Iran: Another Distraction To Further Evil Intentions

By Randy Taylor- Independent Analyst

4 April 2007: Iran does it again. After a week of carefully orchestrated distractions through kidnapping fifteen UK sailors to draw attention away from their non-compliance with UN requests, the Islamic snake state of Iran tries to garner the approval of the world by releasing the hostages. They were released as a “gift to the English population“. Read between the lines. [Read more...]

The Iranian Ganglion: A Current Assessment

By Sean Osborne, Associate Director, Military Affairs

2 April 2007: Never has the threat of a wider regional war been greater than it is this morning in the Middle East, and the Islamic Republic of Iran is the ganglion of this threat. In fact, such a war has long been the devout interest of the Islamofascist regime of Tehran since its consolidation of supreme power over 27 years ago.

Engaging the “Wayback” Machine

Any assessment of the current situation with respect to the Islamic Republic requires an unfiltered historical review. To that end the “wayback” machine has been engaged. The list of the Islamic Republic’s acts of war against the United States of America is as follows:

November 4, 1979: Seizure and Occupation of the US Embassy in Tehran.

November 4, 1979: Detention and Hostage Holding of Embassy Staff, US Military Personnel and other US citizens for 444 days.

April 18, 1983: Bombing of the US Embassy, Beirut, Lebanon, 17 dead including 8 CIA employees, several US military servicemen and an American journalist.

September 20, 1984: Bombing of the US Embassy, Beirut, Lebanon, killing 24 including two US soldiers.

October 23, 1983: Destruction of US Marine Barracks, Beirut. Murder of 241 US Marines, Sailors and Army personnel.

June 3, 1985: Capture, torture and murder of Beirut CIA Chief of Station, William Francis Buckley, a/k/a US Army (Ret.) LTC William Francis Buckley former Green Beret.

June 15, 1985: The beating, torture and cold-blooded murder of US Navy diver, Petty Officer 2nd Class Robert Stetham during the hijacking of TWA Flight 847.

What is also not widely known is that in addition to these acts of war there were Iranian intelligence defectors who reported seeing models of Manhattan and the WTC in the basement of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence & Security prior to September 11, 2001. Members of the US intelligence community also know that Iran supplied the explosives and planned the destruction of Pan American Flight 103, killing all 259 onboard and 11 residents of Lockerbie, Scotland on December 21, 1988. Our intelligence community also knows certain details about the Iranian involvement in the attack on the Khobar Towers military barracks in Saudi Arabia, killing 19 US Air Force personnel, 1 Saudi national.

Fast Forward to the Present

On September 7, 2006 a joint US-Iraqi patrol along the Iranian border was engaged by a “platoon-sized” force of Iranian soldiers firing automatic weapons and RPG’s after the US-Iraqi force detected the presence of Iranian soldiers on Iraqi territory. A brief firefight ensued. This engagement was confirmed by a “Request to Query” issued by the U.S. 101st Airborne Division. Seeing that the Iranian force was maneuvering to surround them the American troops realized that the Iranians had set up an ambush with the probable intent to capture as many of the joint US-Iraqi patrol as possible.

American requests for the Iraqi contingent to disengage were not heeded and the American’s withdrew from the engagement. Upon returning in force to the site of the clash no sign of the Iraqi force was evident. The results of an investigation into this firefight and attempted capture of US forces have not yet been released to my knowledge. This firefight is also detailed in a TIME report: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1605487,00.html

On January 20, 2007 an elite force of Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps known as the Qods (Jerusalem) Force launched an audacious raid in Karbala, Iraq. The raiders had US uniforms, equipment, and documentation and appeared to all who encountered them to be genuine US troops driving US-made SUVs. The capture of four US soldiers and the subsequent escape/evasion apparently ran into some unknown problems and the US troops were executed by gunfire. Their bodies and all equipment used in this unprecedented assault were discovered not far away soon thereafter.

This brings us to the illegal capture of 15 British sailors and marines in Iraqi territorial waters 10 days ago. A lot of talk and posturing and rhetoric have continued to this minute. Given the facts I have just detailed I must ask the question: why? Why is there any new discussion to yet another act of war executed by the Islamic Republic of Iran? Is there any doubt that Iran has been seeking a regional war of apocalyptic proportions since its creation? The honest answer is, at least to most observers who track historical developments, that is there is no doubt about this, it is a fact that Iranian mullahs seek an apocalyptic war and will do nearly anything to precipitate it.

So what are we waiting for?

The Present Assessment

Just yesterday a report from the Jerusalem Post and Associated Press was released. It cited Russian intelligence (i.e.: Russian government) sources as reported in the Russian (i.e.: government controlled media) - which are the same sources/same regime that has been outrageously assassinating anyone and everyone investigating its own covert activities - announcing a US attack to occur within a 12-hour period this coming Friday (Good Friday) on targets within Iran. Then the Russian Defense Ministry denounces these reports as “myths.”

What have we here, the Russian government playing good cop-bad cop with respect to the decades long provocation coming from Iran?

The JP/AP report followed immediately on the heels of media reports that Russia was suspending HEU fuel shipments to Iran due to non-payments on the nuclear proliferation contract between them. There are lies and then there are damned lies. This is the latter. It could also be cited as an operational deception or a gambit designed to mask the Russian role in what I have long assessed as being a coming Middle East power-play by the Iranian-Syrian-Russian axis.

The JP/AP report is not new news. It has been circulating for some time now. I believe this Russian-sourced report to be disinformation - even though in recent days the signs supporting the possibility of a US strike next month (May) have become stronger with the deployment of two more US Navy aviation and amphibious strike groups this week. This constitutes a US strike that Iran has earned with compound interest over the past 27 years.

What is new is that the JP/AP report associates it with the Iranian deception of an Israeli preemptive strike against it neighbors. This is looking more and more like a massive chess match which will ultimately determine whether the West or the Russo-Islamofascist alliance becomes the power broker in the Middle East. The US has been forced to seek an ally in the nations of Sunni Islam - nations whose own citizenry are at war with the US via the Islamic religion and clergy.

However, retuning to the Iranian deception, it is very thinly disguised. It is designed to mask a long-planned Iranian-Syrian-Hezbollah strike against Israel and make it appear that the Iranians are leading a legitimate pre-emptive strike on Israel. This plan has been abundantly clear for the past eight months and longer. The Israeli response to the provocations initiated by Iran via their Hezbollah proxy last summer initially caught these enemies by surprise, and yet ultimately set the course for what is coming - a much larger regional war against Israel and the Western allies.

Given the dates in the Russian and Iranian deceptions - I assess that their planned strike could occur within the next 30 days, perhaps even as early as this evening or tomorrow as Israel enters Pesach/Passover observations.

Comments from a 1979 Iranian hostage about the current British hostage crisis

By Douglas J. Hagmann, Director

29 March 2007: Although we only spoke once and it was about a year ago, I immediately recognized the ma’s voice on the other end of the telephone even before he identified himself last evening. His voice was passionate, almost quivering with a flurry of emotions, having again viewed the news clip of the Iranians parading the British female hostage before the cameras. He is a member of a unique group of 52 Americans who spent 444 days in Iranian captivity, something he says that he has put behind him, having spent the last 25 years trying to lead an ordinary life. “That was another lifetime, I’ve long since moved on and don’t talk about it anymore. It took me a long time to get to where I am, and I cannot - I don’t want to go back.” By his own choice, he is not on the talk circuit, and makes no public appearances.

Something, however, compelled this man to break his silence, and he wanted to tell me about it.

“It was the news clip [of the female British hostage]- that look - the ‘confession’ and description of the ‘humane’ treatment- it just brought back a flood of emotions I haven’t felt in a long, long time,” this former hostage said. He talked rapidly and passionately at first, then leveled out after regaining control of what seemed to be a cross between anger at the Iranian captors and empathy for the British captives. “What people aren’t seeing is the sick bas***** holding the gun to her head just out of camera range. I’m sure that most [rationale] people know it [the gun] is there, but few realize - can realize — the incredible emotions gripping that hostage as well as the others.

That single news clip, that one image, brought it all back for me,” added this brave American. During our conversation, he corrected me when I referred to him as an American hero, saying that there was nothing heroic associated with being held as a hostage. “I’m no hero, I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and for better or worse, it changed my life, but I’m no hero.”

I asked this seasoned and well-spoken man, who has since spent the last quarter-century in private life and defensively protects his past and anonymity for reasons he declines to discuss, what it is then, he wanted to make known about the current situation.

“First of all, as someone who has been watching this situation closely for obvious reasons, I want people to know how eerily reminiscent this event is of the embassy takeover in 1979. I’ve heard reporters comparing this incident with the 2004 [hostage] incident, which is wrong. This is much worse, much more dangerous. Whether or not the British strayed over into Iranian waters is perhaps the least important point of this whole incident. What I feel is more important is the initial level of confusion surrounding the taking of the British hostages. Just as the ‘students’ reportedly acted ‘independently’ and outside of official Iranian channels, the current Iranian Revolutionary Guard navy seems to have done the same in this incident, but nonetheless under the tutelage and with the blessing of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was himself involved in the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy.”

As the conversation progressed, I asked him a near impossible question to answer, but one that I am certain is on the minds of most people in the West: As a former hostage by the Iranians, how do you expect the current situation with the Brits to end? To that question, his response was quick and even terse:

“I don’t know, I have no idea. But 27 years later, we’re still dealing with the same people, the same players. The various governments, the reporters, the networks - they all talk about regime change. Ahmadinejad was there back then, and he is managing this situation the same way right now. Lines were drawn and redrawn in the sand then, as I am sure they will be now. You tell me, what has changed in the last 27 years? The longer this hostage situation goes on, the worse it will become for the hostages. I know this from experience. For their sake, I hope there is a quick solution and they are returned. But personally and having been there, counting the days until I lost count, I’m not holding out much hope, not until we get rid of this problem permanently and forever.”

So, I asked, “how do we do that - what’s the answer?”

After a long pause, he said, “to my knowledge, our own government hasn’t even acknowledged Ahmadinejad’s role in the embassy takeover 1979, and never - not once - talked to me or any of the others [former hostages] I’ve been in contact with about him. To arrive at an answer, it seems to me that you have to address the problem. The West had a quarter of a century to do just that. Twenty-seven years later, and it’s de’ja-vu. My heart goes out to those who are being held. It is just absurd that this is happening in 2007.”

As we concluded our conversation, I asked him if he had changed his mind about being identified by name for the purposes of this article. After all, I reasoned, a lot of time has passed since his days in Tehran. “Exactly,” he replied, and “not now” for that very same reason.

Iran to target New York?

27 February 2007: Increasing tensions between Washington and Tehran have revived New York Police Department concerns that Iranian agents may already have targeted the city for terror attacks. Such attacks could be aimed at bridges and tunnels, Jewish organizations and Wall Street, NYPD briefers told security execs last fall… Complete article by Erick Stakelbeck, CBN News

Iran & Syria: the real war behind the war

By Randy Taylor, Independent Analyst

13 February 2007: The new of late is the connection between arms from Iran being used in Iraq against US and coalition forces. This really is nothing new as this has been going on for years and not necessarily limited to Iran. In fact before the US forces shifted focus to the northern sectors of Iraqi territory there was a virtual freeway of foreign terrorists and arms along with munitions flowing in across the Syrian border, which is still happening today. [Read more...]

The Iranian-Hezbollah MANPADS Threat

“Make no mistake; there is no doubt that Hezbollah, the acknowledged ‘A-Team’ of international islamo-fascist terrorism, has the capability to strike the interests of the United States any time, any where, on the ground or in the air.” –Sean Osborne

13 February 2007: UPDATE: Bill Gertz/Washington Times 12 Feruary 2007: “Iran arms Iraqi insurgents”

Excerpted Quote: “The detailed briefing report, titled “Iranian Support for Lethal Activity in Iraq,” stated that Iranian Misagh-1 portable anti-aircraft missiles [MANPADS] were found after a failed attempt to shoot down a plane at Baghdad’s airport in 2004. Disclosure of the Iranian provision of anti-aircraft missiles [MANPADS] comes as six U.S. helicopters have been shot down by insurgents in the past three weeks. It is not known whether Iranian missiles were used in the attacks.”

NOTE: The multitude of unsupported claims on the various jihadi internet forums are one thing, and they are what they are - unsupported claims of responsibility. However, videographic evidence of a MANPADS shootdown, as is exactly the case with the USMC CH-46E Sea Knight, is exactly what it is - stone-cold, hard evidence of a MANPADS shootdown. - Sean Osborne Click “read more” above to view complete analysis.

By Sean Osborne, Associate Director, Military Affairs

10 February 2007: In the past month, a rash of U.S. military and contractor helicopters have been shot out of the sky during combat operations in Iraq. The most recent, and fifth chopper to be shot down, was the USMC CH-46E Sea Knight in the vicinity of al-Karma, Al Anbar province. The weapon used was MANPADS (Man-Portable Air Defense System).

Based upon my research, it is a virtual certainty that the MANPADS used to bring down these US helicopters in recent days are Iranian-supplied. The weapons Iran has provided are either Chinese-made QW-1 or Iran’s own copy-cat Mithaq-1, both of which are comparable to the US-made Stinger MANPADS. It is also probable that Iran has supplied the terrorists with Russian made MANPADS such as the SA-7,Grail, SA-14 Gremlin and SA-16 Gimlet.

These developments follow on the heels of the IDF experiences in Lebanon last summer when it also suffered helicopter losses from Hezbollah’s use of Iranian-supplied MANPADS. Also based upon my own research, I have no doubt that Hezbollah has trained the Shiite al-Mahdi Army in Iraq how to use them as well.

These facts give rise to what I believe are the inevitable questions which should be asked.

1.) Given Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s statement on Thursday, 8 February, that Iran has the capability to strike U.S. interests “all over the world,” would we be remiss in not giving weighted consideration to the full capability of Iranian terrorist proxy forces to shoot MANPADS at U.S. commercial aircraft anywhere in the world?

2.) Is there any doubt that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei would make such a statement without having been briefed in-depth on the full scope Iranian proxy terrorist capabilities by Mahmud Ahmadi-Nejad and his Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps officers?

3.) Is the Hezbollah terrorist organization in Lebanon or Iraq any different than the Hezbollah cells known to exist in Dearborn, Michigan, Charlotte, North Carolina and elsewhere in the continental United States?

4.) Is the degree of difficulty in smuggling MANPADS from Iran into Iraq and Baghdad more than it is to smuggle MANPADS into the continental United States via Mexican tunnels, cloned government vehicles or the porous Canadian border?

Make no mistake; there is no doubt that Hezbollah, the acknowledged “A-Team” of international islamo-fascist terrorism, has the capability to strike the interests of the United States any time, any where, on the ground or in the air.

Lebanon, Syria & Israel: The Coming War

“There is war coming to this border region, a very big war is coming. Iran and Syria with their terrorist proxies are spoiling for a very big war.” –Sean Osborne

By Sean Osborne, Associate Director, Military Affairs

9 February 2007: The brief firefight of a day ago between Lebanese and Israeli ground forces was more serious and of more significant consequence than many people seem to realize. It was not just another fire fight or skirmish between Arabs and Jews in the Middle Bast. This event was something else.

Consider the core facts of the matter.

The impotent, virtually useless Lebanese Army, an army which cannot even maintain effective control over its own sovereign territory, intentionally engaged an Israeli armored force executing a border security mine-clearing mission while on sovereign Israeli territory.

Before August 2006 such an engagment would have been unthinkable for the Lebanese Army. Virtually suicidal by any tactical standard. Like a kitten taking a swipe at an adult pit bull.

After August 2006 not only was such an attack thinkable but the potential repercusions were competently considered beforehand and determined to be desirable by the Lebanese Army field commander. Moreover, the Lebanese commander had been very well advised by the Israeli commander that he had no intention of crossing the blue line and entering Lebanese territory. Yet, this Lebanese commander still ordered his forces to engage fires with the Israeli armored force.

Why? For what purpose or tactical necessity did the Lebanese engage the Israeli force?

The Lebanese Army must have known Hezbollah had placed those Iranian shaped-charge mines on Israeli territory, and they must have known the Israeli’s would come and clear them. The Lebanese Army sat and waited for the Israeli force to show up. The Israeli’s did. The Israeli’s told the Lebanese they were going to clear the mines.

Therefore it seems obvious that the entire operation of placing of the mines on Israeli soil must have been a set-up, a trap to provoke or achieve some tactical result above and beyond what this event appears to have been in hindsight. It is a failed tactical repeat of the kidnapping event of July 2006.

The Lebanese Army is either working in coordination with Hezbollah, or that was no Lebanese Army unit, but Hezbollah soldiers in Lebanese Army uniforms and vehicles.

There is war coming to this border region, a very big war is coming. Iran and Syria with their terrorist proxies are spoiling for a very big war. I see no other tactical explanation which makes an iota of sense.

Ahmadinejad: February 11 will be the day that Iran’s nuclear rights “will be established”

5 February 2007: While also announcing that Iranian scientists have found a cure for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), Iranian President Mamoud Ahmadinejad announced that February 11 is the day when the Iranian nation’s “inalienable right to access and use nuclear technology will be established.”

Interestingly, Ahmadinejad stated that “The Iranian nation will celebrate stabilization and establishment of its nuclear rights during the Ten-Day Dawn,” represents early February marking the date of the Islamic revolution that took place in Iran in 1979 - an event that led to the “Iranian Hostage Crisis” the following November.

Sooner Rather Than Later: Iranian Shahab-6 ICBM

UPDATED 30 JANUARY 2007

By Sean Osborne, Associate Director, Military Affairs

27 January 2007: According to a pre-release article by Craig Covault, the upcoming 29 January 2007 issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine will reveal that Iran has converted it’s North Korean-cloned Shabhab-3 Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile into a satellite launch vehicle. According to a strategic analysis done by GlobalSecurity.Org, Iran conducted a successful test of its large IRIS solid propellant rocket motor in mid-2005. If these assessments are accurate, and there is no reason at this point to dismiss them, then the beast sitting on an Iranian launch pad today may very well be proof of the existence of Iran’s Shahab-6 Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile. The Shahab-6 is a weapon system specifically designed and capable of delivering an Iranian nuclear warhead to virtually anywhere on earth. It is a virtual clone of the North Korean Taepo-Dong 2C/3 ICBM which allegedly failed in a much publicized test in July 2006.

This technological leap is nothing less than stunning. Just twenty-two months ago, on March 17, 2005, the Director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, made public a statement for the record to the Senate Armed Service Committee,

“We judge Iran will have the technical capability to develop an ICBM by 2015. It is not clear whether Iran has decided to field such a missile.”

Such an astounding technological leap makes the sudden appearance of the Soviet Union’s orbiting Sputnik satellite in October 1957 absolutely pale in comparison. A little further back in the same text we read,

Iran is likely continuing nuclear weapon-related endeavors in an effort to become the dominant regional power and deter what it perceives as the potential for US or Israeli attacks. We judge Iran is devoting significant resources to its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs”

As referenced above, and based upon the physical reality sitting on an Iranian launch pad this morning, it would appear that the overall sum of the significant resources invested by Iran has more than adequately funded the long-term missile proliferation and advanced technology transfer programs of Red China, Russia, Pakistan, North Korea, as well as a few western nations. These technology transfers have enabled Iran to leap-frog at least 8 years worth of indigenous development, as well as prove totally inaccurate - if not make a complete mockery of - the best official, unclassified intelligence assessment from the U.S. Government yet made public about Iranian missile capabilities. In fact, such a flawed assessment brings into serious doubt the assessment regarding Iranian nuclear weapons progress.

I have been reading the 2004 assessment done by Aharon Etengoff, editor of the website weaponssurvey.com, titled “2004 Middle East Nuclear Update”. This outstanding assessment by Etengoff, a former staffer with the IDF Spokesmen’s Office, covers both nuclear and missile developments for a host of Middle Eastern nations, including Iran. It is based upon open source intelligence (OSINT) media reporting. Within the past three years and having read these same OSINT reports (I read copious amounts of such data 24/7/365), and I arrived at the same assessments and have so stated them publicly and privately, as well as on this website. This document should be reviewed in its entirety by all interested parties.

Among some of the nuclear-related information within this body of research is the following gem. “In February 2004, media reports indicated that IAEA inspectors had discovered traces of polonium-210, an element that can be used as neutron initiator in certain designs of nuclear weapons.”

In light of recent events, the purposes and/or recent uses of this highly radioactive substance have been discussed by the Northeast Intelligence Network at length. Note the discovery of Polonium-210 in Iran occurred nearly three years ago. Since Iran is not known to possess a working nuclear reactor or particle accellerator - where from did Iran acquire this Polonium-210? Obviously, a nuclear materials proliferator. Russia, Red China, North Korea or even the AQ Khan nuclear proliferation network run from within Pakistan are not likely to confess to such transfers, but they are without question the most probable sources. Combine this knowledge with the nuclear weapon plutonium core to be produced at Iran’s Khondab heavy-water reactor in Arak, or highly enriched uranium (HEU), and know that its destiny lies in a warhead perched atop an Iranian Shahab-6 ICBM.

Regarding advanced missile technology proliferation Etengoff provides us with the following paragraph, an exceptional compilation of OSINT data. The bottom line assessment of this paragraph is exactly correct and the focus of this article.

In October 2001, John Kyl, the ranking Republican on the Senate Sub-Committee on Technology, stated that China was providing Iran with the technology to mount nuclear warheads on missiles. In October 2002, Haâaretz reported that North Korea was testing long-range missiles in Iran, and in June 2003, U.S. intelligence officials disclosed that North Korea was exporting missiles to Iran via air routes. In July 2003, an Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman confirmed that Iran had successfully conducted the final test of its Shahab 3 medium-range missile. In August 2003, a Japanese newspaper reported that North Korea was negotiating with Iran over the export of its Taepodong-2 long-range ballistic missile and the possibility of jointly developing nuclear warheads. In January 2004, the Iranian Defense Minister stated that Iran intended to become “the first Islamic country to find a way into the space beyond the Earth’s atmosphere with its own satellite and indigenous launch-system. It should be noted that such a launch-system would be equivalent to long-range intercontinental ballistic missile capability, and would serve as a ‘civilian’ cover for an advanced weapons system.”

Indeed it would. And now, according to the chairman of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, Mr. Alaoddin Boroujerdi, the obviously dual-purpose launch vehicle sitting on the Iranian launch pad “will liftoff soon”. Sooner rather than later the Iranian Shahab-6 ICBM is close to becoming a reality. As twin American armadas of surface and sub-surface naval combatants approach the Persian Gulf region, I just have to wonder, is an Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) cruiser or destroyer among the surface combatants? Interesting thought nonetheless. The fact is that the policy of the United States is that Iran will not be joining the ranks of nuclear weapons capable states - ever. Can we assume that the delivery vehicles of such Iranian weapons will be allowed to exist in 2007, or at least retarded long enough to fit the current 2015 DIA guesstimate? Stay tuned.

UPDATE

The full Aviation Week & Space Technology article went up yesterday. With the development of this payload launch capability no ambiguity remains whatsoever regarding Iran’s hell bent quest for a global nuclear first strike capability.

But this is not the sum total of Iranian offensive nuclear desires. As the AW&ST article notes, and as DefenseNews.com reported in December 2005, Iran reportedly acquired a total of 18 North Korean BM-25 ballistic missiles. According to some data I have seen, the BM-25 is a land mobile variant of the ex-Soviet submarine-launched nuclear missile, variously known as the SS-N-6 (NATO NAME: Serb) or R-27 (Raketa 27). The SS-N-6 was a nuclear first-strike capable missile deployed on Soviet Yankee-class ballistic missile submarines which routinely parked themselves in deep water off the US east coast. The SS-N-6/R-27 came in three variants. Variants 1 and 2 carried a single nuclear warhead with a 600 kiloton to 1 megaton yield. Variant 3 was a MIRV, or multiple, independent re-entry vehicle, which had three nuclear warheads of approximately 450 kilotons each.

Citing a German BND intelligence source the German newspaper Bild, reported that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad decided the range of the reconfigured Iranian variant of the BM-25 was to be increased from 800 miles to more than 2,000 miles. Here we find a strong clue to the greater scope of the Iranian effort.

First, let me say that I do not believe that the”satellite launcher” sitting on the Iranian launch pad is a BM-25. In analysis of all pertinent data I note that the length of a BM-25/SS-N-6 is just 31 feet and it weighs 14.2 tons. Remember, it was designed to be launched from a submarine. What is apparently on the Iranian launch pad is at least 100 feet in length and reportedly weighs an estimated 25 to 30 tons. Iran says “satellite launcher”, I say ICBM.

However, regarding the BM-25, and as acknowledged by former Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld, Iran has conducted exploratory ballistic missile tests by firing them while at sea from the hold of what appears to be an ordinary cargo freighter. The new Iranian variant of the BM-25 missile when fitted into the hull of an Iranian freighter would be a doomsday, first strike weapon system not very different in mission objective than that of the Soviet missile submarines parked off the US east coast.

Theoretically speaking, Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad’s plan to increase the BM-25’s range to over 2,000 miles would make sense in that Iran would be able, with little or no warning, to target anywhere in the USA with a 600 kT to 1 MT nuclear warhead, if launched from such an Iranian cargo freighter in the vicinity of Cuba, and the entire eastern half of the USA if launched from the vicinity of Venezuela. In this capacity such a weapon system is meant to start a war.

Preempting a Nuclear Armed Iran: An Imminent Reality?

By Sean Osborne, Associate Director, Military Affairs

23 January 2007: Last Sunday, 21 January 2007, in an evening address before the gathered attendees at the Herzliya Conference in Israel, the U.S. Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Nicholas Burns, made the following unequivocal statement: “the policy of the United States is that we cannot allow Iran to become a nuclear weapons state” The timing of this official pronouncement from the American government may foretell dire consequences to the unquestioned desire of the Islamic Republic of Iran in its relentless drive to become a nuclear armed state.

A review of OSINT reporting regarding the military signals being sent to Tehran reveals that these words from the under-secretary have a high probability of being much more than mere political rhetoric. In fact, they could well be the last words on the subject prior to a military preemptive move by the United States in executing the American policy.

Looking forward into the period of time immediately before us indicates a confluence of not only an American military surge into the Persian Gulf region, but a time of promises from the Islamic regime in Tehran regarding its status as a nuclear power.

Of particular note is that the USS Stennis (CVN-74) Carrier Strike Group will arrive in the Persian Gulf region concurrent with the advent of a celebration in the Islamic Republic known as the “Daheh-ye Fajr,” or “Ten Days of Dawn”. This annual celebration highlights the arrival in Tehran of Ayatollah Khomeini from exile in France to personally lead the Islamic revolution on February 1, 1979. The Islamist Shiâ’a revolution came to a head on February 9th as Iranian government troops loyal to the non-Islamist Bakhtiar regime fought pitched battles against the Revolutionary Guards and other Iranian troops who defected to the Khomenist forces. Two days later on February 11 it was all over, the Khomenist forces had defeated the non-Islamist forces. It is in this upcoming celebratory period that Iran will likely make significant announcements concerning its nuclear status. Those announcements could trigger a US response.

The arrival of the USS Stennis CSG augments the already on-station USS Eisenhower CSG and the USS Boxer (ESG-5) Expeditionary Strike Group. Both of these strike groups are scheduled to depart the region sometime in March 2007. The arrival of the Stennis affords around-the-clock capability for sustained preemptive air strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities such as those located at Natanz.

Such a massed and sustainable combat capability is without question a very loud signal to the Iranian government. It is as stated above the potential manifestation of standing American policy regarding nuclear weapons in the possession of a state President Bush declared a belligerent nation in his speech of February 10, 2007.

Timing is everything. February through March 2007 appear to be the final “window of opportunity for any American action prior to what will become a potentially expedited political season in the United States, that is to say prior to the general election of 2008.

Such decisions are obviously not taken lightly, yet nothing is more paramount than the security of deployed US forces in the whole of southwest Asia and the stability of the region in which we and our allies have so heavily invested our blood and our treasury. The key judgments made in arriving at such a decision to preemptively act are known to have a direct impact upon the global economy, the primary consideration of those judgments being the free flow of oil commerce through a critical choke point at the Strait of Hormuz.

Make no mistake; any strike on Iranian nuclear infrastructure will be no small-scale operation. Such an operation will require, in my estimation, a minimum of the following: the destruction of all Iranian air defenses at the Iranian nuclear sites, all anti-aircraft missile batteries and the destruction of the Iranian Islamic Air Force itself which could conceivably interdict our forces; the destruction of all Iranian ballistic missile capability to retaliate against our forces and those of our regional allies, as well as any Iranian capability to close the Strait of Hormuz or interdict commercial shipping in the Persian Gulf with threats from Iranian sea, land or air-launched missiles, submarines and naval surface combatant ships.

About one week from today the window to such a possible preemptive will be fully open as the USS Stennis CSG sails in from over the horizon. It will remain open at least through the month of March. Closing that window will depend entirely upon the statements and actions coming from the Islamic Republic of Iran.