Israel stations nuclear missile subs off Iran

Uzi Mahnaimi in Tel Aviv, Times Online

Three German-built Israeli submarines equipped with nuclear cruise missiles are to be deployed in the Gulf near the Iranian coastline.

The first has been sent in response to Israeli fears that ballistic missiles developed by Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, a political and military organisation in Lebanon, could hit sites in Israel, including air bases and missile launchers.

The submarines of Flotilla 7 — Dolphin, Tekuma and Leviathan — have visited the Gulf before. But the decision has now been taken to ensure a permanent presence of at least one of the vessels.

The flotilla’s commander, identified only as “Colonel O”, told an Israeli newspaper: “We are an underwater assault force. We’re operating deep and far, very far, from our borders.”

Each of the submarines has a crew of 35 to 50, commanded by a colonel capable of launching a nuclear cruise missile.

The vessels can remain at sea for about 50 days and stay submerged up to 1,150ft below the surface for at least a week. Some of the cruise missiles are equipped with the most advanced nuclear warheads in the Israeli arsenal.

The deployment is designed to act as a deterrent, gather intelligence and potentially to land Mossad agents. “We’re a solid base for collecting sensitive information, as we can stay for a long time in one place,” said a flotilla officer.

The submarines could be used if Iran continues its programme to produce a nuclear bomb. “The 1,500km range of the submarines’ cruise missiles can reach any target in Iran,” said a navy officer.

Apparently responding to the Israeli activity, an Iranian admiral said: “Anyone who wishes to do an evil act in the Persian Gulf will receive a forceful response from us.”

Israel’s urgent need to deter the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah alliance was demonstrated last month. Ehud Barak, the defence minister, was said to have shown President Barack Obama classified satellite images of a convoy of ballistic missiles leaving Syria on the way to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Binyamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, will emphasise the danger to Obama in Washington this week.

Tel Aviv, Israel’s business and defence centre, remains the most threatened city in the world, said one expert. “There are more missiles per square foot targeting Tel Aviv than any other city,” he said.

May 30, 2010 | 6 Comments »

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  1. Arabs learn to live with nuclear Iran

    Led by the mob of Arab states, the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty conference denounced Israeli nuclear program. The resolution does not even mention Iranian nuclear activities.

    A year ago, the Arabs would have been happy to aid Israel and the US in bombing Iranian nuclear facilities. Today, they side with the winner

  2. Israel switches to deterrence against Iran

    According to the Sunday Times, Israel will deploy three nuclear-capable submarines for permanent positioning in Persian Gulf.

    That can only mean that Netanyahu abandoned any plans to strike Iran, and turned to the deterrence option.

    The deterrence would be fake. In the small Persian Gulf, Iran would have no trouble locating and destroying Israeli submarine. Nuclear-armed cruise missiles deployable on the submarines are not very effective: they detonate at too low altitude. Iran has sufficient means, including TOR-1M and Chinese S-300 batteries, to intercept low-flying cruise missiles.

    Most importantly, ayatollahs might not mind exchanging Tehran for Tel Aviv in a series of nuclear explosions.

  3. Hezbollah is Iran’s surrogate in her conflict against Israel and the West. Shia Islams main constituency in the Sunni Muslim world as well.

    As soon as Iran goes nuclear and declares her nuclear weapons Hezbollah takes over full control over Lebanon.

  4. World tries to make Israel the nuclear ‘bad guy’

    The international community on Friday took another step toward reversing the roles of Israel and Iran, and turning the Jewish state into the Middle East’s nuclear “bad guy.”

    At the close of a month-long meeting in New York, the 189 member states of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty signed an agreement calling for a nuclear weapons-free Middle East. The document stipulates that in 2012 a conference will be held aimed at enforcing that decision.

    While that may sound like a reasonable idea, Israeli officials decried the fact that Israel was mentioned repeatedly both during the meetings and in the agreement, while Iran was not directly referenced even once.

    A statement released by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office at the weekend called the resolution “deeply flawed and hypocritical: It ignores the realities of the Middle East and the real threats facing the region and the entire world. It singles out Israel, the Middle East’s only true democracy and the only country threatened with annihilation. Yet the terrorist regime in Iran, which is racing to develop nuclear weapons and which openly threatens to wipe Israel off the map, is not even mentioned in the resolution.”

    Israel announced that since it is a non-signatory state, the NPT has no authority over it, and Jerusalem will not cooperate with the resolution’s implementation. It noted that the problem is not with a state like Israel that never signed the treaty and more or may not be quietly in possession of nuclear weapons for self defense, but rather with a nation like Iran, which has signed the treaty, but flaunts it in order to openly threaten its enemies.

    US President Barack Obama also criticized the focus on Israel at the NPT meeting and in the resolution, but nevertheless gave his stamp of approval to the document and the 2012 summit
    , which will ultimately work to force Israel to declare its nuclear arsenal and open its nuclear facilities to inspection…

    Not what you say but what you do.