Iran Plans To Nuke Europe ?

An Israel security official told the Israel News Agency that the recent launch of a missile from Iran into space illustrated a direct threat to both Europe's and US national security.

On February 25, Iran launched a missile reaching space. "Iran has successfully launched its first space missile made by Iranian scientists," the head of Iran's aerospace research center, Mohsen Bahrami, was quoted as saying. On Saturday, Iran Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar said Iran was planning to build a satellite and launcher.

"Iran has no plans to land a man on the moon," Col. Adam an Israeli security source told the INA. "The same technology is used to build intercontinental ballistic missiles. This Iran space launch is not a threat to Israel. The Iranians need not reach a space orbit to attack Israel, but such a high orbit would be needed to deliver a nuclear payload into Europe or the US."

Iran launched its first satellite, Sina-1, into orbit from a Russian rocket in 2005 and has said it planned to modify its Shahab-3 missile, which Iran says has a range of about 2,000 km (1,250 miles), to launch satellites. Bahrami said the missile was built by his center in cooperation of the Defense and Science Ministries. He gave no further details. Despite announcing what would be a major advance in Iran's missile technology, the news was mentioned only once by the main state TV news channel and was not carried by other Iranian official media.

"Take a look at the news media, you don't see a word about this launch today," said Adam. "Western governments were not prepared for Iran to have a nuclear delivery system up and running. Intel is hard to come by regarding Iran. It is very difficult to have real time Intel coming from Iran as it is difficult for operatives to penetrate Iranian society. Most of our Intel comes from external sources, and these sources are reactive, passive, not proactive."

"If we don't see severe economic sanctions coming from Europe in the next few weeks, we will witness a catastrophe," said a source at the Israel Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The source would not give his name because he would lose his position, but the matter of urgency had him staring at this writer praying to get the message out.

"Iran is no different than Nazi Germany", the MFA source said. "They too built up an army, resources and created the V-2." The V-2 was the first man-made object launched into space, during test flights that reached an altitude of 189 km (117 miles) in 1944. "While Germany was putting the finishing touches to the V-2 which was eventually used against Britain, the world stood by wanting to talk. Now we have Iran repeating history, declaring to "wipe Israel off the map" while planting bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan, one which nearly killed US Vice President Cherney during his visit there a few days ago."

"We have two options. The West can attack Iran which would provoke both Iran and Syria to respond with chemical weapons or we can place immediate and severe sanctions on Iran, thereby reducing their ability to create and use atomic weapons against the West. One should understand Iranian fundamental mentality. These people are not threatening the "infidels" of the West, they are promising to attack as soon as they have both the delivery and nuclear weapons capability."

Security analysts in Europe state that two overriding EU security interests are at stake: avoiding a war with Iran and preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power. These two apparently contradictory interests can be reconciled and translated into a common strategy by adopting a three-pronged approach based on efficient isolation, effective containment, and direct negotiations.

The U.N. Security Council has recently slapped sanctions on Iran that bar the transfer of technology and know-how to Iran's nuclear and missile programs, a move that was pushed for by the West because of fears that Iran is seeking to build atomic bombs. Tehran says its nuclear program is purely civilian and aims to generate electricity. The Iran defense minister was quoted by a newspaper as saying: "Building a satellite and satellite launcher, as well as (previously) launching the first Iranian satellite called Sina with Russian cooperation, and becoming a member of the space club, are part of the Defense Ministry's plans."

It is up to Europe to prevent the two worst developments in Iran - war and nuclear armament - by acting jointly and with determination. Vital European and transatlantic interests are at stake. It is thus Europe's responsibility - and especially Germany's, as the current EU president - to act now.

Iran said yesterday it would never suspend uranium enrichment as demanded by the West, a day after world powers agreed to work on a new UN resolution to pressure Tehran to back down over its nuclear program. Officials from the five permanent UN Security Council members - the United States, France, Russia, China and Britain - plus Germany, who met in London on Monday, also said they were committed to a negotiated resolution to the standoff. The United States, which says "all options" are on the table while insisting it wants a peaceful solution, has ratcheted up pressure by sending a second aircraft carrier to the Gulf.

"Suspending uranium enrichment is an illegal and illegitimate demand ... and it will never happen," Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying. Another agency said he backed atomic talks but without preconditions. Iran's open refusal to halt enrichment, a process it insists it only wants to make fuel for nuclear power plants, is echoed by some Iranian officials in private, suggesting the public pronouncements are more than just rhetoric. US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said after the London meeting world powers would hold phone talks on Thursday to discuss elements of a new resolution.

Clearing its stand on the Iran nuclear standoff, China has said that it did not favor the use of sanctions on Iran. Beijing has called for the peaceful resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomatic means. "Sanctions are not the purpose," Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Qin Gang said. "Any move of the Security Council should help resolving the issue through peaceful and appropriate means," he said adding hat Beijing's stand on the issue is consistent. "We advocate a peaceful solution through diplomatic negotiation," he added.

China has significant business ties and energy interests in Iran.

"Iran which denies that a European Holocaust ever took place, is now planning to create a second Holocaust in Europe and in the US," said the Israel MFA source. "Europe will be first to feel this nuclear suicide bomb, as London, Moscow, Madrid, Rome and Paris are now in range of Iranian missiles. We no longer have the luxury of time to implement sanctions. This is not a movie. This is not the "24" TV series about nuclear terrorism. This is real. Sanctions worked against North Korea, they can and will work against Iran."

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