UPDATED: “Iran expects the United States to launch a military strike on ‘at least two countries” in the Middle East in the next three months, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told state-run Press TV,” reports Reuters. “In an interview recorded on Monday, Ahmadinejad did not specify whether he thought Iran itself would be attacked nor did he say what intelligence led him to expect such a move. The United States and Israel have refused to rule out military action against Iran’s nuclear program which they fear could lead to it making a bomb, something Iran denies. ‘They have decided to attack at least two countries in the region in the next three months,’ Ahmadinejad said in excerpts broadcast on the rolling news channel on Tuesday.
Ahmadinejad’s warning comes amidst several interesting developments in the region — surprisingly tough new economic sanctions imposed on Iran by the European Union and Canada, as well a curious rift developing between Russia and Iran. Moscow and Tehran have been increasingly close allies in recent years. But in recent weeks Russia voted for new U.N. sanctions on Iran, criticized Iran for moving towards nuclear weapons, and now says it will not deliver S-300 missiles to Iran (after saying just a few weeks agothat it would). Furthermore, the BBC reports that “an additional factor that may further influence the decision-making in Moscow is Saudi Arabia’s offer to buy more than $2bn worth of Russian weapons (helicopters, armour, anti-aircraft missiles) on condition that Russia does not sell Iran S-300 missiles, and stops supporting it [Iran] in the UN.”
Note the following recent headlines:
- Ex-CIA chief: Strike on Iran seems more likely now
- Israeli defense chief offers warnings on Iran and Lebanon
- Netanyahu makes surprise visit to Jordan to meet King Abdullah
- The European Union passes unprecedentedly tough Iran sanctions: The EU passed sanctions today that surpass the UN’s Iran sanctions and all previous European measures. As Tehran’s largest trading partner, the EU is likely to make a serious dent economically.
- Canada imposes new sanctions against Iran
- The ‘unravelling relationship’ between Russia and Iran — Russia and Iran seemed to be good friends, but in recent weeks the relationship has unravelled.
- Medvedev Tells Iran to Come Clean on Nukes
- Ahmadinejad warns Medvedev of joining “US plot” against Iran
- Medvedev ‘mouthpiece’ of Iran enemies: Ahmadinejad
- Ahmadinejad’s statements unacceptable – Russian Foreign Ministry