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U.S. threatens military action against Iran

Published Feb 19, 2006 8:42 PM

The Pentagon is actively preparing devastating bombing raids against Iran, backed by submarine-launched ballistic missile attacks. The U.S. military’s plans were described in the London Sunday Tele graph of Feb. 12 and then covered in other media around the world. The story is based on leaks, which are often part of the psychological warfare tactics of the Pentagon.

The newspaper wrote that “Central Command and Strategic Command planners are identifying targets, assessing weapon-loads and working on logistics for an operation.” These commands report directly to U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

The next day the Guardian, another British newspaper, in a story headlined “Thousands would die in U.S. strikes on Iran, says study,” summarized a report by the Oxford Research Group, a think tank that specializes in arms control and nonproliferation issues. It says civilian casualties would be greater in Iran than they were in the early days of the Iraq war if the U.S. or Israel launch surprise attacks on any of the more than 20 Iranian nuclear energy facilities located in densely populated areas.

In a similar story the same day, the Asso ciated Press included maps and detailed target lists.

Daily stories in the U.S. media and major publications around the world citing an Iranian nuclear threat are part of a war climate being ratcheted up.

The Bush administration’s plans to attack Iran—which have been openly discussed since 2002—are now dangerously escalating on the military, diplomatic, political and media fronts.

On the political front, top-ranking members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats from Sen. John McCain to Sen. Hillary Clinton, are discussing the alleged Iranian nuclear threat and using “the military option.”

On the diplomatic front, the U.S. has succeeded in pressuring the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to report Iran to the UN Security Council. This represents the most dangerous step. Washington is laying the ground for taking unilateral military action if the Security Council vote doesn’t go its way.

The script of the Iranian nuclear threat is a rehash of the lead-up to the 2003 criminal invasion of Iraq. At that time every arm of the U.S. and British media gave extensive, daily coverage to charges that Iraq had dangerous weapons of mass destruction, chemical and nuclear. It was all a fraud. The major corporate media went along and endlessly hyped every fabrication, as did the leaders of both political parties. They never admitted what was so obvious after 12 years of relentless war, sanctions and inspections: Iraq had no WMDs.

No basis in fact

The charges that Iran today presents a nuclear threat have no basis in fact. It is pure war propaganda to justify a possible attack on a country of 70 million people that is the world’s fourth-largest oil expor ter. Every U.S. intelligence agency agrees on this issue. On Aug. 2, 2005, the Wash ington Post reported that, according to the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), which represents a consensus among U.S. intelligence agencies, Iran was a decade away from being able to manufacture the key ingredient for a nuclear weapon.

Yet the charges continue and are being whipped up to cloud even the most well-known facts. U.S. Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte, a key figure in the Iran-Contra scandal during the Reagan administration, told the Senate Intel ligence Committee on Feb. 2 that “Iran conducted a clandestine uranium enrich ment program for nearly two decades in violation of its IAEA safeguards.”

In fact, Iran has yet to begin operations of its planned “uranium enrichment program.” It has only conducted research into how to make low-enriched uranium as a nuclear fuel, research that it was not required to report to the IAEA under its safeguards agreement. (Green Left Weekly, Feb. 15)

It is also important to know that Iran is in full compliance with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). It has submitted to even the most intrusive and humiliating inspections, far beyond what is required by the treaty and far beyond what any other nation has agreed to. After three years of searches and 1,400 inspection hours, the head of the IAEA, Mohammed El Baradei, has reported there is no proof of any weapons programs in Iran.

Right to develop

It is also essential to remember that Iran has a right, under international law and as a sovereign country, to develop nuclear energy.

Article IV of the NPT explicitly states: “Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes….”

It is the U.S. government that is in major breach of the non-proliferation treaty. It has violated every commitment to disarm its stockpile of more than 10,000 nuclear warheads—the largest stockpile of wea pons of mass destruction on the planet.

Far more ominous than its refusal to disarm existing weapons, the Pentagon has for years engaged in intense efforts of research and development, in violation of the treaty, to develop a whole new generation of battlefield or tactical nuclear weapons. These are for use in conventional warfare against a non-nuclear opponent. There is a great deal of speculation that the Pentagon might actually use these new tactical nuclear weapons in an attack on Iran.

The U.S., let us never forget, is the only country that has ever used nuclear wea pons against a civilian population.

Iran oil market in euros

Iran does have plans for something that U.S. finance capital considers far more threatening than beginning the first stages of uranium enrichment.

Iran plans to open an Iranian Oil Bourse in March. This Oil Bourse will be in direct competition with the New York Mer cantile Exchange (NYMEX) and London’s International Petroleum Exchange (IPE). Unlike them, it will do business not in U.S. dollars but in euros.

In Iran, there is mass popular determination to use its resources to develop the country industrially, technically and financially. The Iranians are determined that their country be more than just a source of raw materials.

For decades the U.S. dollar has dominated the world system of marketing oil and natural gas. The requirement that these products be bought and sold in dollars is of great benefit to U.S. corporations. To purchase oil and natural gas on the world market, every country must hold large dollar reserves. This gives Wall Street dominance in all world trade agreements.

The urgency behind the U.S. invasion of Iraq was that country’s decision to start accepting only euros for its oil. One of the first steps of the occupation authorities after the U.S. invasion of Iraq was to reverse this policy and again sell Iraq’s oil in dollars.

Mass resistance to threats

Today in Iran there is an overwhelming determination to stand up to the ominous U.S. threats. Past U.S. interventions are well understood.

The 1953 CIA-orchestrated overthrow of the democratically elected government of Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh, who had moved to nationalize Iran’s oil, and the return of the hated Shah to the “peacock throne” was followed by 25 years of brutal dictatorship. Every Iranian school child today knows about the hated Shah and his U.S. and British backers. For all his U.S.-supplied weapons and U.S.-trained SAVAK secret police, millions rose up against his regime in 1979 in a revolution that broke the U.S. hold. For the past 27 years, however, U.S. sanctions have impeded Iran’s right to development at every turn.

In the face of the Pentagon’s growing threats and war plans, international opposition could become an explosive force. Recent demonstrations of outrage against the racism of the Western imperialists show the mass mood throughout the entire region. While the Bush administration controls weapons of enormous destructive capacity, its arrogant conduct in Iraq and elsewhere has underestimated the people’s consciousness and ability to resist. The current threats against Iran will also prove to be a howling blunder.