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US confrontation with Iran

 
  

Project: US confrontation with Iran

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August 9, 2003

       Newsday reports that according to a senior official and another source within the Bush administration, the “ultimate objective” of Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith and “a group of neo-conservative civilians inside the Pentagon is change of government in Iran.” The report says that the “immediate objective appeared to be to ‘antagonize Iran so that they get frustrated and then by their reactions harden US policy against them.’” It apparently is no secret within the administration, as Secretary of State Colin Powell has recently complained directly to the Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, about Feith's activities. [Newsday, 8/9/03]
People and organizations involved: Douglas Feith
          

(Early September 2004)

       In a report to Congress, the Pentagon discloses its intention to sell 5,000 smart bombs to Israel. Included in the $319 million deal—to be financed by US aid money—are 500 one-ton bunker busters capable of penetrating two-meter-thick cement walls, 2,500 regular one-ton bombs, 1,000 half-ton bombs, and 500 quarter-ton bombs. According to the Pentagon, Israel needs these weapons to maintain its qualitative advantage and to promote US strategic and tactical interests. The sale is likely to go through despite Israel having used a one-ton bomb to assassinate a senior Hamas officer, Salah Shehadeh. Fifteen Palestinian civilians, including children, were killed in the internationally condemned attack. [Ha'aretz, 9/21/2004] It is widely speculated that the weapons would be used by Israel in the event that it strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities; Israel and the US have alleged Iran is involved in the development of nuclear weapons. [Seattle Post Intelligencer, 9/30/2004; Christian Science Monitor, 9/24/2005; Herald Tribune, 9/22/2004; Ha'aretz, 9/26/2004]
          

December 8, 2004

       Knight Ridder reports that, according to US officials, congressional aides and other sources, Pentagon and White House officials “are developing plans to increase public criticism of Iran's human-rights record, offer stronger backing to exiles and other opponents of Iran's repressive theocratic government and collect better intelligence on Iran.” Additionally, the administration would like to withdrawal troops from Iraq so Bush would have “greater flexibility in dealing with Iran,” one official tells the newspaper. [Knight Ridder, 12/8/2004] The news agency also says that the US is using the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK) as a source for intelligence on Iran's weapons programs, even though the organization “remains on the State Department's list of foreign terrorist groups.” [Knight Ridder Newspapers, 12/8/2004]
People and organizations involved: Mujahedeen-e Khalq
          

February 18, 2005

       Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter, appearing with journalist Dahr Jamail, tells a packed house at Olympia Washington's Capitol Theater that George W. Bush has “signed off” on plans to bomb Iran in June 2005. [United For Peace of Pierce County, 2/19/2005]
People and organizations involved: Scott Ritter, George W. Bush
          

February 21, 2005

       Sam Seder, hosting Air America's Randi Rhodes show, interviews Scott Ritter about statements he made at Olympia's Capitol Theater three days earlier (see February 18, 2005). Responding to a question about possible US military air strikes on Iran, Ritter says: “I have sources, which are unimpeachable, which I would not state who they are, who told me in October of 2004 that the president had been briefed on military strike options against Iran that were to commence in June of 2005. And that the president signed off on these plans.” [The Randi Rhodes Show, 2/21/2005]
People and organizations involved: Scott Ritter, George W. Bush
          

February 22, 2005

       During a news conference with European Union leaders in Brussels, President Bush says that rumors suggesting the US is preparing to strike Iran are “simply ridiculous.” But he quickly adds that “all options are on the table.” [Reuters, 2/22/2005; Associated Press, 2/22/2005]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

March 12, 2005

       The India Daily reports that two US Navy aircraft carriers, the USS Theodore Roosevelt and USS Carl Vinson, appear to be heading toward the Middle East where they will be joined by a third carrier group. The newspaper notes that the convergence of three carriers in the region would send a strong signal to both Syria and Iran. [India Daily, 3/12/2005] There is speculation that Iran may face a US naval blockade. [India Daily, 3/15/2005]
          


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