The war of words between Tehran and the six-members of the Gulf Cooperation Council over three disputed islands continues to escalate.Iran's ground forces warned the military is ready for action should diplomacy fail, state TV on Thursday.General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan said Iranian forces are "capable of confronting any offender: against Iran's sovereignty over the strategic Abu Musa island in the Persian Gulf.It was the first time an Iranian military commander commented on the issue since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last week made a controversial visit to Abu Musa."If these disturbances are not solved through diplomacy, the military forces are ready to the power of Iran to the offender. Iran will strongly defend its right."Iran took control of tiny Abu Musa and two nearby islands – the Greater and Lesser Tunb – in 1971, after British forces left the region. However, the UAE insists they belonged to the emirate of Ras al-Khaimah until Iran captured them by force days before the city-states united and declared independence from Britain, also in 1971.The dispute between Abu Dhabi and Tehran over the islands has been in the Court of Justice for three decades without resolution.
The GCC – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE – responded to Iran warning that any perceived aggression against the UAE is considered an affront to the entire bloc, "which stands united."
In the direct, secret exchanges between the US and Iran which led up to the Istanbul talks with the six powers, of Saturday, April 14, President Barack Obama quietly backed off from his demand that Iran “come clean” on its nuclear activities and open up to international inspection, DEBKAfile reports.
After all, once sanctions are lifted by the end of June - as Tehran demands - and they are freed of IAEA oversight, the Iranians can go forward with their plans for building a nuclear weapon undisturbed and Washington can celebrate a breakthrough.
Israel has not received word of this deal.DEBKAfile’s Washington sources report that in contrast with the downbeat mood in Israel, Washington is already celebrating its success in resolving the Iranian nuclear conundrum and averting war.Obama will eventually have to level with Israel, the American people and the rest of the world on his deal with Iran.There is no chance of Israel’s Binyamin Netanyahu going along with agreements on the lines under discussion between Washington and Iran, because they would allow Iran to develop nuclear armaments relieved of the hindrances of international oversight and sanctions.Officials in Jerusalem angrily dismissed reports of a breakthrough in last Saturday’s nuclear negotiations in Istanbul between six world powers (P5+1) and IranFar from this being the shape of an eventual settlement, it was the shape of American demands relayed to Tehran in side-channels going via Paris and Vienna. Israel was never informed of Iran accepting this formula or its presentation to the Istanbul meeting.Above all, they stressed, Netanyahu has not and will not play a role in any choreography of this kind staged by the Obama administration.Earlier that Tuesday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in another radio interview that the“P5+1” group’s talks with Iran must result in a clear-cut resolution, the end of Iran’s nuclear program. He did not believe they would, although he hoped to be proved wrong.
The two Israeli ministers would not have delivered their downbeat comments if indeed US talks with Iran over and under the negotiating table had achieved, or even approached, the breakthrough depicted in Washington.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu delivered a hard hitting speech centering on the Iranian threat, in the central Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony at Yad Vashem Wednesday. Such a direct reference to currentand politics in the Holocaust Memorial is unusual.
"On this day, we must realize a supreme obligation, and this obligation is not just to remember the past but also toits lessons, and most importantly – to implement these lessons, in order to continue to safeguard our nation's future," said Netanyahu. "This is especially true in our generation, which again faces the call to destroy the Jewish nation."
Netanyahu took aim at unspecified critics who accuse him of spreading needless fear and panic. "I ask – have these people lost all faith in the people of Israel? Do they think that this nation, which overcame such great difficulties, does not have enough strength to overcome this new danger?""I will continue to tell the truth to the world – but first and foremost, to my nation. The truth is that a nuclear armed Iran is an existential threat to the State of Israel and also a grave threat to the world," he said. "The memory of the Holocaust is not just a ceremonial matter. The memory of the Holocaust is a practical to learnthe lessons of the past in order to guarantee the foundations of the future. We will never bury our heads in the sand. The People of Israel lives and the Eternity of Israel shall not lie ."