Thursday, January 06, 2005

Increased Incursions into Iran Incite Insecurity

In recent days, reports of incursions into Iranian airspace have made the regime fearful of a preemptive strike against its nuclear facilities, prompting it to respond by beefing up its air defenses around its nuclear sites. That is the report of Israeli security sources to the Jerusalem Post. ("Fearing attack, Iran boosts air defenses at nuke sites", by ARIEH O'SULLIVAN and DAVID HOROVITZ, Jerusalem Post, Jerusalem: Jan 5, 2005, pg. 01; available for purchase on the web.)

O'Sullivan and Horovitz note a report by the Iranian newspaper Aftab on Wednesday that U.S. warplanes, including F-16 mult-role fighters and F/A-18 attack jets, had flown into Iranian airspace in the past few days. The Iranians claimed the aircraft flew at a high altitude and appeared to be on a reconnaissance mission over Iranian nuclear sites, specifically those in the southwestern province of Khuzestan, or possibly to be a test of Iranian air defenses.

BBC Worldwide Monitoring on Monday related a report from the Iranian newspaper Etemaad website in Tehran, "American planes violate Iranian airspace over Khorasan and Khuzestan provinces." Here is the core of that report:
According to a report by the Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA), the military sources, speaking to daily Al-Khalij, printed in the United Arab Emirates two days ago, said: An American military aircraft, flying at the height of one kilometre over Khorasan Province on Saturday was probably trying to take pictures of Musa Abad region south of the provincial capital, Mashhad.

The sources added: The said aircraft returned to its base in Afghanistan afterwards.

The American action took place at a time when other Iranian sources announced two days ago that three American aircraft, models F-16 and F-18 fighter jets, violated our country's airspace in the region of Shalamcheh southwestern border post in Khuzestan Province.

On the basis of this report, Commander Yahya Rahim-Safavi of Islamic Revolution Guards Corps had earlier issued orders to down any suspicious object that violated Iran's airspace.
The flurry of activity in the air over Iran apparently has continued into this week. On Wednesday, BBC Worldwide Monitoring related a report from Baztab web site in Tehran of the landing of a spy aircraft:
An unidentified spy aircraft landed in the vicinity of Arak yesterday afternoon 4 January , a Baztab correspondent reported.

The unidentified and pilotless spy aircraft landed with parachute 25 km west of Arak yesterday afternoon. The unidentified aircraft was gathering information in the area.
The Jerusalem Post story also reports that the Iranian secret program to enrich uranium continues to "hum along." Ra'anan Gissin, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, points to the "fuel-cycle" effort as the "critical element... the one factor that will determine when the program comes to fruition, when you can build a bomb."

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|| headland, 1:44 PM


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