, by SYYED MANSOOR AGHA
At a time when world economy is in bad shape, EU zone and US are facing grave financial crises, America and allies manoeuvring to find a face-saving exit from the mess they had created in Afghanistan, US presidential elections close and public opinion strongly opposed to another war, it is hard to imagine that Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) will be militarily attacked. However, the psychological war is entering a dangerous zone. Zionist regime of Israel and its allies in Washington are out to make the world believe that Iran is really a threat for world order. Recent bombing in Delhi, Bangkok and Tbilisi provided fresh ammunition for Israel to attack Iran.
Though the cause of tirade against IRI is pretended to be its human rights records and nuclear programme, however roots of grudge against oil rich nation may be traced farther in pre-Islamic Revolution era. The US real call is for regime change to put its favoured men in Tehran as was done in 1953 when a democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh was overthrown. The coup was scripted under the instruction of then US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and executed by the United States CIA with British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) which chose Iranian General Fazlollah Zahedi to succeed Mosaddegh, who was a popular leader. Mosaddegh was elected P.M. by Majlis with 79-12 votes. His administration is noted for wide range of social reforms. His most notable action was nationalisation of the Iranian oil industry, which had been under British control since 1913. The coup reinstated supremacy of the Raza Shah Pehlvi. Earlier in 1941 his father Reza Shah was forced to abdicate in favour of his young son Mohammad Reza Pahlavi by the British. The coup restored British control on Iran’s oil resources.
The nuclear programme of Iran, which is said to be bone of contention, was launched two years after the coup with active help of US and Western European countries. Shah invested oil money in Western atomic industry heavily under various agreements. The “co-operation” continued until the 1979 Revolution that toppled the Shah and the “Kingdom” became a “Democratic Republic”.
BREACH OF CONTRACTS
The United States stopped fulfilling contracts it had with Iran, while France, Germany, and other countries also dragged their feet due to US pressure. France backed out the agreement and Eurodif did not return Iran’s investments. (Eurodif is a joint stock company operating a uranium enrichment plant in France formed by France, Belgium, Spain and Sweden, in which Iran has purchased Sweden’s 10% share.)
Another collaboration venture established in the field was “SOFIDIF” between France and Iran with 60% and 40% shares, respectively. King Reza Shah Pahlavi lent 1 billion dollars (and another 180 million dollars in 1977) for the EURODIF factory, with the right of buying 10% of the production. But France, after 1979 revolution, refused to abide and did not agree to repay Iran’s investments. Same is the case with US.
Bans and noncompliance of western commitments caused a setback but, after a lull, IRI restarted work indigenously. Nobody imagined then that these efforts may succeed. Ironically, same regimes, which were instrumental in initiating Iran’s nuclear programme, are now crying foul on Iran’s baby steps. Iran has repeatedly denied the allegations of pursuing weapon programme. Israel, which has stockpiles of nuclear warheads, is pressing hard to stop the research work and attack Iran’s installations as it did in Iraq in 1981. Iraq had purchased a small reactor from France. While Iraq and France maintained that the facility was for peaceful scientific research, the Israelis viewed it with suspicion and destroyed it in a air attack. No voice was raised against Israel for this blatant violation of Iraq’s sovereignty.
TURKEY, BRAZIL EFFORTS
To resolve the dispute with Iran, Brazil and Turkey made a joint effort. On May 17, 2010 Iran signed a joint declaration with them agreeing “to send low-enriched uranium to Turkey in return for enriched fuel for a research reactor.” The proposal was widely welcomed by Arabs, China and Russia. France’s Prime Minister called it a “positive step” towards resolving the Iran nuclear programme dispute but demanded Iran to cease uranium enrichment altogether. EU foreign policy Chief Catherine Ashton played down the agreement. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the proposal had “a number of deficiencies,” including Iran’s intention to continue enriching uranium to high levels. As a result diplomatic efforts failed to resolve as US and allies want Iran to totally disband the programme and surrender its right of research and development in the field of Nuclear Energy.
In a move to destroy Iran’s achievement in Nuclear Science, U.S. and Israel jointly launched a cyber attack on its computer network. The “Stuxnet Worm” caused a severe setback but was detected by Iran’s own computer experts. Iran had to replace 1000 computers used for R&D. New York Times reported that this was a joint venture and project from Israel and United States to have latest updates for Iran nuclear plans.
ATTACKS ON NUCLEAR SCIENTISTS
In January 2012 Glenn Greenwald in an in article in Salon, documented the killings of at least five Iranian nuclear scientists during 2010 and 2011, with no apparent outcry in the Western media. Mark Perry in an article on foreignpolicy.com quotes claims by US intelligence officers that these attacks were actually false flag operations by Mossad. According to Iran, and privately confirmed by unnamed U.S. government officials, Mossad is behind these attacks. Disgruntled Iranian elements attached to terror group “Mujahedeen Khalq” are being exploited, motivated, financed, trained, and armed by Mossad for these operations.
The United States started imposing sanctions on Iran just after the Islamic Revolution of 1979 on one pretext or the other. UNSC has also passed several US and allies sponsored resolutions against IRI. More recent rounds of sanctions by the U.S. and other entities were motivated by Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons programme which has been denied by Iran. Hard evidence to support the allegations is yet to come. What is alleged is based on suspicions as evident in the assessment of US intelligence agencies.
James Clapper, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence on Feb. 16 told a US Senate Committee, “Iran’s technical advances, particularly in uranium enrichment, strengthen our assessment that Iran is more than capable of producing enough highly enriched uranium for a weapon if its political leaders, specifically the supreme leader [Ali Khamenei] himself, chooses to do so ... We believe the decision would be made by the supreme leader himself, and he would base that on a cost-benefit analysis - I don’t think you want a nuclear weapon at any price.”
Clapper also concluded that there is no immediate danger of Iran attacking Israel or any other country, however Israel may attack Iran. He said, “Israel might decide to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities this spring, because the weather will be better then. But Jerusalem has as yet made no decision on the matter.” Clapper and Defence Secretary Leon Panetta agreed, “Should the Iranians make a decision to pursue a nuclear weapon” then producing a bomb “would take them about a year and then another one or two to put it on a deliverable vehicle, it could take even longer than that.”
Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess, head of the Defence Intelligence Agency, said that Iran has the “capability” to target “central Europe” nevertheless, “the agency assesses Iran as unlikely to initiate or intentionally provoke a conflict.”
The intelligence officers told the committee, Iran is also “not close” to abandoning its nuclear programme under the pressure of sanctions. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters in Cyprus, “I hope that sanctions work, but so far, they haven’t worked.”
Unperturbed of hard hitting sanctions, Iran is continuously pursuing its nuclear energy programme. On Wednesday (Feb. 15) Iran proclaimed two major advances, successfully developing atomic fuel rods and their commissioning into a research reactor in Tehran. Secondly, developing of “new generation of Iranian centrifuges’’ which are faster than earlier one.
“The era of bullying nations has passed. The arrogant powers cannot monopolise nuclear technology. They tried to prevent us by issuing sanctions and resolutions but failed,” he said.
Interestingly, The Christian Science Monitor reported, “Both the US and Israel, who are leading the international community’s effort to block Iran’s nuclear progress, have said that Iran’s most recent announcement of a “nuclear breakthrough” is inflated.”
The prestigious paper reported, “Our view on this is that it’s not terribly new and it’s not terribly impressive,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in Washington on Feb. 16, describing the announcement as “hyped.” Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak called the presentation a “show,” saying that Iran wants its nuclear programme to seem “irreversible.” “Iran is trying to “make it seem ... like the point of no return is already behind them, which is not the case,” Mr. Barak said.
Israel’s dismissals come as a surprise after months of dire Israeli warnings about Iran’s nuclear progress. Israel, the US, and much of Europe believe Iran is working toward a nuclear weapon – which Tehran has denied – and Israel has been the most strident voice.
NO IRAN INITIATIVE
As assessed by US agencies, there is no danger of Iran’s taking an initiative to start a war. As US and Israel, both have obliquely told the world that Iran is not even capable of making Nuclear Rods and develop Centrifuge; the question of Iran making a Nuclear Bomb in near future does not arise. Iran as a sovereign country has right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
However Israel, to cover up its own internal problems and terror designs, is trying to drag Iran in a psychological war. For us Indians, the cause of concern is that Israel wants to drag India also into the controversy. Israel’s influence on India is rising fast. It has found a strong political lobby in Sangh and BJP. The nation needs to be consciously alert and keep its own regional and national interest above the interests of US and Israel.