Saturday, June 28, 2008



1 - Al Jazeera:
"Iranian Threat" on Mullen's Israel Visit Agenda

Speculation is growing in Washington that Israel is exerting pressure on the United States to launch a strike against Iran's nuclear facilities. US m (more)

Speculation is growing in Washington that Israel is exerting pressure on the United States to launch a strike against Iran's nuclear facilities. US military chief Admiral Michael Mullen will be arriving for an official visit to Israel in the coming days for discussions on the Iranian threat, the US Department of Defense confirmed on Wednesday. Mullen, said the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, left the US on Tuesday "to go overseas to visit counterparts as well as combatant commands, and Israel is not his only stop."

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell tried to play down the report, saying the trip had been on the schedule for "months." "I believe this is a routine opportunity for Chairman Mullen to engage his counterpart in Israel on military-to-military matters, as he does in much of his travels around the world," Morrell said.

"I will say this, though: Obviously, when Chairman Mullen goes to Israel and speaks with the Israelis, they will no doubt discuss the threat posed by Iran, as we discuss it in this building, in other buildings in this town."
2 - AFP:
The chief of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards has issued a new warning against Israel not to attack it, saying the Jewish state is well within range of its missiles, a newspaper reported on Saturday.

"This country (Israel) is completely within the range of the Islamic republic's missiles. Our missile power and capability are such that the Zionist regime -- despite all its abilities -- cannot confront it," General Mohammad Ali Jafari told the conservative daily Jam-e Jam.

"There is the possibility that by attacking Iranian nuclear sites the enemy wants to delay our nuclear activities, but any interruption would be very short since Iranian scientific ability is different from that of Syria and Iraq."

His comments came after US media reported that more than 100 Israeli warplanes staged a training exercise with Greece earlier this month to prepare for a possible long-distance strike and as a warning to Tehran.

Iran has defied UN sanctions and international demands by pressing ahead with its disputed uranium enrichment programme, which both Washington and Israel fear would be used to build a nuclear weapon.

Tehran denies wanting the bomb, and says its nuclear ambitions extend only to generating electricity for a growing population.

Parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani, formerly Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, weighed in on Saturday and said the country was ready for anything.

"Iran is always ready for any kind of action," Larijani was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars news agency.

Israeli Infrastructure Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, a former defence chief, said in an interview published in the Russian press on Wednesday that Iran would be "annihilated" if it tried to attack Israel.

But, he said, "we are not planning any attack against Iran."

Meanwhile, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, discussed Iran in Israel on Saturday with his counterpart, General Gaby Ashkenazi, Israeli military radio reported.

The talks came amid speculation that Israel is seeking Washington's tacit approval to strike Tehran's nuclear programme, but the Pentagon said earlier this week that the meeting had been scheduled for some months.

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