Israel’s plan to attack Iran has been postponed until spring 2013 following a war simulation that showed Iran could kill 200 Americans with a single missile strike, according to a report by senior Haaretz correspondent Amir Oren.
“At 8:58 P.M. on Tuesday, Israel’s 2012 war against Iran came to a quiet end. The capricious plans for a huge aerial attack were returned to the deep recesses of safes and hearts. The war may not have been canceled but it has certainly been postponed. For a while, at least, we can sound the all clear: It won’t happen this year. Until further notice, Israel Air Force Flight 007 will not be taking off,” writes Oren.
According to the report, a war simulation conducted by the U.S. Central Command found that an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities would immediately be followed by an Iranian missile launch that would kill 200 Americans, a price deemed not worth paying by U.S. generals.
During the same meeting, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak also acknowledged that Israel would not act alone in striking Iran before the U.S. presidential elections in November, according to Oren, meaning that, “For all intents and purposes, it was an announcement that this war was being postponed until at least the spring of 2013.”
A delay in launching the attack until next spring would scupper expectations that the military assault was set to take place before the end of this year, a time frame that Russia understood the Israelis were working to. Last month, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Nikolai Makarov stated that an Israeli decision on whether or not to attack would be made before the summer.
Earlier this month it was also reported that Israel had “agreed to hold off a strike on Iran’s nuclear sites this year in exchange for receiving U.S. military equipment,” including bunker-busting bombs and refueling planes. The deal was seen as a tacit admission that the Obama administration would support Israel in launching the attack but only after the election in November.
If a decision has been made to postpone the attack, expect the United States to withdraw at least some of its naval might from the Persian Gulf. The U.S. currently has the USS Carl Vinson and the USS Abraham aircraft carriers patrolling the Strait of Hormuz, along with the USS Makin Island, a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship. Earlier this month it was announced that four additional mine countermeasure ships were also heading for the region.
As the Stratfor Naval Update map below illustrates, the USS Enterprise, which many speculated was also heading to the Strait of Hormuz in preparation for a strike on Iran, is now scheduled to visit Piraeus, Greece instead, suggesting a cooling of tensions could be taking place – at least for the time being.
Following the highly scrutinized meeting between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this month in Washington, consensus held that Obama had managed to secure assurances from the war-hungry Netanyahu that Israel would delay a military strike against Iran till 2013. That is, till after the November U.S. presidential election.
According to the Israeli daily Maariv, this commitment of Israeli “restraint” had been bought with the sale of U.S. “advanced bunker-busting bombs and long-range refueling planes” to the Israeli Defense Forces, as al-Akhbar (3/8) reported. Needless to say, such advanced weaponry would be required in any Israeli attack on Iran.
“You shall still have your war,” Obama thus seemingly sought to convey to Netanyahu, “but only in due time.”
Since the Obama-Netanyahu summit, however, indications of such Israeli restraint have dissipated. The Israeli dogs of war are not so easily tamed. In fact, in his latest column for Bloomberg(3/19), the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg reports that talk of striking Iran is once more convulsing through the Israeli political establishment. And according to Goldberg, all such discussions have assumed a rather optimistic bent.
“One conclusion key officials have reached,” Goldberg writes, “is that a strike on six or eight Iranian facilities will not lead, as is generally assumed, to all-out war.”
We learn further that Israeli officials interpret Obama’s claims of “having Israel’s back” as meaning that even in the event of an Israeli strike against Iran in the face of U.S. protest, “Obama would move immediately to help buttress Israel’s defenses against an Iranian counterstrike.”
All this leaves Goldberg to assess that Israel shall ultimately strike Iran. As he writes, “I’m highly confident that Netanyahu isn’t bluffing—that he is in fact counting down to the day when he will authorize a strike against a half-dozen or more Iranian nuclear sites.”
This unnerving assessment mirrors that held by another favored media conduit for Israeli propaganda, Ronen Bergman, who after similarly speaking with senior Israeli leaders earlier this year, concluded in the New York Times Magazine (1/25) that, “Israel will indeed strike Iran in 2012.”
Notably, Goldberg’s Bloomberg piece appeared the very day the New York Times (3/19) reported on a secret U.S. war game held earlier this month. The war game reportedly simulated an Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear facilities. And as the Times reported, the exercise “forecasts that the strike would lead to a wider regional war, which could draw in the United States and leave hundreds of Americans dead.”
(The report did not specify to any detail on the expected regional war unleashed by an Israeli strike. Nor did the paper mention any projection of potential Iranian casualties. But why would they? After all, as U.S. Gen. Tommy Franks averred back in 2002: “We don’t do body counts.”)
And of course, where there is smoke, there is fire.
Indeed, for the Times ominously noted that a similar exercise took place back in December 2002—at the time simulating a potential invasion of Iraq. And mere months later, as Peter Symonds, writing at the World Socialist Web Site (3/21), reminds us, “US President George Bush unleashed the illegal US-led war of aggression that cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians and devastated much of the country.”
Hence amid its war gaming, the Pentagon continues to accelerate its naval build-up in the Persian Gulf, according to the Los Angeles Times (3/17) and other outlets. The Times writes:
The Navy will add four more mine-sweeping ships and four more CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters with mine-detection capability. The Navy is also sending more underwater unmanned mine-neutralization units to the region.
The U.S. presently has three aircraft carriers (the USS Carl Vinson, the USS John Stennis, and the USS Abraham Lincoln) and their accompanying striker groups on patrol in the Persian Gulf. And lest one forgets, the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet remains stationed in Bahrain.
Coinciding with this massive accumulation of military hardware assembled at Iran’s door has been an escalation of U.S. threats of military assault. In fact, according to the Russian daily Kommersant, the U.S. has indirectly sent a warning to Tehran that the upcoming six-party talks on Iran’s nuclear program, to be held April 15 in Turkey, represent Tehran’s “last chance” to avoid a U.S. military strike. As the Christian Science Monitor (3/14) reports, “US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asked Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at a UN Security Council session on March 12 to deliver that tough missive to Tehran.”
President Obama personally conveyed much the same message in a joint press conference held with British Prime Minister David Cameron earlier this month. As the president stated, “the window for solving this issue [the Iranian nuclear crisis] diplomatically is shrinking.”
Such talk of a shrinking diplomatic window comes as it is confirmed–yet again–that Iran is not even pursuing nuclear weapons. “Despite saber-rattling from Jerusalem,” the Associated Press (3/18) reports, “Israeli officials now agree with the U.S. assessment that Tehran has not yet decided on the actual construction of a nuclear bomb.”
Likewise, Reuters states (3/23), “Current and former U.S. officials say they are confident that Iran has no secret uranium-enrichment site outside the purview of U.N. nuclear inspections.”
Meanwhile, the Iranian government has continued to declare its disdain for nuclear weapons. Speaking in late April, Ajatollah Ali Kahamenei reconfirmed his fatwa against nuclear weapons, declaring in part: “We believe that using nuclear weapons is haraam and prohibited and that it is everybody’s duty to make efforts to protect humanity against this great disaster.” And in an interview with German television earlier this month, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad similarly declared that nuclear weapons “belong to the past.”
That said, the French news agency AFP (3/20) reports that Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov has warned that if Iran were to be attacked, it would have no choice but to develop nuclear weapons. As Lavrov stated, “I am almost certain that such a decision will surely be taken after (any) strikes on Iran,”
But, as it ought to be abundantly clear, the present standoff with Iran is motivated not by its imagined nuclear weapons program. Rather, the menace of nuclear proliferation is but a veil used by the militarist regimes residing in the U.S. and Israel to obscure their insatiable appetites for war. And as history has proven, this appetite is unmoved by official state intelligence, let alone a regard for human life.
In an exclusive report, Jerusalem-based DEBKAfile reports that both Israel and the United States are on the same page in regard to launching an attack on Iran.
“American and Israeli intelligence evaluations of the state of Iran’s program are in accord – contrary to the impression gained from Obama administration officials,” DEBKA-Net-Weekly reported on March 22. “Both are of one mind on the imperative to paralyze that program even by force if Iran refuses to give up its pursuit of a nuclear weapon.”
On Friday, it was reported that the United States, European allies and Israel agree that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program. “Tehran does not have a bomb, has not decided to build one, and is probably years away from having a deliverable nuclear warhead,” the National Post reported. Despite this evidence, the Israeli government has decided to attack Iran.
According to DEBKAfile, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in a radio interview on Thursday that if Israel is resolved to attack Iran, it will have to do so within three months. In February, it was reported that Israel would carry out an attack in June and would use Saudi Arabia as its base.
DEBKAfile claims Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has convinced a majority of his Security and Diplomatic Cabinet of the urgency of an attack. “He is now backed by the two deputy prime ministers, the defense, foreign affairs, interior and finance ministers, while Intelligence Minister Dan Meridor and Minister without Portfolio Benny Begin are unconvinced. Netanyahu can therefore go ahead and safely put the military option to the vote in the cabinet for the first time,” DEBKAfile reports.
With this consensus, Barak sent IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz to Washington to meet Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin E. Dempsey. Gantz told Dempsey Israel would “be happy if the US halts Iran’s nuclear program in its tracks, no matter whether this is done by economic sanctions, an oil embargo, negotiations between Tehran and the world powers, or secret US-Iranian diplomacy.” The effort, however, would need to fit within the three month timeline.
Israeli officials then met “discretely” with leading members of Congress and told them about the three month timeline.
DEBKAfile states, however, that Israel “may have to part ways with the United States on the Iranian issue the first time in its short history” and attack Iran “before it is too late.”
Israel is now committed to an attack on Iran that will occur during the height of campaigning for the 2012 U.S. presidential election. The Republican national convention will be held on August 27-30 in Tampa, Florida, and the Democrat convention will be held on September 3-6 in Charlotte, North Carolina. If Israel attacks Iran in June, it will undoubtedly be the dominant issue during the convention and the election in November.
Appearing on the Alex Jones Show on Monday, Emmy Award-winning actor Ed Asner said Navy Seals have told him military action against Iran is forthcoming and will be preceded by a false flag attack.
Asner told Alex and his nationally syndicated radio show audience that the Seals are attempting to alert the American people about the prospect of a false flag operation and “more foreign escapades” before the establishment media “starts brainwashing us.”
Beginning at 8 minutes and 57 seconds in the first video clip above, Asner said Iran is being set-up for military action that will occur during the summer or fall and create an October surprise prior to the election.
Asner said it is up to the American people to recognize and prevent an imminent false flag operation and stop another disastrous war before it gets started. He said the Navy Seals are now coming forward because they are worried that an Iran false flag attack “runs the danger” of creating a “world-wide conflict if it gets out of hand.”
False flag attacks designed to initiate conflict and war have been used numerous times by governments as a foreign policy tactic. During the Asner interview, Alex mentioned Dick Cheney’s effort to start a war with Iran.
“There was a dozen ideas proffered about how to trigger a war,” said Pulitzer Prize-winning New Yorker reporter Seymour Hersh in 2008. “The one that interested me the most was why don’t we build — we in our shipyard — build four or five boats that look like Iranian PT boats. Put Navy seals on them with a lot of arms. And next time one of our boats goes to the Straits of Hormuz, start a shoot-up.”
Cheney’s idea was rejected, but it was eerily reminiscent of the so-called Gulf of Tonkin incident that never occurred but resulted in the Vietnam War that ultimately claimed the lives of more than 58,000 Americans and around three million Southeast Asians.
The Gulf of Tonkin pretext established a pattern of “continuous government lies passed on by pliant mass media,” write Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon.
In addition to Cheney’s idea of luring Iran into a conflict, the Bush administration devised a plan to trick Saddam Hussein into attacking a U.S. spy plane disguised as a United Nations aircraft.
“The US was thinking of flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colors. If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach,” Bush wrote in a memorandum to then British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Events over the last several days reveal that the United States and Israel plan to conduct a false flag terror event to be blamed on Iran. The event will likely occur within the next six months and will result in an attack on Iran prior to the November election.
Obama’s intelligence chief, James Clapper (center), warned of Iranian terror attacks inside the United States.
Intelligence in U.S. and Israel Warn of Domestic Terror Attack
Officialdom in the United States and Israel have issued a warning about an Iranian “threat stream” against Israeli “soft targets” in America.
The warning arrives several days after Obama’s intelligence boss James Clapper said Iran may strike inside the United States,
“We predict that the threat on our sites around the world will increase… on both our guarded sites and ‘soft’ sites,” states a letter sent out by the head of security for the Israeli Consul General for the Mid-Atlantic States.
Guarded sites are Israeli government facilities like embassies while soft sites are Jewish synagogues, schools, and community centers.
Yoram Cohen, the head of Israel’s security service Shin Bet, said recently that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard will attack Israeli and Jewish targets abroad in response to the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists.
In January it was reported Mossad was behind the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan.
“The thwarted assassination plot of a Saudi official in Washington, D.C., a couple of months ago was an important data point,” a nameless official told ABC News, “in that it showed at least parts of the Iranian establishment were aware of the intended event and were not concerned about inevitable collateral damage to U.S. citizens had they carried out an assassination plot on American soil.”
Cohen linked the alleged threat to the discredited plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in October. A court document in the case revealed that the FBI and the DEA concocted the plot as a sting operation and used failed used car salesman and alcoholic Mansour Arbabsiar as a patsy. Arbabsiar, who is from Iran, thought he was participating in a drug deal.
Despite the fallacious nature of the plot, intelligence officials used it to hype the specter of Iranian terrorism that will likely result in a false flag operation used as a pretext to invade Iran.
“In the past few weeks, there has been an escalation in threats against Israeli and Jewish targets around the world,” an intelligence document cited by ABC News states. It warns that demonstrations against Israel “could potentially turn violent at local synagogues, restaurants, the Israeli Embassy and other Israeli sites.”
The Israeli bulletin also provides an excuse for the TSA to step-up intrusive pat-downs and demand travelers be subjected to dangerous naked body scanners at airports across the United States.
“According to our evaluation there is a possibility that the forged passports will be used in order to pass as Israeli citizens at the security checks in Israel and around the world. Israeli security authorities may consider an Israeli citizenship as a [criterion] to proceed with a more lenient security check in secure sites such as airports, etc.,” the bulletin explains.
The latest warning arrives two weeks after the Turkish newspaper Zaman reported that a cell of the Quds Unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard planned to attack U.S. embassy in Ankara and other targets across Turkey.
Fast Moving Timeline for War
The latest development follows a number of events over the past few weeks that point toward a concerted attack by Israel and then the United States on Iran:
• DEBKAfile reported earlier in the week that the United States will have 100,000 troops in the region by March. “Pentagon has been quietly massing troops and armaments on two islands located just south of the Strait of Hormuz, and within easy striking distance of Iran,” Mac Slavo wrote on January 31.
• On Friday, the establishment media reported that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said “there is a strong likelihood that Israel will strike Iran in April, May or June,” according to the Washington Post. The timeline is predicated on Iran entering an Israeli contrived “zone of immunity” in its unsubstantiated effort to build a nuclear bomb.
• Iran has issued a number of threats in response to punitive oil and economic sanctions devised by the United States and Europe. On Friday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a nationally televised speech that his country will retaliate if Western nations impose crippling oil sanctions. In January, in response to European Union foreign ministers deciding to impose an oil embargo on the country, Iran vowed to shut down the Strait of Hormuz.
• Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman General Martin Dempsey admitted on January 9 that Iran has the ability to close off the strategic shipping lane linking the Gulf of Oman with the Persian Gulf. He said doing so would constitute a “red line.”
• In December, in response to Sec. Def. Panetta’s not ruling out an attack, Iran announced it would hold a military exercise in the Persian Gulf. The 10 day exercise, dubbed “Velayat-e 90,” demonstrated that Iran has the ability to shut down the Strait of Hormuz. The U.S. further exacerbated the situation by sending the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis through the Strait of Hormuz while Iran was conducting its war game.
• Russia and China have indicated that an attack on Iran would constitute an attack on their national security. “Iran is our close neighbor, just south of the Caucasus. Should anything happen to Iran, should Iran get drawn into any political or military hardships, this will be a direct threat to our national security,” said Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s deputy prime minister and former envoy to NATO, in mid-January.
War President: Re-electing Obama
In November, DEBKAfile said Obama will use war as a re-election tool. “President Barack Obama went on line to America’s senior allies, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Israel and Saudi Arabia, with notice of his plan to attack Iran no later than September-October 2012 – unless Tehran halted its nuclear weaponization programs,” the neocon-connected subscriber-only publication predicted.
“Obama’s announcement was not perceived as a general directive to US allies, but a guideline to blow the dust off the contingency plans for a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities which stayed locked in bottom drawers for three years,” states the report, adding that “Obama’s announcement spurred Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Israel into girding their navies, air forces, ballistic units and anti-missile defense systems for the challenges ahead.”
Britain’s foreign secretary William Hague said in January his country has not ruled out military action against Iran. Britain had dispatched its “most formidable warship HMS Daring” to the Persian Gulf region prior to Hague’s remarks.
“The bottom line here is that Americans don’t believe in President Obama’s leadership,” said Shapiro, writing for the Financial Times. “He has to find some way between now and November of demonstrating that he is a leader who can command confidence and, short of a 9/11 event or an Oklahoma City bombing, I can’t think of how he could do that.”
The late Washington Post columnist David Broder was more succinct. “With strong Republican support in Congress for challenging Iran’s ambition to become a nuclear power, he can spend much of 2011 and 2012 orchestrating a showdown with the mullahs. This will help him politically because the opposition party will be urging him on. And as tensions rise and we accelerate preparations for war, the economy will improve,” he wrote in late 2010.
Tensions will undoubtedly rise if there is a terror attack inside the United States, either against an Israeli target or American one.
It would provide an airtight excuse to unleash the awesome power of the U.S. military against Iran and cast Obama in the adulatory light all “war presidents” receive as the masses fall in line and wave their flags and cheer on “our boys” as they decimate another country and engage in yet another bloody massacre of innocents.
India is the first buyer of Iranian oil to agree to pay for its purchases in gold instead of the US dollar, DEBKAfile’s intelligence and Iranian sources report exclusively. Those sources expect China to follow suit. India and China take about one million barrels per day, or 40 percent of Iran’s total exports of 2.5 million bpd. Both are superpowers in terms of gold assets.
By trading in gold, New Delhi and Beijing enable Tehran to bypass the upcoming freeze on its central bank’s assets and the oil embargo which the European Union’s foreign ministers agreed to impose Monday, Jan. 23. The EU currently buys around 20 percent of Iran’s oil exports.
The vast sums involved in these transactions are expected, furthermore, to boost the price of gold and depress the value of the dollar on world markets.
Iran’s second largest customer after China, India purchases around $12 billion a year’s worth of Iranian crude, or about 12 percent of its consumption. Delhi is to execute its transactions, according to our sources, through two state-owned banks: the Calcutta-based UCO Bank, whose board of directors is made up of Indian government and Reserve Bank of India representatives; and Halk Bankasi (Peoples Bank), Turkey’s seventh largest bank which is owned by the government.
An Indian delegation visited Tehran last week to discuss payment options in view of the new sanctions. The two sides were reported to have agreed that payment for the oil purchased would be partly in yen and partly in rupees. The switch to gold was kept dark.
India thus joins China in opting out of the US-led European sanctions against Iran’s international oil and financial business. Turkey announced publicly last week that it would not adhere to any sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program unless they were imposed by the United Nations Security Council.
The EU decision of Monday banned the signing of new oil contracts with Iran at once, while phasing out existing transactions by July 1, 2012, when the European embargo, like the measure enforced by the United States, becomes total. The European foreign ministers also approved a freeze on the assets of the Central Bank of Iran which handles all the country’s oil transactions.
However, the damage those sanctions cause the Iranian economy will be substantially cushioned by the oil deals to be channeled through Turkish and Indian state banks. China for its part has declared its opposition to sanctions against Iran.
DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources disclose that Tehran has set up alternative financial mechanisms with China and Russia for getting paid for its oil in currencies other than US dollars. Both Beijing and Moscow are keeping the workings of those mechanisms top secret.
Iran has reacted angrily to an agreement by European Union foreign ministers to impose an oil embargo on the country.
Following the agreement reached on Monday, Iranian lawmaker Mohammad Ismail Kowsari, deputy head of Iran’s influential committee on national security, said the strait “would definitely be closed if the sale of Iranian oil is violated in any way.”
A fifth of the world’s oil moves through the Strait of Hormuz.
“Tehran will not grin and bear it when its interests are undermined,” said lawmaker Alaeddin Boroujerdi, according to Press TV. Boroujerdi is a lawmaker who heads the national security and foreign policy committee in Tehran.
Another lawmaker, Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, said Iran has a “right” to shut down Hormuz. Falahatpisheh is a senior member of Iran’s Majlis, or Iranian parliament.
Ali Falahaian, a former intelligence minister, said Iran should stop all its crude exports “so that oil prices would go up and the Europeans’ sanctions would collapse.”
Iran first issued warnings about closing down the Strait of Hormuz in December. “If they impose sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, then even one drop of oil cannot flow from the Strait of Hormuz,” said Vice President Mohamed Reza Rahimi.
Admiral Habibollah Sayyari told Iran’s state-run Press TV that closing down the strait would be “very easy for Iranian naval forces,” but said “such a decision should be made by top establishment leaders.”
It now appears Iran’s leaders are a step closer to considering that option as the EU and the United States impose an embargo and punitive sanctions.
US, Russian French and British air and naval forces streamed to the Syrian and Iranian coasts over the weekend on guard for fresh developments at the two Middle East flashpoints.
The Russian carrier Admiral Kuznetsov anchored earlier than planned at Syria’s Tartus port on the Mediterranean Sunday, Jan. 8, arriving together with the destroyer Admiral Chabanenko and frigateYaroslav Mudry.
To counter this movement, France consigned an air defense destroyer Forbin to the waters off Tartus.
DEBKAfile’s military sources report a buildup in the last 48 hours of western naval forces opposite Iran in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea in readiness for Tehran to carry out its threat to close the Strait of Hormuz.
Britain has dispatched the HMS Daring, a Type 45 destroyer armed with new technology for shooting down missiles, to the Sea of Oman, due to arrive at the same time as the FrenchCharles de Gaulle aircraft carrier.
Our sources report too that Saturday, the giant RQ-4 Global Hawk UAV, took off from the USS Stenning aircraft carrier for surveillance over the coasts of Iran. The Stennis and its strike group are cruising in the Sea of Oman at the entrance to the Strait of Hormuz after Tehran announced it would not be allowed to cross through.
DUBAI: Iran has not converted the low-grade uranium that it has produced into weapon-grade uranium, inspectors belonging to the International Atomic Energy Agency have said.
The Austrian Press Agency quoted an IAEA expert as saying that the uranium substances that Iran has produced at its Natanz enrichment facility have been carefully recorded and remote cameras have been installed to supervise part of the stockpile.
“If the Iranians intend to transport these uranium substances to a secret location for further processing, agency’s inspectors will find out,” he said.
The expert added that “so far, Iran has carried out good cooperation with us in relevant verifications”.
IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei has said that Iran has slowed down its uranium enrichment programme. He made this observation while submitting a report to the U.N. Security Council on Thursday. Iran has reportedly added only 164 centrifuges (which are used for enrichment) since December last, a comparatively slower rate than in the past.
The IAEA report said that Iran had so far produced around 1,000 kg. of low-enriched uranium.
Iran has denied accusations by the United States and its allies that it has been engaged in a clandestine nuclear weapons programme.
The United Nation’s International Atomic Energy Agency is preparing to release a document that will link Iran’s nuclear program to weapons development, according the French newspaper Le Figaro (English translation here). The report will be released next month.
IAEA boss Yukiya Amano.
The newspaper characterizes the release as a “race against time” to head off Iran’s nuclear weapons program. The move would ensure an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, Isabelle Lasserre writes.
IAEA boss Yukiya Amano said last month the agency would release more information on Iran’s program. At that time, Amano said Iran had demonstrated "greater transparency" than usual when it allowed a senior IAEA official to tour previously restricted nuclear sites in August.
In February, 2010, the agency said Iran was working to develop a nuclear-armed missile. “In unusually blunt language, an International Atomic Energy Agency report for the first time suggested Iran was actively pursuing nuclear weapons capability, throwing independent weight behind similar Western suspicions,” Reuters reported.
According to Wikileaks documents, Amano has described himself as being in line with the United States and Israel on key strategic issues. Israel assumes that Iran will develop a nuclear weapon that represents an “existential threat” to the Jewish nation. It has threatened to take out Iran’s nuclear facilities on a number of occasions.
IAEA “inspectors have expressed frustration with Iran’s level of cooperation, but have been unable to find any evidence suggesting that enriched uranium has been diverted to an illicit weapons program,” Seymour Hersh wrote in June.
“There’s a large body of evidence, however, including some of America’s most highly classified intelligence assessments, suggesting that the U.S. could be in danger of repeating a mistake similar to the one made with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq eight years ago — allowing anxieties about the policies of a tyrannical regime to distort our estimates of the state’s military capacities and intentions,” he continues. “The two most recent National Intelligence Estimates (N.I.E.s) on Iranian nuclear progress have stated that there is no conclusive evidence that Iran has made any effort to build the bomb since 2003.”
The highly dubious Iran terror plot now gaining momentum, despite a growing number of skeptics, appears to be pushing the United States into backing either an Israeli strike on Iran or providing a pretext for an outright attack by the United States.
The IAEA report either coincides with the move in the direction of war or was designed to appear at precisely the right time as the U.S. repeats the same “mistake” it made when it attacked Iraq in March of 2003.
Iran says the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) can completely supervise Tehran’s nuclear activities for five years if the sanctions imposed against the Islamic Republic are lifted.
In an interview with ISNA on Monday, Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Fereydoun Abbasi said he had made the offer to Director-General of the IAEA Yukia Amano.
“By lifting the sanctions and meeting mutual obligations, the agency can completely supervise Iran’s nuclear activities without broaching [such topics as] military aspects and alleged studies,” Abbasi further elaborated.
Referring to the recent visit of Deputy Head of the IAEA Safeguards Department Herman Nackaerts to Iran, Abbasi said Tehran’s objectives of taking such measures are to prove that the country has no problem with the agency.
Nackaerts earlier visited Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant, the enrichment facilities in Natanz and Fordo, the nuclear fuel rods production factory in Isfahan, as well as the heavy water research reactor in Arak and the city’s heavy water production plant.
The US and its allies accuse Iran of pursuing a military nuclear program, and used this pretext to pressure the UN Security Council into imposing a fourth round of sanctions against Iran.
Iran, a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the IAEA, insists on its legal right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
The U.N. nuclear watchdog on Tuesday rejected Western suggestions it is being soft on Iran, denying that its chief was declaring questions about Tehran’s atomic work resolved despite doubts of his inspectors.
A senior official close to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director Mohamed ElBaradei accused unnamed Western powers of using the same “hype” tactics employed against Iraq before the 2003 U.S.-led invasion to justify imposing further sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program.
The IAEA is due to issue a report next week before world powers meet to finalize a U.N. Security Council resolution on more sanctions. The West accuses Iran of secretly seeking the means to make nuclear bombs, a charge Tehran denies.Ahead of the IAEA report, some Western diplomats said the agency’s inspectors were unhappy with top level decisions to declare issues clarified without what they deemed to be sufficiently credible explanations from Iran.
A French media report said on Monday differences between ElBaradei and technical staff could delay the latest report on whether Iran illicitly tried to enrich uranium for arms, not just electricity as it maintains.
Departing from normal IAEA silence ahead of its politically sensitive reports, a senior agency official telephoned Reuters on Tuesday to deny reports of internal dissent. “Reports about disagreements within the agency over the forthcoming Iran report are nonsense,” said the official, who asked not to be further identified. “Work on the first draft of the report has not even started.”
“Some people do not want to see the Iran issue resolved because that would contradict their hidden agendas, he said, adding that “people should have learned from their mistakes in the past, when all the hype over alleged weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq turned out to be just that — hype”.
Iran agreed in January to answer remaining questions about its past covert nuclear activities within a month. Major progress has been made since and the inquiry is now in its final stages, IAEA sources say.
BIGGEST ISSUE STILL OUTSTANDING
The senior official said Iran had still not clarified the final and most important question on a list delving into its covert nuclear history — suspected attempts under military supervision to “weaponize” nuclear materials. “Our inspectors are still working on clarifying the facts about the alleged weaponization activities in Iran,” he said.
The official said that the Vienna-based IAEA’s central role was to collect information impartially and place it before the agency’s 35-nation board of governors. “If the facts are at odds with the policy objectives of some people who are keen to impose further sanctions on Iran, that’s too bad,” the official added.
Before it invaded Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein in 2003, the United States disregarded IAEA testimony to the Security Council that there was no proof Iraq was still seeking nuclear bombs. No such evidence to back a major U.S. justification for what turned into a chaotic occupation of Iraq has surfaced since.
“Not a single question has ever been raised by member states about the objectivity and professionalism of our reports,” the IAEA official said. “This next one will be no different.” He criticized what he called similar hype about an ongoing nuclear arms drive in Iran until Washington’s own intelligence agencies said in December that this had been shelved in 2003.
ElBaradei has said Iran’s enrichment program poses no imminent threat to international peace. But he has urged Iran to lift restrictions on inspector movements and comply with suspension demands to defuse mistrust in its intentions.
Russia’s foreign minister warned on Monday that any military strike against Iran would be a grave mistake with unpredictable consequences, ahead of a report expected to be released this week by the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog agency showing that Tehran has mastered the critical steps needed to build a nuclear weapon.
According to intelligence provided to the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog agency, the IAEA, Iran appears to have received crucial technical assistance from foreign experts, the Washington Post reported, citing Western diplomats and nuclear experts briefed on the findings by the IAEA.
The Israeli media has been rife with speculation that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is working to secure cabinet consensus for an attack on Iranian nuclear installations.
Fabricated terror plot provides pretext for intervention following Panetta’s October 3 Tel Aviv visit
Paul Joseph Watson
Wednesday, October 13, 2011
The Obama administration’s fabricated terror plot blamed on Iran represents the green light for an Israeli attack on Iran set to take place within the next two weeks, according to confidential military sources who spoke with Alex Jones.
Israel is concerned that major powers like Germany are moving closer to smoothing relations with Iran and allowing Iran to continue its nuclear enrichment program unimpeded. A two month window has been allocated during which Israel has the opportunity to launch a military assault, waiting until winter when the attack will be more difficult to pull off is not an option.
US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s October 3 Tel Aviv visit was used by Israeli hawks to convince the United States that it should green light the attack. Less than 10 days later, a fanciful terror plot involving a used car salesman was invented to implicate Iran and create the pretext for a military assault.
“In recent weeks, intense discussions have taken place in Israeli military and intelligence circles about whether or not to launch a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Apparently, the key question in the debate was how to ensure that the United States took part in the attack or, at the very least, intervened on Israel’s side if the initial strike triggered a wider war,” writes Patrick Seale of Gulf News.
That intervention has now been mandated by the announcement of the fabricated terror plot, which was actually concocted last month but only made public now.
While U.S. intelligence officials prepare to release claims about a “chain” of plots that will be blamed on Iran, Time Magazine reports that the Obama administration is preparing to use the accusations to take action beyond mere isolation tactics.
“If the Administration fails to win support for a significant escalation of sanctions or other forms of punishment for the Tehran regime after presenting evidence of the latest allegations of Iranian malfeasance, the ball will land back in Obama’s court,” writes Tony Karon. “Having made the case that Iran has crossed a red line, he will be under growing pressure to act — or risk entering a highly polarized election season haunted by a “soft on Iran” charge.”
With neo-cons rushing to support aggressive measures against Iran, Obama will now be given right cover to pursue yet another act of regime change. As we postulated back in February last year, Obama is being blackmailed into supporting an attack on Iran as the only way to save his presidency. We also speculated that an assassination attempt would be used as the pretext to implicate Iran.
Geopolitical experts have been consistent in their warnings that Israel was preparing to strike Iran this fall.
Back in July, 21-year CIA veteran Robert Baer told KPFK Los Angeles that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was planning an attack on Iran in September to coincide with the Palestine bid for UN membership.
Speaking with the Alex Jones Show today, former State Department official Steve Pieczenik, who has numerous inside intelligence sources having worked in several sensitive positions during the course of his career, also indicated that the terror plot was completely fabricated and that it would be used a pretext to justify a military strike against Iran.
Pieczenik also pointed out that Israel had recently taken delivery of a large amount of bunker buster missiles.
As we have documented, the alleged assassination plot against Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir, which is now being cited by everyone from John Kerry to John McCain as a justification for a potential military strike, is a complete fantasy.
Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer has revealed that an FBI insider with a high security clearance told him no records whatsoever detailing the plot existed within DOJ channels, clearly indicating the whole episode was manufactured.
It has also now emerged that the alleged “mastermind” behind the plot was a drunk pothead who liked to frequent with prostitutes and was described by those who know him as a “joke”.
Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer says that an FBI insider told him the dubious terror plot to assassinate a Saudi ambassador which has been blamed on Iran was likely manufactured by the Obama administration, because no information about the plot even exists within FBI channels.
The plot, an assassination attempt against Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States, Adel al-Jubeir, was pinned on an Iranian-American used-car salesman from Texas and subsequently linked by the Obama administration to a wider conspiracy controlled by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.
According to the administration, used car salesman Mansour J. Arbabsiar tried to hire assassins from a Mexican drug gang to carry out the murder, but the head of the drug gang turned out to be a DEA agent posing as a Mexican Los Zetas gangster. The story has all the hallmarks of classic FBI entrapment tactics that have characterized almost every major terror bust in recent times.
Having personally interrogated Iranians, Shaffer doubted the fact that members of the elite Quds Force would risk carrying out an assassination in the United States when it would be far easier to conduct such a plot in the middle east.
“It does not smell correctly,” Shaffer told Fox Business host Andrew Napolitano, adding that it was doubtful a successful used car salesman who has been part of the community for 15 years would suddenly become embroiled in an international assassination plot.
Asked by Napolitano if Arbabsiar was the victim of another FBI sting, Shaffer responded, “I think that’s part of it.”
“The FBI’s had a record lately and I did talk to one of my inside guys and he is saying he thinks the same thing, you know why, because he can’t find any real information and he’s got a clearance – so that tells him that there’s something going on that’s extraordinary by the fact that he’s an inside investigator, knows what’s going on and yet, I’m gonna quote here, ‘There’s nothing on this within the DOJ beyond what they’ve talked about publicly’ – which means to him that there’s something very wrong with it,” said Shaffer.
The military-industrial complex has long been searching for a pretext that could be used to justify military strikes against Iran.
In a 2009 report entitled “Which Path to Persia?”, the elitist Brookings Institution wrote, “It would be far more preferable if the United States could cite an Iranian provocation as justification for the airstrikes before launching them. Clearly, the more outrageous, the more deadly, and the more unprovoked the Iranian action, the better off the United States would be.”
The dubious plot has been instantly seized upon by the likes of Hillary Clinton and John Kerry to push for Iran to be further isolated by the international community. Kerry’s comments were perhaps the most bellicose, telling reporters yesterday, “I don’t think anything should be taken off the table at this point in time.”
It has also served as a useful distraction for Attorney General Eric Holder, who is currently under investigation for his role in the infamous Fast and Furious program, which saw the federal government deliver thousands of military-grade weapons to leaders of Mexican drug gangs.
“That the current “alleged” plot pinned on Iran revolves around yet another undercover federal agency conducting a long-term sting operation defies belief,” writes Tony Cartalucci. “That we are expected to believe one of Iran’s most elite military forces left such a sensitive, potentially war-starting operation to a used-car salesman and a drug gang reported in the papers daily for its involvement with US government agencies (and who turns out to actually be undercover DEA agents) is so ridiculous it can only be “made up” as Secretary Clinton puts it. More accurately, it is the result of an impotent US intelligence community incapable of contriving anything more convincing in the face of an ever awakening American public, to bolster its morally destitute agenda. The cartoonish nature of the plot and the arms’ length even its proponents treat it with to maintain plausible deniability is indicative of a dangerously out of control ruling elite and an utterly incompetent, criminally insane government.”