Iran tells Gulf states not to buy 'ineffective' US missiles
A senior Iranian military official told Gulf states on Thursday not to squander money on US missiles, boasting that Iran can render them useless, the state news agency IRNA reported.
Tehran had on Wednesday slammed plans by the United States to beef up defences in the Gulf against potential Iranian missile attacks, with the Islamic republic insisting it posed no threat to its neighbours.
"Installing anti-missile Patriot missiles is a new trick to empty the pockets of rich Persian Gulf countries," said General Hassan Firuzabadi, the joint chief of staff of Iran's armed forces.
"Patriot missiles can be rendered ineffective by simple tactics, and I advise the regional countries, especially Islamic states, not to waste their money on these missiles which have not worked anywhere," he said.
US President Barack Obama's administration is reportedly placing ships with missile-targeting capabilities off Iran's coast, and anti-missile systems in at least four Gulf states -- Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
US ally Bahrain acknowledged on Wednesday that Gulf military defences were being upgraded but urged Iran not to see them as plans for attack.
The moves come as Iran remains locked in a standoff with the West over its nuclear programme, which many world powers believe is masking a weapons drive. Iran has vehemently denied this.
Iran has carried out frequent war games in the Gulf and paraded an array of home-grown missiles over the past years.
It has threatened to hit Western targets if Iranian nuclear sites come under attack by the United States or Israel -- its two arch-foes which have never ruled out the military option to thwart the atomic drive.
An Iranian Revolutionary Guards official also said on Wednesday that Iran had developed anti-armor weapons which can combat US Apache helicopters and armored tanks.
"The enemy should not think their Apache helicopters can have the same power that they have in Iraq and Afghanistan in Iran," Naser Arab-beigi, who heads the self-sufficiency organization of the Revolutionary Guards, told Fars news agency.
"We will end Apache power by our measures. Their armored tanks will be met with the firm response of our weapons," he said.
|US using anti-Iran disinfo to sell missile shield|
The US has begun stepping up it's anti-Iran propaganda to justify its decision to deploy a missile shield in Europe.
Washington's latest disinformation campaign about the alleged threat from Iran's advanced missile technology is being implemented to demonize Iran, even though the Islamic Republic has never threatened its neighbors and Iran's military technology is clearly only being developed to ensure the country can defend itself against any potential enemies.
"Our revised approach is tailored to address the emergent threat coming to the region from Iran," US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said on Thursday.
"We're going to protect our interests and those of our allies," AFP quoted Crowley as saying.
He confirmed that Romania would host medium-range ballistic missile interceptors as part of the shield system.
Romanian President Traian Basescu said on Thursday that Bucharest had agreed to participate in the system, which is expected to be operational by 2015.
In September 2009, the US shelved a plan to place missile defense facilities in the Czech Republic and Poland after Russia vehemently protested.
| Romania prepared to host US anti-ballistic interceptors- RT|
Romania has announced it is ready to host anti-ballistic interceptors as part of a US missile shield in Eastern Europe. The move has already been approved by the country’s supreme defense council.
The plan has now been submitted to parliament for its backing. Romania’s President Traian Basescu says Romania was invited by the US to take part in its new missile shield program. This announcement<>
In September of 2009, president Obama said he intended to revamp the Bush-era plans for a shield in Eastern Europe, instead only placing Patriot missiles in Poland and possibly sea-based systems elsewhere.
The new strategy proposed by Obama will be much more “formidable, comprehensive and powerful than that suggested by President Bush in 2007,” says independent political analyst Vladimir Kozin.If the US chooses to accept the Romanian proposal it could jeopardize US-Russian relations and the START treaty negotiations, says Giulietto Chiesa, Italian politician and former Member of the European Parliament.
“President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin have already said many times that this will seriously influence the balance of forces in Europe, which means that it will produce a very bad effect on US-Russian relations,” Chiesa said.
Poland to place American missiles at Russian border
The site chosen by Poland’s defense ministry for the deployment of the US “Patriot” air defense system is only 100 km from the Russian border, according to a report in Polish media.
The information initially published in Polish political daily Gazeta Wyborcza was later confirmed by Polish officials.
The city of Morag in northern Poland will be used to host the battery of Patriot missiles, which means they will be located very close to Russia’s enclave region of Kaliningrad.
The initial plans were to place the air defense unit near capital Warsaw, but the Polish military chose Morag instead. They assure that the decision was not influenced by military strategy but rather due to the economy and convenience. “In Morag, we offer the best conditions for US troops and the best technical facilities for the equipment,” said Defense Minister Bogdan Klich.
The battery will consist of eight launchers and will be manned by around 100 US soldiers. The exact date of the arrival of American troops and weapons to Poland is not yet fixed. The newspaper says it is expected to be in April.
In 2008, Warsaw convinced Washington to deploy Patriot missiles in its territory as part of an agreement to host elements of the planned antiballistic missile system in Eastern Europe. The Bush-era plans have been downsized by the Obama administration, but the Patriot deal remains in force.
At the height of tension between Russia and the US over the ABM shield President Medvedev announced that, if the system is built, Moscow will deploy Iskander short-range missiles in the Kaliningrad region to maintain strategic balance. This was never done, however, and after the antimissile system plans were overhauled, Russia said it no longer saw any need to move its Iskander missiles.
Moscow has not yet commented on the latest move, but as military journalist Viktor Litovkin says, the Patriot missiles present no real danger to Russia's security.
“The cancellation of Bush’s plan to place an anti-ballistic missile system was a warm approach to improve relations between the countries,” Litovkin said. “The current establishment of the Patriot defense system is considered compensation to Poland for the canceled deal, as well as a way to cure Polish phobias. Now it is clear who Poland is afraid of – but it is not clear why. The Patriot defense system doesn't represent any threat to Russia.”
Whereas, political analyst Vladimir Kozin says the decision deals a direct blow to Russia’s strategic arms plans.
“This is specifically alarming at the time when we are approaching the signing of the START treaty.”
Kozin also believes the “unfriendly gesture” could be just the first step on the part of the US, with more antiballistic missiles to follow.