The Administration Is Coming at Iran from Every Direction
BY RUSS WELLEN
09.17.2007 03:57 | DISPATCHES
Some of the threatening actions the administration is taking against Iran have been well-covered by the media. These include calling for another round of UN sanctions on Iran for continuing to enrich -- at however slow a pace -- uranium, charging Iran with supporting anti-American militants in Iraq and designating Iran's Revolutionary Guard a "terrorist" group. Also, the administration has proposed a $63 billion arms sale to Middle-Eastern countries, like Saudi Arabia and Egypt, that stand in opposition to Iran.
But, nothing if not comprehensive, the administration and those allied with it are attacking Iran from a multitude of other angles. Following are examples, most recent first, from just the last two weeks.
1. Amabassador Ryan Crocker took time off from extending the Iraq War to tell Iran, "We know what you're doing in Iraq. It needs to stop."
2. A delegation of 15 Iranian clergymen were denied visas by the State Department. So much for reciprocating a visit to Iran last February by a group of American Christian leaders.
3. At the request of the US, British forces withdrawn from Basra were sent to Iraq's border with Iran to interdict weapons that Iran is allegedly shipping to Shia militias in Iraq.
4. The California State Senate passed a bill requiring the California Public Employees Retirement System and California State Teachers' Retirement System to divest themselves of stocks totaling about $2 billion and $1.4 billion, respectively, that they held in foreign companies doing business with Iran.
5. A federal judge in Washington, D.C. ordered Iran to pay $2.65 billion in compensation to the families of 241 Marines killed in the 1983 Beirut Marine barracks bombing. Sure thing, says Ahmadinejad -- the check's in the mail.
6. The US is planning to build its first base, as well as fortified checkpoints with X-ray machines, near the Iraq-Iran border. As with the British deployment, it's intended to curb the flow of weapons from Iran to Shiite militants.
7. Senator Joe Lieberman's amendment to the Senate Foreign Operations bill was passed. It provides funding for "democracy assistance" to labor activists, women's groups, journalists and human rights advocates in Iran. Why not just paint a target on their backs? But, after the "democracy assistance" we provided Iraq, Iranians will probably pass on that.8. In a similar vein, Representative Mark Steven Kirk introduced a bill condemning the persecution of labor rights advocates in Iran.9. In archetypal Neocon Michael Ledeen's new book, "The Iranian Time Bomb," he writes: "When you hear 'Al Qaeda,' it's probably wise to think 'Iran.'" He probably also thinks Iran's rulings mullahs were behind 9/11 -- believe it or not, he does.
10. In an attempt to discredit the International Atomic Energy Agency's conciliatory-minded chief Mohamed ElBaradei, the Washington Post attacked him in an editorial entitled "Rogue Regulator." Considering that the term "rogue" is usually applied to states which have acquired nuclear weapons without signing the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, it's an especially low blow.
Meanwhile, it looks like, as with Iraq, a state's intent to acquire nuclear weapons is only a pretext for attacking it. Citing a little-known paper drafted by Paul Wolfowitz's staff in 1992, pre-eminent analyst Gareth Porter explains.
"If the Bush administration launches an attack on Iran, the reason won't be that Iran was about to obtain a nuclear weapon. [It's that it] wants to establish clearly that it -- not Iran -- is the dominant power in the Middle East." In other words, once again, we just want an excuse to plant our Sasquatch-sized footprint on the region.
Thanks to Carah Ong's Iran Nuclear Watch in preparing this report.
This post originally appeared in AlterNet's the Peek.