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Iran Super Thread- Merged

Iran defies West with plans for four new nuclear reactors:

Iran raised the stakes in its confrontation with the West Wednesday by declaring it would build four new nuclear reactors outside the international safeguards regime.

Just a week after the United Nations imposed a fourth round of sanctions on the Islamic Republic, officials said that Tehran was determined to supply its own nuclear plants with domestically manufactured uranium fuel.

The announcement appeared to mark the death knell for diplomatic efforts to supply the country's only functioning nuclear plant with fuel processed in France and Russia.

A compromise proposed in October would have seen Iran swap uranium from its stockpile for foreign made fuel rods under strict conditions that would have reduced the risk of a nuclear bomb being produced.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's hardline president, said Iran was determined to maintain its nuclear program despite the ruinous effects of sanctions on the country's economy.

"You showed bad temper, reneged on your promise and again resorted to devilish manners," he said of the powers that imposed sanctions. Mr Ahmadinejad told a crowd of loyalists that Tehran would not be defeated by the latest round of sanctions which targeted financial transactions and travel by senior military figures. He said: "If they think they can use sticks to pressure Iran, we say that the Iranian nation will break all of their sticks." Since the worldwide sanctions regime was strengthened, both America and Europe have sought to tighten restrictions on bilateral commercial ties with Iran. Timothy Geithner, the U.S. treasury secretary, announced Wednesday night the department was prepared to impose a series of measures that implemented and built on the Iran sanctions resolution passed by the UN.

A European Union meeting in Brussels Thursday will agree to impose extra penalties on transport, banking, insurance, technology transfers and the oil industry.

But Tehran has been defiant in the face of such pressure. Another senior figure threatened to retaliate by disrupting the shipping lanes of the Gulf and other waters around Iran. Ali Larijani, the parliament speaker, said Iranian forces would not allow "bullying powers" to police its sea-borne trade.

He added: "We warn the U.S. and some adventurist countries that should they be tempted to inspect consignment of Iranian planes and ships, they should rest assured that we will reciprocate [against] their ships in the Persian Gulf and Oman Sea."

Iran announced it had begun enriching uranium up to the 20 per cent threshold that would allow it to produce a weapon earlier this year.

Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, said the four new plants would replace the Tehran Research Reactor which was built in 1973. It is used to supply Iranian hospitals with equipment for radiography departments.

          (Reproduced under the Fair Dealings provisions of the Copyright Act)
I don't have the links here, but in the last week I saw two more articles about Iran:

1. It's sending aid ships to Gaza (re: attempting to get through the Israeli blockade); and

2. Saudi Arabia has admitted it will look the other way if Israel flies bombers/fighters over its airspace en route to attack Iranian nuclear plants.
                See Foreign Militaries/ Israel Blockade

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US intelligence has shown Iran could launch an attack against Europe with "scores or hundreds" of missiles, prompting major changes to US missile defenses, Pentagon chief Robert Gates said on Thursday.

President Barack Obama in September cited a mounting danger from Iran's arsenal of short and medium-range missiles when he announced an overhaul of US missile defense plans.

The new program, called the "phased adaptive approach," uses sea and land-based interceptors to protect NATO allies in the region, instead of mainly larger weapons designed to counter long-range missiles.

"One of the elements of the intelligence that contributed to the decision on the phased adaptive array was the realization that if Iran were actually to launch a missile attack on Europe, it wouldn't be just one or two missiles or a handful," Gates told a senate hearing.

"It would more likely be a salvo kind of attack, where you would be dealing potentially with scores or even hundreds of missiles."

Top US generals have said the new anti-missile system was meant to guard against a potential salvo of missiles from states such as Iran or North Korea.

Gates made the comment when asked by Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss if he supported deploying improved missile defenses, including plans for an upgraded SM-3 missile by 2020, even if Russia objected

Gates said he backed the 10-year plan, despite possible resistance from Moscow, saying the new missile defenses "would give us the ability to protect our troops, our bases, our facilities and our allies in Europe."

Gates, along with other top deputies in the Obama administration, appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee to argue for ratification of a new nuclear arms control treaty with Russia, trying to reassure Republican lawmakers the agreement posed no threat to the missile defense program.
Wow, does the media really think people are that stupid? Iran firing hundreds of missiles against EUROPE? Is this a joke?

*sigh* I can hear the war drums beating again  ::) . Another boogie man. Another "threat". Hopefully people will see through the BS.
Canada strengthens sanctions against Iran:

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced a tightening of Canada's existing sanctions against Iran's nuclear industry Tuesday, just days before he is to host a G8 summit where heightened pressure on Iran will be a prominent international security theme.

If Iran continues to develop nuclear capability, "the consequence is frightening," Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said at a news conference.

Canada is joining the United States, European Union and other players in implementing a recent United Nations Security Council resolution aimed at penalizing Iran on grounds it has failed to co-operate with the International Atomic Energy Agency and to comply with requests to halt uranium enrichment-related and reprocessing activities.

(article continues)

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/technology/Canada+strengthens+sanctions+against+Iran/3186225/story.html#ixzz0rcBrwwXG

              (Reproduced under the Fair Dealings provisions of the Copyright Act)
Iran on war alert over "US and Israeli concentrations" in Azerbaijan:

In a rare move, Iran has declared a state of war on its northwestern border, debkafile's military and Iranian sources report. Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps men and equipment units are being massed in the Caspian Sea region against what Tehran claims are US and Israeli forces concentrated on army and air bases in Azerbaijan ready to strike Iran's nuclear facilities.
The announcement came on Tuesday, June 22 from Brig.-Gen Mehdi Moini of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), commander of the forces tasked with "repelling" this American-Israeli offensive. He said: "The mobilization is due to the presence of American and Israeli forces on the western border," adding, "Reinforcements are being dispatched to West Azerbaijan Province because some western countries are fueling ethnic conflicts to destabilize the situation in the region."

In the past, Iranian officials have spoken of US and Israel attacks in general terms. debkafile's Iranian sources note that this is the first time that a specific location was mentioned and large reinforcements dispatched to give the threat substance.

Other Iranian sources report that in the last few days, Israel has secretly transferred a large number of bomber jets to bases in Azerbaijan, via Georgia, and that American special forces are also concentrated in Azerbaijan in preparation for a strike.

No comment has come from Azerbaijan about any of these reports. Iranian Azerbaijan, the destination of the Revolutionary Guards forces reinforcements, borders on Turkey, Iraq and Armenia. Witnesses say long IRGC convoys of tanks, artillery, anti-aircraft units and infantry are seen heading up the main highways to Azerbaijan and then further north to the Caspian Sea.

On Tuesday, June 22, Dr. Uzi Arad, head of Israel's National Security Council and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's closest adviser, said "The latest round of UN Security Council sanctions on Iran is inadequate for thwarting its nuclear progress. A preemptive military strike might eventually be necessary."

(article continues) (other interesting articles at link)
Read more: http://www.debka.com/article/8868/

        (Reproduced under the Fair Dealings provisions of the Copyright Act)
Bloomberg link

Iran has enough enriched uranium to produce two nuclear weapons, CIA Director Leon Panetta said today.

“They clearly are developing their nuclear capability and that raises concerns,” Panetta said on ABC’s “This Week” program. “We think they have enough low-enriched uranium right now for two weapons.”

Israeli officials “feel more strongly that Iran has already made the decision to proceed with the bomb,” Panetta said. The Israelis “are willing to give us the room to try to change Iran diplomatically and culturally and politically.”
Western oil firms stop business with Iran:

ABU DHABI - Iran faced growing economic pressure on Monday after two Western oil firms halted business with it, and a Gulf Arab country seen as a trade lifeline for Tehran moved to freeze some Iranian-linked bank accounts.

The developments underlined the major oil producer's increasing international isolation over a nuclear program it says is aimed at generating electricity but major powers suspect is intended for making bombs.

France's Total joined an expanding list of companies that have stopped gasoline sales to Iran, and Spain's Repsol said it had pulled out of a contract to develop part of the country's huge South Pars gas field in the Gulf.

(article continues)

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Western+firms+stop+business+with+Iran/3211632/story.html#ixzz0sB2EQsAr

                  (Reproduced under the Fair Dealings provisions of the Copyright Act)
It seems to be having some sort of effect.
The latest on the subject....... US: Sanctions having an effect

More companies shun Tehran in wake of latest round of UN sanctions, senior US official says

WASHINGTON – First signs of success: The latest sanctions against Iran have been slammed for not being firm enough, yet US officials are saying that the punitive steps are already having an effect.

The latest round of UN sanctions prompted several private sector companies to cut their ties with the Ayatollah regime, US Undersecretary of Treasury Stuart Levey said Tuesday.

"The impact of these actions on Iran has been significant and is deepening as a result of Iran's own conduct," he said.

Levey, who is the architect of the financial boycott against Iran in the Treasury, told Senate's Foreign Affairs Committee that private sector companies are joining banks in ending their ties with Iran.

"Virtually all major financial institutions have either completely cut off or dramatically reduced their ties with Iran," he said.

"We are now starting to see companies across a range of sectors, including insurance, consulting, energy, and manufacturing make similar decisions," Levey said, adding that ties with Iran are increasingly feared because of the "reputational risk" inherent in such contacts.


                  (Reproduced under the Fair Dealings provisions of the Copyright Act)

Iran is Surrounded by US Troops in 10 Countries:

Iran literally is surrounded by American troops, notes an oil market analyst, Energy and Capital editor Christian A. DeHaemer. There is no evidence of an imminent attack, but he connects a number of recent events and the presence of American soldiers to warn that oil prices might soar -- with or without a pre-emptive strike aimed at stopping Iran’s nuclear power ambitions.

Iran is bordered on the east by Pakistan and Afghanistan, where U.S. troops have been waging a costly war, in terms of money and lives, against Taliban, Al-Qaeda and other terrorists.

The Persian Gulf is on Iran’s southern border, and last week’s report, confirmed by the Pentagon, that 11 warships had sailed through the Suez Canal, raised alarm bells that the U.S. is ready to fight to keep the Persian Gulf open.

Iran has threatened it could close the waterway, where 40 percent of the world’s oil flows in tankers, if the United Nations or the United States by itself carry out harsh energy sanctions against the Islamic Republic. An Israeli ship has also reportedly joined the U.S. armada.

Kuwait, which is heavily armed by the U.S. and is home to American bases, is located on the southwestern border of Iran. The country’s western neighbors are Turkey and Iraq, also home to American bases, and Turkmenistan, the Caspian Sea and Azerbaijan are the Islamic Republic’s northern neighbors.

The U.S.army last year advanced military cooperation with Turkmenistan. An independent Caspian news agency has confirmed unusually heavy activity of American troops along the border with Iran. The Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Brigadier General Mehdi Moini said last week that his forces increased patrols, including tanks and anti-aircraft units, along the border with Azerbaijan because they noticed increased American activity. Iran charged that Israeli forces were also present, sparking a virtual war alert among the Iranian Guards.

In addition, the Times of London reported earlier this month that Saudi Arabia has agreed to open its air space for Israel Air Force jets, a claim that the Saudi monarchy denied. It similar denied Iranian news agency claims that Israeli helicopters unloaded military equipment at a northwestern Saudi Arabian air base, from where Israeli planes theoretically could reach Iran in the shorts possible time.

There has been no confirmation of Israel-Saudi cooperation from any other source, but one IDF reserve officer, who has been involved in secret military projects for private companies, told Israel National News that the it could be true if both countries found it in their common interests. Saudi Arabia does not recognize Israel and has treated the Jewish State with disdain. However, the possibility of Iran's dominating the Arab world with nuclear power has changed all political scenarios.

Several defense websites have reported that Israel is deploying one to three German-made nuclear submarines in the Persian Gulf as a defensive measure against the possibility of a missile attacks from Lebanon and Syria, as well as Iran.

“The submarines of Flotilla 7 — Dolphin, Tekuma and Leviathan — have visited the Gulf before,” DeHaemer wrote, “but the decision has now been taken to ensure a permanent presence of at least one of the vessels.”

Amid the buzz of increased military activity around Iran looms the specter of higher oil prices, which is DeHaemer's field of expertise. “The last oil price shock in the Middle East was in 1990 when the United States invaded Iraq for invading Kuwait. The price per barrel of oil went from $21 to $28 on August 6...to $46 by mid-October. The looming Iran War is not priced in,” he warned in his news letter.

Iran has the third-highest oil reserves in the world and is second only to Saudi Arabia in production. If any action prevents the flow of Iranian oil, the price of “black gold” would soar, he added.

link:  http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/138284

                  (Reproduced under the Fair Dealings provisions of the Copyright Act)
Third US carrier, 4,000 Marines augment US armada opposite Iran:

debkafile's military sources report that Washington has posted a third carrier opposite Iran's shores. It is supported by amphibious assault ships and up to 4,000 Navy and Marine Corps personnel, bringing the total US strength in these waters to three carriers and 10,000 combat personnel.
The USS Nassau (LHA-4) Amphibious Ready Group 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, tasked with supporting the Bahrain-based 5th Fleet area of operations, is cruising around the Bab al-Mandeb Straits where the Gulf of Aden flows into the Red Sea. Its presence there accounts for Tehran announcing Sunday, June 27 that its "aid ship for Gaza" had been called off, for fear an American military boarding party would intercept the vessel and search it.  This would be permissible under the latest UN sanctions punishing the Islamic Republic for its nuclear program.
The third US carrier group to reach waters around Iran consists of three vessels:
1. The USS Nassau Amphibious Assault ship is not just an enormous landing craft for the 3,000 Marines aboard; its decks carry 6 vertical take-off AV-HB Harrier attack plans; four AH-1W Super Cobra, twelve CH-46 Sea Knight and CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters, as well choppers convertible to fast V-22 Osprey airplanes capable of landing in any conditions.
This vast warship has 1,400 cabinets for sleeping the entire Marine-24th Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard.
2.  The amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde which carries 800 Marines equipped for instantaneous landing.
3.  The amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland which carries 400 Marines and 102 commandos trained for special operations behind enemy lines.

debkafile adds: The USS Ashland was the target of an al Qaeda Katyusha rocket attack in 2005 when it was docked in Jordan's Aqaba port next door to the Israeli port of Eilat. One of the rockets exploded in Eilat airport. The ship exited harbor in time to escape harm.
These new arrivals are a massive injection of naval, air and marine muscle to the strength Washington has deployed in the Persian Gulf-Red Sea-Indian Ocean arena in recent months. The USS Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group consisting of twelve warships is cruising in the Arabian Sea opposite Chah Bahar, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards biggest naval base not far from the Iranian-Pakistan border. It is there that most of Iran's special commando units are housed.
Also posted in the Arabian Sea, further to the west, is the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Strike Group.

debkafile link
                  (Reproduced under the Fair Dealings provisions of the Copyright Act)
Dangerous Crossroads in World History: Obama’s New Iran Sanctions: An Act of War

by Shamus Cooke

When the UN refused to agree to the severe sanctions that the U.S. wanted, Obama responded with typical Bush flair and went solo. The new U.S. sanctions against Iran — signed into law by Obama on July 1st — are an unmistakable act of war.

If fully enforced, Iran’s economy will be potentially destroyed. The New York Times outlines the central parts of the sanctions:

“The law signed by Mr. Obama imposes penalties on foreign entities that sell refined petroleum to Iran or assist Iran with its domestic refining capacity. It also requires that American and foreign businesses that seek contracts with the United States government certify that they do not engage in prohibited business with Iran.” (July 1, 2010).

Iran must import a large part of its refined oil from foreign corporations and nations, since it does not have the technology needed to refine all the fuel that it pumps from its soil. By cutting this refined oil off, the U.S. will be causing massive, irreparable damage to the Iranian economy — equaling an act of war.

In fact, war against Japan in WWII was sparked by very similar circumstances. Franklin Delano Roosevelt spearheaded a series of sanctions against Japan, which included the Export Control Act, giving the President the power to prohibit the export of a variety of materials to Japan, including oil. This gave Roosevelt the legal stance he needed to implement an oil embargo, an obvious act of war. Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor simply brought the war out of the economic realm into the military sphere.

Iran is facing the exact same situation. Whereas the Obama Administration calmly portrays economic sanctions as “peaceful” solutions to political problems, they are anything but. The strategy here is to economically attack Iran until it responds militarily, giving the U.S. a fake moral high ground to “defend” itself, since the other side supposedly attacked first.

But the U.S. is provoking militarily too. According to the New York Times: “The Obama administration is accelerating the deployment of new defenses against possible Iranian missile attacks in the Persian Gulf, placing special ships [war ships] off the Iranian coast and antimissile systems in at least four [surrounding] Arab countries, according to administration and military officials.” (January 30, 2010).

The same article mentions that U.S. General Petraeus admitted that, “… the United States was now keeping Aegis cruisers on patrol in the Persian Gulf [Iran’s border] at all times. Those cruisers are equipped with advanced radar and antimissile systems designed to intercept medium-range missiles.” Iran, as well as the whole world, knows full well that “antimissile systems” are perfectly capable of going on the offensive — their real purpose.

Iran is completely surrounded by countries occupied by the U.S. military, whether it be the mass occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan, or the U.S. puppet states that house U.S. military bases in Arab nations (not to mention Zionist Israel, a U.S. cohort in its war aims against Iran). Contrary to the statements of President Obama, Iran is already well contained militarily.

It remains to be seen how closely U.S. allies will follow the new oil sanctions; they will be under tremendous pressure to do so. The European Union has already signaled that it will follow Obama’s lead.

Ultimately, the march to war begun by Bush is picking up momentum under Obama. Congressional Democrats and Republicans gave the President their overwhelming support in passing these sanctions, proving that the two party system agrees to the necessity of more war.

Uniting the U.S. anti-war movement is crucial if current and future wars are to be stopped. A step in this direction will take place at the National Peace Conference, in Albany, New York, July 23-25.

Iran, as well as the whole world, knows full well that “antimissile systems” are perfectly capable of going on the offensive — their real purpose.

I guess the "rest of the world" does not read Janes, since the SM-3 Standard SAM carried by the Aegis cruisers has no ability to strike surface targets. If the US wanted to go on the offensive, they have the capabilites already in place; and have had so for a long time.

The Bushn administration tried to play the diplomatic card, so did the EU and so did many other groups. In all cases, the Iranian government snubbed diplomacy. They have only themselves to blame for whatever happens next.
Thucydides said:
I guess the "rest of the world" does not read Janes, since the SM-3 Standard SAM carried by the Aegis cruisers has no ability to strike surface targets.

The author was probably referring to the fact that the Aegis cruisers are described as "anti-missile systems" when in fact they have a powerful offensive capability i.e Tomahawk missiles (ship launched land attack). You can see the full list of Aegis cruiser armament here:  http://www.fas.org/programs/ssp/man/uswpns/navy/surfacewarfare/cg47.html#spec

The Bushn administration tried to play the diplomatic card, so did the EU and so did many other groups. In all cases, the Iranian government snubbed diplomacy. They have only themselves to blame for whatever happens next.

Please provide some sources showing how Iran "snubbed" diplomacy. Because I can recall not too long ago they diplomatically came to an agreement with Turkey and Brazil. And prior to that  Iran bent over backwards to accommodate the IAEA. The findings:

(1) there is no evidence of a nuclear weapons program in Iran, and (2) all the declared nuclear materials have been accounted for; there has been no diversion of such materials to non-peaceful purposes.

Bo said:
Please provide some sources showing how Iran "snubbed" diplomacy.

Well, just one page ago on this forum: http://forums.army.ca/forums/threads/25516/post-946200.html#msg946200

And you have 85 other pages of examples to choose from. Cheers.
The application of external pressure might help the forces of rebellion; every successful revolution in history has required an external sponsor and a "safe haven" for the revolutionaries to rest and regroup:


Iran Heats Up: The Bazaar Strikes Back
July 8, 2010 - by Michael Ledeen

The death spiral of the Islamic Republic seems to be gathering momentum. That big fire at a major oil well I told you about last week continues unabated, with big flames and clouds of noxious black smoke pouring out.  And these are the people who offered to clean up the much larger catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico.

But mere physical disaster is trivial compared to the events that are taking place in Iran.  In the past week, the regime has been confronted with two direct challenges: a strike in the grand bazaar of Tehran, and the very public battle between conflicting elements of the regime for control over the Free University. The strike in the bazaar — protesting a dramatic 70% increase in their taxes — was taken very seriously by the regime, because the supreme leader and his cronies know that if the merchants turned against them it could prove fatal.  Khamenei capitulated within a few hours, just as he had two years ago when the bazaar shut down for an entire week. This sudden about-face from the supreme leader did not bring order to the country’s markets; the strike continues, which is big news indeed.

The  Tehran bazaar was closed again on Wednesday, and spread to at least two other major cities, Isfahan and Tabriz. The regime reacted violently, sending Revolutionary Guardsmen and Basijis, all in plain clothes, to attack the merchants who had closed their shops. No bullets or clubs this time — the knife has now become the weapon of choice — and the Isfahan bazaar was placed under virtual military occupation.

While the strikes may have begun as a narrowly defined economic protest against new taxes, they soon took on a clear political hue, with chants of “death to the dictator!” ringing out across the bazaar.  The latest report I have says that the strikes will continue Thursday, a religious holiday in any event.

This is a very big deal, and everyone knows it. That is why there is violence — about 80 persons wounded and an unknown number arrested, along with one victim, a very popular merchant in Tehran. Will it spread from the normally pro-regime bazaars to the long-suffering workers in such vital sectors of the national economy as oil and textiles? If it does, the ability of the regime to craft a rational strategy of self-defense will be tested.

Entrail readers will take note that on Tuesday, electricity went out all over Tehran no less than six times, which the regime predictably blamed on sabotage by enemy agents.  And there is a decidedly negative augury on “regime unity.”  Khamenei ran away from deciding the University issue, bravely deciding to leave things as they have been all along. The Free University is a substantial economic and cultural prize, one of the few really big prizes up for grabs in the Shi’ite kleptocracy — most of the others having been gobbled up by the mullahs or by the top brass at the Revolutionary Guards.  As between physical plant and cash flow, the University is worth several billion dollars. Thus, the battle for control.  Khamenei’s failure to take sides leaves both contenders spitting.

Meanwhile, gunfights continue to break out along the Baluchi border, and the aging fleet of Tupolov aircraft continues to experience a spectacularly high rate of hydraulic failure, most recently on Monday on a flight heavily populated with RG officers flying from Abadan to Mashad for vacation. The plane had to make an emergency landing and although there were many casualties, the pilot’s skill prevented a major disaster.  Nobody trusts Iranian airplanes these days;  the EU has banned the bulk of Iran’s civilian aircraft on safety grounds.  But that is a different matter from the pandemic of breakdowns of RG planes, which have a distinct odor of sabotage.

It’s not surprising to see considerable internal turmoil within the ranks.  Ryan Mauro calls our attention to the many signs of dissent within the Revolutionary Guards Corps.

    On June 9, a top IRGC strategist, Hassan Abbasi, openly complained [13] that “we cannot count on many of the establishment’s own who were blessed by Khomeini and senior officials because sometimes their hands might actually be joined with the enemy’s.”

    The IRGC defector, Muhammed Hussein Torkaman, said [1] that Ayatollah Khamenei and President Ahmadinejad had a plane on alert to fly them to Syria during last summer’s enormous protests.  Another report [14] claimed that the plane was to go to Russia, but that is beside the point. Torkaman says that Khamenei has formed his own intelligence unit to spy on the top security services and he is rumored to be switching his bodyguards every single day.

    One member of the security forces plainly told [15] The Los Angeles Times that he and many others at his base would refuse to follow orders to attack protestors during an uprising. “I would never do it. Maybe someone would, but I would never fire on any of these people myself,” he said.

Read the whole thing, and add to it the ongoing purge and reshuffling of top RG officers, especially in those areas where open confrontation is the order of the day.

The opposition is well aware of the cracks in the iron fist, and Mir Hossein Mousavi dedicated a considerable part of a statement this week to the Guards. He

    pointed out the IRGC’s role in the post-election oppressions, arrests and interrogation of political prisoners as well as the Guards involvement in the financial sector with an “unbelievable size”. In addition, he called for the IRGC to return to its initial purpose which was to protect the country in the face of foreign threats and to create an environment suitable for economic development and fighting corruption.

    “Unfortunately, we will witness a decline in the reputation of the IRGC and a dwindling of popular support for the IRGC. It is foreseeable that with the current trend, the IRGC will defend its companies, shares as well as financial and monitory institutes instead of defending the people and the country.”

It’s obvious that Mousavi is talking about current events, not the future, when he says the IRGC will lose popularity;  that process is well advanced, and is part of the ongoing revolution that threatens the survival of the Islamic Republic.

Those who thought that the Greens had been crushed may have trouble recognizing revolution in its new clothes.  Ahmad Batebi, who for a while was the international icon of the Iranian resistance (he was on the cover of The Economist, holding up a bloody tee shirt), recently gave a long interview, in which he had some very thoughtful insights.  Have a listen:

    The western world or the media think that movement means demonstrations, and if the latter doesn’t exist, nor does the former. However, we know that the culture of the Iranian people is different than that of the outside world. The fact that [the Iranian people] write slogans [on walls and banknotes] in the color green and distribute cassettes and CD’s demonstrates that the movement is alive. The movement is learning how stay alive without incurring deaths and arrests. The movement is transferring from one form to another.

    In all social movements across the world, you see that when a movement goes underground, for a very short period of time, the activists become slower. This is not sluggishness, but rather the period of transformation. We are passing through this phase. This time, when we have protests in June, we will have less people arrested, less people killed, and that is how people will learn. It is natural that the government learns how to suppress people and the people learn how to resist.

Today the resistance takes many forms, and its leaders hope they can grind down the mullahcracy until it finally — as Marx would have put it — collapses of its own contradictions.  The strikes in the bazaars show that a previously reliable component of the regime’s base has turned on Khamenei & Co., and the cracks in the Revolutionary Guard Corps suggest that the same process is fracturing the regime’s praetorian guard.  If Iranian workers had a strike fund — as I have been saying for years — we would see how profound the fissures really are.

Faster, Please.
Could we be looking at an Iranian civil war? If so any ideas as to how things will play out? IRGC vs Iranian military?
100 Iranian vessels for every US Navy one? Riiiiiight.  ::)

Associated Press link

Iran says it has 100 vessels for each US warship

33 minutes ago

By Ali Akbar Dareini, The Associated Press
TEHRAN, Iran - The former naval chief for Iran's Revolutionary Guard said the country has set aside 100 military vessels to confront each warship from the U.S. or any other foreign power that might pose a threat, an Iranian newspaper reported Saturday.

Such a military confrontation in the vital oil lanes of the Persian Gulf would be of major global concern. The warning builds on earlier threats by Iran to seal off the Gulf's strategic Strait of Hormuz — through which 40 per cent of the world's oil passes — in response to any military attack.

"We have set aside 100 military vessels for each (U.S.) warship to attack at the time of necessity," Gen. Morteza Saffari was quoted as saying by the conservative weekly Panjereh.

The U.S. and Israel have said military force could be used if diplomacy fails to stop what they suspect is an Iranian nuclear weapons program. Iran denies any aim to develop such weapons and says its nuclear work is for peaceful purposes like power generation.

The U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet headquarters is based just across the Gulf from Iran in Bahrain.

Saffari said more than 100 foreign warships were currently in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman, adding that their sailors were "morsels" for Iran's military to target, the newspaper reported.

"Any moment the exalted supreme leader (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) orders — or should the enemy carry out the smallest threat against (Iran's ruling) Islamic system — the Guard ... is ready for quick reaction," he was quoted as saying.

By putting the number of foreign warships at 100, the general appeared to suggest Iran has 10,000 military vessels at the ready. Iran is known to have many speed boats used by the Guard, but there is no public information about how many larger military vessels it has.

In January 2008, five small high-speed vessels believed to be from Iran's Revolutionary Guard briefly swarmed three U.S. Navy ships passing near Iranian waters in the Gulf and delivered a radio threat to blow them up.

The war of words has intensified between Iran and the West since the U.N. Security Council imposed tougher sanctions last month in response to Iran's refusal to halt uranium enrichment, a technology that can be used to produce nuclear fuel or material for an atomic bomb.

Iran put its most powerful military force, the Revolutionary Guard, in charge of defending the country's territorial waters in the Persian Gulf in 2008.

"We believe the enemy, through extensive psychological warfare, wants to coerce us, but Iran ... is ready," said Saffari, who was the Guard's navy chief until early May. "The enemy won't dare attack Iran."