UN nuclear watchdog says Iran has begun enriching uranium on a far larger scale after solving most technological problems - NY Times
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 19, 2007
debkafile reports: Iran's nuclear leap catches the Bush administration preparing to start pulling US troops out of Iraq and embarking on an ultra-sensitive dialogue with Iran. Washington says the talks with Tehran will be confined to the Iraq crisis. However, they are bound to range over other issues, such as Persian Gulf security, Lebanon and the Palestinians.
In advance of the IAEA report to the UN Security Council next Monday, May 21, a short-notice inspection found Iranian engineers to be using roughly 1,300 centrifuges and producing enough fuel suitable for nuclear reactors.
Ahmadinejad threatens severe retaliation if the US attacks his country over its nuclear program <br/><br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 16, 2007
He spoke at a news conference in the United Arab Emirates Monday after leading an anti-American rally at which he blamed America for the region's instability.
The Iranian president was warmly welcomed by Gulf emirate's rulers two days after a visit by US vice president Dick Cheney. debkafile reports US consent to open talks with Iran on Iraq is seen by the Gulf sheikdoms as a softening of the Bush administration's most steadfast positions in the region.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 15, 2007
The American side will be led by ambassdor to Iraq Ryan Crocker. A spokesman in Tehran said the talks would aim at establishing peace and security in Iraq.
Its latest issue, DEBKA-Net-Weekly disclosed Friday, May 11, that the US and Iran had decided to open talks. Tehran has submitted a detailed blueprint for an accord which DNW revealed in detail.
To subscribe to DEBKA-Net-Weekly click DEBKA-Net-Weekly.com?ref=001">HERE.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report May 14, 2007
The Kayhan newspaper accuses Esfandiari of spying for US and Israel and trying to incite a "velvet revolution" in Iran. All charges are denied by her husband Shaul Bakhash. Iran's foreign ministry said she would be treated like other Iranian national.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span> Exclusive: Frontrunner as next Revolutionary Guards chief threatens US world interests and Israel if Iran is attacked
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 30, 2007
Mohammad Baqer Solghadr, deputy interior minister, has been tagged for this top post by Iranian leaders engrossed in war preparations, according to debkafile's Iranian sources. He told the official Iranian news agency IRNA Thursday: "Nowhere would be safe for America ...we can fire tens of thousands of missiles every day." He added: "With long-range missiles Iran can also threaten Israel as America's ally."
US intelligence estimates Iran has overcome technical difficulties in uranium enrichment, shortening to 2010 the date for enough bomb-grade material - CBS<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 29, 2007
debkafile adds: This new assessment is down from the original 2015 date and closer to the Israeli intelligence 2009 estimate. Pentagon officials said the window has narrowed for Israel to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iran, which could involve the US in a war against a much tougher opponent than Iraq.
debkafile's military sources report that the revised US estimate rests on word that the Iranians have overcome the difficulties stalling the operation of the P2 centrifuges at the Natanz plant at the requisite speeds for producing weapons-grade uranium.
Shin Bet seeks legislation banning Israeli travel to Iran which has stepped up drive to recruit Israeli visitors as spies<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 21, 2007
Tuesday, April 17, the Shin Bet reported arrest of a young Israeli man of Iranian origin who confessed he was recruited and received money from Iranian intelligence to "cover expenses." He was detained as soon as he landed in Israel. The security service reports at least 10 attempts by Tehran in the last two years to enlist Israeli travelers as spies.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span>: Iran and the nuclear issue are common denominators of the two espionage cases publicized in Israel and Egypt Tuesday, April 17<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 19, 2007
Only hours apart, the Israeli Shin Bet announced the arrest of a young Israeli for taking money to spy for Iranian intelligence, followed by a news conference in Cairo announcing that an Egyptian engineer at the national atomic center Mohammed Gaber, 35, would be tried for allegedly passing secrets to the Israeli Mossad. Israel dismissed the charge as unfounded.
These spy scandals erupted as the US defense secretary Robert Gates circled around Middle East capitals. Was this a coincidence?
Read debkafile's Special Analysis below for some answers.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 17, 2007
On Tuesday, April 17, the Shin Bet intelligence service reported Iranian intelligence had intensified its efforts to recruit Israelis as spies, targeting former Iranians applying for visas to visit their families. One young man had been snared and paid "expenses" for enlisting a friend in security and collecting information.
Two hours later, in Cairo, a nuclear engineer Mohammed Gaber, was accused by Prosecutor-General Abdul-Maquid Mahmoud of spying on Egypt's nuclear program on behalf of the Mossad, which was said to have paid him $17,000.
Add on the US defense secretary Robert Gates' visits to Jordan, Israel and Egypt this week reportedly to coordinate and oversee preparations connected to a potential military operation against Iran and, in the view of debkafile's intelligence sources, these espionage rumbles denote a far greater upheaval boiling up below ground.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span>: US Marine Corps commandant visits USS Bataan in Persian Gulf and Iran again steps up military preparedness<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 15, 2007
On April 4, Gen. James Conway visited the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) aboard the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Baatan (LHD 5) in the Persian Gulf and other vessels of the strike group. He was accompanied by Lt.Gen. Keith Stadler, Commanding General of II Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF), Sgt. Maj. Of the Marine Corps John Estrada and Rear Adm. Richard Jeffries, medical officer of the Marine Corps.
What made this high-powered visit different? And what are the Iranians playing at? Read debkafile Special Report below.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 11, 2007
The foreign ministry spokesman in Moscow was commenting on announcements from Tehran Monday. Regarding chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani's claim that Iran had built 3,000 centrifuges for enriching uranium, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday he did not believe they were yet in full operation.
debkafile's intelligence sources disclosed Monday that Iran has not managed to install more than 1000 centrifuges, and possibly less, for lack of progress in overcoming technical snags.
UK Navy chief Adm. St. Jonathan Band says British boarding operations in Persian Gulf had stopped for the time being<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 10, 2007
He was referring to the operations carried out by the 15 British sailors and marines when they were seized by an Iranian Revolutionary Guards unit on March 23.
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span>: UK sailors freed after 12 days; Gilead Shalit, Udi Goldwasser and Eldad Regev still caged<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 9, 2007
The British sailors were detained by a Revolutionary Guards special task force Friday, March 23, in disputed Gulf waters. No one has seen or heard of the three Israeli soldiers kidnapped on the Israeli side of the borders of Gaza and Lebanon almost a year ago.
Why were the Britons freed and the Israelis kept confined, when a signal from Tehran could have released them?
For the answer, read debkafile's Special Analysis below.
Furious storm greets UK government permission for 15 British sailors and marines to sell their stories to the media<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 9, 2007
The UK ministry of defense said the usual ban on such payments was lifted because of their "exceptional circumstances." This decision has been widely criticized by public and military figures who say a bidding war for the former captives' stories would be inappropriate and undignified and could backfire. Faye Tuner, the only woman in the captured party has been offered $150,000 for her story.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 8, 2007
The Iran Atomic Energy Agency announced a high-ranking Iranian official would attend the ceremony.
Coupled with this announcement, interim Friday Prayers leader of Tehran Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati said the era of America and the Zionist regime is gone and they incline towards collapse. "However this takes time and history is moving in this direction, although they may not realize it."
British marines and sailors explain their Iran media confessions by intense psychological pressure <br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 8, 2007
Six of the freed captives, appearing at a news conference at a Royal Marine base in Devon, UK, Friday, April 6, said they were warned they faced 7 years in prison if they did not confess to entering Iranian waters. Royal Navy Lt. Felix Carman insisted their boarding craft were 1.7 nautical miles from the Iranian border when they were surrounded by two Iranian boats full of heavily armed Revolutionary Guards and prevented from leaving. "Fighting back was not an option," said Royal Marines Capt. Chris Air.
Blair thanks allies in Europe, the UN and the region "who played their part" in securing release of 15 service personnel
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 5, 2007
To the Iranian people, the UK PM said: "We bear you no ill will, respect you as an ancient civilization. Any differences with your government we hope to solve through dialogue." British spokesmen have stressed the UK government made no deals and engaged Iran - chiefly Ali Larijani, head of the national security council, in dialogue - not negotiation. However, debkafile reported a UK military delegation arrived secretly in Iran Tuesday. Details of any deal are unlikely to leak out from official sources in London before all the captured sailors are safely home.
Why Does Tehran Free the Britons But Refuse to Signal the Release of the Three Israeli Servicemen? <br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 4, 2007
Iran, which captured and freed the British sailors and marines, also has the authority to weigh in for the Israeli captives' release with its Lebanese proxy and the Hamas-led group of Popular Resistance Committees and al Qaeda Falastin in Gaza. It is in Iran's power to end the long agony of uncertainty suffered by their families.
But Tehran refuses to give the signal. Iran's leaders appreciate that Israel's military strength is at least three times that of the British army, air force and navy. The trouble is they do not respect Israel's prime minister Ehud Olmert. They believe the Lebanon War fiasco has deprived him of international leverage for generating the political and military pressure to force Tehran's hand.
The end of the crisis removes the last obstacle to the Istanbul conference in April at which US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice will meet Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki for the first direct US-Iranian contact in three decades
<span class="debka">debka</span><span class="file">file</span> Exclusive: Iran and Saudi Arabia discuss mutual defense pact, Cairo weighs restoring diplomatic relations with Tehran<br/>
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 4, 2007
The two steps were set in motion at the Arab League summit last week in Riyadh. Saturday, March 31, Iran's chief of staff Gen. Hass Fayrouz Abadi prodded Arab governments to hurry up and conclude the defense pact because, he said, Israel is preparing a "suicidal" assault on several Arab nations to save the Americans from pulling its troops out of Iraq.
Read how this developed in debkafile's Exclusive Report below.