Washington calls off planned diplomatic outpost in Tehran

Saturday, Oct. 4, the Bush administration indefinitely shelved its plans to set up a diplomatic outpost in Iran for the first time in three decades, following Iran’s refusal to discontinue uranium enrichment and come clean on its suspected weapons program. Rather than appearing to try and influence the US presidential race, it was therefore decided to leave the decision to President Bush’s successor.
debkafile‘s military sources disclose that another factor influencing the decision was fresh intelligence that Iran has gone back to pumping into Iraq Shiite combatants trained by Revolutionary Guards and Hizballah instructors. Several hundred have crossed over and some are posted in Baghdad’s Shiite districts.
Furthermore, the backdoor US-Iranian meetings to resolve the nuclear controversy have run aground. Tehran appears to have taken advantage of America’s financial crisis and weak moment to step up the momentum of its nuclear arms program. Iran has also been encouraged by North Korea’s reactivation of its nuclear reactor in defiance of US efforts to bring Pyongyang back in line.
In sum, the Bush administration’s diplomatic offensive for an accommodation with Iran on the nuclear dispute, Iraq and Lebanon, has foundered. For a time, Tehran was helpful; it reined in Shiite militia attacks in Iraq and shared intelligence on al Qaeda and other terrorists, while in Lebanon an understanding between them brought about the election of a president. Bush and the heads of his administration had hoped to bow out leaving a certain level stability behind them in these areas.
However in recent weeks, when the administration’s focus shifted to putting out financial fires and the onus of the war on terror moved from the Middle East to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Washington’s understandings with Tehran faded into the background of major events.
Israel has lost out on its strategic options twice: At the beginning of 2008, the Bush administration discarded its military option for dealing with Iran and leaned hard on Israel to refrain from a unilateral strike against its nuclear facilities. The Olmert government was advised to rely on international diplomacy and sanctions. This substitute option has also gone bankrupt leaving Israel high and dry with the prospect of an unstoppable nuclear-armed Iran.

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