Sunday, September 27, 2009
Yom Kippur in Iran: War Games and Missile Drill
Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu I
Iran will conduct war games and fire missiles that can hit Israel while Jews around the world are praying on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. The Revolutionary Guards website said that military exercises, including the simultaneous firing of missiles at targets, will begin Sunday and last for several days “to raise the deterrence capability of the Iranian armed forces." Yom Kippur begins Sunday night. Several months ago, Iran said it had tested a missile that could reach Israel as well as American bases in the Middle East.
The announcement regarding the planned military exercises came at the same time that the Islamic Republic revealed it is building a second uranium enrichment facility. Iranian officials added that the new site is open for inspection by the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
"Allah willing, this plant will be put into operation soon, and will blind the eyes of the enemies," Head of Supreme Leader's Office Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Mohammadi Golpayegani said in Tehran Saturday.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) demanded that the Western world issue an “unequivocal response” to the announcement of a new enrichment plant. He added, “The revelations of this second nuclear enrichment site in Iran prove beyond any doubt that this country wants to equip itself with nuclear weapons.
"Without wasting time, we must work towards the overthrow of the mad regime of Tehran. We are not surprised by the recent revelations, because we have been saying that Iran is developing its nuclear activities for military purposes, and the facts prove it now."
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called Congressional leaders Saturday night and told them it is urgent that the United States respond to the growing threat that Iran will produce a nuclear warhead for a missile aimed at Israel. He asked House of Representatives Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Dan Inouye "If not now, then when?"
Israel has conducted missile drills the past year in preparation for an aerial attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, according to foreign media. Most military analysts have questioned whether Israel has the capability to destroy Iranian’s nuclear plants, which are buried under concrete deep underground.
The United States is pushing for stiffer economic sanctions against Iran and apparently has the support of Russia. Russia and China, both of which have huge investments in helping Iran build the plants, previously have forced the United Nations Security Council to soften sanctions.
On October 1, six major powers – the U.S. Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China – are scheduled to hold direct talks with Iran.