October 31, 2009

Iran and Russia

U.S. and Israel Reiterate to Moscow: Military Option Is On the Table

DEBKAfile Special Report
October 31, 2009

DEBKAfile's US intelligence sources report indications of impending war preparations against Iran after Tehran's rejections of the UN-brokered proposal to ship its enriched uranium overseas for further enrichment. These sources reveal that the administration is seeking congressional authorization to open America's Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). Furthermore, the US-Israeli joint US-Israel Juniper Cobra ballistic exercise is in full swing. Finally, US and Israel officials have been instructed to warn Moscow that the military option is still on the table if Iran's nuclear program is not halted by diplomatic means.

The US SPR which contains 727 million barrels of petroleum is only opened in time of war. Under an agreement signed with Israel in 1975, Washington undertakes to supply Israel with its fuel needs for five years in an emergency.

Word of these apparent war preparations appeared Saturday Oct. 31, the day after Iran's senior nuclear negotiator delivered a counter-proposal to the UN-brokered plan to the IAEA in Vienna which excised its main object, which was to reduce the enriched uranium stocks in hand for Iran to make a nuclear bomb.

The joint US-Israeli military exercise which ends Tuesday, Nov. 3, moved to the Tel Aviv arena last Tuesday with US forces drilling defensive action against a prospective Iranian missile attack or a seaborne strike from the Mediterranean on Israel's central conurbation.

For the last three days, Moscow has had nothing to say about the Iranian rejection of a plan which would have sent Iranian uranium to Russia for reprocessing, although Tehran previously indicated to the Kremlin that the international plan would sail through. DEBKAfile's Moscow sources regard the rebuff as Tehran's response to the suspension of Russian S-300 missile defense batteries after they had already been packed for delivery to Iran.

2007: Tensions Rise Again Between the United States and Russia over Missile Defense and Iran

In March 2007, the U.S. announced plans to build an anti-ballistic missile missile defense installation in Poland and a radar station in the Czech Republic, both relatively near the Russian borders. American officials said that the system was intended to protect the United States and Europe from possible nuclear missile attacks by far off Iran or North Korea. Russia naturally saw this as a way of making a U.S. first strike easier. In response Russia tested a long-range intercontinental ballistic missile which it claimed could defeat any defense system. In June 2007, Putin warned that if the U.S. built the installations, Russia would target missiles at Poland and the Czech Republic.

On October 16, 2007, Vladimir Putin visited Iran to discuss Russia's aid to Iran's nuclear power program and "insisted that the use of force was unacceptable.” On October 17, Bush stated "if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon," understood as a message to Putin. On October 26 Putin compared U.S. plans to put up a missile defense system near Russia's border as analogous to when the Soviet Union deployed missiles in Cuba, prompting the Cuban Missile Crisis which brought the US and the Soviet Union close to nuclear war in 1962.

This doubtless was a reference to Israel's "Samson Option" - its willingness to use nuclear weapons against not only enemy Arab and Muslim nations but even against nations which have given them diplomatic or military support. This would include Russia, which would promptly attack the United States back. It is unclear if Bush agrees with this threat or has been bullied by Israel into accepting its reality. See Israeli Nuclear Threats and Blackmail.

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