Iran has popped up now and then on this blog over the last number of weeks. I had indicated that the situation looks set to worsen, and if one were to read between the lines, it seems that in the run up the US elections, Iran will figure prominently. It looks like it might turn into a showdown.
This report from Fox news indicates how the story might develop. Senior US figures like Rumsfeld are hinting at something down the line, it is something to watch for. The Fox news report indicates:
President Bush said Monday the United States was exploring whether Iran had any role in the Sept. 11 attacks.
“We’re digging into the facts to see if there was one,” Bush said in an Oval Office photo opportunity. “We will continue to look and see if the Iranians were involved … I have long expressed my concerns about Iran. After all, it’s a totalitarian society where people are not allowed to exercise their rights as human beings.”
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said it had been known that there were senior Al Qaeda members in Iran “for some time” and that Iran had been helping Lebanese Hezbollah in moving terrorists down through Syria into Lebanon, then down into Israel.
“So we know that Iran has been on the terrorist list,” Rumsfeld said. “We know that Iran has been notably unhelpful along the border of both Afghanistan and Iraq.”
Some experts wonder whether Tehran will be the next U.S. target in the War on Terror. Loftus said one option the United States could utilize to put pressure on Iran to stop its supposed dirty deeds — such as allegedly trying to make nuclear weapons — would be to establish a naval blockade.
American and British officials may ask the United Nations for action against Iran, Loftus added. Meetings are planned for September and November on the topic.
“My suspicion is, in September we’ll really have evidence that Iran is lying through their teeth,” Loftus said. “We’ll put in a naval blockade and without oil exports, in three weeks the economy of Iran will collapse and it will either be neutered or there will be a regime change from within.”
“We’re not going to invade Iran but [are] probably going to blockade it with the full backing of the United Nations,” he continued. “That’s what is in store for the fall.”
FOX News foreign affairs analyst Alireza Jafarzadeh noted that besides the Sept. 11 report detailing the known Iran-Al Qaeda ties, Iraqi officials have said Iran is the main source of foreign fighters behind the insurgency in Iraq.
“I think it all boils down to what policy the U.S. wants to pursue to contain the threat of Iran’s nuclear weapons and the bigger problems Iran is posing,” Jafarzadeh said. “They [U.S.] should pursue a zero-tolerance policy.”
This is amazing stuff, its very similar PR stuff to what happened in the lead up the Iraq war.
A naval blockade of Iran would certainly heighten tensions among the Shia community. Added to this are reports by American intelligence officials who believe that Iran has been supplying Shia rebels in Iraq with advanced weaponry, to aid the destruction of heavy armour, or even helicopters.
Further media reports dwell on the situation further, including this Reuters report:
The United States is determined to stop Iran getting atomic weapons, and has signalled Washington will not rule out an attack if peaceful diplomacy failed to achieve this.
President George W. Bush’s top official on nuclear on-proliferation, Undersecretary of State John Bolton, was asked during a brief visit to Israel if the United States could consider such an attack.
“President Bush is determined to try and find a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the problem of Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons,” he said. “But we are determined that they are not going to achieve a nuclear weapons capability.”
The United States wants Iran brought before the U.N. Security Council to face possible sanctions, but Bolton said Washington did not see such measures as automatic.
“The most important reason to take Iran to the Security Council is to heighten political pressure,” he said.
“It is by no means inevitable that the Security Council has to impose economic sanctions or take other steps, that’s why this really lies in Iran’s hands.”
Iran on Sunday rejected European demands it abandon sensitive nuclear activities but reiterated its readiness to provide assurances that its atomic ambitions are entirely peaceful.