Global Policy Forum




Iran's famous mosque in Isfahan
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As Iran's government weakened, foreign powers sought influence and control, beginning in the 19th century. A British-Russian agreement in 1907 divided the country into spheres of influence. The British, who controlled the south, discovered Iran's rich southern oil fields and exploited them through the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. Britain and Russia systematically opposed Iran's democratic and nationalist movements, undermining a liberal constitutional reform process and setting the stage for a tough military officer to seize the throne in 1926. In the early 1950s, amid rising nationalist and anti-British sentiment, Mohammed Mossadegh assumed the post of prime minister and nationalized Iran's oil industry. With some help from British intelligence, CIA operative Kermit Roosevelt overthrew Mossadegh in August of 1953, installing as ruler the exiled Shah, Reza Pahlavi.

Washington then forced the British to give US oil companies a major share in the Anglo-Persian concession. More than two decades followed under the Shah's authoritarian and pro-US rule. But in 1979, a massive grassroots revolution overthrew the Shah and ushered in an Islamic government under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. When militant Iranian students took over the US Embassy in Tehran that year, the US ended diplomatic relations, froze assets, and established a ban on US exports and investments. Washington has maintained a hostile posture ever since, including support for a war against Iran by Iraq's leader, Saddam Hussein.

The US has Oil and Economic Interests in Iran. Iran nationalized its oil industry in the early 1950s, but a CIA coup soon overthrew the democratic prime minister, Mohammed Mossadegh, installing instead the authoritarian pro-US Shah, Reza Pahlavi. Iranian oil remains a key issue today, long after the Shah was ousted by the Islamic revolution of 1989. Chinese and European companies have recently signed big oil contracts, while US companies dream of regime change. This section analyzes how oil and foreign intervention have always been closely interwoven.

In the 1990's, as Iran's revolutionary orthodoxy faded, the Islamic government improved relations with former Soviet republics and many European countries, as well as China and India. Oil and gas deals were struck with foreign firms. But relations between the US and Iran remained tense, US oil companies were excluded from the lucrative petro-deals, and the Bush administration named Iran as a member of the "axis of evil." More recently, the US has pushed for Nuclear Inspections and UN Sanctions Against Iran, based on claims that that Iran's nuclear program hides nuclear weapons development.

GPF Perspectives

Demystifying the Iran Crisis: Nuclear Weapons and Mad Mullahs? (November 13, 2007)

In their presentations to a Global Policy Forum fundraiser, Ervand Abrahamian and John Burroughs helped to demystify the Iran crisis. Abrahamian, a Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York who has written about Iranian political prisoners, is a critic of the Islamic government. And Burroughs. Executive Director of the Lawyers' Committee on Nuclear Policy, is an ardent campaigner against nuclear weapons. But both speakers focused primarily on the danger of US intervention, including air attacks, destabilization, and engineered regime change as well as the related, alarmist Western media coverage of the country. The speakers talked about a manufactured crisis, with false claims about Iran's threat to regional stability and world peace.



U.S. Sanctions 8 Iran Officials for Crackdown (September 29, 2010)

Washington has put eight Iranian officials on a blacklist for their role in the suppression of anti-government activists after the disputed Iranian election last year. Mohammad Ali Jafari- the most prominent name on the list -the commander of the guard corps - has already been selected by the United States for his involvement in the nuclear program. These sanctions precede United Nations, American and European penalties against Tehran for its nuclear program and form part of its pressure campaign. The Obama administration's latest sanctions are more symbolic rather than substantive however..(The New York Times)

Iran's Nuclear Crisis: Why ICC Ratification Could Help Ease Tensions and Avert War (August 17, 2010)

Tehran's ratification of the ICC as part of its nuclear negotiations undermines the argument for war against the country. The legal mandate of the Rome Statute would accord Iran the opportunity to clarify its nuclear intentions and present a clear disincentive for potential malfeasance and serious breaches of international law.(Huffington Post)


Top Things you Think You Know about Iran that are not True (October 1, 2009)

Does Iran represent a genuine nuclear threat? Does the stolen election of July 2009 justify harsher sanctions? Juan Cole discusses widely held beliefs on Iran built on shaky evidence and dispels the myths. He points to the fact that the opposition in Iran is against further sanctions, because ordinary people- rather than the authorities- would suffer. (Informed Comment)
On the 1st of October, Iran will be holding talks with the permanent members of the Security Council and Germany. Hardliners in the US have accused President Barack Obama of being overly lenient with Iran.  However Robert Dreyfuss argues that the previous administration's uncompromising and aggressive stance strengthened the hawks in Iran, while President Obama's conciliatory attitude confuses the hardliners and strengthens the reformists. (The Nation)

Built to Spill (August 20, 2009)

The US Congress is considering a new sanctions act to restrict refined petroleum imports into Iran and related investments there.  Yet embargoes tend to harm ordinary people and damage economies while strengthening authoritarian regimes, such an embargo would distort trade in the whole region. Additionally, the US would encounter practical difficulties enforcing the sanctions. (The National)


Preparing the Battlefield (July 7, 2008)

According to the New Yorker's Seymour Hersh, the Bush administration is seeking war with Iran even though it lacks a legitimate reason. In 2007 the US Congress dramatically increased funding for US covert operations in Iran. The Presidential Finding, a highly classified federal document , details the expanded scale of operations that aims to undermine Iran's nuclear ambitions and destabilize the regime. For example, the US funds an Iranian opposition group of Baluchi Sunni fundamentalists, even though this group has ties to al-Qaeda.



US Finds That Iran Halted Nuclear Arms Bid in 2003 (December 4, 2007)

A new report from the US intelligence community, a National Intelligence Estimate, concludes that Iran stopped working on its nuclear weapons program more than four years ago. Intelligence officials have been preparing the assessment for more than 18 months, to make sure they had the correct information. Democrats say the intelligence community has learned its lessons from the Iraq debacle since the report conflicts with the US administration's suspicions on Iran. (Washington Post)

The Iranian Challenge (November 19, 2007)

In this essay, Trita Parsi - an expert on US-Iran relations and the president of the National Iranian American Council - attributes much of the hostility between the US and Iran to the ill-informed foreign policy debate in the US. Parsi unmasks some of the misconceptions about Iran, concerning, for example, Tehran's policy towards Israel. He argues that strategic rivalry more than ideological enmity motivates the Iranian hostile rhetoric towards the country. (The Nation)

Towards Fresh Disaster in Iran (November 8, 2007)

Several US intelligence reports have continuously, over the last two decades, predicted that Iran is on the brink of possessing nuclear weapons, despite evidence that counteracts this claim. This Le Monde diplomatique article suggests that President George W. Bush might attack Iran to cover up his failures in Afghanistan and Iraq. Dani Ayalon, former Israeli ambassador to the US, supports the author's claim, stating that Bush, with his "determined nature" will attack Iran.

Coercive Diplomacy and War: The Vietnam Precedent (November 1, 2007)

This article argues that the US does not seek a œreal war with Iran, but that continuing threats of military intervention will make it difficult for the Bush administration to back down without looking really, really bad at home. The author draws parallels to the Vietnam war, arguing that the Lyndon Johnson administration "stumbled into full-scale war" after refusing to engage in genuine diplomatic negotiations with the North Vietnamese. (Huffington Post)

Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities (November 2007)

The US National Intelligence Council (NIC) assessed the status of Iran's nuclear program over the next 10 years. The report looks at Iran's nuclear motives and identifies what external and domestic factors affect Iran's decision to develop nuclear energy. In fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program in response to increasing international scrutiny and pressure. The NIC concludes that Iran is not technically capable of producing enough enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon before about 2015.

No Evidence Iran Building Nuclear Weapons: Mohamed ElBaradei (October 28, 2007)

Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the UN nuclear watchdog IAEA, says that there is no evidence Iran has nuclear material to make weapons. He warns against the US confrontational rhetoric and says that it would lead to a disaster? ElBaradei does not see military action as a solution but strongly recommends continuing negotiation and inspection. (Associated Press)

More Imperialist Excesses? (October 25, 2007)

Russia's President Vladimir Putin met with heads of states from Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Iran to discuss the future of the Caspian Sea area “one of the most oil-rich regions in the world". The leaders strongly condemned any outside aggression or interference in the area, signaling to the US not to expect cooperation from these countries, should the Bush administration launch an attack on Iran. (Granma International)

The Imperial Presidency (October 22, 2007)

Ralph Nader, lawyer, activist and four-time presidential candidate, speaks up against the Bush administration's dangerous rhetoric towards Iran and the possibility of World War III. Nader reminds us that it was the US that overthrew the popular prime minister in 1953 and installed the Shah; that the US ignored Iran's proposal for negotiations in 2003 and that Iran, in contrast to the US, has not invaded another country in 250 years. (

On the Eve of Destruction (October 22, 2007)

Former United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq Scott Ritter describes US President George Bush's rhetoric on Iran as dangerous and apocalyptic. According to Ritter, the president's talk of "World War III" and the fight 'between good and evil" could indicate that Washington is preparing for a military intervention in Iran. Ritter points out that Bush is surrounded by neoconservative policymakers who have long been pushing for an aggressive US foreign policy in the Middle East including attacking Iran. (CommonDreams)

Bush's World War Three (October 17, 2007)

US President George W. Bush has said that Iran and its nuclear program could cause a "World War Three"? Former Republican leader of the House Newt Gingrich has also used this term, saying that "we're in the early stages of what I would describe as the Third World War". This Global Research article warns that this rhetoric could serve as a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Q&A: Neocon Power Examined (October 4, 2007)

In this interview, journalist and neoconservative Max Boot speaks out about neocon power and its influence on the US government and the war in Iraq. He also promotes regime change in Iran, if necessary by force. He calls the neocon ideology a mix of Wilsonian idealism and Kissengerian Realpolitik which perceives the US as an "empire of liberty". (Christian Science Monitor)

The Best US Weapon Against Iran Is Diplomacy (September 26, 2007)

This article argues that the US should not have attacked Iraq in 2003, but pursued diplomacy and allowed the IAEA weapons inspectors to finish their job. The author says that the US should not repeat its approach with Iraq in its dealings with Iran and negotiations must go through the UN. The article emphasizes the fact that both Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei have denied any plans to develop nuclear weapons. Furthermore, the IAEA has not found evidence of nuclear weapons or any critical levels of enriched uranium in the country. (Newsday)

The Big Question: Is America Right to Demonise President Ahmadinejad of Iran? (September 26, 2007)

This Independent article follows some of the questions surrounding the Iranian President and his visit to New York. Such as why do the UN, newspapers, politicians and protesters unite to demonize Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Critics claim that Iran poses a nuclear threat to the West but the author warns that such demonizing will only strengthen the proponents of an attack against Iran and give the Iranian leader increased popularity at home.

Turning Ahmadinejad Into Public Enemy No. 1 (September 24, 2007)

As US mainstream media continues to vilify Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, this article presents some facts to counteract the accusations. The Iranian leader never attacked another country, he never advocated for killing Israeli civilians, and the Jewish population in Iran has representation in Parliament. This article says that the real reason that the Iranian President's visit in the US has gathered this kind of negative hype is because the influential neoconservatives have already decided to go to war against Iran. (ZNet)

Perseverance of Iranian Nation - A Speech by Ayatollah Khamenei (September 14, 2007)

This is the text of Ayatollah Khamenei's speech to the fasting public in Tehran. The spiritual leader of Iran talks about how the US and its allies blame Iran for everything that goes wrong in Iraq. He says that the US uses this to build a case against Iran in the eyes of the UN and the Western world, by demonizing the Iranian people and leaders. Khamenei says that if Iran is attacked it will strike back. (The Office of the Supreme Leader Sayyid Ali Khamenei)

War Against Iran and the Logic of Dominance (September 13, 2007)

Neoconservative Tom Donelly launched a book stating that the Bush administration has undisclosed plans for bringing democracy to the countries in the Middle East. Donelly believes that the US labels Iran as a menace in order to justify a possible attack on Iran. A strong nuclear Iran competes with the US supremacy in the region. (Huffington Post)

An Intensifying US Campaign Against Iran (August 24, 2007)

US policymakers claim that Iran supports "terrorist training" in Iraq. This article shows that in the 1990s, the US made similar allegations, saying that Iran was involved in Somalia and the gassing of Kurds in Iraq. The allegations then created strong anti-Iranian sentiments in the West, as they do today. Trita Parsi, head of the National Iranian American Council, suggests that US accusations could be a prelude to war against Iran. (Christian Science Monitor)

US Weighing Terrorist Label for Iran Guards (August 15, 2007)

The US government may label Iran's Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. This would place a sovereign country 's armed forces onto the US terrorist list for the first time. This article argues that this designation aims to increase pressure on members of the Security Council to intensify economic sanctions against Iran. If imposed, the labeling would increase political and psychological pressure on Iran , further isolating Tehran from foreign governments and financial institutions.(New York Times)

How to Get Real Regime Change in Iran (August 10, 2007)

Though Washington calls for democratization and an end to repression in Iran, it has a history of supporting undemocratic and repressive rulers like Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who allowed foreign control of Iranian oil. This Asia Times article argues that the US cannot and should not try to execute regime change in Iran. The author claims that the best way for democratization to take place is through a monviolent civil insurrection.

US Blame Game Puts More Pressure on Iran (July 4, 2007)

A US military spokesman accused Iran's Revolutionary Guards of collaborating with Hezbollah to aid militant Shiites in Iraq. This Asia Times article argues that such charges will discourage Iran from engaging with the US. Many Iranian political analysts claim that the Bush administration has used contradictory policies toward Iran, calling for peaceful dialogue while also ratcheting up the accusations,some of which are questionable. This author argues that the administration may be moving toward an attack on Iran, which would devastate not only Iran but also the Middle East as a whole.

US-Iran Policy Dynamics (June 8, 2007)

This Khaleej Times article argues that much of the public discussion in the US concerning the war in Iraq and Iran's nuclear development, relies on the tacit premise that the US owns the world. Author Noam Chomsky points out that very few in Congress, media and among the presidential candidates discuss whether the US even has the right to invade and destroy a foreign country. All agreeing that this right is a given, they focus their discussion on whether an intervention will work, and if it will cost too much.

The Fire Next Time (May 24, 2007)

This openDemocracy article argues that Washington's escalating interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan are causing tension with Iran that could lead to military confrontation. The media and US administration issue overstated claims about Iranian interference in Iraq that further the US public's distrust of Iran. US President George W. Bush has approved acovert operations against Iranian financial interests while his administration continues to increase its number of troops and hold more detainees in the Middle East.

Bush Authorizes New Covert Action Against Iran (May 22, 2007)

This ABC News Blotter report cites anonymous intelligence officials who say that the CIA plans to initiate a non-lethal “covert ‘black’ operation to destabilize the Iranian government.� The Bush administration, particularly Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams, has approved the CIA’s plans, which were apparently designed to deter Iran’s nuclear enrichment program and end aid to insurgents in Iraq. Abrams has been involved in the past in attempts to destabilize other governments, notably those in Central America.

Neo-Cons Driving Iran Divestment (May 11, 2007)

The Center for Security Policy and other neo-conservative actors are pushing US investors to divest their holdings from foreign companies that conduct business with Iran, in an effort to bring down the Iranian regime. Furthermore, supporters of the US divestment from Iran make it clear that the military option should not be tossed, perhaps just saved for a later date. (Inter Press Service)

US Carrier Armada Aims at Iran (May 9, 2007)

This TomDispatch article highlights continuing tensions between the US and Iran over the latter’s nuclear program, marked by the deployment of a third US aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf. The author argues that since Washington’s “diplomatic endeavors� to end the stalemate are feeble at best, US President George W. Bush is waiting for the moment when he can declare that diplomacy has failed and launch an attack.

Bush's Arc of Instability (April 10, 2007)

Bush administration attempts to bring down “rogue� regimes have failed, argues this TomDispatch article. After launching the “war on terrorism� US officials decided to target governments that makeup a so-called “arc of instability� – an area that ranges from North Africa through Central Asia. The author claims that Washington sought uninterrupted access to these countries’ energy resources, but instead of “stabilizing� nations within this arc, US actions have made the region more volatile.

US Protects Iranian Opposition Group in Iraq (April 6, 2007)

US Coalition forces are protecting Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK), an Iranian opposition group based in Iraq considered as a terrorist group by the US State Department. The MEK serves US political interests as it opposes the Iranian government and claims to have valuable knowledge of Iran’s nuclear program. Although MEK denies being a terrorist group, the Iraqi government accuses it of perpetrating terrorist attacks. Iraq's National Security Minister Shirwan al-Wa'eli wants the organization to leave the country, but MEK is protected by the US troops and Geneva Conventions. (CNN)

The Botched US Raid that Led to the Hostage Crisis (April 3, 2007)

The Independent claims that a January 2007 US raid on an Iranian liaison office in Iraqi Kurdistan – during which several purported Iranian “intelligence agents� were detained – led Tehran to retaliate by arresting British navy personnel. The author further argues that other hostile US actions – such as backing Iranian Kurdish guerrillas inside Iran – have only fuelled the tense relations between Tehran and Western governments.

Unwise Brinkmanship in Iran (March 29, 2007)

This piece authored by the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity highlights the tensions between Western governments and Tehran over the arrest of British navy personnel by Iranian authorities. The authors express fears that the crisis might give the US the “casus belli� it needs to justify launching air and missile strikes on Iran. (TomPaine)

War is Not the Answer to Iran Puzzle (March 26, 2007)

South Africa warns of the dangers in using force against Iran. Whilst recognizing the need “to impose coercive measures such as sanctions� regarding nuclear disarmament, South Africa believes that such measures should only be a means to political dialogue to achieve a peaceful solution. South Africa proposed amendments to Resolution 1747 aiming to establish confidence in the nuclear program of Iran and these were eventually accepted by the major powers. However the main proposal to suspend measures against Iran for 90 days to give negotiations a chance was rejected by all other Security Council members. (The Star)

US Looks to Sell Arms in Gulf to Try to Contain Iran (March 21, 2007)

This Boston Globe article highlights the decision by the Bush administration to seek Congressional approval to sell arms to US allies in the Persian Gulf. The author argues that Washington hopes that the arms sales will counter the “growing threat� posed by Iran in the Middle East, however, further military buildup in the already tense region has the potential to push Iran and the US into a confrontation.

Lebanon Will Be First Victim of Iran Crisis (February 21, 2007)

The Independent reports that Lebanon, caught in conflicts and proxy conflicts involving the US, Israel, Syria and Iran, will continue to suffer. Israel and Hizbollah seem likely to fight again in Lebanon, Hizbollah has increased its pressure on the Lebanese government to resign, and the US and Israel have sent warnings to Iran concerning its nuclear ambitions. Lebanese army commander General Michel Sulieman blames Lebanon's politicians for not creating the unity which might resolve its problems.

UN Calls US Data on Iran's Nuclear Aims Unreliable (February 25, 2007)

Top officials at the International Atomic Energy Agency have stated that data provided by US intelligence agencies about Iran’s nuclear program has been inaccurate and unreliable. This Los Angeles Times article argues that the Bush administration – desperate to prove that Tehran is the next regional threat – has made numerous other claims about “hostile� Iranian activities, which include supplying weapons to Iraqi insurgents.

The Neo-Con Dog That Isn't Barking (February 16, 2007)

This Inter Press Service article argues that compared to the lead up to the 2003 US-led invasion, neo conservative media is disseminating surprisingly little pro-war propaganda concerning Iran. The author argues that this might signal that the Bush administration is not planning to attack Iran in the near future and will continue to use diplomacy to convince Tehran to abandon its nuclear program.

Iran Deal Clouds Free Trade Plans With US (February 7, 2007)

The Bush administration has put a free trade deal with Malaysia on hold after Kuala Lumpur signed an energy agreement with Iran. This Inter Press Service article argues that the US – desperate to isolate Iran over its nuclear program – is attempting to pressure the Malaysian government to abandon its deal with Iran. However, Malaysian Trade and Industry Minister Rafidah Aziz stated in response that the free trade negotiations will not be “held hostage to any political demand.�

Europe Resisting US Pressure on Iran (January 30, 2007)

Washington’s calls for European governments to take a harder line towards Tehran over its nuclear program has the potential to “open a new rift� between Europe and the US. However, European leaders claim that extensive economic ties with Iran as well as domestic legal prohibitions make it difficult to impose restrictions with the severity the Bush administration desires. (International Herald Tribune)

The New Saddam (January 25, 2007)

This TomPaine article argues that as US-Iranian tensions escalate, Bush administration officials attempt to get the support of “moderate mainstream� countries in the region, what this author refers to as the “Sunni Arab-Dominated Dictatorships Against the Mullahs (SADDAM).� The author concludes that US President George W. Bush’s plan to create a network of Arab countries which support US regional goals will only increase discrimination against Shiites in SADDAM nations.

Scant Evidence Found of Iran-Iraq Arms Link (January 23, 2007)

This Los Angeles Times article argues that although both Washington and London have alleged Iran is meddling in the internal affairs of Iraq  by providing weapons to and funding Shiite militias – there is little supporting evidence. Such a dearth of evidence could spell trouble for the Bush administration which feverishly tries to build a case for war with Iran.

Democracy Languishes, But Neo-Con Strategy Lives (January 19, 2007)

This Inter Press Service article argues that the Middle East strategy presented to the Bush administration by “The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) a neo-conservative think tank remains “very much alive. The author states that the Bush administration's interest in eliminating Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hezbollah the remaining hostile players in the original plan demonstrates that PNAC's vision for the future continues to dictate US foreign policy.

Preparing Us for War with Iran (January 17, 2007)

This CommonDreams article discusses how the use of a definite article such as the impacts people's presumption on the validity of statements. The author argues that US President George W. Bush and other high-ranking officials often use the when attempting to justify contentious issues such as the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq or making the case that Iran's nuclear enrichment program poses a threat to the US. The article concludes that the US media fails to critically analyze such statements and instead disseminates them carelessly for mass consumption ultimately assisting officials validate their argument.

Planned Attack on Iran: Bush Will Expand War Before Blair Resigns (January 16, 2007)

This Global Research article reports that US President George W. Bush aims to invade Iran before his counterpart, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, leaves office in mid to late 2007. The author argues that since London has been a staunch ally in the US-led war on terrorism, the Bush administration believes it will at the very least have British support for its planned attack.

Venezuela and Iran Put Up £1 Billion 'To Free Nations from US Imperial Yoke' (January 15, 2007)

The governments of Venezuela and Iran plan to jointly set up an investment fund worth around US$2 billion that will help developing countries liberate themselves from US imperialism, reports this piece in the Scotsman. The author cites Tehran's eagerness to end the international isolation it has faced over its nuclear enrichment program as a major reason for the creation of this fund.

Bush's Iraq Plan - Goading Iran into War (January 12, 2007)

The Bush administration is attempting to provoke Iran into a war through tactics such as raiding Iranian consular offices in Iraq and arresting Iranian staffers, argues this Inter Press Service article. The author claims that US President George W. Bush wants Tehran to make the first move in escalating the conflict so his administration can get US Congressional approval to launch a defensive counter strike instead of trying to make the case for another pre-emptive attack.

CIA Gets the Go-Ahead to Take on Hezbollah (January 10, 2007)

This article from the Telegraph reports that US President George W. Bush has authorized the US Central Intelligence Agency to covertly counter the political organization Hezbollah in Lebanon by supporting the party aligned with Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. The author argues that the Bush administration has decided to engage the CIA to help combat the group as part of Washington’s escalating dispute with Iran – a primary sponsor of Hezbollah activities.


US Considers Naval Build-up as Warning to Iran (December 20, 2006)

The commander of US forces in Iraq, General John Abizaid, proposed that the Bush administration deploy another aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf to send a warning to Iran to discontinue its nuclear program. This Guardian article argues that by adopting a more confrontational position toward Iran the Bush administration desires to strengthen US military presence in the Middle East to protect its interests. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan stated that military intervention in Iran would be “unwise and disastrous.

Catalyst for Iranian Resistance (December 18, 2006)

Washington has openly funded a variety of Iranian and US organizations through the US-based National Endowment for Democracy (NED). These organizations provide "leadership training" to Iranian groups opposed to the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. This ZNet article argues that the US media has largely ignored the Bush administration’s interference in Iranian affairs despite the fact that NED openly admits to its “democratic� interventions in Iran.

Annals of National Security: The Next Act (November 20, 2006)

This article in the New Yorker argues that officials in the Bush administration, determined to attack Iran, have faced complications in achieving their goal. US Vice President Dick Cheney demonstrated such determination when in a national security meeting in the lead up to the 2006 US-midterm elections he stated that the administration would not allow a Democratic-controlled US Congress stop its plans to attack. The article argues that the Central Intelligence Agency made it harder for the administration to justify the use of force against Iran, when in fall 2006 it released an analysis which “found no conclusive evidence of a secret Iranian nuclear-weapons program.

Incoherence Stymies US's Iran Policy (November 16, 2006)

This Asia Times article details the obstacles that hinder the development of a clear US policy toward Iran and its uranium enrichment program. The US seems caught between its support for Israel, which fiercely opposes support an Iran with the capability to make nuclear weapons, and its desire to solicit Iran's help to put an end to the violence in Iraq, which many speculate the US-commissioned Iraq Study Group will advise. The author argues that current US policy calling for the “international isolation of Iran has left the US increasingly isolated on the world stage as the majority of its traditional European allies, including the UK, have called for engagement with Iran and Syria to help alleviate the conflict in Iraq.

Bush's Failed Liberation Theology (November 14, 2006)

Military interventions do not “achieve empowering ends for people living under oppressive regimes, argues this TomPaine article. Following the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the United States claimed to have liberated the people and increased women's rights, which were largely repressed under the previous authoritarian regimes. However, women have not seen these newfound freedoms materialize and remain deprived of economic opportunities and education. The author concludes that a US military intervention in Iran would reverse the gains women have made in recent years, such as winning seats in Parliament, and instead provide Tehran with a reason to suppress reform as a way to unite the country against the enemy.

The US Campaign to 'Persuade' Iran (November 3, 2006)

This Asia Times article argues that the US remains focused on ending the Iranian nuclear enrichment program because it fears that a nuclear Iran would further destabilize the Middle East and pose a threat to Israel. In response to this perceived threat, the US has increased its military presence in the region, by strengthening its security relationship with Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states and conducting naval exercises off the coast of Iran as a way to deter the country from continuing its “aggressive nuclear policy. The author concludes that the Iranians use their own form of subtle diplomacy to achieve a regional consensus on their nuclear program and to counter US actions in the Middle East.

North Korea Eases the Heat on Iran - For Now (October 11, 2006)

North Korea's nuclear test, reportedly conducted on October 9, 2006, deflects international scrutiny from the Iranian government's nuclear ambitions. This Asia Times article claims that the UN Security Council will not consider any resolution sanctioning Iran's actions when the North Korean regime, as the article argues, engages in blatant acts of provocation. Additionally, the US may increase its military presence in East Asia and decrease US forces in the Persian Gulf. The article concludes that the situation created by North Korea will cause a rift among Iranian politicians - hardliners see it as an opportunity to further Iran's nuclear program while moderates see the increased national security risks and push for the cessation of nuclear activities.

The March to War (October 1, 2006)

This Global Research report details the deployment of US naval ships to the Persian Gulf, arguing that Washington is preparing for attacks on Iran. Additionally, the author points out that the naval buildup in the Eastern Mediterranean under the auspices of NATO and the US support of Israel against Lebanon signal US attempts to expand the war in Iraq to encompass a large swath of the Middle East. The article concludes that the US aims to take down “hostile� regimes with these strategies and install pro-Western governments to ensure an uninterrupted flow of Middle Eastern oil.

Why Pakistan Gets a Nuclear Pass (September 22, 2006)

This In These Times article highlights the contradictions in the US relationships with Iran and Pakistan. While Iran has drawn strong criticism from the US for its nuclear weapons program, Pakistan has encountered no such opposition from Washington despite sharing nuclear technology with US-deemed rogue states. The article states that Pakistan has enjoyed special treatment because President Pervez Musharraf supports US activities in Afghanistan and refrains from challenging US imperial ambitions.

War Signals? (September 21, 2006)

Reports of an impending war with Iran circulate around Washington as the US Navy deploys aircraft carriers and ships with harbor mining capabilities to the Persian Gulf. Analysts disagree on whether or not the Bush administration actually contemplates expanding the war in the Middle East. The administration would encounter immense opposition from all sectors including US military officials. The possibility of an attack prior to the November 2006 US midterm elections has prompted many to speculate that the Bush administration might use war to retain a party majority in the US congress. (The Nation)

BBC World Service Poll Shows Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions Cause Concern (September 20, 2006)

This World Public Opinion article presents figures from a poll conducted by GlobeScan and the Program on International Policy Attitudes. The poll shows that overall world opinion would rather see the Iranian nuclear issue resolved diplomatically instead of militarily. Moreover, the poll illustrates that the majority of people wish the UN would take on a larger role in preventing countries from obtaining and developing nuclear technology, which demonstrates a faith in the UN to effectively manage and control nuclear conflicts.

The End of the "Summer of Diplomacy"? (September 18, 2006)

According to this report by the Century Foundation, US neo-conservative policy-makers see military intervention as the only option to resolve the Iranian nuclear crisis. The report details likely actions the US would take in a lead-up to military attacks on Iran, possible targets for US air strikes and the potential responses of the Iranians. The report concludes that the US will not achieve its goals of halting the Iranian nuclear program or implementing regime change by using force and the only way to resolve the crisis is to "make diplomacy work"?

UN Inspectors Dispute Iran Report by House Panel (September 14, 2006)

A congressional report, authored by a neo-con staffer claims that Iran has greater nuclear capabilities than what the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) maintains. Prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the US similarly claimed that Iraq had mass destruction weapons capacity, claims which later proved false. The report also alleges the IAEA director actively concealed information about Iranian nuclear activities. The IAEA, in response, sent a letter detailing the inaccuracies of the congressional report. (Washington Post)

Iran: No Guarantees (August 29, 2006)

The Bush administration wanted multilateral negotiations with Iran to fail since their inception, according to this Right Web article. US refusal to provide Iran with security assurances, despite repeated appeals from other governments involved in the talks, ultimately caused their failure. This refusal came as Iran, abandoning some of its previous rhetoric, was expressing a greater willingness to compromise. The article concludes that the US is now free to take whatever action it deems necessary to stop the perceived Iranian threat.

Watching Lebanon (August 14, 2006)

Israeli military strategists met with US military officials including US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney in early summer 2006 “to get a green light in the bombing operation� in Lebanon. Such meetings, which took place in Washington, suggest that the US had a vested interest in the premeditated July 2006 attack. A US government consultant said that Lebanon “would be a demo for Iran.� This New Yorker article cites the delayed US call for cease-fire as further evidence of Washington’s stake in the conflict

How the US Fired Jack Straw (August 7, 2006)

The US may have influenced UK Prime Minister Tony Blair’s decision to dismiss his foreign secretary in May 2006. Reports from Washington indicate that the Pentagon pressured Blair to release UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw after the secretary spoke out against bombing Iran. The article concludes that replacing the “experienced� and “moderate� foreign secretary with the “embarrassingly inexperienced� Margaret Beckett strengthens arguments regarding such interference. (Times, London)

The Iran Issue: Backgrounder (June 2006)

This Focus on Trade article provides a background on Iran’s nuclear capacity. Iran is permitted to enrich uranium for energy purposes under the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty and would be five to ten years from developing nuclear weapon capabilities. Even so, the US seeks military action against Iran, claiming that the country poses a security threat. Such course of action would blatantly violate international law. This article also points out that a military attack could spur Iran to block 70 percent of the world’s oil.

Iran Proposal to US Offered Peace with Israel (May 24, 2006)

In 2003, Iran sent a proposal to the United States via the Swiss Embassy asking for official recognition and a lift of US embargos. In exchange, Iran would deny support to armed and terrorist groups in the region, comply with the International Atomic Energy Agency, and officially recognize Israel. The proposal could have promoted better relations between Iran and Israel as well as between Iran and the US. But, the Bush administration never issued a response to the proposal. (Inter Press Service)

US Moves to Weaken Iran (May 19, 2006)

This Los Angeles Times article discusses the US appeal for regime change in Iran. US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice requested US$ 75 million in additional funding for the new State Department office that backs dissidents and strengthens ties with Iranian exiles. Though diplomats, rather than military officials allegedly determine the US stance on Iran, the position is frighteningly similar to 2003 just before the war in Iraq.

This High-Octane Rocket-Rattling against Tehran Is Unlikely to Succeed (May 3, 2006)

“Why has Washington manufactured this crisis?,� asks Tariq Ali. He denounces the hypocrisy of the US, UK, France and Israel - nuclear states themselves - for making a casus belli against Iran for a “scarcely unreasonable� atomic program. Looking at history, Tehran has every reason to fear an intervention. Western pressure has all but helped resolve the nuclear question. On the contrary, it accelerated the confrontational stance the clerical state has adopted. (Guardian)

The Intelligence War over Iran (May 1, 2006)

Prominent members of the Bush administration have started voicing their opposition against raising tensions with Iran. John Negroponte, Director of National Intelligence, has stated that Iran is still a long way from having the capacity to manufacture sufficient fissile material for a nuclear weapon. This is “splashing cold water on the fevered assessment of Iran's nuclear progress favored by the neoconservatives.� Leading Neocons have attacked Negroponte for that statement. (TomPaine)

What We Know About Iran (April 25, 2006)

Despite the hysterical debate about Iran's nuclear program, evidence doesn't support the claim that Iran poses any imminent threat. According to this TomPaine article, it will take many years to expand the 164 centrifuges currently in use to about 50,000 needed for producing a nuclear bomb. US intelligence on the program is sketchy and “unreliable. The repercussions of an attack on Iran would be disastrous and the regime in Tehran would gain by the nationalist sentiment an attack would entail.

Tehran Insider Tells Of US Black Ops (April 25, 2006)

According to this Asia Times article, the US already conducts covert operations in Iran to destabilize the regime. Observers believe that drawing on Iran's ethnic heterogeneity, the US is using Kurdish, Arab and Balochi minorities to stir unrest. In April 2006, Iran claimed to have shot down a US unmanned surveillance drone. And in January 2006, a plane carrying senior Iranian generals, crashed close to the Iraqi border, supposedly brought down by electronic jamming. The situation could dangerously escalate, as Tehran will not idly accept “these breaches of sovereignty.

Been There, Done That (April 23, 2006)

Former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski argues in this Los Angeles Times article that a military attack on Iran would be “damaging to long-term US national interests and cites reasons why. There is no legal backing for such a unilateral attack. Reactions by Tehran would seriously complicate the US occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. The price of crude would rise dramatically. Finally, the US would become an even more likely target for terrorists. Zbigniew concludes that a sense of a religiously inspired mission� should not guide the US.

Iran: Don't Do It (April 20, 2006)

This TomDispatch article gives very cogent reasons why attacking Iran would be insane. Military airstrikes would only lead to an acceleration of Iran's nuclear program and a full-blown invasion is just unthinkable, regarding how stretched already the US forces are in Iraq. Iran has so far not violated international law - the Non-Proliferation Treaty - which makes finding a pretext for war hard for Washington. Finally, the often-cited danger that Tehran will launch a nuclear strike on Israel seems highly unrealistic, because it would amount to committing national suicide.

Britain Took Part in Mock Iran Invasion (April 15, 2006)

Despite rhetoric by both Washington and London, the two long-standing allies seem to prepare attacking Iran. Two years ago, the US and the UK jointly conducted a war game codenamed Hotspur 2004.The planners said the scenario was a fictitious Middle East country called Korona, however the border corresponded exactly with Iran's and the characteristics of the enemy were Iranian. This is one article in a recent stream of articles showing how the US and the UK get ready to invade Iran. (Guardian)

The Iran Plans (April 14, 2006)

Journalist Seymour Hersh argues in this New Yorker article that the Bush administration is secretly preparing to wage war on Iran with covert operations already taking place inside the country. The US even considers using tactical nuclear weapons, so called "bunker busters" to reach facilities located deep beneath the surface. Beyond the destruction of Tehran's nuclear program, Washington seems to be particularly keen on imposing a regime change to oust the Iranian leadership. Some people inside the administration and the Pentagon criticize these plans, believing an attack on Iran would cause grave repercussions in the Middle East and internationally.

To Battle Stations! To Battle Stations! (April 13, 2006)

This Inter Press Service article gives a good overview of the intensified efforts by neo-conservative authors, publications and think-tanks to promote military strikes against Iran. The Project for the New American Century, the American Enterprise Institute, and their affiliated authors such as William Kristol and Michael Ledeen openly call for an invasion of Iran to force a regime change in Tehran.

Analysts Say a Nuclear Iran Is Years Away (April 13, 2006)

Despite Iran's announcement that it had enriched Uranium to levels that could fuel a nuclear reactor, experts claim it will take Tehran many more years to actually construct an atomic bomb. Nevertheless, various countries, including China and Russia, have criticized Tehran for escalating the tensions that already exist between Iran and the US. Such provocative actions might in fact play into the hands of some members of the Bush administration, who seek confrontation. (New York Times)

An Iranian Missile Crisis? (April 12, 2006)

This Washington Post Op-Ed compares the current confrontation between the US and Iran over Tehran's nuclear activities with the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Washington will not tolerate a nuclear-armed Iran and Tehran believes that only by acquiring nuclear capabilities can it deter a US intervention. The Op-Ed quotes Former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski saying that if the US attacks Iran “we will lose our position in the world.�

Government in Secret Talks about Strike Against Iran (April 2, 2006)

The British Government is secretly discussing US-led air strikes against Iran. According to this Telegraph article, some members of the government believe that “an attack [by the US and/or Israel] is now all but inevitable, if Tehran continues to pursue its enrichment program. Such attacks would have grave repercussions in the whole Middle East and beyond.

"Cabal" Blocked 2003 Nuclear Talks with Iran (March 28, 2006)

This Inter Press Service argues that in 2003 the Bush administration has deliberately avoided negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program. Tehran sought consultations and even offered to provide the names of the al-Qaeda operatives it had detained. Washington refused this offer, because a “secret cabal of neoconservatives wanted to push for regime change in Tehran.

Washington Seeks to Bully UN Security Council over Iran (March 15, 2006)

The Security Council is under intense pressure from the US to adopt a statement that will allow aggressive action against Iran. In language that recalls the period before the US invasion of Iraq, US Ambassador John Bolton warned that Washington's patience was running out and that the negotiating process was not indefinite. Bolton also questioned the legitimacy and authority of the world body, declaring that “if the Security Council cannot deal with the greatest threat we have with a country like Iran, you have a real question of what it can deal with. (World Socialist)

Iran: Where Do We Go From Here? (March 14, 2006)

Why did the US take the case of Iran's nuclear program to the Security Council if Washington knew that the five veto-holding powers would not reach consensus on sanctions against Tehran? According to this Uruknet article, the Bush administration's intention was to increase suspicion about Iran's nuclear program and mobilize public support for a war. The author warns that if the Security Council issues a presidential statement accusing Iran of developing a nuclear weapons program even though there is no evidence of such program according to the IAEA it will only strengthen Washington's plans to attack Iran. Instead, the Council should take positive steps to diffuse the crisis, starting by supporting Iran's rights under the Non Proliferation Treaty to enrich uranium under the strict supervision of the IAEA.

US Envoy Hints at Strike to Stop Iran (March 6, 2006)

This Guardian article reports that US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton has openly voiced the possibility of a military strike against Iran. Bolton was quoted as having said to British members of Parliament that you only have to take out one part of their (Iran's) nuclear operation to take the whole thing down." Most other observers, including the CIA, remain skeptical about a military solution.

How Neo-Cons Sabotaged Iran's Help on al Qaeda (February 21, 2006)

The US and Iran were on a course to cooperate in the fight against al Qaeda and its Taliban sponsors in Afghanistan in late 2001 and early 2002. However, neocon members of the Bush administration disrupted that cooperation, because they wanted to include Iran in the Axis of Evil. This Inter Press Service article draws on sources from the State Department and the National Security Council.

Funding Regime Change (February 18, 2006)

This Asia Times article claims that the Bush Administration's US$ 75 million plan to undermine the regime in Tehran will only have limited effects. The US has antagonized the target of this initiative the Iranian civil society with its aggressive foreign policy. Iranians still remember that the US tried several times before to topple the Iranian leadership with covert operations.

WWIII or Bust: Implications of a US Attack on Iran (February 18, 2006)

This article argues that the US actively seeks confrontation with Iran, using the alleged Iranian nuclear threat as a pretext. The real reasons are economic - the US wants to secure the vast fossil energy reserves. The US also seeks to safeguard the dollar as Iran plans to allow oil trading in euros in March 2006. (Common Dreams)

Rice Seeks $75 Million to Spur Democracy Drive in Iran (February 16, 2006)

On top of US$10million already allocated in Iran for 2006, the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice requested US$75 million extra to expand Washington's media influence in the country. Allocating these funds to broadcast US radio and TV programs, Rice argues that the media campaign will inspire Iranian citizens to pursue “freedom and democracy. Although Rice's request attracted criticism from the Democratic and Republican party, she stated that the US will actively confront the aggressive policies of Tehran. (Daily Star-Lebanon)

US Instigated Iran's Nuclear Policy in the '70s (February 14, 2006)

The Bush administration opposes Iran's nuclear enrichment program even though Washington started Tehran's nuclear development in the 1970s. After the oil crisis in 1972, Washington pursued investment opportunities in Iran, including selling Tehran nuclear plants and offering a full nuclear cycle. This Providence Journal article questions US motives behind a possible military action against Iran 30 years after having developed its nuclear facilities with great enthusiasm.

Juggernaut Gathering Momentum, Headed for Iran (February 6, 2006)

This truthout article shows how Washington tries to prepare the US public for a war with Iran by constantly repeating how dangerous the country is. In support for this claim, the US is even manipulating pieces of intelligence or only using the intelligence deemed supportive. In addition, the article exposes how key figures from the Bush administration offered Iran a deal for nuclear facilities in the 1970s, jumpstarting Iran's nuclear research.

US Tries to Pressure Iran with Attack Stories (January 25, 2006)

This Washington Post article argues that while “all options [against Iran] are on the table, the Bush administration focuses on covert commando operations to sabotage Iranian nuclear facilities. In addition, Washington sends high-level officials from the Central Intelligence Agency to Turkey and arranges sensational reports in the Turkish and German press to increase pressure on Tehran. Such leaks about a possible military action against Iran aim at forcing the country to make concessions over its nuclear enrichment program.

And Now Iran (January 23, 2006)

Neoconservative William Kristol argues in this Weekly Standard article that the US should be willing to use military force to “halt the nuclear program of the Iranian regime. Kristol criticizes European countries for being generally hesitant and wishful in dealing with Iran.

Who's Afraid of Big, Bad Iran? (January 18, 2006)

The US is selective when it comes to condemning countries for violating the nuclear non-proliferation policy, Philip Bowring argues in this International Herald Tribune commentary. On the one hand, Washington aligns with nuclear countries such as Israel, Pakistan and India. On the other hand, the US condemns Iran's resumption of nuclear activities, calling it a grand threat to the Middle East and the world. By bullying Iran, the US may shoot itself in the foot and give Tehran the incentive to develop nuclear technology.


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