To any reader of newspapers and the Internet, it should be apparent that tensions between the United States and Iran have recently increased. Ever since President Bush declared that Iran was part of the “axis of evil,” Iran has been in the crosshairs of the Bush regime. (I would urge readers to review the recent articles of impeachment against Bush introduced by Dennis Kucinich to see a brief history of U.S. actions against Iran. They are contained in article 21.) Regime change in Iran is official U.S. policy. Recent developments make it likely that the United States will militarily attack Iran before the next administration takes office.
Iran has been under verbal and diplomatic attack for years by the United States. The Bush administration has consistently stated that Iran is using it peaceful nuclear development as a cover for a nuclear weapons program. It has maintained this even after the National Intelligence Estimate, released to Congress in December 2007, stated that Iran had ceased efforts to develop nuclear weapons. Of course the weapons of mass destruction allegedly held by Saddam were a convenient excuse for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. So why shouldn’t the Bush regime use non-existent nukes in Iran as an excuse this year?
The alleged fear of an Iranian nuke led to the latest development on June 16 when the European Union (EU) agreed to increase sanctions on Iran. At a joint press conference with President Bush, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that the EU will join Britain in freezing the assets of Iran’s largest bank, Bank Melli. Under pressure from the United States, sanctions against the Iranian oil and gas industry are also under serious consideration by the EU. Brown threatened, “Action will start today in a new phase of sanctions on oil and gas” if Iran refuses to halt uranium enrichment. Such sanctions would seriously threaten Iran’s economy. At least 80 percent of Iran’s revenues come from oil exports. In effect, such sanctions would amount to economic war against Iran.
But this latest sanctions threat is just one small part of the Bush regime’s continued escalation of threats against Iran over the last several months. Bush administration officials accuse Iran of trying to acquire nuclear weapons, supporting terrorism, and destabilizing Iraq and the Middle East. In addition to the constant rhetorical attack against Iran, there have been a number of “leaks” indicating that the White House is also preparing for a military attack against Iran.
Recently Asia Times Online reported that the Bush regime plans on launching an air strike against Iran within the next two months according to an “informed source.” The source was identified as a “former assistant secretary of state still active in the foreign affairs community.” He was also reported to be a U.S. ambassador during the Bush I administration.
According to this Asia Times’ source, the attack would target the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force’s headquarters and other Quds facilities. Such an attack would be consistent with the Bush regime rhetoric which has repeatedly charged that the IRGC has been training “special groups” in Iraq which then allegedly target American and Iraqi troops.
The Asia Times leak is also consistent with a recent report by Israeli Army Radio which quoted a top Israeli official who claimed that in Bush’s recent trip to Israel, a senior member of Bush team revealed that Bush and Cheney were of the opinion that military action against Iran was now appropriate. Of course the White House immediately denied the report.
Bush could also “claim” congressional bi-partisan support for such an attack. The Senate, in September of 2007, approved by a 76-22 majority a resolution urging Bush to declare the IRGC a terrorist organization. Conveniently, as the Senate knew, Bush has said he will attack terrorists wherever they are.
The two leading candidates for president will not be an obstacle to attacking Iran. McCain has been fond of singing “bomb, bomb, Iran” as a “joke.” He has made countering terrorism and “Islamic extremism” a centerpiece of his campaign. As far back as September of 2004, Obama stated, “The big question is going to be, if Iran is resistant to these pressures, including economic sanctions, which I hope will be imposed if they do not cooperate, at what point are we going to, if any, are we going to take military action?”
He went on to say, “In light of the fact that we’re now in Iraq, with all the problems in terms of perceptions about America that have been created, us launching some missile strikes into Iran is not the optimal position for us to be in. On the other hand, having a radical Muslim theocracy in possession of nuclear weapons is worse. So I guess my instinct would be to err on not having those weapons in the possession of the ruling clerics of Iran.”
Top Bush administration officials including President Bush have stated that Iran will not be allowed to have nukes or even the knowledge to build them. In October of 2007 Bush stated, “I’ve told people that if you’re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them (Iran) from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.” So for Bush the knowledge to have a nuclear weapon is not allowed and he has also said all options are on the table in regard to Iran.
Oakland resident Kenneth J. Theisen is on the national steering committee of the World Can’t Wait! Drive out the Bush Regime.