Keywords: Iran; Tony Blair; George W. Bush; Javier Solana; rhetoric; US attack on Iran; Andrei Uglanov; Ahmadinajad; Democrats in Congress.
Iran seems to be undermining the solidarity between the Blair and Bush administrations. Despite the fact that Iran is still holding 15 British sailors (see photo), alleging that they were captured in Iranian waters, the rhetoric between the UK and Iran seems to be quieting down. The Iranians deny that they are going to put the sailors on trial, and the British say they are willing to engage on dialogue about the issue, though of course they have not apologized. It seems that the British wisely are proceeding by cooling the rhetoric, and the Iranians may be reciprocating, at least in reducing the overt saber-rattling.
However, now other countries are taking stands. The European Union has weighed in today, with its chief diplomat Javier Solana holding his first contacts with the Iranian authorities about this and other controversies. Next week, he will talk with the chief Iranian nuclear negotiator next week.
Meanwhile, President Bush answered a reporter’s question about the sailors with much greater hostility than the British have been displaying, referring to them as hostages, a term that has been pointedly avoided in London. And, characteristically, John Bolton, until recently the US Ambassador to the United Nations, called the British approach to their problem “pathetic.” Fortunately, it is not up to Bush to decide how to handle Britain’s predicament.
Yet Bush may be ready to wage war against Iran anyway, both on the grounds that it is sending weapons into Iraq and, more seriously, that it has not bent to any foreign demands to halt the presumed pursuit of nuclear weaponry. Though gambling types have been placing bets for weeks as to whether the US will attack Iran, there is no compelling evidence either way. Nevertheless, there are growing rumors, especially since the Democrats in Congress, under pressure by the Israel lobby, recently passed a supplement that did not rule out an attack against Iran. To be sure, they want to halt the war in Iraq, but evidently Iran is quite another matter.
Today a report was forwarded to me on-line detailing supposed plans for a US attack on Iran, which is supposedly set for 4 am on April 6 – Good Friday. The Russian journalist Andrei Uglanovreported this story in Moscow’s Argumenty Nedeli, citing Russian military experts.
The attack will last 12 hours, and will bomb about 20 targets, including uranium enrichment facilities, research centers, and laboratories. One reactor will not be attacked however, since Russians are working there. The battle plan involves the impairment of the Iranian air defence system, the sinking of several Iranian warships in the Persian Gulf, and the destruction of the chief headquarters of the Iranian armed forces.
The attacks will come from several basis, notably Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, where B-52 bombers are based. Aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean will send airplanes, and submarines will fire cruise missiles. The intention is the set back Iran’s nuclear weapons program by several years.
Some people never learn. Bush especially. The US is laboring under great difficulty throughout the Islamic world because he has antagonized so many Muslims. There is very considerable opposition to Ahmadinajad in Iran, and if US pressure against him were subdued, the modernizers who oppose him would soon gain the upper hand. But no! Bush may indeed strike against that country and make it impossible for Iranian moderates to oppose their own wild president.
Settle down, George. This time you need to take a lesson from Tony Blair.