DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 1, 2012
Iran’s nuclear reactor at Bushehr was shut down in mid-October for fear of an explosion. Saturday, Dec. 1, an authoritative Russian nuclear industry source revealed why: “Indicators showed that some small external parts were… in the [Bushehr] reactor vessel….” They were identified as “bolts beneath the fuel cells.” debkafile: Russian experts estimated that a Bushehr explosion had the potential for causing a million Iranian deaths and hundreds of thousands of radiation victims in Iran and across the Persian Gulf emirates.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 30, 2012
President Obama took some tough steps to weaken the Iranian front ahead of the direct US-Iranian nuclear talks beginning December 1. The latest is a March deadline for results. But US military strength is also lined up just in case face-to-face with Iran leads nowhere. Most significantly, in September, the Pentagon and the US Army completed the deployment of US military strength in strike position and intensified military pressure on the Assad regime.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 30, 2012
A confidential report submitted to Ayatollah Khamenei advises a massive expansion of military spending focusing on earmarking more money and scientific resources for developing missile and sophisticated unmanned aerial vehicles. The technology and manufacturing plants for sophisticated drones should be transferred to Gaza and Sudan – not Lebanon. This process was underway in Gaza when Israel launched its air offensive against Hamas in mid-November.
DEBKAfile Special Report November 26, 2012
Monday, Nov. 26, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said he was quitting political life after 47 years but staying in defense until the January 22, 2013 general election. debkafile: His action ties in closely with President Barack Obama’s decision to embark on direct US-Iranian nuclear talks and his plans to bring Tehran to the table in a more amenable frame of mind. The Gaza operation was part of those plans. Should a major war erupt meanwhile and force a delay in voting, Barak would still be at his post.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 16, 2012
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has decided against opening direct talks with the Obama administration, upsetting the reelected President Obama’s best-laid plans to solve the Iranian nuclear controversy by diplomacy.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 9, 2012
Barack Obama’s decision to go for direct talks with Iran comes too late to stop its nuclear program. He is left with bargaining over the size of the Iranian nuclear arsenal and its disposal with Ali Khamenei holding most of the high cards.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 8, 2012
US President Barack Obama aims to launch direct, fast-track nuclear talks with Tehran in December with a three month deadline for their conclusion, debkafile reports. His advisers warn him that Iran’s campaign for its June 14 presidential election kicks off in March and Tehran cannot be expected to commit to a resolution of their nuclear controversy by then. Iranian strategists would prefer to hold off nuclear diplomacy for eight months until after their election “just as Tehran waited for the US vote.”
DEBKAfile DEBKA Weekly November 8, 2012
The latest DEBKA-Net-Weekly out last Friday offers an expert forecast of how Barack Obama is approaching the region’s hot-button crises in his second term as US President. First, he will go for a “Grand Bargain” with Iran on its nuclear program – then, fast deals with Moscow and Beijing to cool the crises of a war-torn Syria, a burgeoning Muslim Brotherhood and a rampant al Qaeda. Will he keep US ties with Israel and other allies ambivalent? And will Obama diplomacy work better this time?
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis November 7, 2012
Some Middle East nations, including the Persian Gulf and Israel, view with trepidation four more years of Barack Obama. They envisage the continued hitching of US regional influence on the Muslim world – Sunni and Shiite alike – through the acceptance of a nuclear Iran and the sponsorship of Muslim Brotherhood rule of Sunni Arab nations. Israel is caught in a vise between Iran, whose leaders call openly for Israel’s extinction, which is achievable only by nuclear aggression, and the hostile Muslim Brotherhood.
DEBKAfile Special Report November 4, 2012
Sources in Tehran put out word Sunday, Nov, 4, that Iran had suddenly suspended 20-percent uranium enrichment. An Iranian lawmaker called it a "goodwill" gesture ahead of a new round of talks with the US directly after the presidential election. Two days before the vote, Tehran is transparently throwing its weight behind Obama by suggesting to the American voter that he can solve the nuclear crisis without resorting to war and is Iran’s preferred partner for talks.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 3, 2012
Israel, France and the UK lined up this week for possible military action on Syria and Iran after the US presidential election was over in four days time, debkafile reports. Binyamin Netanyahu spent two days (Oct. 31-Nov. 1) talking to President Francois Holland in France and, the next day, Defense Minister Ehud Barak landed in London, after the top US soldier Gen. Martin Dempsey spent several days in Israel. They all agreed on the unsustainability of current US Mid East on-hold policy after Nov. 6 - whoever was elected.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 1, 2012
If France and Israel were to combine their air and sea assets, they could clobber Iran’s nuclear program without any other partners. However, neither is yet about to move in this direction without the United States, although their intelligence ties are in closer rapport than they are with US intelligence agencies.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 26, 2012
An Iranian ex-diplomat and a lawmaker provide unknown details of the four years of secret American-Iranian exchanges on solving the controversy over Iran’s nuclear program which ended without results.
DEBKAfile Special Report October 23, 2012
Both US presidential contenders, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, pledged to stand with Israel if attacked in their foreign policy debate in Boca Raton, Florida Monday, Oct. 22. But neither agreed in reply to the question to formally declare that an attack on Israel would be tantamount to an attack on America, especially in relation to a nuclear Iran. Romney and Obama agreed that a military option must be a last resort, although Romney, unlike Obama, said even a “nuclear-capable Iran” was unacceptable.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 21, 2012
Barack Obama has agreed to hold direct talks on Iran’s nuclear program with its leaders, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Is this a surprise? On April 16, 2012, debkafile disclosed that Washington and Tehran were conducting back-channel talks in Paris and Vienna. Obama hopes that a summit will lift his chances of reelection. debkafile: He has so far accepted Iran’s right to enrich uranium, erasing all Israel’s red lines. His last demand is for 24/7 inspections which Tehran refuses.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis October 20, 2012
The car bomb which murdered anti-Syrian Lebanese security chief Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hasan and seven others Friday, Oct. 19, in Beirut also dissipated hopes in the West and Israel of the Syrian civil war sundering the Tehran-Damascus-Hizballah axis, or that liquidating Iran’s nuclear scientists and cyber warfare would turn Tehran away from a nuclear bomb. The Syrian bloodbath grows wider and more malignant and Tehran is closer than ever to a nuclear weapon. A reduced joint US-Israel war game begins Sunday.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 19, 2012
Barack Obama this week clued Binyamin Netanyahu in on the latest US intelligence confirming Iran will have enough enriched uranium for 4-6 bombs by March 2013, debkafile reports. It was the first time Obama acknowledged that sanctions and diplomatic pressure are not working. Also revealed was that Iran had doubled the enrichment centrifuges at Natanz to 6,000, and that Iran needs no more than 2-3 weeks to upgrade enriched uranium from 20% to weapons grade. Obama still objects to an Israeli pre-emptive strike.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 16, 2012
Iran has finished transferring all its uranium enrichment plant to Fordo, placing it in an “immune zone,” against bombardment. In so doing, Tehran beat the clock before President Barack Obama faces presidential contender Mitt Romney in a foreign policy debate and responded to the EU's tightened sanctions against its nuclear program. debkafile: Iran plans to go forward next and convert its centrifuges from 20 percent to 60 percent enrichment of uranium, a short step before the 90 percent weapons grade.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 11, 2012
Netanyahu was in touch with Barack Obama and Mitt Romney before his UN speech last month and reached agreement with both that he would set up a centrist government with Labor after Israel’s January election and join them n getting set for a showdown with Iran in March.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis October 9, 2012
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to run for election on the stop-nuclear-Iran ticket opens the door for President Barack Obama, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Hizballah’s Hassan Nasrallah to put an oar in to determine its results. Obama may seek a breakthrough with Iran to impress the American voter and put a spoke in Netanyahu’s wheel; the Iranian and Hizballah leaders may fabricate a grave security crisis to test Netanyahu with a major predicament in mid-campaign. They are all are playing for high stakes.