Bush to Go Public on Iran’s Secret Nuclear Arms Activities

President George W. Bush is developing a new strategy for tackling Iran’s determined pursuit of a nuclear weapons program. He sounded out French president Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on his new ideas when they came over separately for talks in the last few days.
He is also in rapport with Russian president Vladimir Putin through confidential channels.
debkafile‘s Washington sources report that the US president’s plan is to put before the public new findings on Iran’s nuclear secrets, drawn from data gathered by the United States, Russia, France, Germany and Israel, and use the publicity as a fulcrum to push hard for tough international sanctions.
The White House hopes thereby to compel Tehran to level on its military nuclear program, whose existence it has so far denied, and demonstrate the failure of the international nuclear watchdog’s director, Mohammed ElBaradei and his vast inspection organization, to uncover the underhand nuclear activities in progress in Iran and Syria. Washington hopes that once the real facts are in the open, Russia and China, which back ElBaradei, will endorse a third round of UN Security Council sanctions, tough enough to progressively place Iran under economic siege.
Monday, Nov. 12, Merkel hosted Sarkozy in Berlin to line up their positions in the light of their talks with the US president and a week before the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany convene ahead of a full council meeting on sanctions. Sarkozy is more fired up for harsh measures than Merkel. But even she admitted after meeting Bush at his Crawford ranch Saturday, Nov. 10, that failing diplomatic progress with Iran, “We need to think about further possible sanctions.”
Putin is the key to the imposition of multilateral sanctions and their effectiveness.
European companies, especially in Germany, fear that their economic boycott of trade with Iran will create a gap into which Russia and China will eagerly step. The failure of the Russian president’s talks in Tehran last month left him more amenable to an accommodation with Bush than before. His cooperation in the Bush strategy would leave China as the only standout.
The US president and his spokesmen have reiterated their commitment to pursuing diplomacy. On the other hand, declaring Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps al Qods Brigade a global terrorist group has placed the US military option squarely on the table, which all the European are anxious to avert.
They will have noticed that military tensions in the region are rising again. US naval, air and marine forces are again beginning to pile up around Iran’s Gulf shores, while Tehran threatens to unleash “wave upon wave” of suicide fighters against “aggressors.”
debkafile‘s military sources report that in recent months, the USS Enterprise was the only US nuclear carrier cruising Gulf waters with its strike force. On Nov. 5, a second nuclear carrier, the USS Harry S. Truman set out quietly from its Norfolk base for the Gulf with 7,500 sailors and marines aboard the carrier and its strike force. It will be followed by the USS Nimitz.
All three carrier groups are escorted by fast nuclear submarines, cruisers and missile destroyers.
Upon its arrival, the Enterprise will head out of the Gulf, unless is departure is delayed by significant security concerns in the Gulf or Middle East regions. It will leave behind the two US Marine carriers the USS Wasp and the USS Kearsage, with thousands of marines and landing craft on their decks.
According to our sources in Washington, the event which galvanized the US president into launching a new initiative on Iran was the Pakistan crisis. He calculated that, if Pervez Musharraf were to be overthrown, a new regime in Islamabad, whether or not it is Islamist, could well opt for close military and political ties with Tehran. The menace of a nuclear axis between Islamabad and Tehran must be prevented at all costs. Therefore, the pressure on Iran must be ratcheted up with all speed.
The rulers of Tehran are fully aware of the sense of urgency in the White House about curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions by exposure and crippling sanctions and, debkafile‘s Iran sources report, are preparing counter-measures.
On Nov. 6, Muhammad Ali Hosseini, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman was asked about the threat from the Revolutionary Guards Navy chief Gen. Ali Fadwi to deploy suicide fighters if needed was the official Tehran line. He replied: “Martyrdom is a holy phenomenon that is affirmed by the Islamic religion which regards defense against aggression as a duty. Thus martyrdom is also a valuable tool for deterring attacks.”
Even the relatively moderate Iranian political circles feel bound to show the flag.
On Nov. 4, the Iranian daily Aftab-e Yazd, which speaks for Tehran’s political “reformists” (president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s main opposition), quoted ex-members of Iran’s delegation to the IAEA on ElBaradei remark, which so enraged Washington, that he has found no evidence of Tehran developing nuclear weapons:
“Trust is another issue; one has to see how much Al-Baradi’i will stand by his remarks in the future,” said one official. “I think it is unlikely he will not change them if pressured. Overall, I take a positive view of Al-Baradi’I’s statements. I believe he is acting in the framework of his duties. If he did not make these positive or peaceful statements, he would open the way for an attack by the West and the Zionists.”
A second senior Iranian official added: “The Agency has a duty to examine a country’s past and present program. Even if a country shows it is deviating from the peaceful path, the agency is not tasked with taking punitive measures against that country, but must take a corrective measure.”
Therefore, even circles in Tehran which are relatively moderate compared with the rabid president deny anyone the right to punish Iran – even if it is proven to be running a secret military nuclear program – only corrective measures which must also be negotiated. To keep them cowed, the Iranian president Monday, Nov. 12, called critics of his country’s nuclear program “traitors” and vowed to expose “their collaboration with Iran’s enemies.”
debkafile‘s Tehran sources report a mounting groundswell of criticism for Iran’s nuclear program prompted Ahmadinejad’s denunciation.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email