Iran to Attack Any Country That Originates Attack Against It

Iran will target any country used as a launchpad for attacks against its soil, the deputy Revolutionary Guards commander said, expanding Tehran’s range of threats in an increasingly volatile stand-off with world powers over its nuclear ambitions.

Although broadened and sharpened financial sanctions have begun to inflict serious economic pain in Iran, its oil minister asserted Saturday it would make no nuclear retreat even if its crude oil exports ground to a halt. Iran says its nuclear program is for civilian energy purposes. But its recent shift of uranium enrichment to a mountain bunker possibly impervious to conventional bombing, and refusal to negotiate peaceful guarantees for the program or open up to U.N. nuclear inspectors, have thickened an atmosphere of brewing confrontation, raising fears for Gulf oil supplies.

“Any spot used by the enemy for hostile operations against Iran will be subjected to retaliatory aggression by our armed forces,” Hossein Salami, deputy head of the elite Revolutionary Guards, told the semi-official Fars news agency Sunday.

The six, U.S.-allied Arab states in the Gulf Cooperation Council, situated on the other side of the vital oil exporting waterway from Iran, have said they would not allow their territories to be used for attacks on the Islamic Republic. But analysts say that if Iran retaliated for an attack launched from outside the region by targeting U.S. facilities in Gulf Arab states, Washington might pressure the host nations to permit those bases to hit back, arguing they should have the right to defend themselves.

Source: Yahoo News

Image: Asia One

Yemen’s President to Step Down

Yemen’s president became the fourth Arab leader forced from power this year when he signed a deal Wednesday aimed at ending his country’s months-long political crisis. The deal, brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council and signed in Saudi Arabia, allows Ali Abdullah Saleh to retain the title of president for three months but requires him to hand over executive powers to Yemen’s vice president.

The agreement cleared a key roadblock in the transition to a new era for Yemen, which has been the scene of violent protests for months as Saleh’s opponents demanded that he leave power after 33 years in office.

After signing the deal, Saleh said that his country will “need decades to rebuild what the crisis left” and that the transfer of power should be “peaceful and democratic.”

Analysts said many uncertainties remain in Yemen’s political future, including when the country will hold elections and how Saleh’s family members and other supporters in the military will act now.

The Gulf Cooperation Council accord, which is backed by the United States and the European Union, allows Saleh to retain his title as Yemen’s president for 90 days, until elections are held, according to a Western diplomat in Yemen.

Clashes erupted in Yemen’s capital of Sanaa on Wednesday, just hours after Saleh and opposition leaders headed to Saudi Arabia for the signing ceremony. The fighting between government forces and tribal fighters began after government forces attacked opposition posts, several witnesses in the area said. During months of violent uprisings, government troops have responded with live fire on protesters, killing many, according to medics and opposition sources.

On Saturday, 400 troops defected from the Yemeni military, saying they would no longer attack unarmed protesters. Saleh was wounded in an attack on his compound this year and spent three months in Saudi Arabia being treated for burns.

International powers, including the United States, have urged him to step down. United Nations envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar said Wednesday that more work needs to be done after the power transfer agreement is signed.

“The transitional government will be responsible for rebuilding the economy and will undergo dialogue with the youth movements to ensure their support and participation in the political arena,” he said.

Saleh’s signing of the deal is the latest in a string of power shifts spurred by popular uprisings that have swept through a number of Arab countries since January. Former Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, who had ruled Tunisia since taking power in a coup in 1987, fled to Saudi Arabia in January. Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was the next to lose his grip on power, stepping down on February 11 after tens of thousands of Egyptians set up a protest camp in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Last month, former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was killed in his hometown of Sirte, where he had fled after rebel fighters took control of the country’s capital.

In October 2010, all four leaders were smiling as they appeared in a photograph at a summit of African and Arab leaders in Libya.


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