In a sign that Iran intends to meet the international community head on in armed conflict rather than compromise over its nuclear program, the Islamic Republic has reportedly taken up strategic positions on a major waterway and tripled its long-range missile arsenal.
According to local sources and NGOs on the ground in Africa, Iranian troops recently took up positions in the Eritrean port city of Assab, which sits on the Horn of Africa where the Red Sea meets the Gulf of Aden.
In addition to enabling Iranian forces to threaten crucial shipping lanes, the position also puts Iran in a position to block US or European reinforcements in the event of war.
Meanwhile, Israel's Channel 10 News reported on Monday that at the start of 2008 Iran had an arsenal of only 30 Shihab-3 long-range ballistic missiles. As 2008 comes to a close, Tehran says that it now can field more than 100 Shihab-3 missiles, giving it the ability to launch a protracted missile strike against an enemy.