Wednesday, July 9, 2008

New Iran Missile test, what does It Mean?

The Islamic Republic of Iran test-fired nine long-range missiles, Wednesday issuing a warning to the United States and Israel that it was ready to retaliate if they attacked Iran over its controversial and disputed nuclear projects.

According to ISNA news agency, Hossein Salami, Revolutionary Guards air force commander said, “… We warn the enemies who intend to threaten us with military exercises and empty psychological operations that our hand will always be on the trigger and our missiles will always be ready to launch … Our missiles are ready for shooting at any place and any time, quickly and with accuracy… ”

This alarming action made by Iran has caused tensions and concerns in Washington, the European Union, particularly, Russia which is strongly opposing a strategic American shield defense plan over its bases in Eastern Europe. Likewise, it has also resisted U.S. calls for tougher U.N. sanctions on Iran, nevertheless says, it shares concerns about Tehran's nuclear program. It is worth to recall last February, it has responded to an Iranian rocket test by questioning Tehran's motives.

Western leaders have been attempting to convince Tehran to stop enriching uranium, which has continued doing it despite sanctions from the UN and the European Union, insisting its nuclear program is purely for civilian energy and aims only at generating electricity. Iran is the fourth largest oil producer in the world.

The United States has condemned Iran's missile tests, calling them "provocative" and describing Iran as a "great threat". Both Presidential candidates responded: John McCain called for stronger defenses and tighter sanctions, while Barack Obama repeated his controversial call for negotiations with the Iranian president, and which he lately urged "aggressive diplomacy" as well as economic sanctions to get Iran to change its actions after Tehran's missile test.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has reacted by saying, Iran's missile tests show that "it is time for the Iranians to stop violating their Security Council obligations and start fulfilling them." She also said in her visit in Bulgaria, “Those who say that there is no Iranian threat against which to be building missile defenses perhaps ought to talk to the Iranians about ... the range of the missiles that they test fired."

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said in Ramallah, in the West Bank. "These are very dangerous missiles – that’s why the international community and not just Israel has an interest in blocking this escalation in a definitive way."

Housing Minister Ze'ev Boim (Israeli MP) said: "I suggest Israel will not talk, and Israel should prepare itself to do what is needed to do."

Iran President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, speaking on a visit to Malaysia on Tuesday, dismissed the possibility of an attack by the US or Israel as a "joke", and insisted that his country had no intention of attacking Israel.

We may ask some questions, is this action of Iran, justifiable and acceptable? Are Iran and Israel edging towards conflict? What about its effect on petro-oil prices in the world market?

Iran missile test firing as reported by Jon Leyne from Tehran

Israel is wary, yet ready and prepared

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