More on Iran
by Erin Alecto
Oh my goodness!
NEW YORK - A request by Iran's president to lay a wreath at the World Trade Center site next week has been turned down by police and blasted by U.S. diplomats as an attempt to turn ground zero into a "photo op."
"We have drawn up a plan to strike back at Israel with our bombers if this regime (Israel) makes a silly mistake," Gen. Mohammad Alavi was quoted as telling Fars in an interview.
Fars confirmed the quotes when contacted by The Associated Press, but would not provide a tape of the interview. The Iranian air force had no immediate comment.
Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammed Najjar told the official IRNA news agency Wednesday that "we keep various options open to respond to threats. ... We will make use of them if required."
"It is not constructive and it almost seems provocative," she said. "Israel doesn't seek a war with its neighbors. And we all are seeking, under the U.N. Security Council resolutions, for Iran to comply with its obligations."
You have to hand it to the neocons, they won't let a minor setback like the Alexis Debat debacle slow them down. If a door closes, open a window. Better yet, throw bricks through all the windows and hope for a response. More below...
BAGHDAD, Sept 20 (Reuters) - The U.S. military on Thursday arrested an Iranian man they accused of smuggling roadside bombs into Iraq and training foreign fighters, but Iraqi and Iranian officials said he was a member of a trade delegation.
U.S. soldiers raided a hotel in Sulaimaniya in the northern Iraqi region of Kurdistan and took the man into custody, accusing him of being a member of the Quds Force of Iran's Revolutionary Guards.
I think we will be seeing more stories like that in the next few months. Though Steven Clemons reiterates (with much better sourcing and with clearer language) my earlier assertion that Bush will not attack Iran, he warns:
That is why a classic buildup to war with Iran, one in which the decision to bomb has already been made, is not something we should be worried about today.
What we should worry about, however, is the continued effort by the neocons to shore up their sagging influence. They now fear that events and arguments could intervene to keep what once seemed like a "nearly inevitable" attack from happening. They know that they must keep up the pressure on Bush and maintain a drumbeat calling for war.
They are doing exactly this during September and October in a series of meetings organized by the American Enterprise Institute on Iran and Iraq designed to reemphasize the case for hawkish, interventionist deployments in Iraq and a military, regime-change-oriented strike against Iran. And through Op-Eds and the serious political media, the "bomb Iran now" crowd believes they must undermine those in and out of government proposing alternatives to bombing and keep the president and his people saturated with pro-war mantras.
The US has criticised a deal that Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), made with Iran to answer long-standing questions about Tehran's nuclear activities.
The Bush administration and its European allies argue that the IAEA has been soft on Iran by allowing Tehran to continue its uranium enrichment and are preparing further sanctions against the country.
Ms Rice, who in June accused Mr ElBaradei of "muddying the message" to Iran, again rebuked the IAEA.
A day after the IAEA announced the agreement with Iran and termed it as a "milestone", US envoy to IAEA, Gregory Schulte claimed the plan had "real limitations" and suggested that Tehran had "manipulated" the IAEA into allowing it to make a play of cooperation to head off more sanctions
...which prompted the IAEA's El Baradei to fire back:
"I would not talk about any use of force," he said. "There are rules on how to use force, and I would hope that everybody would have gotten the lesson after the Iraq situation, where 700,000 innocent civilians have lost their lives on the suspicion that a country has nuclear weapons."
He has a point - the credibility of the US has been severely compromised by the disaster in Iraq. Though the deal got favorable reviews from China, Russia and the UN Secretary General, among others, the usual suspects denounce the plan as a delaying tactic. It could very well be, considering the US, with the blustery backing of France's new leader (or Bush's new poodle), as well as Germany's and Britain's support, is drawing up another sanction resolution to present to the UN this week. It's obvious that not only is there bickering between the Bush and Cheney factions over Iran; we are heading toward an even larger confrontation as world leaders realign allegiences while jostling for control of vital natural resources. I desperately hope cooler heads will prevail over the escalating rhetoric and I believe if more people like El Baradei speak up, if we don't allow the Iran attack narrative to be nailed down to a "when" rather than an "if," we may be able to avoid a much huger mistake than the already catastrophic one we've seen unfold in Iraq. That's why, although he's a belligerent loudmouth cut from the same cloth as Bush, I'm anxious to see what Ahmadinejad will have to say to the UN next week and what the reactions will be from all the players.