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Don961: Who is the “scapegoat” offered by Iran on the altar of the stricken Ukrainian plane?

by Ali EjamAl-Arab and the World

After the Iranian regime formally approved the downing of the Ukrainian plane last Wednesday, the commander of the Revolutionary Guard Air Force-Space Brigadier Amir Ali Haji Zada tried to blame a soldier in the army for this “mistake,” in an apparent effort to distance the charge from the regime and provide a “scapegoat”.

The senior military official said in statements on Saturday that a soldier fired the missile that shot down a Ukrainian plane Wednesday in Tehran, without receiving confirmation of the launch order due to “interference” in the communications.

Haji Zadeh said that the soldier believed the plane was a “cruise missile” and had only “10 seconds” to make the decision.

On Saturday, Iranian state television transmitted a military statement saying that Iran had “unintentionally” shot down the Ukrainian plane minutes after it had left the airport, and justified this with a “human error”.

But despite this recognition, Iran insisted on prevarication. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter that her crash was caused by human error and the “American tendency to adventure”.

The IHS Markit research center suggested it was shot down by a Russian-made SA-15 missile. The range of the missile ranges from 10 to 12 km.

Given the plane’s speed at the time, the rocket operators had only 10 to 20 seconds to make a decision, according to Michael Elman, of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Elman said that Iran had fired several missiles against American targets in Iraq hours before the Ukrainian plane flew, so it is likely that Iranian air defense personnel were operating under the utmost alert.

But an analysis of the Forbes website said that missile defense devices are usually equipped with an “identification from friend” or so-called Identification friend or foe, a device designed to identify aircraft, cars, friendly or enemy forces, and assuming that it was down at the time, the missile operators They could review flight timings in the area they were flying over at that time.   LINK

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Don961:  Cheap Talk: Iran Literally Can’t Afford To Go To War

Posted January 10, 2020 in Politics , Source: politico, cnbc,

As Iran continues to try to demonstrate their dominance over the US following the assassination of military leader Qasem Soleimani, many have questioned whether they can put their money where their mouth is. 

Although it appeared as though the Iranians were “standing down” following an attack on U.S. forces, their behavior has been predictably unpredictable.

From Politico:

Although Trump said he would “immediately impose” a slate of additional new sanctions on the Iranian regime, he declined to announce military retaliation and insisted the U.S. “is ready to embrace peace with all who seek it.”

Hours earlier, however, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned in a speech in the holy city of Qom that while the U.S. was “slapped” in the missile strike, “such military actions are not enough.”

Iran’s Islamist government fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles earlier this week targeting at least two Iraqi air bases in Ain al-Asad and Irbil that were “hosting U.S. military and coalition personnel,” according to the Pentagon.

The statement that the U.S. was “slapped” was a bit of a stretch considering that there were 0 casualties and minimal damage done, but if the Iranians want to inflict some actual harm, can they even afford to do so?

According to CNBC, there is no data “readily available” that is updated regarding the state of Iran’s economy.

And although Iran had experienced some relief from previous sanctions under the Obama administration, their economy went “into a tailspin” after new sanctions were reinstated by President Trump, regardless of how much oil they possess:

Iran is estimated to have the world’s fourth-largest crude oil reserves, according to the World Bank. Much of the country’s economic growth and government revenues depend on the sale of crude oil.

But restrictions on the sale of Iranian oil were among the U.S. sanctions that Trump reinstated two years ago. That’s one of the major reasons why forecasters, including the International Monetary Fund, expect the production and exports of Iranian crude oil to decline.

Now that Iran’s economy is failing and the United States is the top producer of oil in the world, it’s possible that their imports may have exceeded their exports in 2019, and may continue in 2020.

Also, the exchange rate for the Iranian rial stands at 42,000 to 1 U.S. dollar.

So although Iran is putting forth quite an effort to appear formidable in the current conflict against the United States, is is possible that they’ve overplayed their hand?     LINK