British Foreign Secretary William Hague stated Wednesday, June 29: "Iran has also been carrying out covert ballistic missile tests and rocket launches, including testing missiles capable of delivering a nuclear payload in contravention of UN resolution 1929."
This was reported first by debkafile last year and repeated in the face of US and Israeli denials. Hague was the first Western leader to confirm debkafile disclosures up to and including our report Tuesday on Iran's 10-day exercise. Our military sources stressed that Iran's plan to launch a monkey into space – and therefore a 330-kilo payload – by the Kavoshgar-5 was evidence that it had developed a rocket capable of delivering a nuclear warhead at any point on the planet. Click here for this report.
Hague also pointed out in a statement to parliament that Iran had announced plans to triple its capacity to produce 20 percent enriched uranium – "enrichment levels far greater than is needed for peaceful nuclear energy."
debkafile's military and intelligence sources note that the Foreign Secretary's words follow the concentration of large-scale American naval, air and marine forces in the Mediterranean, the Aden and Oman straits, the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea. This seaborne army is positioned for strikes against targets in Iran, Syria and Libya at 12 hours' notice. It may be safely assumed that Hague's ominous disclosure was pre-arranged with Washington.
In the past month, our sources have also quoted several Saudi royal princes as warning that if Iran attained a nuclear capability, it would not be the only Persian Gulf nation to be armed with a nuclear weapon and missiles for its delivery.
As Iran's military exercise went into its third day, Aerospace commander of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Amir Ali Hajizadeh announced the launching of the new Ghadir radar system which he said had been "designed and manufactured to discover air targets, stealth planes, cruise missiles, ballistic missiles and satellites at low orbits." The system, claimed to have a range of 1,100 kilometers in radius and height of 300 kilometers, was said to be operational in Iran for the first time.
In another blatantly hostile gesture towards the United Sates, Hajizadeh announced that Russian military experts had been allowed to examine American drones said to have been shot down in the Persian Gulf for a close-up examination.
This disclosure came on top of his announcement Tuesday that the fourteen 2,000-kilometer range missiles tested Tuesday were designed exclusively to hit American bases in Afghanistan and Israel.
He referred to the downed US drones in the plural while not indicating where, when and how they were shot down. The sort of inspection permitted the Russian military delegation of the pilotless aircraft's electronic systems is normally conducted discreetly so as not ruffle relations. This time, it was most unusually made public – not a good message for Russian-US ties especially in view of Moscow's steps against Washington's war on Libya and bid for sanctions against Syria.
By letting Russia know how they were shot down and displaying models constructed by reverse engineering, Tehran and Moscow indicated they shared the secrets of the US drones' vulnerabilities to attack.
Six months ago, Iran announced it had downed two American drones on January 2. At the time, Revolutionary Guards navy commander Ali Fadavi said the planes shot down were among the most modern US navy drones with a long-range capability.
The US Fifth Fleet operating in the Persian Gulf never responded to this Iranian statement but it did not deny it either. Generally, the American navy in the Middle East uses the unmanned MQ-8B Fire Scout helicopter for information-gathering missions, but the Iranians did not specify whether the American drones came from ships or from other air bases in the Middle East.