World Press on Iran, Turkey and the Caucasus (November 10, 2011)

The Washington Post reported that Iran’s supreme leader on Thursday warned Israel and the United States that Tehran’s response will be tough should its archenemies choose a military strike against Iran over the country’s controversial nuclear program. “Anybody who takes up the idea of an attack on Iran, should get ready to receive a strong slap and an iron fist” by the Iranian armed forces, said Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He spoke two days after the U.N. atomic agency released a report that for the first time said Iran is suspected of conducting secret experiments whose sole purpose is the development of nuclear arms.

The theme of the recent IAEA report on the Iranian nuclear program was touched on by The Los Angeles Times as well. It reports that Obama administration officials said the report echoes their assessment of Iran's capabilities. They said the White House remains committed to pushing diplomacy over military action. "It is incumbent upon Iran to answer the very serious questions raised by this report," a senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters in a telephone briefing. If not, "we will be looking to impose additional pressure on the Iranian government," including new sanctions. Another senior administration official speaking at the same briefing emphasized that the report "certainly doesn't assert that Iran has mastered all the necessary technologies, and we agree with that assessment."

“Russians try to save failed Mars spaceship” is an article published by the Turkish information agency Hurriyet Daily News. it says that Russian scientists were racing against the clock yesterday to find a way to fire the engines of an unmanned probe destined to collect soil samples from a moon of Mars, after equipment failure shortly after launch left it stuck in Earth orbit. The Phobos-Grunt (Phobos-Soil) craft was successfully launched by a Zenit-2 booster rocket Moscow time yesterday from the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. It separated from the booster about 11 minutes later and was to fire its engines twice to set out on its path to the Red Planet, but it never did.

The other article published by the same agency continues the theme of Iran’s supreme leader’s threats to the US. It says that Khamenei's forceful language followed threats last week from Israel that air strikes could be in the offing against Iran's nuclear sites. Israeli President Shimon Peres said last weekend that such action was becoming "more and more likely." Rhetoric between Iran and its two principal foes, Israel and the United States, has risen since the release Tuesday of a UN report saying there was "credible" evidence suggesting Iran's atomic programme was being used to research putting nuclear warheads in ballistic missiles.

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