Monday, February 8, 2010

UPDATE at 2:00 PM EST
Iran has informed the IAEA that they will begin enriching uranium to 20% starting tomorrow.

UPDATE at 1:24 PM EST
Iran's supreme leader has threatened violence if planned opposition marches lead by Mir Houssein Musavi are carried out this week. Iranians will "punch [them] in the mouth to shock them" Ayatollah Khamenei promised -- though he demurred over who "them" is -- the protesters, their leadership, or the "western puppet-masters" he claims are instigating their "counter-revolutionary" behavior.

News on Iran's next move continues below.
From Reuters India:

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran will soon unveil a domestically-made air defence system with at least the same capability as Russia's S-300 anti-aircraft hardware, an Iranian air force commander was quoted as saying on Monday.
For months, Iran has been attempting to...

...secure the S-300 system from the Russians -- who have been dragging their feet on the deal. So -- in true Iranian fashion, they made their own. This grows from a trend covered in Vali Nasr's book "Forces of Fortune". Iran has a highly educated, highly professional middle class, and for the past several years has been consistently been producing the technical capabilities it needs at home, further lessening the impact of targeting sanctions.

"The only equipment we wanted to import from abroad was the S-300 ... which Russia, based upon unacceptable reasons, has not delivered yet," the official IRNA news agency quoted commander Heshmatollah Kassiri as saying.

"In the near future, a new locally-made air defence system will be unveiled by the country's experts and scientists which is as powerful as the S-300 missile defence system, or even stronger," he said.

While surely this announcement will be followed by war-games and public tests of the Iranian air-defense platform, the announcement alone will surely send serious ripples throughout the international security communities in both Israel and the West -- as a home-grown air-defense capability in Iran will further remove the possibilities of a pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear program. Should this be the "blow against the west" promised for this Feb. 11, it is a fitting one.

Iran has gotten into the game of deterrence by denial -- and this unveiling will further shrink the options available to those who advocate for air strikes against Iran's developing capabilities, especially in Israel.

More on this soon!

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