Escalating Anti-Iranian Tensions – by Stephen Lendman
Whether or not anti-Iranian rhetoric, saber rattling, sanctions, other policy measures, and recent events signal war isn’t known. Growing dangers though mount.
America targets all independent regimes. At issue is replacing them with client ones.
In October, Washington falsely charged Iran with plotting to kill Saudi Arabia’s US ambassador. In November, outdated, forged, long ago discredited, and perhaps nonexistent documents were used to claim Iran’s developing nuclear weapons.
According to America’s latest March 2011 intelligence estimate, no credible evidence proves it. Nor was Iran involved in 9/11.
Nonetheless, on December 15, Manhattan Federal Judge George Daniels said he’ll sign an order accusing Iran, Hezbollah, and Al Qaeda of 9/11 responsibility.
In response to a lawsuit brought by family members of 9/11 victims, he claimed Iran provided material support to Al Qaeda. He based it on fake evidence and spurious testimonies from three Iranian defectors. Their affidavits remained sealed during court proceedings.
In late December, Daniels assessed Iran $100 billion in damages. According to attorney Dennis Pantazis:
“We have worked over eight years, consulted hundreds of intelligence experts, reviewed thousands of documents and reports and traveled to three continents and multiple countries to interview eyewitnesses. The ruling stands for the proposition that no matter how big or powerful evil is, it will always be revealed.”
His rant omitted clear evidence of CIA and Mossad involvement, not Iran, Hezbollah or Al Qaeda. Among others, David Ray Griffin‘s exhaustive research exposed the 9/11 lie.
On April 5, 2006, he said:
“It would seem, for many reasons, that the official story of 9/11, which has served as a religious Myth in the intervening years (and still does), is a myth in the pejorative sense of a story that does not correspond to reality.”
In his newest book titled, “9/11: Ten Years Later,” Griffin said:
“Getting the 9/11 lie exposed is essential. One obvious reason is simple justice,” including for 9/11 family members, deserving most of all to know. “There also needs to be justice in the sense of punishment for those who engineered this crime,” including top government, military, and intelligence officials. They’re “guilty of murder and treason.”
War Winds Target Iran
Tensions and dangers mount. A New York Times November editorial accused Iran of “pushing its nuclear program forward.” Separately, The Times called Iran’s commercial program “one of the most polarizing issues in one of the world’s most volatile regions.”
Without explaining why, it claimed both Bush and Obama administrations tried engaging Iran diplomatically when, in fact, they continued years of hostile relations and provocations.
In July 2008, Seymour Hersh said Congress agreed “to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran, according to current and former military, intelligence and congressional sources.”
At issue is destabilization. Minority Ahwazi Arab and Baluchi groups, as well as other dissident organizations are supported. Intelligence operations targeting Iran’s nuclear program remain ongoing.
“United States Special Operations Forces have been conducting cross-border operations from southern Iraq.” Revolutionary Guard Al Quds commandos were kidnapped and taken to Iraq for interrogation.
CIA and Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) operations were “significantly expanded.” Current tensions suggest these and perhaps other covert operations continue.
In June 2011, Hersh said despite “years of covert operations inside Iran, extensive satellite imagery, and the recruitment of many Iranian intelligence assets, the United States and its allies, including Israel, have been unable to find irrefutable evidence of (a covert) nuclear-weapons program in Iran, according to intelligence and diplomatic officials here and abroad.”
Of course, replacing an independent regime with a client one is at issue, not an alleged nuclear weapons program. Yet its provocatively used for possible planned conflict.
Hostile Rhetoric Increasing
Addressing a Union for Reform Judaism audience on December 16, Obama called “a nuclear Iran unacceptable” and ruled “no options off the table.” Perhaps he signaled war.
It wouldn’t be the first time. After extending sanctions on Gaddafi last March, he said “the bottom line is that I have not taken any options off the table at this point.” Days later, NATO began bombing.
On December 5, State Department arms advisor Robert Einhorn said Iran’s “violating international obligations and norms. It is becoming a pariah state….The timeline for its nuclear program is beginning to get shorter, so it is important we take these strong steps on an urgent basis.”
On December 7, Republican presidential aspirant Mitt Romney said, “Ultimately, (Iranian) regime change is what’s going to be necessary.” He called for “covert and overt” efforts to destabilize Tehran’s government.
Other Republican candidates also escalated tensions. Newt Gingrich said he’d use “covert capability” for “regime change.” Former Senator Rick Santorum said:
“There have been scientists turning up dead in Russia and in Iran. There have been computer viruses. There have been problems at their facility. I hope the United States has been involved with that.” Foreign scientists helping Iran are “enemy combatant(s and should be) taken out by the United States.”
An unnamed senior Western intelligence official told Israel News that “(t)here is deep concern within (Iran’s) senior leadership….that they will be (targeted by) a surprise military strike by either Israel of the US.”
According to Britain’s Daily Mail, Guardian and Independent, it’s already begun to control regional oil and gas riches.
On December 19, Secretary of Defense Panetta suggested Iran’s a year away for having nuclear weapons. Washington “will take whatever steps necessary to deal with it,” he said.
On December 20, Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey said “the options we are developing are evolving to a point that they would be executable, if necessary.” He added that his “biggest worry is that (Iranians) will miscalculate our resolve.”
On December 22, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak responded to Washington remarks, saying they “make clear a fact that was already known to us from closed-door (meetings). It makes clear to Iran that it faces a real dilemma.”
On December 23, former Secretary of Defense Office strategist/Council on Foreign Relations (CRF) Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow Matthew Kroenig’s CFR Foreign Affairs article advocated war titled, “Time to Attack Iran.”
Harvard’s Stephen Walt called his piece “a textbook example of war-wongering disguised as analysis. It is a remarkably poor piece of advocacy….This is not fair-minded ‘analysis;’ it is simply a brief for war designed to reach a predetermined conclusion.” Nonetheless, it escalated tensions further.
Obama Continues America’s Permanent War Agenda
Throughout his tenure, Obama aggressively waged war. He’s unrestrained for more. He’ll even risk regional war with unpredictable consequences. If Russia and China enter to protect their strategic interests, all bets are off.
For years, Washington pushed the envelope with Iran. The Bush administration authorized covert CIA destabilization. Congress appropriated $400 million for it. Obama continues similar policies.
Moreover, Iranian nuclear scientists were murdered. Its Atomic Energy Organization head, Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, was wounded by bombs attached to nearby cars.
Last spring, Iranian intelligence discovered the Stuxnet malware computer virus infecting its Bushehr nuclear facility. At the time, its operations were halted indefinitely.
Israel was blamed. Washington was also implicated. Calling it a hostile act, General Gholam-Reza Jalali said if Bushehr went online infected, Iran’s entire electrical power grid could have been shut down.
On November 12, an explosion destroyed the Revolutionary Guard’s Bid Kaneh base. Seventeen deaths resulted, including a founder of Iran’s missile program. On November 28, another Isfahan explosion badly damaged a uranium enrichment facility.
On December 4, Washington’s sophisticated stealth RQ-170 drone illegally entered Iranian airspace. Iran downed it intact by hacking into its cyber system. Its design replicates America’s B-2 stealth bomber.
Washington has many ways to destabilize, weaken and oust regimes. They include provocations, fake accusations, political and economic sanctions, isolation, covert or direct confrontation, and cyberwar, among other dirty tricks.
On December 13, House and Senate leaders agreed on legislation imposing new sanctions on Iran. They’re aimed at penalizing foreign financial institutions doing business with Tehran’s central bank. It’s the main conduit for its oil revenues. US corporations, including banks, are already prohibited from dealing with the Islamic Republic.
Additional measures expanded sanctions on companies doing oil related business, including investments, selling Iran refinery goods and services, and providing Tehran with refined products worth $5 million or more annually.
Obama’s preparing to sign the measure. If fully implemented, Iranian oil shipments may be affected. If so, energy prices will rise during global economic weakness.
Other measures sanctioned developing infrastructure, ports, buying Iranian sovereign debt, and companies helping Tehran, North Korea or Syria pursue nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, as well as missile development programs.
Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said Iran’s naval forces can readily block the Strait of Hormuz in response to hostile Western actions. He spoke a day after Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi warned not a drop of oil would pass through the Strait if Iran’s oil exports are sanctioned. If so, expect energy prices to skyrocket until normal flows resume.
A Final Comment
Obama appears inching toward more war, no matter the potentially devastating consequences, especially if nuclear weapons are used.
Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad. Leaders ordering Syria and Iran attacked are deranged.
They infest political Washington and Israel. Buckle up. Anything ahead’s possible, no matter extreme dangers sensible officials wouldn’t plan, risk, or even contemplate.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.