Even as it continued to talk with the U.N. nuclear watchdog, Iran continued to prepare for war over its nuclear weapons program, training for kamikaze attacks in the Persian Gulf with both planes and speedboats, sources within the Iranian armed forces report.
Tuesday the International Atomic Energy Agency called its recent talks with Iran a failure. And just days before, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, ordered the Revolutionary Guards, along with the army, on high alert, ready with conventional and unconventional means to respond to any aggression by the U.S. or Israel over its nuclear weapons program, the sources say.
The Guards' missile commanders, in their preparation for a fierce counterattack, have mapped out all U.S. bases in the region to strike with their missiles in order to disrupt America's air sorties, believing they will be the main thrust of any attack by America.
The Guards' publication Mashregh, in a warning to America, revealed a detailed plan to attack U.S. bases in the region, including, in Kuwait, two air bases, Ali Al Salem and Ahmed Al Jaber, and the U.S. military camps of Buehring, Spearhead, Patriot and Arifjan. Also targeted are U.S. air bases in Afghanistan, the super U.S. base Al Adid in Qatar, its other super base at Al Dhafra in the United Arab Emirates and Thumrait Air Base in Oman.
Guards' plans include the launch of ballistic missiles at the narrow Strait of Hormuz from deep within Iran to disrupt the flow of oil and destabilize the world economy.
Iran has the largest and most diverse ballistic missiles arsenal in the region, some with a range of over 2,000 miles, capable of either carrying a one-ton conventional payload or a nuclear warhead. The Islamic regime is currently working with China and North Korea on intercontinental ballistic missiles with a range of over 6,000 miles, capable of reaching America.
The Guards have also armed hundreds of speed boats with high explosives for suicide attacks against U.S. Navy assets and the shipping traffic in the Gulf. Sources within the Guards also reveal that the Guards have been training pilots for suicide attacks against U.S. assets in the Gulf by using smaller planes loaded with explosives.
According to Sepahonline, the outlet close to sources in the Revolutionary Guards, these kamikaze-style attacks by planes are being prepared in southern Iran. The Guards purchased Lycoming aircraft engines through a third party in Germany. The engines were then transferred to Azerbaijan and from there to Iran.
The planes being prepared for the kamikaze attacks are light Cessnas armed with high explosives. Sixty of them are being kept at the Bandar Abbas air-force base in Iran.
The Guards have also transferred anti-ship cruise missiles to Qeshm and Abu Musa islands. The anti-ship ballistic missiles include the Khalij Fars (Persian Gulf), with a range of 186 miles and 1,400-pound explosive warheads, and the Ghadr cruise missile, with similar range equipped with radar-evasion technology traveling at low altitudes. The latter are claimed to be capable of sinking giant warships, including aircraft carriers, and could be a game changer in countering the U.S. naval presence in the Persian Gulf.
As reported to the CIA in the mid-1980s, Abu Musa island, which sits in the eastern Persian Gulf, and Qeshm island at the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz have long been used as missile fortifications for the Guards for a confrontation with the West. The Guards from those two islands alone could easily disrupt the flow of oil and attack any naval asset or commercial ship trying to enter or exit the narrow strait.
One thing is clear despite the call for talks by Iranian leaders over their disputed nuclear program: they are preparing for war because they are determined to acquire nuclear weapons.
Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran's Revolutionary Guard and author of the award-winning book, "A Time to Betray." He is a senior fellow with EMPact America, a member of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, an advisory board member of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran and teaches at the U.S. Department of Defense's Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy (JCITA).