Terror Attacks, U.S.-Israeli War Games Raise the Prospects for War
Amid rising tensions over bogus Western claims that Iran plans to
build nuclear weapons, upcoming American war games with Israel have the
potential of escalating into a deadly confrontation.
miscalculation, or deliberate provocation by the West designed to
maneuver the Iranians into "firing the first shot," could have
disastrous consequences far beyond the confines of the Persian Gulf.
That provocation wasn't long in coming.
Despite an agreement
reached by Iran with the P 5+1 group of nations (Britain, China, France,
Russia, the United States and Germany), to restart talks in Turkey over
the nuclear issue, the CIA-Mossad-MEK terror campaign took a dark turn
this week; a sign that the imperialist powers, spearheaded by the United
States, aim to scupper negotiations even before they start.
n Tuesday, an Iranian university professor, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan,
32, a chemistry expert and director of the Natanz uranium enrichment
facility, was murdered after two assailants on a motorcycle attached
magnetic bombs to his car.
Analyst Richard Silverstein wrote on the Tikun Olam
site Wednesday that "my own confidential Israeli source confirms
today's murder was the work of the Mossad and MEK, as have been a number
of previous operations I've reported here."
Silverstein averred that "the method recalls another series of
assassinations that occurred of Fereidoun Abbassi Davani (who was
seriously wounded) and his colleague Majid Shahriari (who was killed).
Today's killing occurred two years to the day after the assassination of
another scientist, Masoud Ali Mohammadi."
According to Fars News Agency
, the blasts which killed Roshan "also wounded two other Iranian nationals in Seyed Khandan neighborhood in Northern Tehran."
The scientist''s driver, Reza Qashqavi, who was severely injured in
the blast, "died of his wounds in Resalat Hospital a few hours later," Fars reported.
What makes Roshan's murder especially troubling is that according to
political analyst Seyyed Mohamed Marandi, the "IAEA [International
Atomic Energy Agency] officials had met him [Ahmadi Roshan] earlier."
Marandi charged that all of the Iranian scientists who had been
targeted and then subsequently murdered in terrorist attacks "have had
their names given by the IAEA to third parties," Press TV
"It is obvious that Western intelligence agencies are carrying out
these attacks, or if the Israelis are carrying them out, it is with the
knowledge of the Europeans and Americans. Because these agencies are
very closely aligned to one another, they cooperate extensively, they
exchange information," Marandi said.
While no one has claimed authorship of the terrorist outrage, the Associated Press
that IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz testified in closed session to the
Israeli Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that America's
proxy, Israel, was engaged in sabotaging Iran's nuclear program through a
series of "unnatural acts."
"2012 is expected to be a critical year for Iran," Gantz told the
committee, citing "the confluence of efforts to advance the nuclear
program, internal leadership changes, continued international pressure
and things that happen to it unnaturally."
Roshan was the fourth scientist killed in a series of assassinations
since January 2010 and follows a series of attacks on defense and
In early November, a massive bomb blast at
the sprawling Bid Ganeh missile base 25 miles west of Tehran killed
upwards of 30 members of the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC),
including Major General Hassan Moqqadam, a senior leader of Iran's
Later that month, a huge explosion was reported at Iran's uranium
conversion facility in Isfahan. Though Iranian officials denied an
attack took place, The Times
reported that "satellite imagery ... clearly showed billowing smoke and destruction."
U.S. officials, as is their wont, responded in typical fashion--they blamed the victims.
Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said she had "no information
one way or the other" about the scientist's murder, while Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton denounced Iran for their "provocative rhetoric"
and issued a categorical denial that the U.S. was organizing terrorism
inside the Islamic Republic.
However, in an interview with the Hebrew-language Ma'ariv daily,
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro said that "Washington is
preparing to undertake any measure to thwart Iran's nuclear program," Xinhua
"We've said and I say again that all options are open ... President
(Barack) Obama clearly and consistently says that he will do everything
and resort to all necessary means to prevent Iran from producing nuclear
weapons, and he means every word," Shapiro said.
Shapiro's statement, if not quite an open admission, is a sign of
Washington's boundless hypocrisy as it supposedly wages a so-called "War
on Terror" while organizing terrorist attacks on governments it has
targeted for regime change.
Iran, and China, Strike a Defiant Note
a new round of economic sanctions targeting Iran's ability to sell its
oil on international markets signed into law by President Obama last
week, and with the European Union threatening to do the same, it was
unlikely that the Iranian government, or their principle trading
partner, would sit idly by and allow the West to damage their respective
Although The Washington Post
Tuesday that "a senior U.S. intelligence official" said that "the goal
of U.S. and other sanctions against Iran is regime collapse," the quote
was quickly yanked from their web site.
The Post claimed the earlier
account was "incorrectly reported" and that "an updated version
clarifies the official's remarks," a fallacious climb-down that revealed
far more than Washington intended to say the least!
The European Union announced that a meeting of foreign ministers
would be held January 23, a week earlier than originally planned, to
finalize an agreement on a comprehensive oil embargo.
EU and some Asian oil-buying nations are caving-in to Washington's
demands, America's geopolitical rival and largest creditor, China, has
rejected calls to put the squeeze on Tehran.
With U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in Beijing this week, The Washington Post
that the former Kissinger Associates henchman in Obama's cabinet "is
expected to press China's leaders to reduce the country's oil imports
He is unlikely to find a receptive ear, however.
foreign minister responsible for U.S. relations, Cui Tiankai, said on
Monday that "the normal trade relations and energy cooperation between
China and Iran have nothing to do with the nuclear issue. We should not
mix issues of different natures, and China's legitimate concerns and
demands should be respected."
Having blasted the new sanctions regime imposed last week, China,
the third largest buyer of Iranian crude, said new restrictions would
not affect business in the least.
The Associated Press
that "about 11 percent of China's oil imports in 2011 came from Iran,
or about 560,000 barrels per day, a flow that increased in the latter
half of the year, according to oil industry analysts Argus Media."
"The daily average for November was 617,000 barrels," AP reported,
"close to a third of Iran's total oil exports of 2.2 million barrels a
day, Argus said," a sign that China is hardly intimidated by U.S.
Rejecting U.S. and European claims that normal business relations
with the Islamic Republic provided financial support for its nuclear
program, Cui declared that "argument does not hold water."
to this logic," the vice minister said, "if the Iranians have enough
money to feed their population, then they have the ability to develop
nuclear programs," Cui told reporters. "If that is the case, should we
also deny Iran the opportunity to feed its population?"
Cui's pointed remark was an obvious jab at the U.S. sanctions regime
which targeted Iraq for more than a decade prior to the 2003 invasion.
Sanctions, which former UN official Dennis Halliday called "genocide"
back in 1999, were estimated to have caused the death of upwards of 1.7.
million people, including some 500,000 children, a "price" which former
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said was "worth it."
Undeterred by American threats, Press TV
Sunday that "a senior Iranian lawmaker says the aim of the upcoming
naval drills by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) is to prepare
for the potential closure of the strategic Hormuz Strait."
Iranian naval officials announced January 5 that they "would be
holding a major military maneuver in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of
Hormuz in February."
"IRGC's Naval Commander Rear Admiral Ali
Fadavi said the drills, the seventh in a series of military exercises
dubbed the Great Prophet, will be different compared to previous naval
maneuvers held by the IRGC," Press TVreported.
Pointedly, the deputy head of the parliamentary National Security
and Foreign Policy Committee, Esmail Kowsari, said that "the military
maneuver has been designed to prepare the armed forces for receiving the
order to shut down the strait within the shortest time possible."
The semiofficial Iranian news outlet also reported
that the "Commander of Iran's Ground Forces Brigadier General
Ahmad-Reza Pourdastan announces plans to hold a massive military
maneuver in the near future."
"In line with the global developments and their own interests," Pourdastan told Press TV,
"Western countries are, today, using soft war [tactics] as the core of
their strategy and it is [only] natural for us to have a defense
[tactic] when the enemy starts a war."
On Monday, Fars News Agency
that IRGC Commander, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, reiterated his
earlier warning that "any enemy move, even the slightest aggressions,
against the Islamic Republic would be reciprocated with a destructive
response and will endanger the interests of the aggressor all around the
Mounting U.S.-NATO Threats
Iran's announcement that they will hold new naval exercises, followed a report by The Daily Telegraph
the UK will deploy "the HMS Daring, a Type 45 destroyer," and this
"will send a significant message to the Iranians because of the
firepower and world-beating technology carried by the warship."
In November, The Guardian
disclosed that "Britain's armed forces are stepping up their contingency planning for potential military action against Iran."
In a controlled leak, Ministry of Defence officials told The Guardian that
"military planners are examining where best to deploy Royal Navy ships
and submarines equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles over the coming
months as part of what would be an air and sea campaign."
During the 2003 U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, Diego Garcia
was used by the the U.S. Air Force as a launch pad for B-2 stealth
bombers during the initial phase of Washington's "shock and awe"
campaign over Baghdad.
It now appears those contingency plans have moved off the drawing
board with the deployment of the HMS Daring towards the Persian Gulf.
The Telegraph disclosed
that the ship "has been fitted with new technology that will give it
the ability to shoot down any missile in Iran's armoury. The £1 billion
destroyer, which will leave Portsmouth next Wednesday, also carries the
world's most sophisticated naval radar, capable of tracking multiple
incoming threats from missiles to fighter jets."
Defense Secretary Philip Hammond warned Iran that "any blockade of the Strait of Hormuz would be 'illegal and unsuccessful'."
According to the Telegraph,
naval sources have said that "more British ships could be sent to the
Gulf if required. The second Type 45, HMS Dauntless, will also be
available to sail at short notice."
As Global Research
in December, the United States has significantly increased military aid
to Israel in preparation for an all-out war with Iran and that "the
Pentagon dispatched some 100 military personnel to Israel from US
European Command (EUCOM) to assist Israel in setting up a new
sophisticated X-band early warning radar system as part of a new and
integrated air defense system."
Although "casually heralded as 'military aid,'" Michel Chossudovsky
wrote, "the project consisted in strengthening the integration of
Israel's air defense system into that of the US, with the Pentagon
rather than Israel calling the shots."
In a new development, Russia Today
last week that "thousands of American troops are being deployed to
Israel, and Iranian officials believe that this is the latest and most
blatant warning that the US will soon be attacking Tehran."
"Under the Austere Challenge 12 drill scheduled for an undisclosed time during the next few weeks," RT disclosed, "the Israeli military will together with America host the largest-ever joint missile drill by the two countries."
An anonymous Israeli official told the Associated Press
drill would test multiple Israeli and U.S. air defense systems against
incoming missiles and rockets. Israel has deployed the 'Arrow' system,
jointly developed and funded with the U.S., designed to intercept
Iranian missiles in the stratosphere, far from Israel."
While U.S. and Israeli officials have called the drills "routine," RT reported
that "following the installation of American troops near Iran's
neighboring Strait of Hormuz and the reinforcing of nearby nations with
US weapons, Tehran authorities are considering this not a test but the
start of something much bigger."
Iranian fears are fully justified.
With the United States and
NATO ringing Iran with military bases and with the U.S. beefing-up arm
sales to its regional allies, including recently announced plans to sell
some $30 billion of advanced F-15SA war planes to Saudi Arabia and
"bunker buster" bombs to the UAE, the stage is set for a confrontation.
In this context, the murder of an Iranian scientist just as a new
round of talks were announced, is a clear sign that Washington is
hell-bent on imposing its control over the Persian Gulf--through
aggressive war--as part of long-standing plans to ensure imperial
hegemony over the energy-rich regions of of Central Asia and the Middle
Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly and Global Research,
an independent research and media group of writers, scholars,
journalists and activists based in Montreal, he is a Contributing Editor
with Cyrano's Journal Today. His articles can be read on Dissident Voice, Pacific Free Press, Uncommon Thought Journal, and the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks. He is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military "Civil Disturbance" Planning, distributed by AK Press and has contributed to the new book from Global Research, The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century.