NEWS & ANALYSIS: The Iranian threat

Saudi cannot be launchpad for Iran attack: report

A leading Saudi newspaper on Saturday ruled out any attempt by the United States to use the oil-rich Gulf kingdom as a launchpad for a possible war on Iran over Tehran’s disputed nuclear programme.

Two days before a visit to Saudi Arabia by US President George W. Bush, the pro-government daily Al-Riyadh said: “We refuse to be used to launch wars or tensions with Iran. [complete article]

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard in secret Iraq talks with US

The head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps slipped into the green zone of Baghdad last month to press Tehran’s hardline position over the terms of the current talks with American officials, it was claimed last week.

Iraqi government sources say that Major-General Mohammed Ali Jafari, 50, travelled secretly from Tehran. Jafari appears to have passed through checkpoints on his way into the fortified enclave that contains the American embassy and Iraqi ministries, even though he is on Washington’s “most wanted” list. [complete article]

Iran encounter grimly echoes ’02 war game

There is a reason American military officers express grim concern over the tactics used by Iranian sailors last weekend: a classified, $250 million war game in which small, agile speedboats swarmed a naval convoy to inflict devastating damage on more powerful warships.

In the days since the encounter with five Iranian patrol boats in the Strait of Hormuz, American officers have acknowledged that they have been studying anew the lessons from a startling simulation conducted in August 2002. In that war game, the Blue Team navy, representing the United States, lost 16 major warships — an aircraft carrier, cruisers and amphibious vessels — when they were sunk to the bottom of the Persian Gulf in an attack that included swarming tactics by enemy speedboats. [complete article]

Iran urges agency to settle atomic case

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told the visiting chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency on Saturday that Iran’s nuclear case should be handled by the I.A.E.A. and not the United Nations Security Council, which has imposed two rounds of sanctions on Tehran. [complete article]

Israel stressed to Bush that Iran is a nuclear ‘threat’: general

Iran poses a real nuclear threat and Israel made that point clear to US President George W. Bush during his visit this week, an Israeli defence official said Saturday. [complete article]

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