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Monday, August 23, 2004

Pre-Empting Pre-Emption

FrontPage magazine.com :: Pre-Empting Pre-Emption by David Bedein
On August 15th, The Revolutionary Brigades of the Iranian Army held a military parade in which they displayed the Shaab 3 missile that Israeli intelligence experts estimate has a range of 1300 kilometers, that even with a potential nuclear payload can reach any target in Israel. Not only can the Shaab missile hit Israel, but it could also hit U.S. bases in the Persian Gulf and other American bases throughout Turkey.

Meanwhile, Israel's chief of military intelligence, Major General Aharon Ze'evi-Farkash, told the Israeli government last July that Iran had supplied hundreds of Iranian-made missiles to Hezbollah that can hit all of northern Israel and territory as far south as Tel Aviv. In addition, another several dozen missiles can reach the southern city of Beersheba in southern Israel’s Negev desert.

Last September, the Iranians conducted a test launching of the Shaab 3 missile and thousands of Iranians cheered the banner and slogan which accompanied the test: "WE WILL WIPE ISRAEL OFF OF THE FACE OF THE EARTH."

Iran had pioneered the Shaab missile in 1992. Modeled after the North Korean "Nu-Ding 1" weapon, it was improved by German, Russian and Pakistani technologies.

Two weeks ago, a senior official of Israeli Air Force Intelligence testified at a closed session of the Israeli Knesset (parliament) Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Israel’s Arrow missile defense capability could do little to stop any such barrage of this kind of missile. Israel’s Arrow missile is designed to intercept S.C.U.D. missiles or other lower grade potential missiles only.

This week, U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton confirmed that Iran indeed told European representatives that it would be able to manufacture nuclear weapons within four years and that within a year it would be able to enrich uranium itself that can be used in such weapons of mass destruction. Bolton said that Iranian representatives made these statements in meetings with representatives from Britain, Germany and France. Bolton also said that the United States is consulting not only with officials from those three countries, but also with representatives from Russia and Japan and other governments regarding Iran's nuclear capability. He said that the consultations are taking place before a meeting of the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency next month.

Israeli nuclear expert Dr. Gerald M. Steinberg, writing in The Jerusalem Post on August 20th, 2004 agreed that International Atomic Energy Agency head, Dr. Mohamed El Baradei, is trying to find a "non-confrontational solution." However, Steinberg expressed skepticism about the need for dialogue and negotiations, since, in Steinberg’s words, "The evidence of Teheran's violations of commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is clearly presented in IAEA reports, but there is little willingness to do anything about it."