Iran, US flex muscles in case of conflict

Iran and the United States Tuesday underlined their military readiness for conflict should faltering diplomacy over Tehran's atomic activities fail, as tensions rose over tightened Western sanctions.

Iran said it successfully fired several dozen missiles -- including a medium-range Shahab-3 ballistic weapon with a range capable of striking Israel -- in war games in its central desert region.

US officials, meanwhile, detailed a quiet US military build-up in the Gulf region that includes the deployment of warships and F-22 stealth fighter jets.

The belligerent posturing came on the day technical experts from Iran and from world powers, including the United States, were due to meet in Istanbul in the latest round of talks.

Iran refuses to bow to Western demands that it curb its sensitive uranium enrichment under the pressure of punishing economic sanctions that were ramped up last week to their toughest level so far.

"The sanctions imposed against our country are the harshest and strongest ever imposed. If the enemies think they can weaken Iran with these sanctions, they are wrong," Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, quoted by the official IRNA news agency.

Tehran is demanding its "right" to enrichment be recognised and the sanctions be eased. It rejects Western suspicions that it is seeking a nuclear weapons capability.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast accused the Western nations in the so-called P5+1 group -- comprising the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China, plus Germany -- of dragging out the talks.

"Many people are starting to conclude that maybe there are specific goals in dragging out the talks and preventing their success. One option is that perhaps there is a link with the US (presidential) election" in November, he said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi told the ISNA news agency should the talks collapse, "the other alternative is confrontation."

Israel, which is not party to the talks, has warned it could launch pre-emptive air strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities to hinder what it sees as a threat by the Islamic republic to its existence.

US President Barack Obama has also repeatedly said that "all options" -- including US military action -- are on the table.

With that in mind, Iran Tuesday test-fired missiles into its central desert region in war games dubbed "Grand Prophet 7" and meant to simulate counter-attacks on US military bases in Afghanistan and other neighbouring countries, and possibly on Israel.

"The message of these Grand Prophet 7 manoeuvres is to show the determination, the will and the power of the Iranian people in defending their national interests and vital values," the number two of the elite Revolutionary Guards, General Hossein Salami, said, according to IRNA.

The launches included a Shahab-3 ballistic missile which has a maximum range of 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles), enough to reach Israel, which is 1,000 kilometres from Iran.

The United States warned such tests were in violation of UN resolutions that ban Iran from any ballistic weapons activity.

"This is not a positive development," said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.

"Iran has had these active missile development programs for two decades and has continued its development of advanced missile capabilities, including increasing longer-range systems. And these remain of acute concern," she said.

Some 120 lawmakers in Iran's 290-seat parliament have also signed on to a draft bill calling for the strategic Strait of Hormuz to be closed to oil tankers headed to Europe in retaliation for an EU embargo on Iranian crude.

Nuland insisted the Strait was an international waterway and all ships enjoy transit passage rights.

"Any attempt by Iran to close the Strait or to require vessels to obtain Iranian consent would be inconsistent with international law and not recognised by the United States," she told reporters.

"We have over years and decades made clear that we intend to do what is necessary to maintain the openness of the Straits."

But one official told The New York Times Washington would view any attempt by Iran to close the waterway as a "red line" triggering a US military reaction.

"Don't even think about closing the strait. We'll clear the mines. Don't even think about sending your fast boats out to harass our vessels or commercial shipping. We'll put them on the bottom of the Gulf," the official said.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • US ambassador recovers from knife attack praised by N. Korea
    US ambassador recovers from knife attack praised by N. Korea

    The US ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, was recovering from surgery Thursday after having his face and arm slashed by a knife-wielding activist in an attack applauded by North Korean state media. The United States condemned the "act of violence" which saw the ambassador rushed to hospital where his condition was described as stable after two-and-a-half hours of surgery that included 80 stitches to a deep gash on his right cheek. During the assault, Kim screamed a slogan in favour of …

  • New Moro rebel group emerges
    New Moro rebel group emerges

    A radical Muslim cleric trained in the Middle East and considered one of the leaders of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) has broken away from the terror group to form his own band of jihadists who are now reportedly providing sanctuary to bomb expert Basit Usman and at least five foreign militants, the military said yesterday. Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla, citing reports from the field, said the Justice for Islamic Movement (JIM) was …

  • Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires
    Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires

    Eleven Filipinos are included in Forbes’ 2015 list of richest people in the world. Filipino-Chinese tycoon Henry Sy Sr. continues to be the wealthiest man in the Philippines. The 90-year-old SM supermalls, banking and property tycoon ranked 73rd among the world’s richest with an increased net worth of $14.2 billion from $11.4 billion last year. Sy’s net worth was attributed to the continued growth of his SM Investments Corp. and his more recent venture, the City of Dreams Manila resort and …

  • US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines
    US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen said Wednesday he had found one of Japan's biggest and most famous battleships on a Philippine seabed, some 70 years after American forces sank it during World War II. Excited historians likened the discovery, if verified, to finding the Titanic, as they hailed the American billionaire for his high-tech mission that apparently succeeded after so many failed search attempts by others. Allen posted photos and video online of parts of what he said was the …

  • World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too
    World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too

    TOKYO (AP) — The world's oldest person says 117 years doesn't seem like such a long time. …

  • Billionaire finds wreck of WWII ship in Phl
    Billionaire finds wreck of WWII ship in Phl

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen says he has found the Japanese Navy’s biggest warship at the bottom of the sea in the Philippines, 70 years after US forces sank it. Allen posted a photo on Twitter on Tuesday of the World War II battleship Musashi’s rusty bow, which bore the Japanese empire’s Chrysanthemum seal. The American billionaire, who has also pursued space exploration, said his luxury yacht and exploration ship, the M/Y Octopus, found the Musashi one kilometer (1.6 miles) deep on the …

  • Ohio mom, boyfriend guilty; child emailed teacher for help

    PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (AP) — A woman and her boyfriend pleaded guilty to raping her young children and were sentenced to prison on Wednesday, a year after one of her daughters emailed a teacher for help and said she and her siblings were being chained to their beds, deprived of food and sexually assaulted. …

  • Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media
    Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media

    By Jane Wardell and Beawiharta SYDNEY/DENPASAR, Indonesia (Reuters) - Two convicted Australian drug smugglers were removed from a prison in Bali on Wednesday to be taken to an Indonesian island where they will be shot by firing squad, Australian media reported. The planned executions of Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31, have ratcheted up diplomatic tensions amid repeated pleas of mercy for the pair from Australia and thrown a spotlight on Indonesia's increasing use of the death …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options