netanyahu. "We will continue to take strong and systematic, yet patient, action against the international terrorism that originates in Iran."

Iran's ambassador to India denied that his government had anything to do with the attack on the New Delhi embassy.

"Any terrorist attack is condemned (by Iran) and we strongly reject the untrue comments by an Israeli official," Mehdi Nabizadeh was quoted as saying by IRNA. "These accusations are untrue and sheer lies, like previous times."

Israeli officials have long made veiled threats to retaliate in Lebanon for any Hezbollah attack on their interests abroad, arguing that as the militia sits in the government in Beirut, its actions reflect national policy.


The New Delhi blast took place some 500 metres from the official residence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

B.K. Gupta, the New Delhi police commissioner, said an eyewitness had seen a motorcyclist stick a device to the back of the car, which had diplomatic plates.

"The eyewitness ... says it (was) some kind of magnetic device. As soon as the motorcycle moved away a good distance from the car, the car blew up and it caught fire," said Gupta.

The Iranian scientist killed in Tehran last month died in a similar such attack. No one has claimed responsibility for this.

Israel named the injured woman as Talya Yehoshua Koren.

"She was able to drag herself from the car and is now at the American hospital (in New Delhi), where two Israeli doctors are treating her," said a defence ministry spokesman.

Thailand said last month its police had arrested a Lebanese man linked to Hezbollah and he later led them to a warehouse stocked with bomb-making materials.

Also last month, authorities in Azerbaijan arrested two people suspected of plotting to attack Israel's ambassador and a local rabbi.

In a January 24 speech, Israel's military chief of staff, Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz, accused Hezbollah of trying to carry out proxy attacks while avoiding direct confrontation. Israel and Hezbollah fought an inconclusive and costly war in 2006.

"During this period of time, when our enemies in the north avoid carrying out attacks, fearing a harsh response, we are witnesses to the ongoing attempts by Hezbollah and other hostile entities to execute vicious terror attacks at locations far away from the state of Israel," Gantz said.

"I suggest that no one test our resolve."

U.S. should take tough stance on Iran, Syria

By Eric Cantor, Special to CNN
February 13, 2012 -- Updated 1330 GMT (2130 HKT)
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, center, attends the 25th International Islamic Unity Conference in Tehran on Wednesday.
  • Eric Cantor: Iran's determination for nuclear weapons capability is an urgent threat
  • Cantor: We can exert stronger pressure on Iran through financial sanctions
  • He says we should combat Iranian influence throughout the Middle East
  • There's no substitute for American leadership in this critical region, he says
Editor's note: Eric Cantor, a Republican representative from Virginia, is the U.S. House majority leader.
(CNN) -- I recently led a bipartisan congressional delegation to the Middle East and Europe to discuss regional security issues with key American partners. Beyond the strategic challenges posed by the Arab Spring lies an urgent threat -- Iran's determination to achieve nuclear weapons capability. Iran's effort, if successful, could destabilize the Middle East, spur a regional nuclear arms race and undermine America's influence in this pivotal region.
Unfortunately, the window to solve this problem without conflict gets smaller with each passing day as Iran attempts to master the enrichment of uranium. Several administrations have tried engaging Iran and offering security guarantees, but that has not prevented the country from pursuing the bomb or patronizing the world's most dangerous terrorist groups. Economic and diplomatic pressures haven't worked either, but they have been episodic, gradual and largely unilateral. While the U.S. left Iran's market years ago, we can still exert great pressure through financial sanctions, and President Barack Obama should do so.
Our partners in Europe, Asia and the Middle East can and should do more to amplify the effect of U.S. sanctions if they are serious about stopping Iran's nuclear proliferation. Some influential countries, however, may be unwilling to pay the costs associated with greater multilateral sanctions, either because they do not feel threatened by a nuclear-armed Iran or they see utility in having the U.S. being consumed with that threat. In the weeks ahead, it will be actions, not words, that demonstrate which countries are truly committed to stopping Iran.
Eric Cantor
The latest round of European sanctions is designed to compel Iran to come back to the negotiating table. If the Iranians do so, the desire for a deal at any cost should not be permitted to overshadow our long experience in negotiating with rogue states. We must focus on the results rather than the process of negotiations.
With its nuclear centrifuges continuing to spin, Iran cannot be allowed -- as it has been in the past -- to further delay this process. Mere promises cannot be rewarded with a loosening of pressure. Iran's leaders must feel dramatic pressure that imperils their very hold on power until their abandonment of nuclear program can be verified.Syrians 'dismissive of diplomacy'
It is possible that only a strategy that jeopardizes the hard-line clerics' hold on power in Tehran will give the Iranian regime sufficient reason to abandon its nuclear ambitions.
Frankly, the Obama administration missed an opportunity to stand with Iran's dissidents when they rose up against their oppressive rulers after the rigged elections in 2009. It is hard to believe a less ideological government would be as intransigent as the current regime. Perhaps further sanctions could breathe new life into the budding democratic movement that for a brief moment brought a glimmer of hope to the Iranian people.
In addition to sanctions, we must actively combat Iran's influence throughout the Middle East.
Our partners are perplexed at what they perceive as our lackadaisical response to Iran's support of extremist proxies. And in Iraq, our partners believe that America's abandonment of that country has left a vacuum that Iran is only too eager to fill. It is hard to see why the Obama administration has not expended more effort in trying to keep Iraq -- a potentially rich and influential country at the heart of the Middle East that was liberated at such great cost -- more firmly in the American camp.
Finally, there is the low-hanging fruit of Syria.
Bashar al-Assad's regime may be Iran's most important strategic partner. Instead of aggressively combating Syria's support to Hamas and Hezballah and interference in Lebanon and Iraq, the Obama administration came to office seeking to engage al-Assad. It failed.
Now the president has finally acknowledged that it's time for al-Assad to go. America should not defer to obstinate Russian diplomats at the United Nations about Syria. Instead, we should lead an international effort to apply tremendous pressure on Syria and provide demonstrable support to its growing political opposition. The longer the Syrian crackdown is allowed to continue, the greater the risk of chaos and the harder it will be to put Syria back together. If Syria goes down, it would be a serious blow to the Iranian regime.
There is no substitute for American leadership in the Middle East. It is time for the Obama administration to show it. Without recourse to war, these steps represent the best hope of confronting the challenges posed by Iran's nuclear proliferation and patronage of terrorism. If these measures ultimately fail, the international community may be forced to confront the difficult decision of using military force in face of an implacable Iran.
Oil rises on Greek vote, Iranian supply concerns
By SANDY SHORE, AP Business Writer – 28 minutes ago  
Oil prices rose Monday after Greece took a key step away from a default on its huge debt that could hurt Europe's economy and cut demand for oil.
Crude prices also got a boost from renewed tensions about Iran's oil supplies after some shipping companies said they will stop loading Iranian crude onto tankers because of pending U.S. and European sanctions against Iran.
Benchmark oil rose $1.36 to $100.03 per barrel Monday in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price many international varieties of oil, rose 82 cents to $117.57 per barrel in London.
Greek lawmakers over the weekend approved deep spending cuts needed for the country to get more bailout money and avoid default on its massive debt. European leaders will meet Wednesday to discuss giving Greece more funds. Without a deal Greece faces a crippling bankruptcy that could affect the broader European economy. That in turn could slow demand for oil.
Investors were encouraged that Greece would get the bailout money it needs, but "it's not like there is absolute certainty that everything is solved," said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research.
Meanwhile, several shipping companies have stopped taking on shipments of Iranian oil because of U.S. and European sanctions that will start taking effect in a few months. The U.S. and the E.U. want to deprive Iran of the oil income it needs to fund what they believe is a program to build nuclear weapons.
"The geopolitical risk premium may increase further this week given that several (oil tanker) operators are now purposely shunning Iran due to questions surrounding the validity of EU-based insurance in light of the sanctions," said analysts at JBC Energy in Vienna. The EU embargo on Iranian crude also halts insurance on ships with an EU link that would carry Iran's oil, effectively preventing them from hauling it.
JBC also estimated that Iran's oil production has fallen by over 200,000 barrels a day since August due to the lack of maintenance and investment in Iran's oil fields. Iran exports 3 percent of the world's daily supply of oil, including about 500,000 barrels to Europe.
Evercore Partners shipping analyst Jonathan Chappell said he doesn't believe the action by the shipping companies will have a significant impact on oil prices because Iran can sell more oil to India and China. "The Iranians do have their own fleet to move some of their oil and they also may just decide to store oil on ships if there is no end market," he said.
In other energy trading, heating oil rose about a penny to $3.18 per gallon, gasoline futures rose 3 cents to $3.01 and natural gas fell 6 cents to $2.42 per 1,000 cubic feet.
At the pump, the national average for a gallon of gasoline rose less than a penny on Monday to $3.51, according to AAA, Wright Express and the Oil Price Information Service. That's 12 cents more than a month ago and 38 cents more than a year ago.
AP Business Writers Alex Kennedy in Singapore and Pablo Gorondi contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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Iranian sanctions predicament

Sergei Desilva-Ranasinghe, Perth, W. Australia | Mon, 02/13/2012 9:23 PM
A | A | A |
The implementation of the tough new US and EU sanctions against Iran has encountered practical challenges, with India, an important Western strategic partner, voicing its concerns. Given that India is a major recipient of Iranian oil, a major investor in Iran's energy sector and has other vitally important strategic interests at stake in Afghanistan and Central Asia, its quandary encapsulates the difficulties involved in the full implementation of sanctions.

In a press conference on Jan. 29, India's Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, clarified India's position on sanctions targeting the sale of Iranian oil: "It is not possible for India to take any decision to reduce the import from Iran drastically [emphasis added by author] because, after all, the countries which can provide the requirement of the emerging economy, Iran is an important country amongst them." From this statement, it is clear that India has emphasized its willingness to cooperate with the US and EU sanctions regime, but with certain limitations in mind.

So far, Turkey has rejected the imposition of sanctions and Russia confirmed that it intends to use local currencies to trade with Iran instead of the US dollar. Although China has disapproved of Iran's nuclear enrichment program, it also argued against sanctions. In fact, China's response to the US and EU sanctions has been ambivalent. Since January 2012, China has cut its oil imports from Iran by over half, from 555,000 bpd in 2011 to 285,000 bpd, yet Chinese companies have yet to be prevented from trading with Iran. Although Iran and China remain strategic partners, China's response to the sanctions regime reflects its need to also balance its significant trade relations with the US and EU.

Much like Japan and South Korea, India has also pushed the US to agree to a temporary exemption. Iran has talked about using alternative currencies, exemplified by its recent request for India to use the Japanese Yen. Similarly, there have been some inferences that suggest India is also investigating the option of using Indian rupees to purchase Iranian energy.

Although India has consistently voiced its disapproval of real or implied Iranian plans to develop a nuclear weapons capability, its response to US and EU sanctions is not solely based on concerns over its own energy security. Saudi Arabia is India's foremost source of oil and has offered to supplant Iran altogether as a source. But New Delhi's response is likely to be selective and tempered given Iran's geo-strategic importance to India's interests in the Middle East and in South and Central Asia.

Iran and India have well-developed ties. According to the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry, bilateral trade between India and Iran increased from US$6 billion in 2005-06 to $13.3 billion in 2009-10. Since 2009, a number of state-owned Indian firms have operated in Iran's energy sector and have pledged to invest $5 billion in developing Iran's natural gas sector.

Outside of cultivating it as a necessary counterweight to influence Pakistan, Iran's strategic location has been important in facilitating India's ambitions in Afghanistan and Central Asia. India has invested heavily in the construction of Iran's North-South Transport Corridor, astride Pakistan's western borders, including the Chahbahar port and the Chahbahar-Faraj-Bam railway, which link Iran's eastern regions to Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Not long ago, India's Foreign Secretary, Nirupama Rao, affirmed the strategic importance of the North-South Transport Corridor to India: "There is a need for accelerating our joint efforts to fully realize the potential of the Chabahar port." He continued: "This is a project that is in the common interest of not only India, Iran and Afghanistan, but also Central Asia."

India has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in Afghanistan, as part of its effort to assert its influence in the region. Similarly, India is also active in Central Asia. It has stationed military personnel in Tajikistan, is involved in oil and gas exploration in Uzbekistan, and has signed agreements with Kazakhstan in a number of areas, emphasizing uranium, agriculture, public health, information technology, education and oil and gas.

Given India's comprehensive ties and interests with Iran and the wider region and the stance it has espoused publicly, US and EU efforts to persuade India to diminish ties with Iran are likely to be more complicated than anticipated. Conversely, India has significant trade relations with both the US and EU that cannot be overlooked and this is likely to compel India to find a middle-ground on the issue of sanctions. This could entail a reduction in India's demand for Iranian oil, while attempting to negotiate a tentative solution that could appease US and EU demands, while enabling India to maintain its strategic foothold in Iran.

The writer is manager of the South and West Asia Research Program at the Future Directions International, a think tank based in Perth, West Australia.

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China urges closer cooperation from Iran in nuclear standoff

Reuters - ‎14 hours ago‎
| BEIJING (Reuters) - China has urged Iran to cooperate more closely with the global nuclear watchdog and rejoin talks on its nuclear program that has caused a rift with the West. Assistant Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu said the purpose of his two-day ...

Warning Iran Against Hitting 'Soft' American Targets

Wall Street Journal - ‎17 hours ago‎
By ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ The Iranian government has now made crystal clear that it is at war not only with Israel and Zionism but with Jewish communities throughout the world. As Iran's Rafah news website—identified with President Mahmoud ...

Iran presses ahead with dollar attack - ‎21 hours ago‎
Last week, the Tehran Times noted that the Iranian oil bourse will start trading oil in currencies other than the dollar from March 20. This long-planned move is part of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's vision of economic war with the west.

Iran to fully launch Fordo nuclear enrichment facility "soon": local media

Xinhua - ‎22 hours ago‎
TEHRAN, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- Informed sources in Iran's capital Tehran said that Fordo nuclear enrichment facility will become fully operational over the next few days, the local Mehr news agency reported Sunday. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ...

The Iranian media frenzy

Jerusalem Post - ‎22 hours ago‎
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Iran's inalienable rights are non-negotiable: ambassador

Tehran Times - ‎Feb 12, 2012‎
TEHRAN – The Iranian ambassador to the United Nations has said that Tehran will not negotiate with the major powers over its inalienable rights. Ambassador Mohammad Khazaii made the remarks during an interview with the Washington-based radio network ...

Fordo enrichment facility fully operational soon: sources

Tehran Times - ‎Feb 12, 2012‎
TEHRAN – Informed sources in Tehran say that the Fordo enrichment facility will become fully operational over the next few days. In early January, the news agencies reported that Iran has started enriching uranium at the subterranean Fordo nuclear site ...

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad promises 'very important' nuclear achievement in Iran - ‎Feb 12, 2012‎
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has inflamed tensions with Israel and the United States with an ambiguous promise to unveil a "very important" nuclear achievement in the near future. By Phoebe Greenwood in Tel Aviv Speaking at celebrations marking the 33rd ...

Racism shapes Israel's view of Iran - ‎Feb 12, 2012‎
By Adel Safty, Special to Gulf News As tensions rose in the crisis that pits Iran against Israel and the US, the American and Israeli press reported last week that Iranian leaders have threatened Israel and the US with swift retaliation should they ...

Chinese envoy visits Tehran for nuclear talks

Reuters Africa - ‎Feb 12, 2012‎
TEHRAN (Reuters) - A senior Chinese diplomat arrived in Tehran on Sunday to discuss Iran's nuclear programme, amid differences between China and the West over how to resolve the dispute it has caused. The semi-official ISNA news agency said China's ...


Timeline of articles

Number of sources covering this story
‎Feb 12, 2012‎ - Tehran Times
‎Feb 12, 2012‎ - The Atlantic
‎Feb 11, 2012‎ - Jerusalem Post
‎Feb 10, 2012‎ - Haaretz
‎Feb 9, 2012‎ - Jerusalem Post
‎Feb 9, 2012‎ - Huffington Post (blog)
‎Feb 9, 2012‎ - Ynetnews

The Atlantic
Press TV

India: A friend of two enemies

Simantik Dowerah Feb 13, 2012
India seems to be in a delicate situation, caught between two friends, following the alleged Iranian hand behind the attack on the Israeli diplomat vehicle in the heart of New Delhi.
While Iran is a massive supplier of crude oil to India, Israel has a very close relationship with New Delhi in terms of defence cooperation.
Following the attack, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu squarely blamed Tehran for the terror attack on a woman Israeli diplomat on Monday afternoon, that critically injured her.
The blast site in New Delhi. AP
New Delhi was already facing challenges while importing crude from Iran owing to payment related problems that surfaced due to sanctions by the Barack Obama administration on the Mahmoud Ahmadinejad regime's nuclear ambitions.
"For 2010-11, India's total trade with Iran was equal to $13.67 billion, which included imports worth $10.92 billion and exports worth $2.74 billion," a Times of India report said today.
Adding to the complications, Iran which has till date not recognised Israel as a sovereign state, has serious differences with Jerusalem on its nuclear programme.
Lately there have been several news reports that Israel might attack Iran's nuclear facilities and that it was responsible for the elimination of a key nuclear scientist of the alienated Islamic regime.
This enmity is old but the problem for India is that if Israel's current allegations are true, then the Israel-Iran fight has just spilled over to a neutral country.
The blast in New Delhi today cannot be seen in isolation of the current geo-political crisis in the Middle East. The blast might have far-reaching ramifications for India's energy and defence needs.
Israelis were victims in the 2008 terror attacks on a Jewish centre in Mumbai. However, in that attack by Pakistani terrorists the Iranian angle was not there.
Ironically, India and Iran agreed upon a rupee mechanism on Monday to pay for the increasing oil imports by New Delhi.
While India cannot afford to stop importing oil from Iran which is relatively cheaper, it cannot manage to antagonise Israel as well. India needs Israeli weapons and military expertise both for external and internal security.
Starting from AWACS, India bought Thermal Imaging Stand Alone Systems and Long-Range Reconnaissance and Observation Systems for its armed forces. Missiles like Barack and Spike are also part of Indian military weaponry.
The India-Israel defence trade that runs into billions of dollars also include Harop UAVs and naval cooperations besides training of personnel.
With the two foes now allegedly shifting their fight to a friend's backyard, Indian foreign ministry officials under the stewardship of External Affairs Minister SM Krishna are unexpectedly and unwillingly dragged to a new diplomatic tangle.
They have to make sure that their diplomatic response does not escalate the supposed fight on the Indian soil and must also ensure that ties with the two strategically important nations are not hampered.

LeT method used in Israeli embassy car blast?

New Delhi: Was the modus operandi of Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist Abdul Karim Tunda put to use by terrorists who carried out an explosion in an Israeli Embassy car in New Delhi on Monday?
According to preliminary investigation into Monday's incident, terrorists had used low-grade explosive material, including sulphur and pottasium cholorate with sulphuric acid, to detonate the blast, official sources said.
This modus operandi was used by Tunda in late 1990s and early 2000s to set off explosions in various parts of the country, especially in Uttar Pradesh.
This technology is a crude way of assembling explosive material where an acid is used as a triggering mechanism to detonate a blast.
(For updates you can share with your friends, follow IBNLive on Facebook, Twitter andGoogle+)
#Israel car blast #Israel embassy car blast #Israel embassy attack #Israeli embassy#LeT #Abdul Karim Tunda

Delhi Police confirms blast, Krishna speaks to Israeli FM

Feb 13, 2012

New Delhi: Affirming the Israeli claim that the blast in their embassy vehicle in New Delhi today was a terror attack, Delhi Police Commissioner BK Gupta said a motorcyclist was suspected to be behind the attack.
The blast in the Toyota Innova that occurred 100 metres away from 7 Race Course Road, the official residence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh injured, an Israeli woman diplomat in the 40s and her driver, Manoj Sharma, 42.
The blast hit Israeli embassy vehicle in New Delhi. AP
A Tata Indica vehicle, occupied by Arun Sharma, 21 and Manjit Singh, 78, that was behind the embassy's multi-utility vehicle was also damaged while the occupants sustained minor injuries.
The driver of the embassy vehicle has sustained minor injuries while the diplomat has been shifted to a private hospital from Ram Manohar Lohia hospital where she was initially taken.
According to an eyewitness, the woman who was driving the Innova was thrown by the impact of the explosion to the other side of road and was seen to be profusely bleeding.
She refused to be taken to the hospital and insisted on being taken to the embassy and was then taken there in autorickshaw.
The Delhi Police commissioner said that the diplomat was on her way to the US Embassy in the Chanakyapuri area in New Delhi to pick up her children from school. Her husband is also an Israeli embassy official in New Delhi.
Israel has not given the name of the wounded official citing security reasons.
Reacting to the incident, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna said, "I have spoken to Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. I have told him that the law of the land will take its course. Investigation is already underway. We will keep the Israeli foreign minister posted."
The explosion that took place around 3.15pm tore through the diplomat's car. The car was not far from the Israeli embassy when the incident happened, said embassy spokesman David Goldfarb.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor also would not discuss the person nor the extent of the injuries because it was a security matter.
"We are looking into the incident and cooperation with local security forces is excellent," Palmor said, from Israel.
Television footage showed a charred minivan with blue diplomatic plates, its rear door apparently blown out.
However, police said that a car was on fire on the street outside the embassy.
The ministry said Israel thwarted a similar attack on an Israeli Embassy vehicle in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. The bomb was discovered before it went off.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but suspicion fell on Iran and its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah, both of which have deep grievances against the Jewish state.
Hezbollah recently marked the anniversary of the 2008 assassination of one of its commanders, Imad Mughniyeh, in a bombing widely believed to have been carried out by Israel.
Iran suspects Israeli involvement in a series of killings of officials and scientists involved in its controversial nuclear programme.
Authorities in the former Soviet republic of Georgia said an explosive device was planted on the car of a driver for the Israeli Embassy.
Shota Utiashvili, spokesman for the Georgian Interior Ministry, said the driver noticed a package attached to his car's undercarriage on Monday and called police.
Police found a grenade in the package and it was defused, Utiashvili said. He did not specify where the car was parked when the device was discovered.
There was no immediate comment from Iran but speculation will undoubtedly be raised over the possibility of Iranian-linked payback for assassinations on nuclear scientists and other covert plots that Tehran has blamed on Israel's spy agency Mossad and Western allies.
Last month, a director of Iran's main uranium enrichment site was killed in a blast from a magnetic bomb placed on his car. The official, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, was at least the fifth member of Iran's scientific community killed in apparent targeted attacks in the past two years.
Iran accused Israel of being behind the attacks. Later, Iran's official news agency IRNA said it had "evidence" of alleged US and British involvement in the Roshan killing.
What the Israeli media is saying:
Wife of Israeli diplomat wounded in car blast near New Delhi embassy
Netanyahu: Iran behind attack on Israeli officials in New Delhi
Watch a CNN-IBN video below:
Agencies and FP Staff

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Bombs target Israeli diplomats in India, Georgia; 2 injured

By Simon Denyer and Joel Greenberg, Updated: Monday, February 13, 11:02 PM

NEW DELHI — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Iran on Monday for twin attempts to bomb people affiliated with the Israeli embassies in New Delhi and Tbilisi, Georgia.
The wife of an Israeli diplomat in New Delhi and her driver were injured in a blast from explosives slapped on their car by a passing motorcyclist, authorities said. Around the same time, a grenade-type device was found duct-taped to the bottom of a car affiliated with the embassy in Tbilisi. It was defused without anyone being injured.
An explosion damaged an Israeli embassy vehicle in New Delhi, India, injuring the driver and a diplomat's wife. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has blamed Iran. (Feb. 13)
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the incidents. But Netanyahu quickly pointed a finger at Iran, which has vowed revenge for recent assassinations of scientists involved in its nuclear program, and at Hezbollah, a terrorist group sponsored by Iran that had pledged to avenge the assassination four years ago of one of its leaders.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast responded by blaming Israel for the New Delhi and Tbilisi incidents, charging that they were intended to "tarnish Iran's friendly ties with the host countries" and to wage "psychological warfare against Iran," the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported. The agency quoted Mehmanparast as saying that "Iran condemns terrorism" and "has been the victim of terrorism."
Ticking off places where he said recent attacks on Jews and Israelis had been thwarted, including Thailand andAzerbaijan, Netanyahu accused Iran of orchestrating Monday's plots and called the government in Tehran "the greatest exporter of terror in the world."
"In all these cases, the elements behind the attacks were Iran and its proxy, Hezbollah," Netanyahu said. "We will continue to act with a strong hand, systematically and patiently, against international terrorism, whose source is Iran."
Netanyahu offered no specific evidence for his claim. But Israel had put its foreign missions on high alert in recent days because of the anniversary of the death of Hezbollah mastermind Imad Moughniyeh, who was killed in Damascus on Feb. 12, 2008, when a bomb planted in the headrest of his car was detonated.
Iran's ambassador in India, Mehdi Nabizadeh, said Iran played no role in Monday's attack, which took place just a few hundred yards from the prime minister's residence as the diplomat's wife was heading to the American Embassy School to pick up her children.
"Any terrorist attack is condemned, and we strongly reject the untrue accusations by an official of the Zionist regime," Nabizadeh said, according to IRNA. "Like always, these accusations are untrue and sheer lies."
Hamid-Reza Tarraghi, a politician close to Iran's supreme leader, said that "if Iran would plan something like that, we would certainly not announce it."
"We have called for support of the resistance against Israel, so it is possible cores of resistance are formed across the world," Tarraghi said. "But I have no idea who is behind the attack in India."
Both the New Delhi attack and the discovery of the bomb in Tbilisi happened about the same time Monday — 3:20 p.m. in New Delhi and 1:50 p.m. in Tbilisi (4:50 a.m. in Washington). The incidents further stoked tensions between Iran and the West that are already sky-high.

13 February 2012 Last updated at 16:29 GMT

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Who is behind Israel's embassy attacks?

By Gordon CoreraSecurity correspondent, BBC News

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Israel wasted little time in pointing the finger at those it considered responsible for the blast in India and the attempted bombing in Georgia.
Iran and its "proxy" Hezbollah were responsible, officials said.
The war of words may be escalating, but so is a semi-clandestine struggle which is ranging well beyond the Middle East.
Israel has not produced any evidence at this stage for its claim, but Hezbollah will be seen as one possible culprit with the possibility (denied by Tehran) that Iran may have also been involved as well.
Both certainly have motives for wanting to strike at Israel now.
Softer targets?
Four years ago, the much feared head of Hezbollah's external operations wing, Imad Mugniyah, was killed by a blast in Damascus.
Mugniyah was one of the most hunted men in the world, who was believed to have been behind a string of attacks dating back to the 1980s against a number of countries - including France, the US and Israel.

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So long as the different sides in this conflict remain confident that they know who was responsible, the chances are that they will continue to try and strike back"
His death was blamed by Hezbollah's supporters on Israel's Mossad.
There has long been an expectation that Hezbollah would seek its revenge, and last year there were security warnings for the anniversary of the killing.
The fact that anniversary fell yesterday will fuel the belief that events in Georgia and India may be a direct response.
Hezbollah has been blamed for major attacks abroad before.
In 1994, a massive car bomb struck an Israel-linked community centre in Argentina, killing 85 people.
No-one was convicted, but Hezbollah - and Imad Mugniyah - were viewed as the culprits.
In January of this year, reports emerged that an attack in Thailand against Israel's embassy in the country had been foiled.
In Azerbaijan, reports emerged of plans to kill Jewish teachers.
The choice of locations like Thailand and the Caucasus is likely to be a reflection of Hezbollah (if it is them) seeking out places where they can operate more easily under less pressure from local security services.
That may well be the motivation for the attack in Delhi and attempted attack in Georgia. Trying to carry out the killing of an Israeli diplomat in London or Paris would most likely be a harder task.
'Sending message'
Hezbollah is a group which has close ties to Iran, but it would be wrong to see it purely as its proxy.
Its overseas operations wing has extensive networks around the world, including in Europe and Latin America, and works with Iran's Revolutionary Guards Quds force, which also operates abroad.
One concern in Western countries has always been that a major air strike on Iran's nuclear programme could lead to a campaign of retaliation around the world carried out by Hezbollah operatives.
Iran also has its own motives for seeking to strike Israel.
Iranian scientists have been killed or targeted on the streets of Tehran in recent years.
Last month, Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan was killed when motorcyclists placed a sticky bomb on his Peugeot car. His driver also died.
That was similar to a technique used in the past in attacks which have been widely attributed to the work of Israel's Mossad.
The fact that the Delhi attack was also carried out using motorcyclists carrying sticky bombs could be a way of sending a message that attacks in Tehran will be repaid in kind.
Iran has rejected the claim it was involved in the attacks as "sheer lies", suggesting that this is part of an Israeli propaganda campaign.
It remains possible that some other organisation - including an al-Qaeda related group - could be behind the attack.
Attacks, assassinations and attempted assassinations - whether of Imad Mugniyah in Damascus or against the Israeli diplomats on Monday - are often designed with the purpose of masking who was really carrying them out and who gave the ultimate orders.
But so long as the different sides in this conflict remain confident that they know who was responsible, the chances are that they will continue to try and strike back - meaning the attacks may continue and become bloodier.

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February 11, 2012

Ahmadinejad: Iran to Unveil New Nuclear Achievements

VOA News
Photo: AP
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gestures as he deliver his speech at a rally to mark the 33rd anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, Tehran, Feb. 11, 2012.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced Saturday that Iran will soon unveil new nuclear achievements.

Mr. Ahmadinejad spoke at Tehran's famous Azadi (Freedom) square during a rally marking the 33rd anniversary of the country's Islamic Revolution.

"God willing, in the coming days, the world will see Iran showcasing some very big nuclear achievements," he said.

The Iranian president gave no other details about the nuclear work.

The West insists Iran's nuclear program is designed to create nuclear weapon. Iran maintains its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

The United States and European Union have tightened economic sanctions on Iran in an effort to bring Iran back to the negotiating table to discuss its nuclear pursuit.

Mr. Ahmadinejad reiterated Saturday Tehran's readiness to engage in talks with the West, and said sanctions will not bring an end to the nuclear program.

"We've been always ready to negotiate, [but] in a framework of justice and respect. It's you [addressing the West] who bring up a new excuse every day and convene and issue resolutions [against us]. I declare that, if you speak to us with the language of force and insult, the Iranian nation will never give in to your pressure," said Ahmadinejad.

Tens of thousands of Iranians rallied Saturday to mark the anniversary of the revolution that toppled Iran's U.S.-backed Shah and brought hardline Islamic clerics to power. Demonstrators gathered across the country, some chanting and carrying placards proclaiming death to America and Israel.

Gaza's Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh joined the rally at Azadi square. He spoke to the crowd ahead of Mr. Ahmadinejad, saying his Palestinian militant group will never recognize Israel.

Israel is among the nations, including the United States, that suspect Iran may be enriching uranium to make nuclear weapons. Israel has not ruled out an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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