Gaza Flotilla Attack: Israel Line “We Are Sorry but It Was a Life-Threatening Situation!”
Today, Israel’s Opposition leader Tzipi Livni was giving an interview to ABC Australia. She said: These soldiers are our children. Since they were under attack by these activists, they needed to react in order to defend themselves.”
Israeli Defense Forces and politicians said that they warned the ships of the Freedom Flotilla to follow the Israeli navy until the Ashdod port. The response they got was: “Negative, our destination is Gaza”.
Then Israeli officials produced helicopter videos allegedly showing civilians using metal objects against and throwing firebombs and stun grenades to Israeli commandos. Israel Defense Forces said its rules of engagement allowed troops to open fire in what it called a “life-threatening situation”
. The IDF also confirmed that at least eight navy commandos had been wounded, at least two of them seriously.
Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said: “The organisers’ intent was violent, method was violent and the results were unfortunately violent. Israel regrets any loss of life and did everything to avoid this outcome.”
Iran students protest Israeli attack
Israeli commandos stormed a convoy of Gaza-bound aid ships on Monday, killing 20 people.
Iranian students have gathered in front of the UN headquarters in Tehran in protest to the Israeli navy's attack on a convoy of aid ships bound for Gaza.
The students held Palestinian flags, chanting "Death to Israel," "Death to America," and "Death to Britain," Fars News Agency reported.
The Israeli navy stormed the Freedom Flotilla early on Monday, killing at least 20 people and injuring 50 others.
The attack was internationally condemned with Iran and Turkey calling for an emergency UN Security Council meeting.
The aid convoy was carrying tens of thousands of tons of supplies for the besieged Gaza Strip.
More than 700 Palestinian and international activists along with journalists were onboard the ships. Nine of those killed are believed to be Turkish nationals.
Iran calls for emergency OIC meeting
Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Chief Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu
Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki informs the Organization of the Islamic Conference of Tehran's request for an emergency OIC meeting.
In a phone conversation with Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Mottaki relayed the Islamic Republic's request for an emergency meeting of the OIC member states, IRNA reported.
Mottaki, who is in Japan for talks on Tehran's nuclear program and the recent fuel swap declaration, condemned the Zionist regime's inhuman crimes.
Ihsanoglu stated that he would discuss Iran's suggestion for an emergency meeting with other OIC members.
Israel attacked the aid convoy Freedom Flotilla in international waters off the coast of Gaza on Monday, killing at least 20 people and injuring 50 others.
Iran condemns Israel's aid convoy attack
Iran has condemned Israel's deadly attack on a flotilla carrying thousands of tons of supplies for Gaza, calling the regime in Tel Aviv a threat to global peace and security.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rejected the notion on Monday that the Israeli raid on the Freedom Flotilla was indicative of Tel Aviv's military muscle, explaining further that it was a mere symbol of its weakness.
President Ahmadinejad said Israel was "fabricated not only with the aim of gaining control over the Middle East but also over the entire world."
Calling for international efforts to save the Palestinian nation, the Iranian president said, "Supporting the people of Palestine is equal to supporting peace and freedom of every nation."
In separate remarks, Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili also blasted Israel for the deadly attack and called it a sign of Israeli weakness.
Jalili went on to say that the convoy raid proved US President Barack Obama's 'peace plan' for the Middle East as a "cheat."
Meanwhile, Spokesman for the Iranian Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Kazem Jalali described the fatal attack by Israel on the Gaza aid convoy a "war crime."
Jalali also criticized Tel Aviv for being a "threat to global security."
The condemnations come after Israeli forces launched an early morning attack on the international aid fleet en route to the besieged Gaza Strip, killing at least 20 people and leaving scores injured.
Iran Gen. calls for isolation of Israel
Iran's Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi
Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi says the international community must isolate Israel for attacking an aid convoy en route to the impoverished Gaza Strip.
"Israel triggered the countdown of its destruction by attacking the Freedom Flotilla," Brig. Gen. Vahidi said, condemning the attack on the Gaza-bound aid convoy, ILNA reported.
The Iranian minister added that the imposition of all-encompassing sanctions, severing all diplomatic, economic and political ties with the Zionist regime is the least the international community could do against Israel for committing such a horrendous crime.
Gen. Vahidi said the US, Europe and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) must answer to the world public opinion why no action has been taken towards the nuclear disarmament of Israel, which is capable of committing such atrocities.
"This is an important test for the advocates of human rights which will show how committed they are to their slogans," Vahidi noted.
The Israeli forces launched an attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla en route to the besieged Gaza Strip on Monday, killing at least 20 people and leaving 50 others injured.
'Israel deserves collective punishment'
Israeli military boats approach the southern port of Ashdod on May 31, 2010, hours after Israeli navy stormed the Gaza "Freedom Flotilla."
Iran's Foreign Ministry has condemned Israel's deadly attack on an aid flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip as an act of "maritime terrorism."
"The regime's attack on the ships and its passengers is reminiscent of the acts of ancient pirates," a Foreign Ministry statement read Monday.
Across Europe, Israel's allies have frozen military ties and summoned the regime's ambassadors, condemning the raid that claimed at least 20 lives and wounded dozens more.
"Under the (1988) Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation, this is a blatant example of maritime terrorism," the statement added.
Iran called for international action, recalling last year's deadly military operation that killed over 1,400 Gazans in the densely populated coastal enclave, and the concerns over use of illegal weapons, such as white phosphorus bombs.
"This is the time for the international community to adopt a resolute stance against the recurring crimes of this belligerent and occupying regime."
The Gaza Freedom Flotilla was carrying 10,000 tons of supplies and hundreds of activists and journalists onboard nine aid ships to the impoverished enclave.
One year after the Israeli attack on Gaza caused widespread devastation in the coastal strip, the convoy was seeking to pierce Israel's crippling blockade of Gaza and reach Palestinians.
U.N. Report Says Iran Has Fuel for 2 Nuclear Weapons
WASHINGTON — In their last report before the United Nations Security Council
votes on sanctions against Iran
, international nuclear inspectors declared on Monday that Iran has now produced a stockpile of nuclear fuel that experts say would be enough, with further enrichment, to make two nuclear weapons
The report, by the International Atomic Energy Agency
, a branch of the United Nations
, appears likely to bolster the Obama administration’s case for a fourth round of economic sanctions against Iran and further diminish its interest in a deal, recently revived by Turkey and Brazil, in which Iran would send a portion of its nuclear stockpile out of the country.
When Iran tentatively agreed eight months ago to ship some of its nuclear material out of the country, the White House said the deal would temporarily deprive Iran of enough fuel to make even a single weapon.
But Iran delayed for months, and the figures contained in the inspectors’ report on Monday indicated that even if Iran now shipped the agreed-upon amount of nuclear material out of the country, it would retain enough for a single weapon, undercutting the American rationale for the deal.
The toughly worded report says that Iran has expanded work at one of its nuclear sites. It also describes, step-by-step, how inspectors have been denied access to a series of facilities, and how Iran has refused to answer inspectors’ questions on a variety of activities, including what the agency called the “possible existence” of “activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile.”
A spokesman for the White House, Michael Hammer, said in a statement on Monday that the report “clearly shows Iran’s continued failure to comply with its international obligations and its sustained lack of cooperation with the IAEA.” He said the report “underscores that Iran has refused to take any of the steps required of it” by the security council or the I.A.E.A.’s board of governors, “which are necessary to enable constructive negotiations on the future of its nuclear program.”
Iran, which insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, has said it has conducted no work on weapons, and argues the evidence of work on warheads is forged.
Iran’s nuclear progress had been expected to be a central subject at a meeting scheduled for Tuesday at the White House between Mr. Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
of Israel. Mr. Netanyahu canceled the visit after a deadly raid by Israeli commandos on ships carrying supplies to Gaza.
But the report left hanging the question of whether Israel would ratchet up the pressure on Washington and its allies to show that they can deal with the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran diplomatically. Israeli officials have hinted, but never explicitly threatened, that they would take military action if diplomacy fails and Iran is close to weapons capability.
Administration officials have argued that the combination of the sanctions they expect to come out of the Security Council, along with other sanctions imposed by the United States and its European allies, may change Iran’s calculus. But many inside and outside the administration are highly skeptical.
It has been four years since the Security Council first demanded that Iran cease all enrichment of uranium, citing its efforts to hide its activities and deceive inspectors. The country has openly defied those resolutions, telling inspectors those demands — along with calls to allow inspectors to visit a series of facilities that could be useful in energy or weapons production — had been “issued illegally and have no legal basis.”
The inspectors reported Monday that Iran now has now produced over 5,300 pounds of low-enriched uranium, all of which would have to undergo further enrichment before it could be converted to bomb fuel.
The inspectors reported that Iran had expanded work at its sprawling Natanz site in the desert, where it is raising the level of uranium enrichment up to 20 percent – the level needed for the Tehran Research Reactor, which produces medical isotopes for cancer patients. But it is unclear why Iran is making that investment if it plans to obtain the fuel for the reactor from abroad, as it would under its new agreement with Turkey and Brazil.
Until recently, all of Iran’s uranium had been enriched to only 4 percent, the level needed to run nuclear power reactors. While increasing that to 20 percent purity does not allow Iran to build a weapon, it gets the country closer to that goal. The inspectors reported that Iran had installed a second group of centrifuges – machines that spin incredibly fast to enrich, or purify, uranium for use in bombs or reactors – which could speed its production of the 20 percent fuel.
The inspectors also noted that the agency had finally succeeded in setting up a good monitoring system for the 20-percent work after a rocky start in February, when Iran began raising the enrichment levels. “A new safeguards approach,” the report said, “is now being implemented.”
But the report called the equipment upgrades and the continuing enrichment “contrary to the relevant resolutions of the I.A.E.A.’s Board of Governors and the Security Council.” Both have called on Iran to cease its uranium enrichment because of outstanding questions about Tehran’s intentions. The sanctions, if passed, are intended to compel Iran to comply with that demand by the Security Council.
Last fall, President Obama
, along with the leaders of Britain and France, denounced Iran for secretly building a second enrichment plant near the holy city of Qum, without alerting inspectors until just before those three countries announced they had discovered the facility. But curiously, the report suggested that now, with its existence revealed, Iran may be losing interest in it. The report said that Iran had installed no centrifuges in the half-built enrichment facility, which is located inside a mountain near a military base.
Iran has sought to locate many of its nuclear facilities in underground sites so as to lessen their vulnerability to aerial attack. In the new report, the inspectors said that the Iranians disclosed that a new analytical laboratory slated for construction amid a warren of tunnels at Isfahan “would have the same functions as the existing” unprotected laboratory there.
The report quoted an Iranian letter as saying the second, underground laboratory was needed “to meet security measures.”
Iran sees 'global threat' in Israel
Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili says Israel's deadly attack on the Gaza-bound aid Flotilla has turned the regime into a global threat.
"The Zionist regime's folly shows that this regime is a threat to the independent world, just as defending Palestine and Gaza is protecting liberty," Jalili was quoted as saying in a statement from the council secretariat.
The remarks were made during a telephone conversation with the head of the Hamas political bureau, Khaled Meshaal, over the recent killing of at least 20 activists by the Israeli navy in a pre-dawn raid on the Freedom Flotilla aid convoy.
Hailing Iran's support for the Palestinian nation, Meshaal echoed calls by top Iranian officials for the formation of a united stance against Israeli aggressions in the Middle East.
"The international community must oppose the Zionist's regime's crimes, and today has paved the way for punishing this regime," Meshaal said.
Earlier Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stressed that the “time is ripe for the international community…to take a resolute stance against the recurring crimes of this occupier and belligerent regime."
The Gaza Flotilla, comprised of nine ships, was carrying humanitarian aid for the impoverished people of the war-ravaged coastal strip which remains under a three-year Israeli blockade.
Israel stations nuclear missile subs off Iran
Three German-built Israeli submarines equipped with nuclear cruise missiles are to be deployed in the Gulf near the Iranian coastline.
The first has been sent in response to Israeli fears that ballistic missiles developed by Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, a political and military organisation in Lebanon, could hit sites in Israel, including air bases and missile launchers.
The submarines of Flotilla 7 — Dolphin, Tekuma and Leviathan — have visited the Gulf before. But the decision has now been taken to ensure a permanent presence of at least one of the vessels.
The flotilla’s commander, identified only as “Colonel O”, told an Israeli newspaper: “We are an underwater assault force. We’re operating deep and far, very far, from our borders.”
Each of the submarines has a crew of 35 to 50, commanded by a colonel capable of launching a nuclear cruise missile.
The vessels can remain at sea for about 50 days and stay submerged up to 1,150ft below the surface for at least a week. Some of the cruise missiles are equipped with the most advanced nuclear warheads in the Israeli arsenal.
The deployment is designed to act as a deterrent, gather intelligence and potentially to land Mossad agents. “We’re a solid base for collecting sensitive information, as we can stay for a long time in one place,” said a flotilla officer.
The submarines could be used if Iran continues its programme to produce a nuclear bomb. “The 1,500km range of the submarines’ cruise missiles can reach any target in Iran,” said a navy officer.
Apparently responding to the Israeli activity, an Iranian admiral said: “Anyone who wishes to do an evil act in the Persian Gulf will receive a forceful response from us.”
Israel’s urgent need to deter the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah alliance was demonstrated last month. Ehud Barak, the defence minister, was said to have shown President Barack Obama classified satellite images of a convoy of ballistic missiles leaving Syria on the way to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Binyamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, will emphasise the danger to Obama in Washington this week.
Tel Aviv, Israel’s business and defence centre, remains the most threatened city in the world, said one expert. “There are more missiles per square foot targeting Tel Aviv than any other city,” he said.
Connect the dots
[WTF are they trying to pull?]