“Everything that [GOP presidential candidate] Mitt Romney said we should be doing–tough sanctions, covert action and pressuring the international community — are all of the things we are actually doing.”
In recent months there have been a flurry of reports about mysterious explosions and incidents at or around Iran’s nuclear infrastructure.
Here are a number of peculiar incidents that occurred over the past few months:
- January 2010: Iranian nuclear scientist killed by the explosion of a motorcycle fitted with a bomb
- November 29, 2010: Iranian nuclear expert Majid Shahriari killed by an explosive charge placed in his car; Nuclear scientist, Fereydoun Abbasi survived a similar attack on the same day
- May 16, 2011: Iranian-led assassination of Saudi diplomat in Pakistan
- August 12, 2011: Explosion of a gas pipeline running from Iran to Turkey disrupts Iranian gas exports
- October, 2011: FBI uncovered an Iranian plot to use explosives in a Washington, D.C. restaurants to assassinate the Saudi ambassador
- November 12, 2011: Huge explosion leveled buildings at an Iranian military base 30 miles west of Tehran killing 17 government officials, including a founder of Iran’s ballistic missile program
- November 17, 2011: IAEA passed a resolution expressing “deep and increasing concern” over Iran’s nuclear activities
- November 24, 2011: Iran claimed to have arrested 12 CIA spies in a spy ring within Hizbullah
- November 28, 2011: Explosion near Iran’s Isfahan uranium conversion facility; Several hours later, Hizbullah launched four 122-mm Katyusha rockets into Israel from southern Lebanon
- November 29, 2011: Iranian protestors stormed the British embassy in Tehran
- December 1, 2011: European Union tightened sanctions on Iran and discussed potential plans for a possible oil embargo; U.S. Senate passed a unanimous bill to give the president the power starting July 1 to bar foreign financial institutions that do business with Iran; Italy and several other EU governments recalled their ambassadors from Iran
- December 2, 2011: Britain expelled Iranian diplomats from the country
- December 4, 2011: Iran claimed to have shot down a U.S. drone
David Sanger of The New York Times also has an excellent analysis of the situation here. The evidence seems to suggest that a covert war between the West (including Israel) and Iran is well underway.
God help us.
Reblogged this on Vasile Roata.
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God has nothing to do with it. This is an obvious move from a diplomatic intransigence from Iran to a methodological physical transience that Iran hopes will see a demise, in the eyes of the leaders of Iran, of US led interference and dictatorship as to what Iran can or cannot do. It reminds me of the slow build up of weapons and political induced indolence’s of what became known as the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP). Which the West ignored at their peril. The West was a cause of the success of the rise of the NSDAP. Unless we stop and analyse without looking at overt power ideology over another nation for the benefit of our markets we will be seeing not a covert war but a overt war of ideological paradigms that really is all about power and control, not about human rights or helping civilians form their own democracy. Iran is not a democratic civilisation, it is a theocratic autocratic country, it has considerations that are not applicable to the West and the West has considerations not applicable to Iran and other Arab countries in the Middle East. Such culturally nuanced differences will always be hostile bedfellows. Sanctions only hurt ordinary people of a country and aggression normally causes more collateral damage than outright success. This would be a foolish and nationalistic way to look at Iran and it’s neighbours. Though I understand the reasons for the sanctions – but did not Iran react to a Western agenda in the first place? If we want to start moving out of appeasement we had better get our own act together and ask exactly what is it we want or expect from other countries that have a cultural aspect far different from the West. And we had better stop pretending we are the doves and they are the hawks ipso facto. Depending on which side of the line you stand you get a different picture.
“God has nothing to do with it.”
I agree. I meant “God help us” as a figure of speech. It was meant to suggest that things are likely to escalate over time rather than my disagreement with the policy. In fact, I actually agree with rolling back Iran’s nuclear program so long as it can be done as efficiently as possible.
“Depending on which side of the line you stand you get a different picture.”
Fair enough. That said, I think independent of culture, a nuclear Iran will lead to further instability in the Middle East for no other reason then a second nuclear power will be added to the region. A second nuclear power will likely beget a third (i.e., Saudi Arabia), and so on in a proliferation spiral. In the end, you have 5 or 6 countries in close proximity of one another all armed with nuclear weapons. The probability of a miscalculation or nuclear accident rises precipitously. That is what scares me.
I realised the bit about God. Yes it scares me also. One of my concerns is the notion that in saying Iran and others cannot have nuclear weapons, but other countries can, make the US and the UK etc., the elite and the ruling body relating to who dictates what a country can and cannot do, within the confines of a humane society of course, and ideally a democratic one at that. Iran would say it is democratic. It has a right to have nuclear power and even weapons. Of course there are differences between what the West terms as democratic and what countries like Iran sees as democratic. We may agree that Iran should not have nuclear power or weapons, and I agree that the probability of a miscalculation or nuclear accident rises precipitously; but why would they be more insane, miscalculated, or more accident prone to use such weapons than say Isreal, Russia (Cold war era) and the USA (Cold ward era and now)? I am not disagreeing with you just looking at it from a different angle.
“why would they be more insane, miscalculated, or more accident prone to use such weapons than say Isreal, Russia (Cold war era) and the USA (Cold ward era and now)?”
I don’t think they would be more insane or miscalculating, but I do think that Iran and the Israelis would be more accident prone in the near-term due to two critical elements: 1) their nuclear programs would be much younger than ours currently is (and therefore, they would be more likely to make mistakes), and 2) their geographic distances are much smaller than ours were vs. the USSR. Closer range provides decision-makers with less time to react and, therefore, increases the probability of a nuclear war.
Thank you Sean for the information. Yes I understand the problem with close proximity of countries and nuclear weapons. But either we accept that war weapons are marketed and in a free market each country to it’s own, or we try harder to be the ‘policeman’ and make sure that cause and effect are eliminated – which is not a free market policy initiation which I thought Republicans veered towards. As for newness or inexperience regarding such weapons, I understand that, however, it is important to acknowledge there is a lot of knowledge out there for Iran to assimilate. And they have been active in their endeavours for over fifty years, unless I am mistaken, so not exactly newbies. Ron Paul has advocated some points regarding Iran and its surrounding countries – why would it not want to have the same weapons as Israel to defend itself or to make itself a least optimum target for Israel to decimate and visa-versa. Unless we are saying that neither Israel nor Iran can be trusted to act in good faith regarding nuclear annihilation. But we in the West can? It also made me wonder more about Iran’s right to nuclear weapons when I read on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_program_of_Iran, that, ” The nuclear program of Iran was launched in the 1950s with the help of the United States as part of the Atoms for Peace program. The support, encouragement and participation of the United States and Western European governments in Iran’s nuclear program continued until the 1979 Iranian Revolution that toppled the Shah of Iran”. And. “In November 2011, the IAEA Board of Governors rebuked Iran following an IAEA report Iran had undertaken research and experiments geared to developing a nuclear weapons capability. Iran rejected the details of the report and accused the IAEA of pro-Western bias and threatened to reduce its cooperation with the IAEA”. Which pointed to the conclusion from The World Nuclear Association, ” Civil nuclear power has not been the cause of or route to nuclear weapons in any country that has nuclear weapons, and no uranium traded for electricity production has ever been diverted for military use. All nuclear weapons programmes have either preceded or risen independently of civil nuclear power, as shown most recently by North Korea. No country is without plenty of uranium in the small quantities needed for a few weapons”.
I know I am very naive in this issue, reading upon it and through blogs like yours gives me more understanding. In my understanding so far, in an ideal world there would be three options. One, no nuclear weapons. Two, every country has nuclear weapons. Three the formation of a global agreement on the use, or not, of nuclear weapons, and since nuclear weapons are here to stay for the duration of some fifty years at the very least, it would be prudent to continue to allow countries to make decisions as they wish and to be encouraged to be part of the global agreement.
I am working on being enlightened as to the nature of countries and nuclear weapons. Thanks for your feed back.
“But either we accept that war weapons are marketed and in a free market each country to it’s own, or we try harder to be the ‘policeman’ and make sure that cause and effect are eliminated – which is not a free market policy initiation which I thought Republicans veered towards. As for newness or inexperience regarding such weapons, I understand that, however, it is important to acknowledge there is a lot of knowledge out there for Iran to assimilate.”
I agree that acting as a global policemen does not treat nuclear weapons as part of a free market policy, but I am not a dogmatic Republican, but a pragmatic one. The same argument could be made that every country should have open borders because labor should be allowed sell itself where its demand is highest. Of course, the friction of government makes this ideological support of free markets impossible to support in practical terms because the world’s poor would flock to countries with the most supportive social welfare programs and overwhelm them. Nuclear weapons fit into a similar category. I am more than willing to allow security to triumph over the dictates of free market principles for certain goods that harm people. For instance, I wouldn’t support allowing societies to sell heroine to its people, just as I wouldn’t support the wide proliferation of nuclear weapons. Countries sometimes collapse and the more countries that have nuclear weapons, the higher the risk of accidents and that these weapons fall into the hands of other parties.
We absolutely did support Iran in its civilian nuclear program. We similarly supported efforts by Japan, Germany, and South Korea. That said, the United States was able to preempt these countries’ development of nuclear weapons by extending its nuclear umbrella over them as a guarantee of protection. There is no one today doing anything similar for the Iranians.
I agree that Iran has every right to develop civilian nuclear power, but I also believe they ought to be prevented from developing nuclear weapons. Is it a double standard. Of course. But it is also in our national interest and the world’s interest that we should prevent them from developing nuclear weapons.
Thank you Sean. I have been pondering over these issues for some time. I understand totally why you say that you are, “… willing to allow security to triumph over the dictates of free market principles for certain goods that harm people”. As you say that you, “…would not support allowing societies to sell heroine to its people”, just as you “…wouldn’t support the wide proliferation of nuclear weapons”. The difference is that it is individuals of a society, not the elite or government, who decide to take heroin, knowing it is a dreadful health risk to themselves and the cost to society in general, like binge drinking, we all know it is bad for the health of the individual, and the cost to society, but it is still a choice many individuals make. The attaining of nuclear weapons does not fall into that category. Most individuals have no choice. If paternalism is applicable in all areas, then that would be a fair premise to make, like the US prohibition of alcohol, the odds are stacked against such prohibition paternalism working.
I agree with your sentiments that, “Countries sometimes collapse and the more countries that have nuclear weapons, the higher the risk of accidents and that these weapons fall into the hands of other parties”. I think the last part of the sentance is more prevalent than the issue of Iran having nuclear weapons. The hostility and unstable paradigms of countries like Iran towards the West has to be taken into account, and visa versa when looking at Israels nuclear weaponry for instance. They are hostile towards other countries around them are they not? I am not pointing a finger at Iran or Israel, but seeing the connection of hostile intent.
I wondered about your meaning of collapse, economic or civil unrest could lead to a country collapsing. In all honesty economic unrest is global at the moment with both the the US and Europe tethering on the brink of possible economic if not civil unrest. Civil unrest disturbs me more as governments tend to react with obscene aggression at worse. Democracy is not only suspended by the leaders of such countries then but its methodology is totally forgotten in the rhetoric of suppression. Hard choices and hard times ahead. As you said, God help us.
All great points. We are living in very scary times, indeed.
I think Iran has also been manufacturing crises (like the British embassy) because the government’s hold on the country is more tenuous than most believe. The 2009 “green” uprising is still there, just not in the streets. They see the Arab Spring, and they do have choices in elections. I think the Guardian Council, which has always been very cautious and rational in policy, fears that the bout of popularity for the conservatives is ending. The conservatives got power only in 2004 as a nationalistic reaction to the Iraq war. Up until then the moderates had won every major election and the Guardian Council had loosened its hold on society in order to avoid unrest. They’re fearing that point is coming back, and with the Arabs setting the stage, the Iranians might have their own Persian Spring.
I think the kind of actions you list are unlikely to create another upswell of anti-American and anti-western reactions that could harm the chance for reformers to advance. I do think an overt attack or an Israeli attack on Iran would put the hardliners firmly in the driver’s seat.
“I think the kind of actions you list are unlikely to create another upswell of anti-American and anti-western reactions that could harm the chance for reformers to advance. I do think an overt attack or an Israeli attack on Iran would put the hardliners firmly in the driver’s seat.”
The problem is that they won’t be sufficient to destroy Iran’s nuclear capability, which is why they will inevitably escalate. But I agree that one should start with a minimal touch and gradually escalate over time, which is what the administration appears to be doing.
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I agree with the sentiment that we are in a covert war with Iran. The Christian Science monitor also posted an article a couple days ago suggesting the same thing. In essence, seeing that Iran wants to play this dirty — given the IAEA’s recent report after many years of diplomacy — the West may have to play dirty too and try to beat Iran in its own game. US and Western interests are at stake, Israel is threatened, and the Arab states in the region (Saudis & Gulf states) are also threatened by the prospect of a nuclear Iran. So a nuclear Iran is not an option.
“So a nuclear Iran is not an option.”
I agree. I wrote my Master’s thesis on it.
Interesting. Thanks for sharing.
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