New Wave of Militarization in the Caspian

On March 17, the Iranian navy launched a new Jamaran-2 destroyer in the Caspian Sea. The Iranian establishment, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi and Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Hassan Firuzabadi, attended the ceremony. This destroyer was developed and constructed domestically by Iranian experts and specialists. Earlier, a Jamaran-1 destroyer was launched in the Persian Gulf. The 1,420-ton destroyer, which is part of the 16th fleet of Iranian warships, is equipped with modern radars and electronic warfare capabilities. The Jamaran-2 has a top speed of up to 30 knots and a helipad. The destroyer features highly advanced anti-aircraft, anti-surface and anti-subsurface systems. The vessel has also been equipped with torpedoes and naval cannons (Trend, March 17). Conspicuously, the Iranian destroyer was launched exactly on the eve of the start of bilateral talks between Azerbaijan and Russia on the Caspian Sea delimitation issues. On March 18, Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Khalaf Khalafov met with Igor Bratchikov, the special envoy of the Russian foreign ministry. The sides discussed issues of mutual cooperation in the Caspian, including the drafting of a convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea and many others (Zerkalo, March 18). Continue reading

Iran Launches Destroyer in the Caspian Sea

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inaugurated the guided-missile destroyer Jamaran-2 in the port city of Anzali, about 250 kilometers (150 miles) northwest of Tehran.

After final tests, the report said, Jamaran-2 will join Iran’s naval fleet in the sea in coming months.

The 1,400-ton destroyer, which has a helicopter landing pad, is 94 meters (yards) long and can cruise at 30 knots. It is equipped to surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles as well as anti-aircraft batteries and sophisticated radar and communications terminals, the report said. Continue reading

Iranian leaders in Israel’s sights after calling for its destruction

This could also be considered a sign with the ongoing turmoil in Syria. Once the  highest ranking leaders start defecting or get picked off, Assad could decide to descend the entire Middle East into chaos.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was cheered by half a million demonstrators in Tehran shouting: Death to Israel! Death to America! when he declared Israel is a “cancerous tumor” that will soon be finished off in the new Middle East. He called “the Zionist regime’s existence an insult to all humanity.”

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said:  “The fake Zionist (regime) will disappear from the landscape of geography,”

And although both were severely rebuked by world leaders for their violent invective, it continued to pour out of Tehran in a comment by Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Force Chief, Brig. Gen. Amir Hajizadeh who said an Israeli attack would be welcome “as a pretext to get rid of Israel for good.”

Israel’s new Home Defense Minister Avi Dichter laid it out in plain language: While Syria, Lebanon and Gaza confront Israel with a strategic threat, Iran imperils our very existence.

Certain Western intelligence sources were reminded of a speech by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in 2006 when he quoted a Holocaust survivor as saying:  “My main lesson from the Holocaust is that if someone tells you he is going to exterminate you, believe him. And I add to that. Believe him and stop him!”

Six years later, those sources now suggest, after America’s top soldier Gen. Martin Dempsey offered the opinion that Israel can no longer destroy Iran’s nuclear weapon capacity – only delay it , that Netanyahu may be willing to go further: Not only to stop them, but kill them.

They are quietly using the term “decapitation.”

They point to the Israeli Mossad’s long record of targeted covert operations for dealing with past and would-be annihilators: In the fifties, the Mossad captured the Nazi criminal Adolf Eichmann in Operational Finale.

In the seventies, Golda Meir ordered Operation Wrath of God to hunt down and pick off one by one the Palestinian Black September murderers of 11 Israeli sportsmen at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

In February 2008, Iran’s senior terrorist operations commander, Hizballah’s Imad Mughniyeh, was liquidated in Damascus, so ending a bloody career of assassinations, terrorism and abductions against US and other Western targets as well as Israel.

Hizballah’s chief Hassan Nasrallah knows the score: He has spent six years hunkered down in a fortified bunker, taking care never to  broadcast his inflammatory speeches calling for Israel’s destruction live, only by video.

It cannot be ruled out that this point, Israel may decide to disable Iran’s nuclear program by going for its leaders.

Full article: Iranian leaders in Israel’s sights after calling for its destruction (DEBKAfile)

Iran begins construction of $300 million anti-aircraft missile base

New facility near the city of Abadeh will host 7 battalions, says senior commander

Amid increasing talk of a possible Israeli strike on its nuclear facilities, Iran has begun construction of a new, state-of-the-art, anti-aircraft missile base.

The new base, located near the city of Abadeh, in southern Iran, will cost $300 million, be home to 6,000 personnel, and host seven battalions, Iran’s Fars news agency reported Tuesday.

The Deputy Commander of the Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base, Mohammad Hosseini, said the base, the largest of its kind in Iran, will also include one of the most important military training centers in the country.

Also on Tuesday, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad unveiled an upgraded version of a short-range surface-to-surface ballistic missile just weeks after it was test-fired, Iranian state media reported.

Iran has also been pushing to upgrade its missiles, which already can target Israel and US bases in the Middle East. The Pentagon released a report in June noting significant advances in Iranian missile technology, acknowledging that the Islamic Republic has improved the accuracy and firing capabilities of its missiles.

Iran’s purported military advancements are impossible to independently verify because the country does not release technical details of its arsenals or rely on equipment from major international defense contractors.

Full article: Iran begins construction of $300 million anti-aircraft missile base (The Times of Israel)