The next World War starts in Iran 

By Mike Whitney 

08/22/05 "ICH" -- -- "We consider that it would be counter-productive and dangerous to use force, the serious consequences of which would be barely predictable." warning from the Russian Foreign Ministry to the Bush Administration about prospective plans to attack Iran 

There's only one thing that Americans need to remember when the read about the standoff between the Bush administration and Iran. There is no evidence whatsoever that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. But, don't take my word for it. That is the conclusion of Mohammed El Baradei, the chief of the UN's watchdog agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency; the most respected nuclear investigative agency in the world today. 

After conducting 2 years of the most rigorous "go anywhere, see anything" investigations, the agency gave Iran a clean bill of health. 

No nukes! Not now, not ever! 

We should recall that it was the IAEA headed by El Baradei that warned the US that Saddam did not have a nuclear weapons program, and tried to save the Bush administration the embarrassment of attacking an unarmed country. That didn't work. As we know now the intelligence was "fixed" to fit the policy, and the policy was aggression. 

With that tragedy in mind, we should not allow ourselves to be duped by the propaganda that passes as news in the US. We must continue to remind ourselves over and over again; there is no evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. 

None, Nada, Zippo! 

This is not a detail that you should expect to see in the western media. Of the hundreds of articles I've combed through on Iran only 1% to 2% even casually mention this salient fact. The reasons for this are fairly obvious to those who watched the media carefully build the case for war with Iraq based entirely on false information. We don't need to go over that appalling story here. We simply need to recognize that the media to large extent has been successfully "embedded" into the political establishment and operates in the interests of ownership. If the elites who control our "privately" owned media want war, you can bet that there will be a torrent of cleverly-written articles supporting that effort. 

That, in fact, is what is happening with Iran today. 

Two major stories appeared this week connecting Iran to the IED (roadside bombs) that are killing American servicemen in Iraq. One story was in Time magazine by Michael Ware and seemed reasonably credible except that none of the information could be reliably proved. 

Is this simply more disinformation used to pave the way for war? It certainly merges nicely with Rumsfeld's claims that Iran is involved in the insurgency, but it, in many respects, it completely defies logic. 

Why would Iranian Shi'ites support Sunnis in their quest to retake power? 

Iran already has "their guy" al Jaffari in the top spot so why rock the boat? 

This question is never seriously addressed in either article, which leads us to suspect that there may be ulterior motives. 

The Bush Administration has never backed away from its original goal of "regime change" in Iran, so we must assume that the reports of ethnic disturbances in Iran's Ahwaz province are probably instigated by either the CIA or surrogates in the various Iranian dissident groups acting on behalf of the Bush administration. The Iranian government claims to have captured suspects of these regional uprisings and have said that they have solid proof that they are supported by the US. 

The most prominent of these groups is the Mujahidin Klaq (MEK) a group that is still on the US State Depts. list of terrorist organizations even though they receive direct funding and support from the US government. According to Seymour Hersh the MEK and other organizations have been sent back into Iran to foment revolution or carry out covert operations. 

Certainly no one is surprised by this given the administration's open hostility towards the current Islamic regime. The fact that the "ethnic strife" is taking place in oil-rich Ahwaz province, however, is interesting. We can be reasonably certain that the US does not plan to occupy all of Iran if there is a war. 

Can we be equally certain that the administration strategy isn't simply to annex the primary oil producing region and bomb the main chemical, biological and conventional weapons sites across the country at the same time? 

That way, the US would control the oil, eliminate Iran as a regional-military rival to Israel, and avoid the pitfalls of a massive occupation. 

There are potential hazards to Washington's prospective plan. For one thing, Iran has violated none of its agreements under the current NPT (Nuclear Nonproliferation treaty) so, there is no reason for the IAEA to refer the case to the UN Security Council and no cause for punitive action. Iran is allowed to convert uranium under the NPT if it is carefully monitored by the watchdog agency and if it is used strictly for peaceful purposes. The conversion process does not produce weapons-grade enriched uranium, which can be used in nuclear weapons, but a milder form that can be used in nuclear power plants. If there are any violations to this regimen, the IAEA is required to report them immediately to the Security Council. 

So, we can see that the US is just ratcheting up the pressure in the media to make it appear as though the EU supports the hard-line policies of the Bush administration and is willing to support their position before the UNSC. 

The EU, of course, is simply being bullied by the administration and trying to avoid the impending conflict. 

Another possible drawback to the Bush strategy is the sudden and unexpected insertion of Russia into the standoff. Last week Russia cautioned the US against considering the use of force with Iran. The Russian foreign ministry issued a statement saying, "We consider that it would be counter-productive and dangerous to use force, the serious consequences of which would be barely predictable." 

Russia's statement was predictably oblique, but the message is clear; Russia will not allow Iran to go the way of Iraq. Not surprisingly, this veiled-threat of Russian retaliation did not appear in any newspaper in the United States. It simply wouldn't due to have the American public know that the administration was risking nuclear holocaust to further its interests in the region. 

When I wrote my first article on this topic 2 weeks ago ("Why Iran will lead to World War 3) very few readers took the possibility seriously. Since then, the more-insightful political analyst Paul Craig Roberts added his voice to the fray with his article "Get Ready for WW 3". This new statement from the Russian foreign ministry should demonstrate that we may be closer to the brink then anyone had imagined. 

The UN and the EU need to convene meetings immediately on the likelihood of an American attack on Iran and issue an unambiguous statement that any military action taken on the part of the United States or Israel without Security Council approval will be taken as a direct assault on the rest of the international community an a tacit declaration of world war. This is no time for equivocating or backpedaling. World leaders need to rise to the occasion and perform their duties. As we know from Iraq, if Washington is planning for war, it won't be easily deterred.

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