Thursday, June 14, 2007

Iran in the News

The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is his name. (Exodus 15:3)

1. Iran to Begin Rationing Gasoline - Strafor Intelligence Summary

Iran will begin a gasoline rationing plan June 14 to help reduce massive state gasoline subsidies. The plan's first phase will limit government vehicles to 10 liters (about 2.6 gallons) of gasoline per day, with private cars being affected later. The Iranian government, which spent $5 billion importing gasoline in 2006, already has raised pump prices by 25 percent and requires consumers to document gasoline purchases in efforts to curb use.

2. Kuwait won't allow U.S. attack on Iran - AP

The defense minister of this major U.S. ally said Monday that Kuwait will not allow the American military to stage an attack on Iran from its territory. Asked if Washington had made such a request, Sheik Jaber Al Mubarak Al Sabah told reporters: "It hasn't asked, and even if it did we will not allow anybody to use our territories."

3. Moscow Releases Nuclear Fuel for Iran's Bushehr Reactor - DEBKAfile

Russian president Vladimir Putin put teeth in his threats and his cynically helpful alternative suggestions regarding the deployment of US missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic.

DEBKA-Net-Weekly 304 disclosed on June 8 that the week before the G8 opened in Germany, Moscow released the long-withheld nuclear fuel for Iran's atomic reactor in Bushehr. It was delivered 24 hours before Israel launched its new military imaging satellite Ofeq-7, bringing forward the Iranian threat to Israel, according to DEBKAfile's military sources. One immediate result has been the stiffening of Tehran's negative posture, sparking what nuclear watchdog director Mohammed ElBaradei called Monday, June 11, a confrontation that needs to be urgently defused.

4. El Baradei cancels meeting with Iranian negotiator - DEBKA

Meeting canceled after Tehran reneges on pledge to provide sensitive information on its program

The meeting was to have taken place at the nuclear watchdog IAEA board meeting which began in Vienna Monday. The IAEA director Mohamed ElBaradei said the brewing confrontation with Iran must be defused and the current stalemate urgently needs to be broken.

He said: "The facts on the ground indicate that Iran continues steadily to perfect its knowledge relevant to enrichment and to expand the capacity of its enrichment facility" in Natanz.

5. Iran Expands Hormuz Fleet - Middle East Newsline

Iran has expanded its naval fleet in the Straits of Hormuz, the passage for an estimated 40 percent of global crude oil shipments. The U.S. Navy has determined that Iran has amassed a huge fleet of fast patrol boats in the 43-kilometer straits. The navy said the effort was led by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, responsible for strategic programs. "This marks the implementation of Iran's swarm program, where dozens of armed speed boats attack much larger naval vessels from all sides," an official said.

At this point, officials said, IRGC has deployed more than 1,000 FPBs in and around the straits. The vessels, armed with cruise missiles, mines, torpedoes and rocket-propelled grenades, were described as measuring up to 23 meters and could reach a speed of 100 kilometers per hour.