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Endgame in Iran

By       Message Mike Whitney     Permalink
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"The US is updating contingency plans for a strike to cripple Iran 's atomic weapon program if international diplomacy fails ....The plan calls for a rolling, five-day bombing campaign against 400 key targets, including 24 nuclear-related sites, 14 military airfields and radar installations, and Revolutionary Guard headquarters. " Ian Bruce, "US spells out plan to bomb Iran ", The UK Herald

The Bush administration has no intention of peacefully resolving the nuclear dispute with Iran. They have consistently blocked all attempts by Iran to negotiate in good faith or to establish diplomatic channels for discussion. The current offer by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to talk directly with Iran is less a departure from the normal US ' belligerence than it is a means of enlisting support from Russia and China for future punitive action. In one particularly ominous comment, Rice said that the negotiations would give Iran "one last excuse " to resist American demands. This tells us that US diplomacy is a just a smokescreen for the eventual hostilities.

It took the United States months of behind the scenes wrangling to persuade the UN Security Council to even consider Iran 's "alleged " nuclear weapons programs. Iran tried to prevent this by offering to allow surprise inspections on any facility suspected of covert nuclear activity. Iran is not required to do this under the terms of the NPT, but volunteered as a way of building confidence among the member states. The Bush administration, which made this a vital part of earlier demands, rejected the offer outright saying that Iran 's concession would not be enough to end the standoff.

A similar incident took place just weeks earlier when Iran was finalizing the details of an agreement with Russia to enrich uranium outside of the country. Iran figured that this would allay US fears that it was secretively developing nuclear weapons.

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Again, the Bush administration rejected this "good will " gesture as insufficient, while Condi Rice scoffed at the idea as a trick. These are just latest examples of Iran 's efforts to find a peaceful way to placate Washington. The administration is not interested in concessions or settlements. It is simply building the case for punitive action or war.

Despite growing pressure from the administration, the Security Council has not agreed on a resolution condemning Iran 's nuclear programs. So far, Iran has cooperated fully with the IAEA and there 's simply no evidence of non compliance. It took an enormous effort by the Bush administration to push a feeble "non-binding presidential statement " through the Council. The statement neither endorses economic sanctions nor military action. It is a toothless declaration that is utterly meaningless except for its use in fueling the propaganda campaign against the Islamic regime.

The administration has hit a road-block at the Security Council. Their appeal for decisive action is going nowhere.

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Last week, Secretary of State Rice said, "Security guarantees for Iran were off the table ". Her announcement reveals the true depth of America 's inflexibility and the unlikelihood of a peaceful solution. If the United States refuses to sign a "non aggression pact ", then what incentive is there for Iran to abandon its nuclear programs? After all, Iran has the "inalienable right " to enrich uranium under the NPT. Shouldn 't that at least be a bargaining chip for negotiations with the US?

The administration 's hardnosed approach precludes any future compromise. Their stubbornness only makes sense if the ultimate objective is war, which appears to be where Washington is headed.

If we compare the present situation to the lead up to the war in Iraq, we can assume that the war plans are already underway. The maneuverings at the UN are just a facade to conceal the movement of military hardware and troops. Once the logistical work is done, the administration will create a pretext for attacking Iran just as it did with Iraq. Rice's globe-trotting diplomacy means nothing; it's Cheney and Rumsfeld who will decide when the time is right.

The administration sees non-aggression treaties as a sign of weakness unworthy of a superpower. As stated in its National Security Strategy (NSS) the United States reserves the right to attack any nation that may challenge its national interests or its global supremacy. Iran is the next domino to establishing permanent American hegemony. Controlling the oil resources of the Caspian Basin and removing regional rivals to Israel remain the fundamental goals of Bush 's global resource war. This makes a military confrontation with Iran inevitable. It is absurd to expect the Bush administration will seriously negotiate when their final purpose is regime change.

In a recent article in Counterpunch, "Embedded Journalism and the Disinformation Campaign for War on Iran ", Gary Leupp notes that the same cadres of neocons who misled the nation into war with Iraq have been reassembled in the Pentagon to repeat their success against Iran. Under the rubric of "The Office of Iranian Affairs "; Abram Shulsky, Elizabeth Cheney and other far-right hawks fill out a roster of pro-war advocates. Their task is to prepare the country for war by generating fear and suspicion of Iran 's imaginary weapons programs. The group's influence is probably similar to that of Judith Miller who was allowed to spout her bogus claims about Iraqi WMD from headlines across the country. In this case, however, the intention is to omit the critical facts about Iran 's activities rather than simply inventing false allegations.

For example, the media invariably excludes the important details about Iran 's programs that would allow American 's to form an educated opinion. These are:

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1 The IAEA has consistently said that there is "no evidence " that Iran has a nuclear weapons program or is diverting nuclear material from its research.

2 Iran has been in full compliance with all its treaty obligations for 3 years although it has undergone the most intensive inspection regime in the history of the IAEA.

3 The UN Security Council reaffirmed Iran 's "inalienable right " to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and did not order Iran to suspend nuclear enrichment as was falsely reported in the news.

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Mike is a freelance writer living in Washington state.


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