Iran boosts missile system, defies Israel
WASHINGTON / TEHRAN
Iranian President Ahmadinejad (2nd L) being escorted by technicians during a tour of Tehran’s research reactor centre. AP photoU.S. President Barack Obama’s administration is considering “a range of steps short of war” that it hopes will prevent an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, while Iran declared that it is developing a new homegrown missile system that is set to surpass the S-300 system producedby Russia.
The Obama administration hopes that ramping up measures on Tehran will give Israel a way to back off from a military attack, which would almost certainly unleash a new conflict in the Middle East. The measures are designed to force Tehran to negotiate more seriously over its nuclear program and offer Israeli officials a credible alternative to a military strike on Iran, the New York Times reported.
“The Obama administration is moving ahead with a range of steps short of war that it hopes will forestall an Israeli attack, while forcing the Iranians to take more seriously negotiations that are all but stalemated,” it said.
Citing unnamed military officials, the daily said the U.S. and more than 25 other countries would this month hold the largest-ever mine-sweeping exercise in the Gulf, in what is seen as a bid to prevent Iran from trying to block oil exports through the Strait of Hormuz.
Washington is also completing a new radar system in Qatar that would combine with radars already in place in Israel and Turkey to form a broad arc of antimissile coverage, the report said. “The administration is also considering new declarations by Obama about what might bring about American military action, as well as covert activities that have been previously considered and rejected,” it added.
Iran boosts missile system
Meanwhile, Iran is developing a new home-made missile system, an Iranian general revealed, adding that the country had already completed one-third of the project, Fars news agency reported. “With this powerful system in our hands, we would not think of S-300s anymore,” Commander of Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base Brigadier General Farzad Esmayeeli said. “The new Bavar (Belief) 373 system is an important and completely indigenous achievement that can be a powerful rival for S-300,” the commander reiterated.
“We are through with developing the threat-detection capability of the system and its sensitive parts have been manufactured in Iran,” Esmayeeli said. “We have no problem for supplying the missiles needed for this system.” Tehran also gave Mongolia’s president a tour of its main uranium enrichment plant yesterday, the first time that it has opened the site to a foreign leader.
The visit by President Tsakhia Elbegdorj follows a summit of emerging nations in Tehran, which Iranian officials said would showcase the failure of Western sanctions to isolate Iran diplomatically.
State TV showed Elbegdorj inspecting centrifuges used to enrich uranium at the facility in the central Iranian town of Natanz.