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Iran's nuclear issue: Another sinuous year of grueling standoff
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21:31, December 08, 2008

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Iran''s controversial and highly sensitive nuclear issue which has come in the spotlight for more than five years has passed a dangerous and sinuous year of 2008 and come to another impasse.

Some observers and analysts had believed that 2008 would be the last chance for the George W. Bush administration and Israel to attack Iranian targets for Tehran''s suspicious nuclear program before the U.S. presidential elections.

MILITARY TENSIONS UNDERWAY

The Bush administration has said it focused on diplomacy to try to resolve Iran''s nuclear issue, but also proclaimed many times it will take "no option off the table."

U.S. daily the New York Times reported in June that U.S. military believed that Israel''s military exercise conducted earlier that month was a rehearsal for a potential bombing attack on Iran''s nuclear sites.

More than 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighter jets participated in the maneuvers over eastern Mediterranean and Greece during the first week of June, the report quoted U.S. officials as saying.

Commander of Iran''s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari said shortly after that his troops would counter any attack against the country.

Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najar later warned ofa "limitless" response to any military strike, and considered reported Israel''s air drill over eastern Mediterranean and Greece as "psychological operations".

In response to threats from the United States and Israel, IRGC later in July successfully test fired new long-and-mid-range missiles including a Shahab 3 missile which can hit any target within a range of 2,000 km in military exercises dubbed Payambar-eAzam 3 (Great Prophet 3).

Meanwhile, Iran warned of closure of Hormuz Strait, a narrow waterway in the Gulf through which roughly 40 percent of the world oil is transported, if confronted with any kind of military threat.


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