Ratcheting up the stakes, Iran is begging, pleading for war.
Yeah, agreed, so who is doing the escalating genius? Give 'em another Nobel Peace prize!
LONDON [MENL] -- Iran has completed a huge military exercise that tested Teheran's ability to attack Western shipping and Arab oil facilities in the Gulf.
Western diplomatic sources said that in December 2005 Iran completed its largest military exercise in years. The sources said the military conducted an air and sea exercise designed to test capabilities to strike U.S. and Arab targets throughout the Persian Gulf.
"The exercise was meant to show the West that Iran could stop all oil shipments in the Gulf and destroy numerous oil facilities in Gulf Arab countries," a diplomatic source said.The exercise included a range of fighter-jets and helicopters from the Iranian Air Force. The navy contributed surface vessels and submarines.
Iran's Revolutionary Guards chief warned the United States and Britain that Iran would respond with its missiles if attacked, a clear threat to Israel which lies within easy range of such a launch. [CBS News]
Two important developments here:
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will meet in London on Monday with counterparts from Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany to discuss Iran.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is to hold a special meeting on Iran on Thursday and the United States is strongly pressing for the case to be referred to the UN Security Council.
Burns indicated that the administration believed it had enough votes to succeed.
UPDATE: January 29th FACE THE NATION INTERVIEW;
SCHIEFFER: Can the United States allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon?
PRESIDENT BUSH: The Free World cannot allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon, not just the United States, but those of us who value freedom, and that is why our strategy is to present and--and—and hold together a united front to say to the Iranians your designs to have a nuclear weapon or your desire to have the capability of making a nuclear weapon is unacceptable. It's very important that we speak to two groups: One is the government, and also the people. And in speaking to the people, my message is this: You know, we're not going to tell you how to live your life, but we would like you to be free. We would like you to be able to express yourselves in the--in the market--in the--in the open--in open, so without fear of reprisal. We want you to be able to vote and elect. And--but to the government, our message is, is that if you want to be a part of the family of nations, give up your nuclear weapons ambitions. Now, one of the things we have done is they have said they want to be able to have a civilian nuclear capacity, we want to be able to have our own nuclear power plant, and we've said we understand that. But because you're a nontransparent government, because you've openly stated your desire to destroy one of our allies, that you should be able to have a plant, but the--the--the uranium for running that plant will come from Russia, and Russia will provide the--provide the fuel, you will burn the fuel, and Russia will collect the fuel under IAEA safeguards.