(from Agence France-Presse at YahooNews7) – Tehran will “accelerate” arming Palestinians in retaliation for Israel deploying a spy drone over Iran, which was shot down, a military commander said.
Iran, which does not recognise the existence of Israel, has confirmed it supplied Palestinian fighters from Hamas and the Islamic Jihad with the technology for the rockets being fired relentlessly into Israel from Gaza since July 8.
“We will accelerate the arming of the West Bank and we reserve the right to give any response,” said General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh, commander of aerial forces of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, in a statement on their official website sepahnews.com.
Last month, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged the Islamic world to arm Palestinians to allow them to counter what he called Israel’s “genocide” in Gaza.
He also said Israel was acting like a “rabid dog” and “a wild wolf”, causing a human catastrophe that must be resisted.
The death toll from seven weeks of violence in Gaza rose to 2124 on the Palestinian side on Monday. Sixty-eight Israelis have been killed, four of them civilians and the rest soldiers.
Since a ceasefire arrangement collapsed on August 19, more than 650 rockets have struck Israel from Gaza and around 100 others have been shot down [by Israel’s Iron Dome, which intercepts and destroys short-range rockets and artillery shells].
Iran’s warning on Monday came a day after the Guards said they had downed an Israeli “Hermes” stealth drone above the Natanz uranium enrichment* site in the center of the country. [*Enriched uranium is a critical component for both civil nuclear power generation and military nuclear weapons.]
Natanz is Iran’s main uranium enrichment site, housing more than 16,000 centrifuges. Around 3,000 more are at the Fordo plant, buried inside a mountain and hard to destroy.
Israel has often threatened to attack Iranian nuclear installations [because they believe, as do the U.S., EU and UN, that once developed, Iran would use nuclear weapons against Israel].
An Israeli spokesman told AFP in Jerusalem on Sunday after the report that the drone had been shot down that the military does “not address foreign media reports.”
Iran’s General Hajizadeh said at a news conference broadcast on television that the unmanned aircraft shot down was a “Hermes” stealth drone that “can evade radar.”
“Pieces of the drone have been recovered intact and are being analysed,” he said, adding that it had a range of 500 miles.
“It was spotted by our surveillance system and shot down by a Revolutionary Guards surface-to-air missile,” Hajizadeh said.
According to Hajizadeh, the drone was equipped with two cameras capable of taking high-quality images. Footage of the recovered drone pieces was aired on Iranian television.
Iran and the P5+1* powers — Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany — are in negotiations to secure a nuclear deal. [*P5+1 consists of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council – America, Britain, France, Russia and China – along with Germany. This group negotiates with Iran over its nuclear weapons program.]
They reached a six-month interim agreement under which Iran suspended part of its nuclear activities in return for a partial lifting of international sanctions. In July that deal was extended by four months until November 24 to give the two sides more time to negotiate a final accord aimed at ending 10 years of tensions over Iran’s nuclear program.
The sides remain split on how much uranium enrichment Iran should be allowed to carry out.
Washington wants Tehran to slash its program by three-quarters, but Iran wants to expand enrichment tenfold by 2021, which they claim is chiefly to produce fuel for its Bushehr nuclear power plant.
In addition to its refusal to recognize the existence of Israel, the Iranian government funds terrorist groups Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and Hamas and continues to arm Hamas. Israel therefore opposes any agreement between the P5+1 powers and Tehran that will allow Iran to keep part of its uranium enrichment program, saying Iran would use the material to make an atomic bomb.
Iran has consistently denied wanting to make nuclear weapons despite the fact that it hid its nuclear program from the UN. The UN’s IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] believes Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons.
Originally published at Australia’s YahooNews7 Aug. 26. Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from YahooNews and Agence France-Presse.
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Please note that the “Daily News Article” generally focuses on national news. However, in an attempt to give you an overview of some major world events that impact the U.S., we are posting a few world articles this week in this “Daily News Article” category. (Also, check out “Background” and “Resources” below the questions each day.)
ALSO NOTE: “Answers” emails resume Tuesday, September 2nd.
1. The first paragraph of a news article should answer the questions who, what, where and when. List the who, what, where and when of this news item. (NOTE: The remainder of a news article provides details on the why and/or how.)
2. How does Iran view Israel? (see para. 2 and 5)
3. Why was Israel using a drone to spy on Iranian nuclear activities? Be specific.
4. What is the P5+1? What is the purpose of this group?
5. Sanctions are actions that are taken to force a country to obey international laws by limiting or stopping trade with that country, by not allowing economic aid for that country, etc. What is the purpose of sanctions imposed on Iran by the U.S., EU and UN?
6. Read the “Background” below the questions. Iran has violated the UN charter regarding its treatment of Israel, including threatening to “wipe Israel off the map.” Does this give Israel a legitimate reason for attempting to monitor and even attempt to destroy Iran’s nuclear weapons program, 12 years after this secret program was discovered? (Consider that since the illegal weapons program was discovered, the UN has imposed 4 sets of sanctions and numerous additional sanctions made by the U.S. and EU.) Explain your answer.
7. How should the Obama administration respond to Iran’s declaration that it will not only continue arming Hamas, but it will speed up shipments? (do nothing, go to the UN, increase sanctions…) Explain your answer.
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The US and EU have imposed additional sanctions on Iranian oil exports and banks since 2012.
IRAN’S NUCLEAR PROGRAM:
- Iran’s 20 year secret nuclear program was discovered in 2002. Iran says its program is for fuel purposes only, but it has been working on uranium enrichment which is used to make nuclear bombs. [NOTE ON URANIUM ENRICHMENT: Enriched uranium is a critical component for both civil nuclear power generation and military nuclear weapons. The International Atomic Energy Agency attempts to monitor and control enriched uranium supplies and processes in its efforts to ensure nuclear power generation safety and curb nuclear weapons proliferation (buildup).]
- Under the United Nations’ NPT (Non Proliferation Treaty) countries are not allowed to make nuclear weapons (except for the 5 that had nuclear weapons prior to the treaty – the U.S., Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom).
- Safeguards are used to verify compliance with the Treaty through inspections conducted by the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency).
- The IAEA has consistently stated it is unable to conclude that Iran’s nuclear program is entirely peaceful.
- The IAEA issued a report on Sept. 15, 2008 that said Iran has repeatedly blocked an investigation into its nuclear program and the probe is now deadlocked.
- The U.N. Security Council has already imposed four sets of sanctions on Iran over its nuclear defiance (and six resolutions since 2006 requiring Iran to stop enriching uranium). Despite the sanctions, Iran has refused to end its nuclear program.
- A group of U.S. and Russian scientists said in a report issued in May 2009 that Iran could produce a simple nuclear device in one to three years and a nuclear warhead in another five years after that. The study, published by the nonpartisan EastWest Institute, also said Iran is making advances in rocket technology and could develop a ballistic missile capable of firing a 2,200-pound nuclear warhead up to 1,200 miles “in perhaps six to eight years.”
- The Iranian government has called for the destruction of Israel on numerous occasions. It is believed that once obtained, Iran would use nuclear weapons against Israel.
from BBC News:
- Since Iran’s nuclear program became public in 2002, Iran has insisted it is only enriching uranium for power station fuel or other peaceful purposes, and that it would never seek nuclear weapons. The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been unable to confirm Tehran’s assertions that its nuclear activities are exclusively for peaceful purposes and that it has not sought to develop nuclear weapons.
- The United Nations Security Council has adopted six resolutions since 2006 requiring Iran to stop enriching uranium – which can be used for civilian purposes, but also to build nuclear bombs – and co-operate with the IAEA. Four resolutions have included progressively expansive sanctions to persuade Tehran to comply. The US and EU have imposed additional sanctions on Iranian oil exports and banks since 2012.
- The loss of oil revenue, which accounted for a half of government expenditure, and isolation from the international banking system, has caused Iran’s currency, the rial, to lose two-thirds of its value against the US dollar and caused inflation to rise to more than 40%, with prices of basic foodstuffs and fuel soaring.
- YET IRAN CONTINUES to refuse to end its uranium enrichment (drive for nuclear weapons).
Read U.S. House Resolution “Expressing support for Israel and its right to self-defense against the illegal nuclear program by the Islamic Republic of Iran.” at:
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