As tensions with North Korea rise, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the U.S. "will defend South Korea, absolutely". Adding to those words, the U.S. has been moving military assets closer to North Korea and recently flew a B-2 Stealth Bomber over South Korea and dropped dummy-bombs onto a practice range.
Jerusalem, Israel -
President Obama spoke on Israeli TV today about his upcoming trip to Israel and about the continued Iranian problem. In remarks, Obama said all options are on the table if diplomatic efforts fail.
The U.S., Russia, Germany, the E.U. and the U.N. have been engaged in a nuclear negotiation standoff with Iran for several years.
Iran claims it is developing peaceful nuclear energy technology but has refused to allow international inspectors into its country, despite other nuclear powers allowing such inspections as part of their international agreements.
Iran has announced that it will be adding about 3,000 more centrifuges to increase its capacity to process uranium for nuclear material.
The new generation of advanced centrifuges will be installed at the Natanz uranium enrichment plant in central Iran and the report in Iranian media was the first time the amount or location was given for the new centrifuges.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said in February 180 so-called IR-2m centrifuges and empty centrifuge casings had been put in place at the facility near the town of Natanz in central Iran.
North Korea has made a direct threat against the United States, saying it now has the missile and nuclear capability to launch a nuclear attack on the U.S. mainland, covering most of the U.S. west coast and parts of the northern Rocky Mountains.
The threat appeared on the Uriminzokkiri state news and propaganda website.
The article went on to say that Korea is a “fully independent rocket and nuclear weapons state.” It continued, “The United States should be acutely aware that the US mainland is now well within the range of our strategic rockets and nuclear weapons”.
North Korea has given notice to China, its traditional ally, that it will continue with nuclear tests and missile tests, as many as two this year.
Leader Kim Jong-un, 30, has become apparently stronger and more boastful than his father, demonstrated by the reclusive country demanding that the only way to stop it is if the U.S. will negotiate directly with them.
Chinese officials have indicated they would support another round of sanctions at the U.N Security Council.
Iran has unveiled its newest piece of military hardware to the anoyannace of western militaries, the new Tondar, a hovercraft capable of launching drone aircraft and rockets.
The new hovercraft is being dubbed "Thunder" in western nations and adds new tensions and complication for the U.S. Navy's 5th fleet, based in Bahrain to protect the Straits of Hormuz, where one fifth of the world's oil supply passes through and Iran has threatened to close.
The hovercraft is lifted by a cushion of air and is capable of traveling at speeds of up to 35 mph on both land and over water.
The Pentagon has confirmed a report that two Iranian SU-25 military jets fired on a U.S. drone aircraft while flying over the Persian Gulf last week. The incident happened on Nov 1.
According to the Pentagon, the Iranian military jets fired continuously while the drone aircraft was 15 miles outside of Iranian airspace over the Persian Gulf.
The drone was not hit while it flew in international airspace said the pentagon. The Sukhoi Su-25 is a Russian made military fire jet, nicknamed Frogfoot, and the type Iran has are significantly older models.
London, U.K. -
British Prime Minister David Cameron has said the British government opposed military action in Iran for now saying sanctions are working and need more time.
This news comes after a british newspaper, The Guardian, reported that the U.K. denied a United States' request to use British air bases for a staging ground for possible military action in Iran.
In the report, the denial was based upon a legal position that military action in Iran would be illegal at this time until there is a resolution by NATO or the United Nations to take or approve some form of action.
Iran has said it plans to make cuts to imported goods and urged its citizens to stop buying foreign made mobile phones, cars, clothing and other non-essentials.
Reuters reports that the policies suggest the government is moving the economy onto an austerity footing to resist the sanctions, which have been imposed over Iran's controversial nuclear program and have slashed its income from oil exports this year.