US military and financial pressure on Iran
Iran-USA, Politics, 5/22/2006
US Department Of State's military officers have embarked on intensive campaign against Iran to mar good neighborly relations between Iran and the Persian Gulf states with a recipe of intelligence from Washington.
Political observers believe that the new wave of US diplomatic campaign is an effort to influence Iran's brotherly relations with its neighbors in the Persian Gulf possibly ahead of Washington's new scenario of adventurism in the Persian Gulf.
A group of high-level US officials have been visiting the region with so-called intelligence about Iranian weapons of mass destruction.
US State Department officials touring the region in recent weeks include John Hillen, the assistant secretary for political-military affairs, and Robert Joseph, undersecretary for arms control and international security.
Both focused on rallying the Persian Gulf states support for US efforts to what they lobby as 'to halt Iran's nuclear program', while urging closer military and intelligence ties with Washington.
In April, Joseph visited Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, urging them to upgrade defenses against chemical and biological weapons. Joseph also requested help in monitoring financial restrictions with Iran and closing what he described as Iranian 'front companies' seeking nuclear technology.
Hillen said in a press conference that the cooperation goes beyond the existing Patriot missile defense batteries in Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and the US Navy's Persian Gulf patrols that seek to 'track rogue nuclear shipments'.
"There is a lot new in each area actually -- a lot," Hillen said.
"We wouldn't have under and assistant secretaries rolling continuously through the region if there wasn't." The State Department's moves to boost Persian Gulf defenses makes sense, from a pre-attack standpoint, said Wayne White, the State Department's former head of Iraq intelligence.
"If one is planning a defense against what Iran might do with its long-range surface-to-surface missiles and its anti-ship missiles in the Persian Gulf in the wake of a US or Israeli attack against Iran's nuclear infrastructure, this is exactly what one would do," White said.
Such reservations about cooperating with the United States tend to be dropped when conflicts draw near, Hillen said.
Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi today said that the remarks of the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice against Iran are miscalculated aiming to influence the next meeting of the five permanent UN Security Council member states plus Germany (5+1).
Rice repeated to Fox News today the often US accusation that Iran is the central bank of terrorism, seeking to annihilate Israel and disrupt order in the Middle East.
A upcoming UN permanent Security Council members meeting is scheduled to be held in London on Wednesday to examine Europe's proposal on Iran's nuclear issue.
Meantime, the US was said by a New York Times report to be holding its standard military exercises, 20th excercize in 3 years, with Turkish forces "aimed at demonstrating a determination to stop missile and nuclear technology from reaching Iran and other countries, Bush administration officials said Sunday... (and) to interdict nuclear materials and contraband."
White House spokesman Tony Snow said today about the US efforts to limit European banks dealings with Iran as being an "attempt to try to get the Iranians to come back to the table, to deal in good faith, with serious negotiations toward renouncing any nuclear military ambitions. We don't have any problem with peaceful civilian use of nuclear power, but it's important to get the Iranians to engage seriously."
The Algerian Press Service yesterday quoted diplomatic sources as saying Europe and the United States are split on a draft resolution that is to be presented to the UN Security Council on Iran's nuclear case. It added that the sides differ on the incentives mentioned in the draft resolution prepared by the European states that is expected to be presented to Iran in return for suspension of uranium enrichment. It also quoted US Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns as saying Washington has received Europe's proposal and is currently working on it. The news agency pointed to news published by certain Western media disclosing details of the offer, and said the West was still ready to give security guarantees to Iran.
This came as Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel indicated that China and Germany are agreement with what Iran has bee calling for in that no country should have access to weapons of mass destruction, and that nuclear technology should only be used for civil purposes.
Meantime in Iran, Khorramshahr's naval forces began a three-day wargame in the northwestern waters of the Persian Gulf on Sunday.
The military exercise, code-named 851, will be held in three different phases by frogmen and marine units of Khorramshahr's naval base.
An official from the base said that the exercise is taking place to mark the 24th anniversary of the liberation of Khorramshahr from Iraqi forces in 1982.
According to a report released by the Foreign Ministry's Media Department, Asefi said, "The US attempts to pretend that Iran's nuclear issue is critical. Holding talks based on reason and justice in accordance with international laws is a more rational approach to solve the country's nuclear issue than creating fake and false atmospheres.
"The US intends to dictate its unilateral and wrong approaches to the world community and pressurize it," he added.
Asefi recommended the US administration to stop disregarding the the NPT regulations and warned it against interfering in Iran-IAEA cooperation trend, instead of considering itself as the ruler of the international community.
"In accordance with the international laws, Iran is entitled to access nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and will not give up such a right," concluded Asefi.
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On Iran - US talks
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