Entries Tagged as 'Iran'

Iran says it recovered data from captured US drone

Associated Press
By Ali Akbar Dareini
April 22, 2012

Iran claimed Sunday that it had recovered data from an American spy drone that went down in Iran last year, including information that the aircraft was used to spy on Osama bin Laden weeks before he was killed. Iran also said it was building a copy of the drone.

Similar unmanned surveillance planes have been used in Afghanistan for years and kept watch on bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. But U.S. officials have said little about the history of the particular aircraft now in Iran’s possession.

Tehran, which has also been known to exaggerate its military and technological prowess, says it brought down the RQ-170 Sentinel, a top-secret drone equipped with stealth technology, and has flaunted the capture as a victory for Iran and a defeat for the United States.

The U.S. says the drone malfunctioned and downplayed any suggestion that Iran could mine the aircraft for sensitive information because of measures taken to limit the intelligence value of drones operating over hostile territory.

The drone went down in December in eastern Iran and was recovered by Iran almost completely intact. After initially saying only that a drone had been lost near the Afghan-Iran border, American officials eventually confirmed the plane was monitoring Iran’s military and nuclear facilities.

Washington has asked for it back, a request Iran rejected. …

Read on: www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5i2PaL8ibPt7lHkzlpohGiN4hQ6DQ?docId=715e9cb213244e4eb3b0f889980d9d72

Iran military says copying U.S. drone

By Marcus George
April 22, 2012

Iran’s military has started to build a copy of a U.S. surveillance drone captured last year after breaking the software encryption, Iranian media reported on Sunday.

General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of the Revolutionary Guards aerospace division, said engineers were in the final stages of decoding data from the Sentinel aircraft, which came down in December near the Afghan border, Mehr news agency reported.

Iran said the unmanned aircraft was shot down, but Washington disputes that and says the security systems mean Iran is unlikely to get valuable information from the Lockheed Martin Corp drone.

“The Americans should be aware to what extent we have infiltrated the plane,” Fars news agency quoted Hajizadeh as saying. “Our experts have full understanding of its components and program.”

Iran’s military regular announces defense and engineering developments, but some analysts are skeptical as to how reliable those reports are.

U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman, a member of the Armed Services Committee, voiced his own doubts.

“There’s a history here of Iranian bluster, particularly now when they’re on the defensive because of our economic sanctions against them,” Lieberman said in a television interview. …

Read on: www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/22/us-iran-military-drone-idUSBRE83L02I20120422

Israeli TV report shows air force gearing up for Iran attack, says moment of truth is near

Times of Israel
By Greg Tepper
April 15, 2012

‘IAF expects losses, and knows it can’t destroy entire Iranian program’

A major Israel TV station on Sunday night broadcast a detailed report on how Israel will go about attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities in the event that diplomacy and sanctions fail and Israel decides to carry out a military strike.

The report, screened on the main evening news of Channel 10, was remarkable both in terms of the access granted to the reporter, who said he had spent weeks with the pilots and other personnel he interviewed, and in the fact that his assessments on a strike were cleared by the military censor.

No order to strike is likely to be given before the P5+1 talks with Iran resume in May, the reporter, Alon Ben-David, said. “But the coming summer will not only be hot but tense.”

In the event that negotiations fail and the order is given for Israel to carry out an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, “dozens if not more planes” will take part in the mission: attack and escort jets, tankers for mid-air refueling, electronic warfare planes and rescue helicopters, the report said. …

Read on: www.timesofisrael.com/iaf-plans-for-iran-attack/

This Week at War: Rules of the Game

Foreign Policy
By Robert Haddock
March 23, 2012

What message were U.S. officials trying to send by releasing the results of a CentCom Iran war game?

On March 19, the New York Times described a classified U.S. Central Command war game conducted this month that simulated the outcome of an Israeli attack on Iran. According to U.S. officials who discussed the results with the newspaper, the game “forecasts that the [Israeli] strike would lead to a wider regional war, which could draw in the United States and leave hundreds of Americans dead.” Marine Gen. James Mattis, commander of Central Command, found the outcome “particularly troubling” because an Israeli first strike would have “dire consequences across the region and for United States forces there.”

The article, with its discussion of “dire consequences,” is one more indication of the gap between the Israeli government’s calculations concerning Iran and those of the U.S. government. Why that analytical gap exists should be of interest to policymakers. The military’s conclusion that U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf region could suffer hundreds of deaths following an Israeli strike could be an indication that U.S. commanders and policymakers have not adequately prepared for such a scenario. But perhaps most important, we should examine what goals U.S. officials had in mind when they leaked the results of the supposedly secret war game to the New York Times.

According to the article, the two-week Central Command war game, called Internal Look, was specifically designed to test internal military communications and coordination among battle staffs in the Pentagon, Central Command headquarters in Tampa, and field units in the Persian Gulf. According to the scenario, Iran would conclude that the United States was an Israeli partner and therefore U.S. military forces in the Gulf were complicit in the Israeli first strike. The simulation had Iranian anti-ship missiles strike a U.S. warship killing hundreds of sailors. The United States then retaliated with its own strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities.

This simulation appears to differ sharply from Israeli expectations. …

Read on: www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/03/23/this_week_at_war_rules_of_the_game

Robert Gates: Attacking Iran Would Be A ‘Catastrophe’

By Eli Clifton
March 22, 2012

ran hawks and the GOP presidential candidates like Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney have been slow to acknowledge the inherent dangers of U.S. and/or Israeli military strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities while members of President Obama’s cabinet have made the case that sanctions and diplomatic pressure are the best strategy for deterring Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon.

But in remarks delivered last week at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates — himself a Republican — delivered a stern warning to those who push for the “military option” against Iran.

“If you think the war in Iraq was hard, an attack on Iran would, in my opinion, be a catastrophe,” said Gates, as reported by the Jewish Exponent. Gates, who served as Defense Secretary in both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations, warned that Iran’s nuclear facilities would be difficult to destroy and an attack would lead Iranians to “rally behind their mullahs.” …

Read on: http://thinkprogress.org/security/2012/03/22/449740/robert-gates-attacking-iran-would-be-a-catastrophe/

U.S. Likely to Press On With Missile Defense in Poland

The Wall Street Journal
By Marcin Sobczyk
January 12, 2012

The U.S. will likely keep its commitment to place missile interceptors in Poland to counter a military threat from Iran regardless of any opposition from Russia and despite defense cutbacks, a U.S. senator said Thursday.

U.S. President Barack Obama in 2009 scrapped the missile-defense plan drafted by his predecessor, George W. Bush, under which Poland would host a base near its border with the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. The U.S. later proposed a new system envisaging 24 interceptors in Poland at the same location.

“Indications are that despite defense cutbacks, we’re going to maintain the commitment to build the Polish missile-defense system, and that is because the threat from Iran is growing, it’s clear that Iran’s nuclear programs are accelerating,” Illinois Republican Senator Mark Kirk told reporters in Warsaw.

“My hope is that we stay on schedule for a 2018 full operational capability of 24 interceptors at Redzikowo to defend NATO and the United States,” he added. “The Russians have been pretty hostile to missile defense. They say that in some way this threatens their nuclear deterrents, but we’re going to build only 24 interceptors in Poland and last I checked Russia has more than 24 nuclear weapons. … We need to defend a free, sovereign and independent Poland regardless of what Russia thinks.” …

Read on: blogs.wsj.com/emergingeurope/2012/01/12/u-s-likely-to-press-on-with-missile-defense-in-poland/

Israel, U.S. to hold missile defense drill

By Ian Deitch – The Associated Press
January 5, 2012

The Israeli military is gearing up together with U.S. forces for a major missile defense exercise, the Israeli military announced Thursday, as tension between Iran and the international community escalates.

The drill is called “Austere Challenge 12” and is designed to improve defense systems and cooperation between the U.S. and Israeli forces. It follows a 10-day Iranian naval exercise near the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

Israel’s military said the drill with the U.S. was planned long ago and is not tied to recent events.

Both Israeli and U.S. officials said the exercise would be the largest-ever joint drill by the two countries.

The Iranian war games came as the West was adopting new sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear program, charging it is making weapons. Iran insists its program is peaceful.

Israel considers Iran a strategic threat because of its nuclear and missile programs and support of violent groups in Lebanon and Gaza, as well as frequent references by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Israel’s destruction.

The Israeli military spokesman did not give a date for the drill Thursday, but a senior military official said it would be in the next few weeks. …

Read on: www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/2012/01/ap-us-israel-missile-defense-drill-010512

Russia Will Not Stop U.S. Missile Defense Plans, Envoy Says

Global Security Newswire
December 5, 2011

The U.S. ambassador to NATO on Friday said the Obama administration initiative to establish a missile defense system across Europe would go forward “whether Russia likes it or not,” Reuters reported.

The U.S. plan calls for deploying a web of missile interceptors and associated technology in nations such as Poland, Romania and Turkey. The plan would provide the backbone of a planned NATO missile shield, and the Western alliance has spent the last year trying to persuade Russia to join the effort.

Moscow, though, says the NATO system might be aimed at countering Russia’s nuclear forces. It has threatened to deploy short-range missiles in its Baltic enclave and to withdraw from the New START nuclear arms control treaty if an agreement on missile defense cannot be reached with Washington and NATO.

However, U.S. Ambassador Ivo Daalder informed journalists the Kremlin’s problems with the planned missile shield “won’t be the driving force in what we do.”

Since the Obama administration announced its “phased adaptive approach” for European missile defense in fall 2009 — a scaled-back approach to an earlier Bush administration plan — U.S. calculations of the danger of a ballistic missile strike from Iran have only increased, Daalder said.

“It’s accelerating and becoming more severe than even we thought two years ago,” Daalder said of the Iranian missile threat. …

Read on: www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20111205_9867.php

Russia opposes new Iran sanctions over IAEA report

By Steve Gutterman
November 9, 2011

Russia on Wednesday vehemently criticized a U.N. nuclear watchdog report saying Iran appeared to have worked on designing an atom bomb, saying it contained no new evidence and was being used to undercut efforts to reach a diplomatic solution.

Sharpening opposition to any new sanctions against Iran in the U.N. Security Council, where Russia has veto power, senior diplomats said further punitive measures would be “destructive” and urged a revival of talks between Tehran and global powers.

The Russian remarks came during a visit by a senior Iranian official for talks on the program which Tehran says is peaceful but the United States and its allies fear is aimed at developing the capability to build atomic weapons.

They underscored a divide between Russia and the West over a report by the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency that deepened U.S. and European suspicions about Tehran’s intentions.

“According to our initial evaluations, there is no fundamentally new information in the report,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“We are talking about a compilation of known facts, given a politicized tone,” it said, adding that interpretations of the report brought to mind the use of faulty intelligence to seek support for the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. …

Analysts say Moscow may have calculated that it has little to gain from supporting new sanctions against Iran. This would further hurt ties already damaged by Russia’s backing of the most recent measures in June 2010, when President Dmitry Medvedev also scrapped a deal to deliver air-defense missiles to Tehran.

Those sanctions were adopted at a time of improving relations between Russia and the United States, after President Barack Obama downsized a European missile defense plan that Russia opposed and signed a nuclear arms limitation treaty with Medvedev.

Read in full: www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/09/us-nuclear-iran-russia-idUSTRE7A857620111109

Four U.S. Navy ships to be stationed at Rota as part of missile defense system

Stars and Stripes
By Geoff Ziezulewicz
October 5, 2011

Four U.S. Navy ships will be stationed at Naval Station Rota, Spain, beginning in 2013 as part of a European missile defense system, defense officials announced Wednesday.

The ships will bring with them about 3,000 U.S. military personnel and family members, roughly doubling the American community in Rota, which presently serves as a logistics hub and has no ships home-ported there.

At a news conference Wednesday evening at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta hailed the agreement as a first step in a 10-year European missile defense plan, as well as a vindication of the alliance’s relevance.

“This announcement should send a very strong signal that the United States is still continuing to invest in this alliance,” Panetta said. …

The ships will act as a floating defense shield against potential missile strikes from Iran.

All are equipped with the Aegis combat system, a complex array of sensors, communications and weapons systems that can detect, track and fire on incoming missiles and other threats, according to the Navy.

These ships make up the first piece of the European Phased Adaptive Approach missile defense plan, which the White House introduced in 2009 and NATO endorsed last year.

Last month, Turkey agreed to emplace U.S. early warning radar on its soil, facing Iran and linked to the Aegis system. …

Read in full: www.stripes.com/news/four-u-s-navy-ships-to-be-stationed-at-rota-as-part-of-missile-defense-system-1.157031