Friday, October 07, 2011

The Bottom Line

Iran [recently] announced the mass production of a new cruise missile [...], the latest in a series of belligerent-sounding proclamations from that country in the face of its increased isolation by a Western-led group of nations worried about Iran’s nuclear program and avowed hostility toward Israel.


The missile, designed to destroy warships and coastal targets, has a range of about 125 miles, the media said.

The announcement coincided with front-page headlines in a number of Iranian newspapers quoting the head of Iran’s navy, Rear Adm. Habibollah Sayyari, as saying he intended to deploy Iranian warships close to the Atlantic coast of the United States to reciprocate for the patrols in the Persian Gulf by the United States Navy’s Fifth Fleet.


Obama administration officials downplayed the Iranian admiral’s remarks. Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, told reporters in Washington that the United States did not take them seriously “given that they do not at all reflect Iran’s naval capabilities.”


General Vahidi also rejected any thought of creating a telephone hotline between Tehran and Washington. The idea that was floated a few weeks ago by Adm. Mike Mullen, the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as a way of avoiding an accidental confrontation in the Persian Gulf, where American and Iranian naval vessels and aircraft sometimes operate within sight of each other.


“We do not need such a line in the region,” General Vahidi said, according to Iran’s Fars News Agency. “They are seeking to set up a hotline in order to solve any potential tensions, whereas we believe if they leave the region, there will be no tension.”


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