CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

Friday, February 3, 2017









War between USA and Iran possible again




By putting Iran "on notice," the new U.S. administration is laying the groundwork for a more confrontational approach toward the Islamic Republic.
What that means in practice is anyone's guess, since the White House isn't saying. That is in line with President Donald Trump's desire to keep America's adversaries guessing and boost U.S. leverage.
The U.S. has plenty in its toolbox should it choose to confront Iran more aggressively, from ratcheting up sanctions all the way to full-out war. Each carries real risks.
FILE -- In this Sept. 21, 2016 file photo, Iranian armed forces members march in a military parade marking the 36th anniversary of Iraq's 1980 invasion of Ir...
FILE -- In this Sept. 21, 2016 file photo, Iranian armed forces members march in a military parade marking the 36th anniversary of Iraq's 1980 invasion of Iran, in front of the shrine of late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, just outside Tehran, Iran. By putting Iran "on notice," the new U.S. administration is laying the groundwork for a more confrontational approach toward the Islamic Republic. While the U.S. has plenty in the toolbox should it choose to confront Iran more aggressively, Iran has the means to push back too. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi, File)
That's because Iran, however unpopular in Washington, is not a failed-state pushover. It is sure to respond if it feels it is under threat.
Here are some of the main issues:
WHY IS IRAN "ON NOTICE?"
In his surprise appearance in the White House briefing room, Trump's national security adviser, Michael Flynn, blasted Iran for threatening American allies and "malign actions — including weapons transfers, support for terrorism, and other violations of international norms."
He also linked Iran directly to missile attacks by Yemeni Shiite rebels known as Houthis on Saudi and Emirati ships. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are leading a coalition supporting Yemen's internationally recognized government against the Iranian-backed rebels. Iran denies arming the rebels.
What appeared to trigger the notice being served, however, was Iran's Sunday launch of a medium-range ballistic missile. A U.N. Security Council resolution prohibits Iran from testing ballistic missiles specifically designed to carry a nuclear warhead.
The U.S. and Iran disagree on whether this and previous launches — including one in March 2016 involving a missile emblazoned with the phrase "Israel must be wiped out" in Hebrew — violate the ban.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Senior Trump administration officials have said they are considering options including economic measures and more support for Iran's regional rivals.
Among the biggest of those adversaries are Saudi Arabia, Israel and the UAE, whose foreign minister has voiced support for Trump's decision to temporarily block entry to citizens of Iran and six other Muslim-majority countries.
The Saudis and Emiratis would welcome deeper American involvement for the war in Yemen, which they view in large part as a proxy fight against Iran. The U.S. has provided logistical support to the Saudi-led coalition since it intervened in March 2015, but in December the Obama administration halted some arms sales to the Saudis over concerns about civilian deaths.
Washington could implement further unilateral sanctions against Iran. Nuclear-related sanctions were removed last year after Iran agreed to a deal with world powers limiting its nuclear activities, but Washington has maintained other sanctions related to support for terrorism and other actions as far back as the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Torbjorn Soltvedt, a Middle East analyst at risk consulting firm Verisk Maplecroft, predicted that any new sanctions related to ballistic missile tests would target Iran's engineering industry.
"There is no doubt now that further flare-ups could translate into additional sanctions," he wrote.
WHAT IS THE VIEW FROM IRAN?
Iran is as distrustful of the United States as Washington is of Tehran, and the countries' views of one another often seem like distorted mirror images.
From Iran's perspective, the U.S. is a meddlesome outside power that has kept it surrounded for years with warships and troops in neighboring Afghanistan and Iraq.
Iran has not responded directly to Flynn's comments, although the Revolutionary Guard's acting commander was defiant that it would continue its missile development program.
"Iran's great missile power is one of the world's unmatched deterrent powers today," Gen. Hossein Salami was quoted as saying by the semi-official Tasnim news agency Thursday.
Iran's leaders are likely to see any new U.S. measures as a provocation in the wake of the nuclear deal.
The agreement was cheered by many in Iran because it lifted crippling economic sanctions and is opening up new business opportunities with the West, including a historic, $16.6 billion deal with Boeing to buy 80 U.S.-made jetliners.
IS A MILITARY CLASH POSSIBLE?
U.S. officials have not confirmed whether military action is on the table. It's unlikely to be the first step.
Maha Yahya, director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, said a push for tougher sanctions or some form of diplomatic censure is more likely for now.
"It's far too early in the game for us to see any kind of military moves," she said.
Still, U.S. forces are already in place should Trump decide to launch at least a limited strike.
Guided-missile destroyers and other U.S. warships attached to the Navy's 5th Fleet routinely patrol the Persian Gulf and occasionally have unnervingly close encounters with Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessels. Just this week, 17 ships from the U.S., Australia, Britain and France took part in joint naval exercises in the Gulf.
At least one U.S. aircraft carrier is usually in the region, although not right now. The nearest one was last reported to be in the Western Pacific.
The U.S. does have warplanes capable of carrying out airstrikes stationed elsewhere in the region, including Qatar and the UAE. They have been actively targeting positions of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.
HOW COULD IRAN RESPOND?
Iran is likely to calibrate its responses based on how the U.S. acts.
Tougher U.S. sanctions could convince Tehran to start reinterpreting the terms of the nuclear deal, said Mohammad Marandi, a political analyst in Tehran.
"The Iranians will reciprocate," he said. "The more the Americans disregard the agreement ... the more the Iranians will find new ways of interpreting the text that do not work to the benefit of the United States."
More direct action could include an uptick in harassment of U.S. warships by Revolutionary Guard speedboats in the Gulf, or new cyberattacks like one that crippled the network of Saudi Arabia's state oil company in 2012.
Iran also could boost support for regional allies such as Lebanon's Hezbollah or the Houthis in Yemen.
A military strike could elicit a much more damaging response.
Iranian officials have repeatedly vowed to shut the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf if Iran comes under threat. Doing so would stop the flow of a nearly a third of all oil traded by sea and likely draw the U.S. into a naval battle.
Iran could also target U.S. military bases or allied countries in the region with existing missiles, which it says can travel up to 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles). Much of the Middle East, including Israel, falls within that range.
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EDITOR'S NOTE: Adam Schreck, the Gulf news director for The Associated Press, has reported from across the Middle East since 2008.
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Associated Press writers Amir Vahdat and Mahdi Fattahi in Tehran, Iran, and Andrea Rosa in Beirut contributed.
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Follow Adam Schreck on Twitter at www.twitter.com/adamschreck
National Security Adviser Michael Flynn speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House, in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. Flynn said the admi...
National Security Adviser Michael Flynn speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House, in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. Flynn said the administration is putting Iran "on notice" after it tested a ballistic missile. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)



War between USA and Iran possible again. 59713.jpeg
Iran has tested medium-range missiles in response to recent decisions of the Trump administration. Republican Alcee Hastings introduced a resolution entitled “Authorization of Use of Force Against Iran,” which entitled the US President for the use of force against Iran to stop the country from creating nuclear weapons. Is the war near?
On Monday, Iran tested a medium-range ballistic missile. The missile flew for over 900 kilometers and then exploded before reaching the target, as Pentagon spokesman said describing Iran’s “unsuccessful” experiment. On Wednesday, Iranian Defence Minister confirmed the information about the tests, Iranian news agency Tasnim reports.

Washington’s tantrums

The United States immediately called for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said that the world should be “alarmed” by the Iranian tests. Haley also urged the UN Security Council to take appropriate measures.
Washington refers to the UN Security Council resolution from 2010, which prohibits Iran from conducting any activity related to nuclear-capable ballistic missiles.

Donald Trump had repeatedly stated during his election campaign that he would revoke the agreement with Tehran on its nuclear program, even though his predecessor Barack Obama valued the agreement a lot. In March 2016, Trump stated that the people who represented the United States at the conclusion of the agreement were “very stupid.” “My number-one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran,” he proclaimed in March while addressing the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Tehran conducted the tests after Trump insulted the Iranians by putting them on a par with major suppliers of jihadists to the United States. Trump’s immigration order imposed a temporary, 90-day ban on people entering the US from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. According to the order, those countries are either torn apart by jihadist violence or remain under the control of hostile, jihadist governments.
Iran apparently falls under the second category of countries. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif called the decree “a shameful act”. Indeed, Iran is known for its opposition to the Islamic State. Why does Washington think of Iran as a jihadist nation?
Let us keep in mind the fact, dear reader, that the United States still considers the pro-Iranian Hezbollah movement to be responsible for the largest terrorist attack committed against the US military after World War II (in Beirut on October 23, 1983). As many as 241 US servicemen were killed as a result of the terrorist attacks on headquarters of US and French peacemaking contingents. In 2003, US District Judge Royce Lamberth accused the Islamic Republic of Iran of the attacks. Hezbollah was recognized a terrorist organization in the US.

Iran making excuses

Iranian Minister Mohammad Zarif said after meeting with his French counterpart on Tuesday that the Iranian missiles “were not capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.” “Our ballistic missile was designed to carry a conventional warhead for the purpose of legal self-defense.” The official  expressed a hope that the new American administration would not use the implementation of Iran’s military defense objectives “as an excuse to create new centers of tension.”
Indeed, given the fact that Iran renounced nuclear weapons and let the IAEA control its nuclear programme, one shall assume that the country has no nuclear weapons. As long as Iran has no nuclear weapons, the country may test missiles.
One way or another, many international agreements have one big drawback – their understatement. Each side interprets them in their own way, and it can be hard to find where the truth lies.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is right when he says that Trump is a “newcomer in politics.” “This is a completely new environment for him. His actions will cost the United States a lot until he finds out what’s going on in the world,” Rouhani said Wednesday.
Iran has long been at the forefront of the struggle against the Islamic State. Iran has a significant influence in Syria; the country took part in the Geneva process in 2015. Iran uses its leverage to reduce violence and achieve peace in the Middle East. Iran is an ally of Russia and Turkey in the Syrian conflict. If the United States tries to solve the problem of the Islamic State without the participation of Iran, the latter may set its coalition partners against the US and disrupt the offensive near Mosul.
“Trump is a representative of the pro-Israel lobby in the United States,” doctor of political science Mikhail Aleksandrov, a leading expert at the Center for Military-Political Studies at MGIMO told Pravda.Ru. “Iran had had a large-scale missile program before those UN Security Council resolutions. The Iranian missile program does not appear in the restrictions of the UN Security Council. Yet, the US tries to misinterpret those restrictions. The resolution from the senator appears to be a way of psychological pressure on Iran. One does not need any resolutions from Congress to use force against Iran. The US president can simply sign an order to do that,” the expert told Pravda.Ru




U.S. Navy destroyer is sent to patrol off coast of Yemen after Iranian-backed militia's suicide attack on Saudi warship

  • Guided missile destroy USS Cole will patrol off southwestern coast of warn-torn country after rebels' suicide attack on Saudi warship
  • Houthi rebels - who are backed by Iran - killed two crewmen on the Saudi vessel, escalated tensions in the Gulg region with the attack
  • USS Cole was attacked by al Qaeda bombers in 2000 as it refueled in Yemeni port of Aden, with 17 sailors killed by suicide terrorists 
The United States has sent a Navy destroyer to patrol off the coast of Yemen to protect waterways from Houthi militia aligned with Iran, two U.S. officials told Reuters on Friday, amid heightened tension between Washington and Tehran.
The USS Cole arrived in the vicinity of the Bab al-Mandab Strait off southwestern Yemen where it will carry out patrols, including escorting vessels, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
In 2000, the USS Cole was attacked when al Qaeda bombers steered a boat full of explosives into the side of the American warship while it refueled in the Yemini port of Aden, killing 17 U.S. sailors and wounding about three dozen others.
Test firing: The USS Cole fired Phalanx close-in weapons system rounds on Thursday as it sailed for waters off Yemen's southwest coast
Test firing: The USS Cole fired Phalanx close-in weapons system rounds on Thursday as it sailed for waters off Yemen's southwest coast
Firepower: The USS Cole is part of the Arleigh Burke-class of guided missiles destroyers. Its deployment against Iranian-backed rebels comes amid escalating tension with Tehran
Firepower: The USS Cole is part of the Arleigh Burke-class of guided missiles destroyers. Its deployment against Iranian-backed rebels comes amid escalating tension with Tehran
While U.S. military vessels have carried out routine operations in the region in the past, this movement, first reported by Reuters, is part of an increased presence there aimed at protecting shipping from the Houthis, the officials said.
The Houthis are allied to Iran, which is at odds with the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump. The country recently test launched a ballistic missile.
Trump said on Thursday 'nothing is off the table' in dealing with Iran, a day after his national security adviser, Michael Flynn said he was putting Iran 'on notice.'
The officials said the decision to move the USS Cole was made before the most recent comments.
Earlier this week, the armed Houthi movement attacked a Saudi warship off the western coast of Yemen, causing an explosion that killed two crew members.
Attack: The Saudi warship lost two sailors as it was attacked by the Houthi rebels in a suicide mission
Attack: The Saudi warship lost two sailors as it was attacked by the Houthi rebels in a suicide mission
Iranian support: The Houthis are Shi'ite Muslims who are supported in their rebellion by the regime in Tehran. They are fighting against the Saudi Arabian-backed Sunni government
Iranian support: The Houthis are Shi'ite Muslims who are supported in their rebellion by the regime in Tehran. They are fighting against the Saudi Arabian-backed Sunni government
That incident was part of an escalation in combat on Yemen's western coast between the militia and the coalition backing the country's internationally recognized government.
Last October, the U.S. military launched cruise missile strikes to knock out three coastal radars located in areas of Yemen controlled by Houthi forces, retaliating after failed missile attacks on another U.S. destroyer, the USS Mason.
Tensions with Iran increased further on Friday when the U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions on 13 people and 12 entities under U.S. Iran sanctions authority.



Iran stages huge naval war games in the Indian Ocean after being put 'on notice' by Donald Trump



  • Iran launched naval drills in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean on Sunday 
  • Trump warned the Islamic Republic after its ballistic missile test on January 29 that it was playing with fire and all US options were on the table
  • Iran's annual exercises will be held in the Strait of Hormuz, the Gulf of Oman, the Bab el-Mandab and northern parts of the Indian Ocean 




President Donald Trump warned the Islamic Republic after its ballistic missile test on January 29 that it was playing with fire and all US options were on the table
President Donald Trump warned the Islamic Republic after its ballistic missile test on January 29 that it was playing with fire and all US options were on the table
Iran launched naval drills at the mouth of the Gulf and the Indian Ocean on Sunday, a naval commander said, as tensions with the United States escalated after President Donald Trump put Tehran 'on notice'.
Since taking office last month, Trump has pledged to get tough with Iran, warning the Islamic Republic after its ballistic missile test on January 29 that it was playing with fire and all US options were on the table.
The missile test was carried out from a well-known site near Semnan, east of Tehran.  
Iran's annual exercises will be held in the Strait of Hormuz, the Gulf of Oman, the Bab el-Mandab and northern parts of the Indian Ocean, to train in the fight against terrorism and piracy, said Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, according to state media.
Millions of barrels of oil are transported daily to Europe, the US and Asia through the Bab el-Mandab and the Strait of Hormuz, waterways that run along the coasts of Yemen and Iran.
Navy ships, submarines and helicopters will take part in the drills across an area of about 2 million square kilometers (772,000 square miles) and marines will showcase their skills along Iran's southeastern coast, the state news agency IRNA said.
Iran's annual exercises will be held in the Strait of Hormuz (pictured), the Gulf of Oman, the Bab el-Mandab and northern parts of the Indian Ocean 
Iran's annual exercises will be held in the Strait of Hormuz (pictured), the Gulf of Oman, the Bab el-Mandab and northern parts of the Indian Ocean 
Military speedboats are seen during Iranian naval manoeuvres in the Sea of Oman, Iran
Military speedboats are seen during Iranian naval manoeuvres in the Sea of Oman, Iran
Iran's annual exercises train in the fight against terrorism and piracy, said Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, according to state media
Iran's annual exercises train in the fight against terrorism and piracy, said Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, according to state media
Iranian navy boat conducts Naval Exercises in the Sea of Oman, Iran, on January 1, 2012
Iranian navy boat conducts Naval Exercises in the Sea of Oman, Iran, on January 1, 2012
The US Navy's Fifth Fleet is based in the region and protects shipping lanes in the Gulf and nearby waters.
Last month, a US Navy destroyer fired warning shots at four Iranian fast-attack vessels near the Strait of Hormuz after they closed in at high speed. The vessels belonged to Iran's Revolutionary Guards which are not participating in the current war games.
Trump said earlier this month that 'Iran has been put formally put on notice' for firing a ballistic missile, and later imposed new sanctions on Tehran.
Iran's former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent a 3,500-word letter to Trump on Sunday, criticizing him over his travel ban affecting seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iran.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (above) speaks during a ceremony in Tehran to commemorate the 38th anniversary of Iran's Islamic fundamentalist revolution on February 10
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (above) speaks during a ceremony in Tehran to commemorate the 38th anniversary of Iran's Islamic fundamentalist revolution on February 10
In the letter, published by Iranian media outlets, Ahmadinejad noted Trump won the election while he 'truthfully described the US political system and electoral structure as corrupt'.
Ahmadinejad decried US 'dominance' over the United Nations, as well as American meddling in the world that has brought 'insecurity, war, division, killing and (the) displacement of nations'.
Iran's former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (file above) sent a letter Sunday to President Donald Trump saying 'the contemporary US belongs to all nations'
Iran's former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (file above) sent a letter Sunday to President Donald Trump saying 'the contemporary US belongs to all nations'
He also acknowledged the some 1 million people of Iranian descent living in America, saying that US policies should 'value respect toward the diversity of nations and races'.
'In other words, the contemporary US belongs to all nations, including the natives of the land,' Ahmadinejad wrote.
'No one may consider themselves the owner and view others as guests or immigrants.'
A judge later blocked Trump's travel ban, and an appeals court refused to reinstate it. Trump has promised to issue a revised order soon, saying it's necessary to keep America safe.  






Iran blows US Fifth Fleet out of the water in animated film


The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier seen here in the Arabian Sea in 2009
The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier seen here in the Arabian Sea in 2009
A new animated film from Iran shows the US Navy's Fifth Fleet being blown out of the water in the latest effort to build up the legend of the country's most celebrated general.
Director Farhad Azimi told local media his 80-minute "Battle of the Persian Gulf II" is "a response to the gibberish of Hollywood and American politicians".
Four years in the making, its expensive graphics, thumping soundtrack and barrages of missiles are a slick addition to Iran's propaganda efforts, clearly aimed at teenage boys.
The star of the show is a commander whose salt-and-pepper beard was explicitly modelled on Major-General Qassem Soleimani, head of the Revolutionary Guard's external operations arm, the Qods Force.
Soleimani heads Iran's operations in Syria, Iraq and beyond, and has become a prominent fixture in the media in recent years, often pictured on the frontline or alongside supreme leader Ali Khamenei.
His high profile has led to speculation he may emerge as a presidential candidate one day, although he has so far denied any desire to move into politics.
Major-General Qassem Soleimani heads Iran's operations in Syria and Iraq
Major-General Qassem Soleimani heads Iran's operations in Syria and Iraq
"Battle of the Persian Gulf II" cost some five billion rials ($140,000 130 million euros) to make, part of increasing military propaganda efforts that in many ways mirror the close involvement of the Pentagon in Hollywood's more gung-ho blockbusters.
It comes at a time of mounting tensions after President Donald Trump warned that any Iranian boats harassing the US Navy -- a regular occurrence in the Gulf, according to the Pentagon -- would be "shot out of the water".
Azimi said he wanted to highlight Iran's defensive capabilities.
"If one bullet is fired by the enemy toward Iran, we will respond firmly," he said.
The film has premiered in Iran's second city Mashhad and is due to arrive in Tehran next week. The makers are also hoping to show the film in China and Russia.


Iranian warships 'came within 600 yards of a U.S. Navy surveillance ship this weekend as the country was testing missiles'



  • Multiple Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps vessels came within 600 yards of a U.S. Navy surveillance vessel that was sailing in the Strait of Hormuz on Saturday
  • Confrontation caused the U.S. Navy ship, the USNS Invincible, to change course
  • U.S. officials told Fox News that Iran conducted two missile tests in the area on Saturday and Sunday 
  • The test on Saturday reportedly failed but the test on Sunday hit it's intended target: a barge in the Gulf of Oman, just south of the Strait of Hormuz 
  • The Invincible is outfitted with technology to detect these tests, as well as submarines  



Multiple fast-attack vessels from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps came close to a U.S. Navy ship in the Strait of Hormuz on Saturday, as the country was reportedly conducting missile tests in the area.  
The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to Reuters on Monday, said the Revolutionary Guard boats came within 600 yards of the USNS Invincible, a surveillance vessel, and stopped.
The Invincible was being accompanied by three ships from the British Royal Navy and forced the formation to change course.
The official said attempts were made to communicate over radio, but there was no response and the interaction was 'unsafe and unprofessional'.
The U.S. Navy surveillance ship Invincible was approached by several vessels from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard on Saturday while sailing in the Strait of Hormuz. Above, a stock image of the Invincible  
The U.S. Navy surveillance ship Invincible was approached by several vessels from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard on Saturday while sailing in the Strait of Hormuz. Above, a stock image of the Invincible  
This marked the second time in three days that the Invincible was approached by Revolutionary Guard boats. 
A similar incident happened on Thursday, in the Gulf of Oman, which is just south of the Strait of Hormuz That time, Iranian boats got within 150 years of the Invincible.
The Invincible is outfitted with sonar that tracks submarines and radar that monitors missile tests. 
And it appears it was in the right area, since U.S. officials say Iran conducted missile tests in the Gulf of Oman on Saturday and Sunday. 
Two officials told Fox News that Iran test-fired a pair of ballistic missiles into the Gulf of Oman. One of the so-called 'Fateh-110 Mod 3' missiles destroyed a floating barge from a range of 155 miles. 
One of the officials said that this was the first test of the missile in two years. It's unclear if this is the first successful sea test of the missile. 
Iran reportedly launched the two short-range missiles from the Revolutionary Guard base in Bandar-e-Jask, in southeastern Iran.  The first missile was fired Saturday and missed it's target, but the missile fired Sunday was successful. 
This new type of Iranian missile is an 'active seeker' missile that helps locate and lock in on ships at sea
One of the officials said the test was 'concerning' because of the range the missile was launched from and the fact that one of them worked. 
Relations between the U.S. and Iran were warming under President Obama, thanks to his nuclear agreement, but they have begun to chill again since President Trump, a strong Israel support
"It's a concern based on the range and that one of the missiles worked," said one official, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to disclose the launch. Two years ago, Iranian cruise missiles destroyed a large barge designed to look like an American aircraft carrier. Iranian state-television broadcast the images publicly at the time.
The new Iranian short-range ballistic missile launches come a week after Iran successfully test-fired Russian surface-to-air missiles, part of the S-300 air defense system Russia sent to Iran recently.
According to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Iran has conducted as many as 14 ballistic missile launches since the landmark nuclear agreement in July 2015. A senior U.S. military official told Fox News that Iran had made great advances in its ballistic missile program over the past decade.
Late last month, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford said Iran’s behavior had not changed since the White House put the Islamic Republic “on notice” following Iran’s successful intermediate-range ballistic missile test-launch in late January.
This launch appears to be in addition to what we reported on Saturday, in which Iran successfully test-fired a sophisticated, Russian-supplied S-300 air defense system, according to the official IRNA news agency reported on Saturday. The drill took place during a recent military exercise named Damvand, and was attended by senior military commanders and officials according to Tasnim.


US Air Force hires Florida fishing captains to play 'Iranian missile boats' for major training exercises so attack jets can practice 'real-time kills'


  • A-10 Warthogs, Canadian F-18s and attack helicopters took part in the exercise
  • The Air Force asked local fishermen to simulate 'swarm attack formations' 
  • The jets and helicopters then simulated their own attacks on the fishing boats 
  • Iranian missile boats have been harassing the US Navy in the Persian Gulf 



The US Air Force has recruited Florida fishing captains to play the role of Iranian missile boats in attack exercises.
Lieutenant Colonel Sean Neitzke said 35 local vessels were brought in to perform 'realistic swarm attack formations' during the exercise at Choctawatchee Bay last week.
It is a response to complaints from the US Navy that Iranian missile boats are harassing American vessels, and is an indication of the threat the Islamic republic poses at sea. 
A-10 Warthog tank busters, Canadian F-18 fighter jets and attack helicopters performed simulated 'real time kills' on the boats.  
The 86th Fighter Weapons Squadron based at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida enlisted the captains so the jets could practice strafing runs, where low-flying aircraft hit ground targets.
The US Air Force contracted some 35 local fishing boats in Florida to mimic the 'attack swarm formations' used small fast-moving Iranian missile boats as part of a training exercise
The US Air Force contracted some 35 local fishing boats in Florida to mimic the 'attack swarm formations' used small fast-moving Iranian missile boats as part of a training exercise
A-10 Warthogs were used in mock strafing runs lining up to attack the small boats
A-10 Warthogs were used in mock strafing runs lining up to attack the small boats
The Iranian boats, pictured in a stock photo, are low cost but are fitted with rockets and machine guns and can present a danger to a far larger naval vessel which could find difficulty engaging them
The Iranian boats, pictured in a stock photo, are low cost but are fitted with rockets and machine guns and can present a danger to a far larger naval vessel which could find difficulty engaging them
The A-10s were deadly during the first and second Gulf Wars where they were sent on low-level attack missions against Iraqi armor. 
The US Navy has complained in recent months of being harassed by Iranian missile boats.  
Neitzke said: 'We evaluate precision guided munitions against realistic targets with realistic enemy defense.
'There are plenty of places in the world where low-tech adversaries can mount 50-caliber machine guns and rocket launchers on small boats for use against us. They could also use other types of shoulder launched weapons, all of which could be a threat to American assets.'
Earlier in the day, the A-10 crews fired inert 30mm training rounds at unmanned boats in the Gulf of Mexico. 
The pilots also used AGM-65 'Maverick' missiles, and inert 2,000 pound guided bombs and laser guided bombs. 
The training exercise - Operation Combat Hammer - took place in Choctawatchee Bay, Florida
The training exercise - Operation Combat Hammer - took place in Choctawatchee Bay, Florida
Earlier in the exercise the A-10s strafed unmanned boats with 30mm training rounds 
Earlier in the exercise the A-10s strafed unmanned boats with 30mm training rounds 
The A-10s also used inert bombs and missiles as part of the recent training exercise 
The A-10s also used inert bombs and missiles as part of the recent training exercise 
According to the Air Force a total of 60 bombs were dropped during the exercise. 
As part of the exercise, which was called Combat Hammer, pilots got the opportunity to drop weapons they have not used before.  
Neitzke said: 'We strive for 50 per cent first-time shooters in the cockpit. We get an allocation of more unique munitions than an operational fighter squadron typically gets at their home station.'
He added: 'We want to ensure Americans have the best hardware and software possible. Our goal is to find problems, and fix them, to provide our warfighters the best capabilities we can. We want to protect them and help them be more effective in accomplishing their mission.'










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