Iran’s top military commander says the country’s military stands ready to defend its interests and protect its security in the Persian Gulf. “The Islamic Republic of Iran is fully ready under the current circumstances to defend its security and interests in the Persian Gulf,” Chairman of Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri said while addressing cadets in China’s PLA National Defense University in Beijing on Thursday. “History shows that we have never initiated [an act of] aggression or a war and will not do so, but we will firmly defend our security and sovereignty in case of any aggression or intervention by foreigners,” he added. The senior military commander further reiterated Iran’s position that security of the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman, through which passes a major portion of all oil globally consumed, should be provided by regional states and not the foreigners. He said the presence and deployment of forces from the US and other Western countries, and plans like the already failed US-led coalition in the Persian Gulf purportedly seeking to boost security in the region, have and will have no result but aggravated insecurity. “The Islamic Republic of Iran has done its share of ensuring security of this sensitive region through the years and would continue to do so,” said Mohammad Baqeri, adding, “However, it views the military presence of foreign powers as a major challenge to the security of the region.” He said Iran’s policy for establishing regional
Iran has begun using arrays of advanced centrifuges to enrich uranium in violation of its 2015 nuclear deal, a spokesman said Saturday, warning that Europe has little time left to offer new terms to save the accord. The comments by Behrouz Kamalvandi of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran signal a further cut into the one year experts estimate Tehran would need to have a enough material for building a nuclear weapon if it chose to pursue one. Iran maintains its program is peaceful. Iran already has breached the stockpile and enrichment level limits set by the deal, while stressing it could quickly revert back to the terms of the accord if Europe finds a way for it to sell its crude oil abroad despite crushing U.S. sanctions. However, questions likely will grow in Europe over Iran’s intentions as satellite photos obtained by The Associated Press on Saturday showed an once-detained oil tanker Tehran reportedly promised wouldn’t go to Syria was off its coast. Tensions between Iran and the U.S. have risen in recent months, with mysterious attacks on oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, Iran shooting down a U.S. military surveillance drone, and other incidents across the wider Middle East. Iran separately seized another ship and detained 12 Filipino crewmembers, a semi-official news agency reported Saturday. “Our stockpile is quickly increasing,” Kamalvandi warned in a news conference. “We hope they will come to their senses.” The accord saw Iran limits its enrichment of uranium in exchange for sanctions
“When the American drone was shot down, the US president came close to [carrying out] a decision [to strike Iran] but the US army shed light on the calculations and in a meeting [with Trump] they gave the US president an estimate of what would happen in the Strait of Hormuz, the Persian Gulf … and countries that act as an arm of the resistance front as well as in [the Persian Gulf] islands … in case of an attack against Iran,” Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri said.
France has proposed offering Iran credit lines worth about $15 billion (12 billion pounds) until the end of the year in return for Tehran coming fully back into compliance with its 2015 nuclear deal, an offer that hinges on Washington not blocking it, Western and Iranian sources said. European leaders have struggled to calm confrontation between Tehran and Washington since U.S. President Donald Trump quit the deal, which guarantees Iran access to world trade in return for curbs to its nuclear programme. The United States re-imposed sanctions on Iran last year and tightened them sharply this year. Iran has responded by breaching some of the limits on nuclear material in the deal, and has set a deadline for this week to take further steps. Macron has spent the summer trying to create conditions that would bring the sides back to the negotiating table. An Iranian delegation was in Paris on Monday, including oil and finance officials, to fine tune details of credit lines that would give Iran some respite from sanctions that have crippled its economy and cut off its oil exports. “The question is to know whether we can reach this $15 billion) level, secondly who will finance it, and thirdly we need to get at the very least the tacit approval of the United States. We still don’t know what the U.S. position is,” said a source aware of the negotiations. A senior Iranian official familiar with the negotiations said: “France has offered the credit line of $15
“It is plausible to imagine a scenario where these forces stumble into some type of accidental escalation. While U.S. efforts are intended to deter, Iran may view increased U.S. maritime presence as offensive in nature or as preparation for a larger attack on Iran and respond accordingly,” Becca Wasser, a senior policy analyst at the RAND Corp. who studies the region said.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the US must return to a 2015 multilateral nuclear agreement and end its economic terrorism against the Islamic Republic as a prerequisite for negotiations. “The United States is engaged in an economic war against the Iranian people and it won’t be possible for us to engage with the United States unless they stop imposing a war and engaging in economic terrorism against the Iranian people,” Javad Zarif told reporters in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, on Thursday. “So if they want to come back into the room there is a ticket that they need to purchase and that ticket is to observe the agreement,” he added. Zarif also stressed that Iran does not want to meet for the sake of meeting, saying, “We need to meet if there is a result.” He made the remarks days after French President Emmanuel Macron expressed hopes for a meeting between President Hassan Rouhani of Iran and his American counterpart, Donald Trump, “in the next few weeks.” Rouhani, however, rejected any such talks under pressure, urging the US to lift all its “cruel” bans and begin respecting the nation’s rights as a “first step” towards dialog. The nuclear deal — officially named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — was signed between Iran and six world states — namely the US, Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China. Washington, however, left the accord last May, leaving the future of the historic deal in limbo. Critical of Washington’s
The long shadow war between Israel and Iran has burst into the open in recent days, with Israel allegedly striking Iran-linked targets as far away as Iraq and crash-landing two drones in Hezbollah-dominated southern Beirut. These incidents, along with an air raid in Syria that Israel says thwarted an imminent Iranian drone attack, have raised tensions at a particularly fraught time. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is looking to project strength three weeks before national elections, while Iran has taken a series of provocative actions in recent months aimed at pressuring European nations to provide relief from crippling U.S. sanctions. Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the Iran-backed Hezbollah, vowed to retaliate after a drone crashed on the militant group’s Beirut media office and another exploded midair early Sunday. Israeli forces along the border with Lebanon are on high alert, raising fears of a repeat of the 2006 war. Netanyahu has warned Nasrallah to “relax,” saying Israel “knows how to defend itself and how to pay back its enemies.” The Israeli leader has also addressed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran’s elite Quds Force and the architect of its regional entrenchment, telling him to “be careful with your words and be even more careful with your actions.” Israel said Soleimani masterminded the alleged drone attack. Another commander in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, Gen. Mohsen Rezaei, dismissed the Israeli allegations as a “lie.” Israel has also blamed Iran for recent rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, and on Monday struck a Palestinian base in
The Adrian Darya’s detention and later release by Gibraltar have added fuel to the growing tensions between Washington and Tehran, after Trump unilaterally withdrew America from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers over a year ago over concerns about Iran’s ballistic missile program and regional influence.
U.S. officials have confirmed that Israel was responsible for the bombing of an Iranian weapons depot in Iraq last month, an attack that would mark a significant escalation in Israel’s years-long campaign against Iranian military entrenchment across the region. The confirmation comes as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is strongly hinting that his country is behind recent airstrikes that have hit bases and munitions depot belonging to Iran-backed paramilitary forces operating in Iraq. The mystery attacks have not been claimed by any side and have left Iraqi officials scrambling for a response, amid strong speculation that Israel may have been behind them. Earlier this week, the deputy head of the Iraqi Shiite militias, known collectively as the Popular Mobilization Forces, openly accused Israeli drones of carrying out the attacks, but ultimately blamed Washington and threatened strong retaliation for any future attack. Such attacks are potentially destabilizing for Iraq and its fragile government, which has struggled to remain neutral amid growing tensions between the United States and Iran. There have been at least three explosions at Iraqi Shiite militia bases in the past month. American officials now confirm Israel was responsible for at least one of them. Two American officials said Israel carried out an attack on an Iranian weapons depot in July that killed two Iranian military commanders. The U.S. officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter with the media. The July 19 attack struck a militia base in Amirli, in Iraq’s
The top Iranian diplomat says “security is a common global commodity,” that either exists for everybody or no one. Speaking at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) during a visit to Sweden, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made the comments Wednesday amid the US military presence in the Persian Gulf. He added that Iran has already fulfilled all of its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, which enshrines it. “This is an agreement, this was not a diktat,” he said. “We did not dictate it to the other side obviously, but the other side did not obviously dictate it to us to some people’s chagrin.” “Iran according to 15 reports of the IAEA (the International Atomic Energy Agency) … has complied with the Resolution 2231 and with the JCPOA,” he said. “Even five IAEA reports came after US withdrawal, it still showed that we don’t violate [the deal].” Washington abandoned the landmark deal in May 2018, when President Donald Trump said he was going to use sanctions and other measures in his power to force Iran into renegotiating another deal that addresses the country’s missile program and its growing role in the Middle East region. Zarif noted that the US, under Trump, is unpredictable and does not comply to the international law. He said Iran behaves in a predictable manner and expects predictable behavior in response. “Mutual unpredictability will lead to chaos. Because President Trump cannot expect
Iran has unveiled a state-of-the-art missile defense system designed and manufactured by experts at home as the Islamic Republic marks National Defense Industry Day. The surface-to-air missile system, dubbed Bavar-373, was unveiled during a ceremony on Thursday morning in the presence of President Hassan Rouhani, Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami and other senior military officials. Bavar-373 is a mobile missile defense system designed to intercept and destroy incoming hostile targets. The system employs missiles that have a maximum range of 300 kilometers. The system is capable of simultaneously detecting up to 300 targets, tracking 60 targets at once and engaging six targets at a time. According to the Iranian defense chief, “With this long-range air defense system, we can detect … targets or planes at more than 300 km, lock it at about 250 km, and destroy it at 200 km.” The system is a competitor to Russia’s S-300 missile system and brings quite a few substantial upgrades over its Russian equivalent. The system — which is compatible with the Sayyad family of missiles — is also equipped with four vertical launching systems (VLS) capable of hot launching missiles. Bavar 373 has two search and intercept radars, which can resist electronic warfare and electromagnetic bombs. In addition, the radars are capable of detecting anti-radiation missiles (ARM) that are used to confront air defenses. ‘US pressure only made Iran stronger’ Addressing the event, President Rouhani hailed Iran’s significant achievements in the defense industry, adding that the US’s pressure campaign against