Meditation Focus #148

Choosing Peace, Radiating Love, Being Harmony


What follows is the 148th Meditation Focus suggested for the next 3 (THREE) weeks beginning Sunday, March 12, 2006.


1. Summary
2. Meditation times
3. More information related to this Meditation Focus


Please note also the following

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As our planetary field of experience inexorably approaches its shifting point into a higher octave of spiritual evolution in less than 6 years from now and as the stakes are getting ever higher with the entrenched resistance of darkly inclined souls and the accelerating erosion of Life on Earth, spiritual experiencers are now faced with an imminent Moment of Choice at which point their long-term future evolutionary prospects will be determined, based on their every day choices. Either each individual soul decides to wholeheartedly pursue the Lighted Pathway towards ever higher spiritual illuminations, or desists from the opportunity to ascend on this higher path and is left with the unappetizing option to continue threading its way through another very long cycle of slow maturation into experiential conditions on other spheres of Life where opportunities for fast advancement will be minimal, at best, and the intensity of trials will submit their spiritual mettle to the ultimate test of endurance.

The context through which this fulcrum pivotal Moment of Choice is taking place is marked with the potential for increased violence and large scale warfare which a dark cabal of elite interests is trying to get underway despite the risks of setting off a large-scale conflagration and creating a very destabilizing environment that could only further precipitate their own downfall. Although such scenarios appear dauntingly threatening, none of them will actually come to pass in the way this cabal would hope it all to be, because the level of spiritual awakening on Earth is already too high to enable them to succeed with their plans. The critical role of those souls who have most progressed so far onto their self-chosen spiritual quest for Higher Meaning and self-appointed mission to contribute to the global Ascension Process is precisely to further activate this global spiritual awakening through their own empowering of the Grid of Light encompassing this living planet, and through exemplifying in their daily lives the sacred Bond of Love uniting All That is.

Please dedicate your prayers and meditations, as guided by Spirit, in the coming three weeks, and especially in synchronous attunement at the usual time this Sunday and the following two Sundays to assist in expanding the Grid of Light girding the Earth through choosing Peace in every single relationship you experience, radiating Love in every moment of conscious awareness, and being Harmony which is our very essence. Joining as One through these globally synchronized meditations, and continuously remaining centered in this Field of Peace, Love and Harmony that emanates from the depths of our soul Being, we will realize the much anticipated critical mass of Goodwill, Compassion and Oneness Consciousness that will shine like a mega-powerful beacon in humanity's sphere of collective consciousness and guide Home all the awakening souls still struggling to see the Light through the veiled "reality" of "normal" everyday life. May we all remember why we are here and what infinite power for Good is vested in us all, for the Highest Good of All.

This whole Meditation Focus has been archived for your convenience at

Also related:

Meditation Focus #145: Making Sure Peace Prevail In Iran


i) Global Meditation Day: Sunday at 16:00 Universal Time (GMT) or at noon local time. Suggested duration: 30 minutes. Please dedicate the last few minutes of your Sunday meditation to the healing of the Earth as a whole. See the Earth as healthy and vibrant with life, and experience the healing of all relations as we awaken globally to the sacredness of all Life and to our underlying unity with All That Is.

ii) Golden Moment of At-Onement: Daily, at the top of any hour, or whenever it better suits you.

These times below correspond to 16:00 Universal Time/GMT:

Honolulu 6:00 AM -- Anchorage 7:00 AM -- Los Angeles 8:00 AM -- Denver 9:00 AM -- San Salvador, Mexico City, Houston & Chicago 10:00 AM -- New York, Toronto & Montreal 11:00 AM -- Halifax, Santo Domingo, La Paz & Caracas 12:00 PM -- Montevideo, Asuncion * & Santiago * 1:00 PM -- Rio de Janeiro * 2:00 PM -- London, Dublin, Lisbon, Reykjavik & Casablanca 4:00 PM -- Lagos, Algiers, Geneva, Rome, Berlin, Paris & Madrid 5:00 PM -- Ankara, Jerusalem, Johannesburg, Athens, Helsinki & Istanbul 6:00 PM -- Baghdad, Moscow & Nairobi 7:00 PM -- Tehran 7:30 PM -- Islamabad 9:00 PM -- Calcutta & New Delhi 9:30 PM -- Dhaka 10:00 PM -- Rangoon 10:30 PM -- Hanoi, Bangkok & Jakarta 11:00 PM -- Hong Kong, Perth, Beijing & Kuala Lumpur +12:00 AM -- Seoul & Tokyo +1:00 AM -- Brisbane, Canberra & Melbourne +2:00 AM -- Wellington * +5:00 AM

You may also check at to find your corresponding local time if a nearby city is not listed above.


This complement of information may help you to better understand the various aspects pertaining to the summary description of the subject of this Meditation Focus. It is recommended to view this information from a positive perspective, and not allow the details to tinge the positive vision we wish to hold in meditation. Since what we focus on grows, the more positive our mind-set, the more successful we will be in manifesting a vision of peace and healing. This complementary information is provided so that a greater knowledge of what needs healing and peace-nurturing vibrations may assist us to have an in-depth understanding of what is at stake and thus achieve a greater collective effectiveness.


1. Angry US says Iran must end nuclear program in two weeks
2. Iran: The Next War
3. Russia Opposes UN Sanctions on Iran — Foreign Minister
4. Israel will have to act on Iran if UN can't
5. U.S. endorsed Iranian plans to build massive nuclear energy industry
6. Past Arguments Don't Square With Current Iran Policy
7. A high-risk game of nuclear chicken

See also:

Iran Threatens to Use Oil in Nuke Standoff (March 11, 2006),,-5678833,00.html
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran threatened Saturday to use oil as a weapon if the U.N. Security Council imposes sanctions over its nuclear program. The nation's interior minister raised the possibility of using Iran's own oil and gas supplies and its position on a vital Persian Gulf oil route as weapons in the international standoff. ``If (they) politicize our nuclear case, we will use any means. We are rich in energy resources. We have control over the biggest and the most sensitive energy route of the world,'' Interior Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi was quoted as saying by the official Islamic Republic News Agency. Iran is the No. 2 producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and has partial control over the narrow Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf. The strait is an essential passage for crude oil from key producers such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq. (...) About 90 percent of the oil exported from the Gulf in recent years passed through the Strait of Hormuz, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration. Closure of the strait would require more costly shipping of oil and natural gas by pipeline across Saudi Arabia, according to the agency's Web site. The five veto-holding members of the Security Council - Britain, France, the United States, Russia and China - were considering proposals Friday to pressure Iran to resolve questions about its nuclear program, including demands that it abandon uranium enrichment and stop construction on a reactor, diplomats said. Enrichment can produce fuel for a nuclear reactor or fissile material for an atomic bomb. Britain, France and the United States are seeking a tough statement aimed at pressuring Iran. Russia indicated it was uncomfortable with significant action, fearful that Iran could spurn negotiations entirely. China is believed to side with Russia. Former Israeli military chief Moshe Yaalon said Thursday that Israel and the West have the ability to launch a military strike that could set back Iran's nuclear program for years. CLIP

Iran vows to reject any UN order to suspend enrichment (MArch 12, 2006);_ylt=A86.I2Vo4BNENFsA2BVSw60A;_ylu=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwMlJVRPUCUl
TEHRAN (AFP) - Iran will never comply with any UN Security Council resolution ordering it to suspend uranium enrichment, foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi says. When asked what the Islamic republic would do if any UN Security Council resolution orders it to suspend uranium enrichment, Asefi said: "Never." He did not elaborate more.Although Tehran has proposed suspending industrial-scale enrichment, it is refusing to halt enrichment research -- but Western powers argue that even this would allow the clerical regime to acquire nuclear weapons know-how. Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki warns that Iran could leave the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) if its nuclear rights are not accounted for. "If we reach a point where the existing mechanisms do not provide for the right of the Iranian people, then the policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran would be possibly revised and reconsidered," Mottaki told reporters in response to a question over whether Iran would consider leaving the NPT. CLIP

Russia Proposes New Iran Nuclear Talks (March 11, 2006)
VIENNA, Austria -- Russia is proposing a new round of high-level talks on resolving international concerns about Iran's nuclear program, in what diplomats characterized Saturday as an effort to head off a showdown in the U.N. Security Council.A Western diplomat, who insisted on anonymity in detailing the confidential discussions, said Russia wanted a meeting with the United States, China, France and Britain - the other four permanent members of the Security Council. The Russians also want the participation of Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and of Germany, which along with France and Britain broke off talks with Iran last year after Tehran resumed preliminary work on uranium enrichment. The Kremlin is "pushing for a meeting in Vienna March 20," the diplomat said, adding that Moscow's emphasis on a Vienna venue is an attempt to take the focus off Security Council deliberations in New York on how to cajole Iran into reimposing a freeze on enrichment and fully cooperating with an IAEA probe of its suspect nuclear program. CLIP

Iran's nuclear standoff puts moderate UN in firing line
THE United Nations faces its biggest test since the crisis over Iraq this week when the showdown over Iran's nuclear ambitions crosses the Atlantic to its New York headquarters. Iran was reported to the UN last week by its nuclear watchdog, the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, which finally gave up its efforts to make Iran abandon its march towards a nuclear capability. The US, Britain and France - three veto-carrying members of the five-strong UN Security Council - now appear to want Tehran to be at least sternly rebuked by the full council this week, and a strict timetable laid down for the ruling regime to comply with IAEA demands. Diplomacy is still the watchword, even from US hawks, but the threat of sanctions is in the charged atmosphere - as is the ultimate sanction of military intervention. (...) For the Bush administration, Iran has become the number one challenge, with the president underlining his "grave concern" over the nuclear issue on Friday. But the UN's opening moves are likely to be moderate. The Iran issue is to be addressed in a "cautious and deliberate manner", according to US Ambassador John Bolton, but he added: "If the Iranians do not back off from their continued aggressive pursuit of nuclear weapons, we will have to make a decision of what the next step will be." This is far from the crescendo of drum-beating that preceded the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The surprisingly large number of get-out clauses in Norton's comments indicates the realisation within the Bush administration that this time round it has a poor hand. To its intense frustration there is a continuing deep rift within the Security Council. China and Russia want extended negotiations with Iran and are opposed to sanctions, let alone military action. Russia is already playing the Iraq card against the US over Iran, warning against abandoning the diplomatic track. Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said Iraq was a timely reminder of what could happen when the world turned its back on diplomacy. "We don't want to be the ones to remind everyone who was right and who was not in Iraq, although the answer is obvious," he told Russian state television. Washington itself is divided. The toughest talk so far has come from US Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns, who said the US might eventually seek a so-called 'Chapter 7' resolution, which can be enforced with military action. Burns has also hinted Washington would urge its allies to move beyond the Security Council and impose targeted sanctions against Iran, if it fails to respond. Yet the US is already militarily overstretched in Iraq, and with his poll ratings plummeting and the Congressional mid-term elections approaching, Bush cannot contemplate another invasion. (...) The wild card in this crisis is Israel, which has hinted on more than one occasion that it would be prepared to take unilateral action to stop Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.

Cheney warns Iran of 'consequences' (March 8)
WASHINGTON: With tensions rising over the Iranian nuclear program, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Tuesday that the United States still hoped negotiations could resolve the standoff, but Vice President Dick Cheney warned somberly of "meaningful consequences" if they did not. "The Iranian regime needs to know that if it stays on its present course the international community is prepared to impose meaningful consequences," Cheney said in a speech here to a pro-Israel lobbying group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The comments came as Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov of Russia, whose country is playing a central role in talks with Iran, was in Washington meeting with Rice and President George W. Bush. Intensive international efforts are under way to resolve the matter short of sanctions by the United Nations Security Council. Hours before the unusual meeting with Bush - presidents generally receive heads of state in the Oval Office but not lower-ranking officials - Lavrov insisted that Russia had not departed from the U.S.-European position on Iran. Lavrov, who spent hours with Rice on Monday and Tuesday, denied reports that Russia had floated a possible compromise to allow Iran to enrich a small amount of uranium on its soil while Russia enriched more uranium for it. The United States had immediately rejected the idea. "There is no compromise proposal," Lavrov told reporters, standing alongside Rice, "and there could not be any compromise proposal." Russia, he said, was working to bring Iran into compliance with the International Atomic Energy Agency, which demanded last month that Tehran end work that could eventually lead to nuclear weapons.CLIP

Russia appears to fall in with U.S. line on Iran crisis (March 08, 2006)

Is the Bush Administration Planning a Nuclear Holocaust? by Michel Chossudovsky
(February 22, 2006)
Will the US launch "Mini-nukes" against Iran in Retaliation for Tehran's "Non-compliance"?

Nato may help US airstrikes on Iran (March 6, 2006)
WHEN Major-General Axel Tüttelmann, the head of Nato’s Airborne Early Warning and Control Force, showed off an Awacs early warning surveillance plane in Israel a fortnight ago, he caused a flurry of concern back at headquarters in Brussels. It was not his demonstration that raised eyebrows, but what he said about Nato’s possible involvement in any future military strike against Iran. “We would be the first to be called up if the Nato council decided we should be,” he said. Nato would prefer the emphasis to remain on the “if”, but Tüttelmann’s comments revealed that the military alliance could play a supporting role if America launches airstrikes against Iranian nuclear targets. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will tomorrow confirm Iran’s referral to the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions. (...) The news magazine Der Spiegel noted: “Washington appears to be dispatching high-level officials to prepare its allies for a possible attack.”Nato would be likely to operate air defences in Turkey, according to Dan Goure, a Pentagon adviser and vice-president of the Lexington Institute, a military think tank.A former senior Israeli defence official said he believed all Nato members had contingency plans.

EUROPE 2020 ALARM / GLOBAL Systemic Rupture March 20-26, 2006: IRAN/USA - Release of global world crisis
The Laboratoire européen d’Anticipation Politique Europe 2020 (LEAP/E2020) now estimates to over 80% the probability that the week of March 20-26, 2006 will be the beginning of the most significant political crisis the world has known since the Fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, together with an economic and financial crisis of a scope comparable with that of 1929. An Alarm based on 2 verifiable eventsThe announcement of this crisis results from the analysis of decisions taken by the two key-actors of the main on-going international crisis, i.e. the United States and Iran: --> on the one hand there is the Iranian decision of opening the first oil bourse priced in Euros on March 20th, 2006 in Teheran, available to all oil producers of the region ; --> on the other hand, there is the decision of the American Federal Reserve to stop publishing M3 figures (the most reliable indicator on the amount of dollars circulating in the world) from March 23, 2006 onward [1].These two decisions constitute altogether the indicators, the causes and the consequences of the historical transition in progress between the order created after World War II and the new international equilibrium in gestation since the collapse of the USSR. Their magnitude as much as their simultaneity will catalyse all the tensions, weaknesses and imbalances accumulated since more than a decade throughout the international system. A world crisis declined in 7 sector-based crises LEAP/E2020's researchers and analysts thus identified 7 convergent crises that the American and Iranian decisions coming into effect during the last week of March 2006, will catalyse and turn into a total crisis, affecting the whole planet in the political, economic and financial fields, as well as in the military field most probably too:1. Crisis of confidence in the Dollar 2. Crisis of US financial imbalances 3. Oil crisis 4. Crisis of the American leadership 5. Crisis of the Arabo-Muslim world 6. Global governance crisis 7. European governance crisis CLIP

Lots of related articles

Full Coverage on Iran;_ylt=A86.I0Jh4BNE71oBzBFGXMkB;_ylu=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwMlJVRPUCUl



Angry US says Iran must end nuclear program in two weeks

By Frank Walker and agencies

March 12, 2006

THE United States is pushing the United Nations Security Council to give Iran a two-week deadline to halt nuclear work that could be related to the making of weapons.

The ultimatum to Iran to step down from its nuclear defiance or face sanctions could come as soon as Friday when the 15 members of the Security Council meet in New York.

A draft text prepared for the council by European nations yesterday said Iran should "without delay re-establish full, sustained and verifiable suspension of all enrichment-related and reprocessing [for plutonium] activities" with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Prime Minister John Howard has said Iran's program should be referred to the UN and it would be a test of the UN's effectiveness. But he believes it is too early to talk of sanctions.

With Russia and China opposing direct action, the Security Council is unlikely to rush into sanctions. It is likely first to urge Iran to accept IAEA demands that it halt all uranium enrichment work.

But the US is increasing the pressure to force Iran to step back from its refusal to co-operate with the IAEA.

US President George Bush yesterday labelled Iran a "grave national security concern" as its leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had stated a desire to destroy Israel.

The US is convinced Iran is working towards building nuclear bombs, something Iran denies. But Iran is refusing IAEA demands to inspect its nuclear facilities after it resumed uranium enrichment in February.

Mr Bush said he sought diplomatic means to get Iran to cap its nuclear goals, but the US is increasing its rhetoric against Iran and gathering international support for UN action.

"You begin to see an issue of grave national security concern," Mr Bush said. "Therefore it's very important for the United States to continue to work with others to solve these issues diplomatically, to deal with these threats today."

British Prime Minister Tony Blair vowed to pursue Iran's case through the Security Council, saying a failure by Tehran to meet its global obligations would lead to "a serious situation".

Initial UN action could include foreign travel bans and asset freezes aimed at Iranian leaders.

The US wants tougher action, but Russia and China, both of which use Iranian gas and oil, are resisting sanctions against Iran.

Russia is trying to broker a compromise allowing Iran to enrich uranium on Russian soil, but Iran has so far refused to give up enriching uranium on its own soil.

Iran has threatened to inflict "pain and harm" on the West if ittakes action to try to stop Iran's nuclear program.

Hardline Iranian cleric Ahmad Khatami denounced Europe as a "US puppet" and accused Mr Bush of using the nuclear issue to further his goal of toppling Iran's Government.

"Bush talks of regime change or change of its behaviour, which is the same; it means no Islamic regime," Mr Khatami said whileleading prayers in Tehran on Friday.

"Today the problem is nuclear energy. As soon as it is over, the problem of human rights will come up and right after that will be the issue of fighting terrorism."

Israel is stepping up the pressure on its US ally to take action now rather than later. Israel's acting Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, said yesterday Israel would not accept Iran getting a nuclear bomb.

"We can in no way accept the possibility of an atomic bomb in Iranian hands," Mr Olmert said. "We need to work hard and say less."

Israel's hardliners are publicly raising the possibility of its planes bombing Iranian nuclear plants. Israel's former military chief Moshe Yaalon said an attack on Iran now could delay its nuclear program by several years.



Iran: The Next War

by John Pilger

February 13, 2006

Has Tony Blair, our minuscule Caesar, finally crossed his Rubicon? Having subverted the laws of the civilized world and brought carnage to a defenseless people and bloodshed to his own, having lied and lied and used the death of a hundredth British soldier in Iraq to indulge his profane self-pity, is he about to collude in one more crime before he goes?

Perhaps he is seriously unstable now, as some have suggested. Power does bring a certain madness to its prodigious abusers, especially those of shallow disposition. In The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam, the great American historian Barbara Tuchman described Lyndon B. Johnson, the president whose insane policies took him across his Rubicon in Vietnam. "He lacked [John] Kennedy's ambivalence, born of a certain historical sense and at least some capacity for reflective thinking," she wrote. "Forceful and domineering, a man infatuated with himself, Johnson was affected in his conduct of Vietnam policy by three elements in his character: an ego that was insatiable and never secure; a bottomless capacity to use and impose the powers of his office without inhibition; a profound aversion, once fixed upon a course of action, to any contradictions."

That, demonstrably, is Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the rest of the cabal that has seized power in Washington. But there is a logic to their idiocy – the goal of dominance. It also describes Blair, for whom the only logic is vainglorious. And now he is threatening to take Britain into the nightmare on offer in Iran. His Washington mentors are unlikely to ask for British troops, not yet. At first, they will prefer to bomb from a safe height, as Bill Clinton did in his destruction of Yugoslavia. They are aware that, like the Serbs, the Iranians are a serious people with a history of defending themselves and who are not stricken by the effects of a long siege, as the Iraqis were in 2003. When the Iranian defense minister promises "a crushing response," you sense he means it.

Listen to Blair in the House of Commons: "It's important we send a signal of strength" against a regime that has "forsaken diplomacy" and is "exporting terrorism" and "flouting its international obligations." Coming from one who has exported terrorism to Iran's neighbor, scandalously reneged on Britain's most sacred international obligations and forsaken diplomacy for brute force, these are Alice-through-the-looking-glass words.

However, they begin to make sense when you read Blair's Commons speeches on Iraq of Feb. 25 and March 18, 2003. In both crucial debates – the latter leading to the disastrous vote on the invasion – he used the same or similar expressions to lie that he remained committed to a peaceful resolution. "Even now, today, we are offering Saddam the prospect of voluntary disarmament..." he said. From the revelations in Philippe Sands' book Lawless World, the scale of his deception is clear. On Jan. 31, 2003, Bush and Blair confirmed their earlier secret decision to attack Iraq.

Like the invasion of Iraq, an attack on Iran has a secret agenda that has nothing to do with the Tehran regime's imaginary weapons of mass destruction. That Washington has managed to coerce enough members of the International Atomic Energy Agency into participating in a diplomatic charade is no more than reminiscent of the way it intimidated and bribed the "international community" into attacking Iraq in 1991.

Iran offers no "nuclear threat." There is not the slightest evidence that it has the centrifuges necessary to enrich uranium to weapons-grade material. The head of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, has repeatedly said his inspectors have found nothing to support American and Israeli claims. Iran has done nothing illegal; it has demonstrated no territorial ambitions nor has it engaged in the occupation of a foreign country – unlike the United States, Britain and Israel. It has complied with its obligations under the Nonproliferation Treaty to allow inspectors to "go anywhere and see anything" – unlike the US and Israel. The latter has refused to recognize the NPT, and has between 200 and 500 thermonuclear weapons targeted at Iran and other Middle Eastern states.

Those who flout the rules of the NPT are America's and Britain's anointed friends. Both India and Pakistan have developed their nuclear weapons secretly and in defiance of the treaty. The Pakistani military dictatorship has openly exported its nuclear technology. In Iran's case, the excuse that the Bush regime has seized upon is the suspension of purely voluntary "confidence-building" measures that Iran agreed with Britain, France and Germany in order to placate the US and show that it was "above suspicion." Seals were placed on nuclear equipment following a concession given, some say foolishly, by Iranian negotiators and which had nothing to do with Iran's obligations under the NPT.

Iran has since claimed back its "inalienable right" under the terms of the NPT to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes. There is no doubt this decision reflects the ferment of political life in Tehran and the tension between radical and conciliatory forces, of which the bellicose new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is but one voice. As European governments seemed to grasp for a while, this demands true diplomacy, especially given the history.

For more than half a century, Britain and the US have menaced Iran. In 1953, the CIA and MI6 overthrew the democratic government of Mohammed Mossadegh, an inspired nationalist who believed that Iranian oil belonged to Iran. They installed the venal shah and, through a monstrous creation called SAVAK, built one of the most vicious police states of the modern era. The Islamic revolution in 1979 was inevitable and very nasty, yet it was not monolithic and, through popular pressure and movement from within the elite, Iran has begun to open to the outside world – in spite of having sustained an invasion by Saddam Hussein, who was encouraged and backed by the US and Britain.

At the same time, Iran has lived with the real threat of an Israeli attack, possibly with nuclear weapons, about which the "international community" has remained silent. Recently, one of Israel's leading military historians, Martin van Creveld, wrote: "Obviously, we don't want Iran to have nuclear weapons and I don't know if they're developing them, but if they're not developing them, they're crazy."

It is hardly surprising that the Tehran regime has drawn the "lesson" of how North Korea, which has nuclear weapons, has successfully seen off the American predator without firing a shot. During the cold war, British "nuclear deterrent" strategists argued the same justification for arming the nation with nuclear weapons; the Russians were coming, they said. As we are aware from declassified files, this was fiction, unlike the prospect of an American attack on Iran, which is very real and probably imminent.

Blair knows this. He also knows the real reasons for an attack and the part Britain is likely to play. Next month, Iran is scheduled to shift its petrodollars into a euro-based bourse. The effect on the value of the dollar will be significant, if not, in the long term, disastrous. At present the dollar is, on paper, a worthless currency bearing the burden of a national debt exceeding $8 trillion and a trade deficit of more than $600 billion. The cost of the Iraq adventure alone, according to the Nobel Prizewinning economist Joseph Stiglitz, could be $2 trillion. America's military empire, with its wars and 700-plus bases and limitless intrigues, is funded by creditors in Asia, principally China.

That oil is traded in dollars is critical in maintaining the dollar as the world's reserve currency. What the Bush regime fears is not Iran's nuclear ambitions but the effect of the world's fourth-biggest oil producer and trader breaking the dollar monopoly. Will the world's central banks then begin to shift their reserve holdings and, in effect, dump the dollar? Saddam Hussein was threatening to do the same when he was attacked.

While the Pentagon has no plans to occupy all of Iran, it has in its sights a strip of land that runs along the border with Iraq. This is Khuzestan, home to 90 percent of Iran's oil. "The first step taken by an invading force," reported Beirut's Daily Star, "would be to occupy Iran's oil-rich Khuzestan Province, securing the sensitive Straits of Hormuz and cutting off the Iranian military's oil supply." On Jan. 28 the Iranian government said that it had evidence of British undercover attacks in Khuzestan, including bombings, over the past year. Will the newly emboldened Labour MPs pursue this? Will they ask what the British army based in nearby Basra – notably the SAS – will do if or when Bush begins bombing Iran? With control of the oil of Khuzestan and Iraq and, by proxy, Saudi Arabia, the US will have what Richard Nixon called "the greatest prize of all."

But what of Iran's promise of "a crushing response"? Last year, the Pentagon delivered 500 "bunker-busting" bombs to Israel. Will the Israelis use them against a desperate Iran? Bush's 2002 Nuclear Posture Review cites "preemptive" attack with so-called low-yield nuclear weapons as an option. Will the militarists in Washington use them, if only to demonstrate to the rest of us that, regardless of their problems with Iraq, they are able to "fight and win multiple, simultaneous major-theater wars," as they have boasted? That a British prime minister should collude with even a modicum of this insanity is cause for urgent action on this side of the Atlantic.



Also from:

Russia Opposes UN Sanctions on Iran — Foreign Minister

Mos News | March 9 2006

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday that imposing U.N. Security Council sanctions on Iran would be ineffective in convincing Tehran to curb its nuclear ambitions, the Reuters news agency reports.

Sergei Lavrov also told reporters after meeting U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan that he opposed military action and questioned any measures the West might propose in the Council.

Several hours after he spoke, the five permanent members of the Security Council met to discuss a statement that Britain, France and the United States are preparing for possible adoption next week.

The statement was to have asked for a report from the IAEA in 30 days on whether Iran had cooperated with U.N. nuclear and suspended its atomic activities, diplomats said.

But one envoy, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Britain now wanted a 14-day deadline while no immediate decision had been reached among the five —- the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France.

Lavrov made clear that he wanted the IAEA rather than the Security Council to take the lead on the Iranian issue.

“We should all strive for a solution which would not endanger the ability of the IAEA to continue its work in Iran, while of course making sure that there is no danger for the nonproliferation regime,” Lavrov said.

Asked about sanctions, Lavrov said, “I don’t think sanctions as a means to solve a crisis have ever achieved a goal in the recent history.

”We must rely on the professional advice of the IAEA, the watchdog of the nonproliferation regime,“ he added.

Lavrov said the situation reminded him of years of imposing sanctions on Iraq and the subsequent U.S.-led invasion.

”It looks so deja vu, you know,“ said Lavrov, once a star in the Security Council as Russia’s U.N. ambassador from 1994 to 2004. ”I have been answering these questions regarding Iraq and I don’t believe we should engage in something which might become self-fulfilling prophesy.“

Lavrov was also asked about a statement from U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, who said that the ”international community is prepared to impose meaningful consequences“ if Iraq did not comply.

He said he would not comment on Cheney’s remarks but he added later, ”We are convinced that there is no military solution to this crisis.“

A report by IAEA Director Mohamed ElBaradei, being sent to the Security Council, will form the basis for any U.N. action. The IAEA’s governing board, which includes all five Security Council powers, decided a month ago to send Iran’s nuclear dossier to the council.

If the council does adopt an initial statement the next step is the difficult one. Normally a tougher resolution would follow demanding Iran comply and hinting at consequences.

But the West does not have Russia or China’s agreement on tough demands.

The United States and the Europeans want to ratchet up pressure slowly, set timetables, deadlines and then consider such measures, ranging from a travel ban on Iranian officials to sanctions on selling Iran oil equipment.

A resolution needs a minimum of nine votes in the Security Council and no veto. A policy statement, which carries less weight, requires the approval of all 15 member nations.

Despite the slim chance any sanctions will be imposed, Iran has fought any referral to the Security Council, which would give it a pariah status and could lead to tougher action.

The United States believes Iran, which insists its nuclear program is for energy uses only, is a cover for learning how to make a bomb. A three-year IAEA investigation has not found a smoking gun but the agency also could not determine whether the nuclear program was for peaceful purposes only.


See also:

Kremlin Thwarts Washington Interests — U.S. Task Force (March 3, 2006)
The Bush administration should stop pretending Russia is a genuine strategic partner and adopt a new policy of “selective cooperation” and “selective opposition” to the authoritarian government of President Vladimir Putin, a U.S. bipartisan task force has concluded, the Washington Post reported.“U.S.-Russian relations are clearly headed in the wrong direction,” the task force wrote in its report. “Contention is crowding out consensus. The very idea of ”strategic partnership“ no longer seems realistic.”Former senator John Edwards, who co-chaired the task force along with Republican former housing secretary Jack Kemp, said the administration has shied away from addressing Putin’s behavior. “What they’ve done is focused on the positive things Russia is doing and been soft on the problems,” he said, adding, “We need for the world to see what’s happening inside, and at a minimum Putin needs to feel the pressure from that.”The report crystallizes a growing reassessment of Russia in Washington five years after Bush first met new Russia’s President. Since then Putin has moved to reassert control over Russian society and eliminate opposition, the report states.The paper points out that the Bush administration officials have been disturbed by other actions in recent months, including Russian maneuvering to force U.S. troops out of Central Asia, Moscow’s use of energy exports as a weapon against smaller neighbors, and Putin’s outreach to Hamas.At the same time, Moscow has moved closer to Washington in the effort to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Once considered a virtual accessory to Tehran’s alleged nuclear arms program, Russia lately has turned around and collaborated with the Bush administration to pressure the Islamic state to renounce any such ambitions, although the Kremlin still resists sanctions.



Israel will have to act on Iran if UN can't

March 8, 2006

By Louis Charbonneau

BERLIN (Reuters) - If the U.N. Security Council is incapable of taking action to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, Israel will have no choice but to defend itself, Israel's defense minister said on Wednesday.

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz was asked whether Israel was ready to use military action if the Security Council proved unable to act against what Israel and the West believe is a covert Iranian nuclear weapons program.

"My answer to this question is that the state of Israel has the right give all the security that is needed to the people in Israel. We have to defend ourselves," Mofaz told Reuters after a meeting with his German counterpart Franz Josef Jung.

Iran denies wanting nuclear weapons and says it is only interested in the peaceful generation of electricity. It has also threatened to retaliate if Israel or the United States were to bomb any of its nuclear facilities.

In 1981, Israel bombed Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor to prevent Saddam Hussein from getting nuclear weapons. Saddam's covert atom bomb program continued until U.N. inspectors dismantled it after the 1991 Gulf War, but the Israeli strike set progress back many years.

"The Israeli approach is that the U.S. and the European countries should lead the issue of the Iranian nuclear program to the table of the U.N. Security Council, asking for sanctions. And I hope the sanctions will be effective," Mofaz said.

Mofaz, who was born in Iran, added that Israel believed the 15-nation Security Council should grant the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N.'s Vienna-based nuclear watchdog, sweeping inspection powers so that it can smoke out any secret nuclear arms-related activities in Iran.

"We need to have very deep and large inspections within all the nuclear locations in Iran because Iran has two nuclear programs -- one is a covered one and the second is uncovered," he said.

The Iranian delegation to an IAEA board of governors meeting in Vienna issued a statement earlier warning that the United States could feel "harm and pain" if the Security Council took up the issue of Tehran's nuclear fuel research and vowed never to abandon its atomic program.

At a news conference with Mofaz, Jung told reporters Germany was already discussing with the five permanent Security Council members -- Russia, China, the United States, Britain and France -- what the council could do to prevent Tehran getting the bomb.

"Everything must be done to ensure that Iran does not acquire nuclear weapons," Jung said.

A senior diplomat from one of the "EU3" said earlier that the Security Council would probably begin discussing Iran next week and hoped to issue a "presidential statement" urging Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment program and cooperate with the IAEA.



U.S. endorsed Iranian plans to build massive nuclear energy industry

Cheney Rumsfeld & Wolfowitz behind Iran Nuclear Program initiated during Ford Administration

by Ed Haas

March 6, 2006

In 1976, President Gerald R. Ford signed a directive that granted Iran the opportunity to purchase U.S. built reprocessing equipment and facilities designed to extract plutonium from nuclear reactor fuel. 

When Gerald Ford assumed the Presidency in August 1974, the current Vice President of the United States, Richard B Cheney served on the transition team and later as Deputy Assistant to the President. In November 1975, he was named Assistant to the President and White House Chief of Staff, a position he held throughout the remainder of the Ford Administration.[1]

In August 1974, the current Secretary of Defense, Donald H. Rumsfeld served as Chairman of the transition to the Presidency of Gerald R. Ford. He then became Chief of Staff of the White House and a member of the President's Cabinet (1974-1975)[2] and was the Ford Administration’s Secretary of Defense from 1975–1977.

The current President of the World Bank, Paul Wolfowitz served in the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency under President Gerald Ford.[3] Wolfowitz is considered as a prominent architect of the Bush Doctrine, which has come to be identified with a policy that permits pre-emptive war against potential aggressors before they are capable of mounting attacks against the United States.

According to Washington Post Staff Writer Dafna Linzer, “Ford’s team endorsed Iranian plans to build a massive nuclear energy industry, but also worked hard to complete a multibillion-dollar deal that would have given Tehran control of large quantities of plutonium and enriched uranium – the two pathways to a nuclear bomb. Either can be shaped into the core of a nuclear warhead, and obtaining one or the other is generally considered the most significant obstacle to would-be weopons builders.”[4]

What the current Bush Administration is asserting, particularly through its news agency Fox News, is that it needs to prevent Iran from achieving the exact same nuclear capabilities that President Ford and his key appointees, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz were encouraging Iran to accomplish 30 years ago. Iran, a party to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, is guaranteed the right to develop peaceful nuclear power programs – regardless of whether the United States approves or disapproves the politics or political leadership of that country; a point that Iran has repeated over and over again. For 30 years, Iran has proclaimed that it needs nuclear power since its oil and gas supplies are limited, just like the United States, and therefore has the legal right to produce and operate nuclear power plants. Thirty years ago, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld agreed. Today, Cheney and Rumsfeld appear to be crawling out of their skins with uncontrollable militarized lust for control of Iranian oil fields via a U.S. occupied, Iran. The NEO-CON war drumbeaters have already devised their plans for the liberation of the people again, this time Iranian people, and making things all better, just like they have done in Iraq. Scary stuff, but it is true. In preparation, the Bush Administration has primed the mainstream media so effectively that 8 out of 10 Americans believe Iran poises an immediate nuclear threat to the United States. The President’s recent and risky travel to regional nuclear powers, Pakistan and India, no doubt also served as a strategic warning to those countries to prepare for the certain public backlash to be expected once the U.S. or Israel begins to drop bombs on Iran.

It is also worth noting that in 2000, the World Bank resumed making loans to Iran. As of June 30, 2004, the World Bank as made 51 loans valued at $2.6 billion to Iran. The World Bank gets its funds from the International Monetary Fund, which in turn, gets its money from member nation dues / contributions. The United States is required to contribute $37.2 billion per year into the IMF. The Federal Reserve Banking Cartel orchestrated this money scheme so that it can continue to print and loan astronomical numbers of debt notes. If the American people understood that the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Congress have been funding many activities of the Islamic Republic of Iran, most would be skeptical of the federal government’s current claim that Iran’s 30 year old, U.S. sanctioned, nuclear program is somehow now an immediate threat to the security of the United States. The IMF and the World Bank create just enough degrees of separation to shield the government from the people recognizing that the federal government has fed the dog well that it now claims will bite if we do not ‘put it down’ with a pre-emptive strike.

With Wolfowitz at the helm of the World Bank, one has to wonder if once again the Federal Reserve has positioned itself to fund both sides of a warring conflict. One thing is certain; loaning money to fund both sides of a war is a perfected craft of the member banks of the Federal Reserve, which is interested only in loan collateral and interest payments. Patriotism is not part of the equation. What is most disturbing about the relationship between the Fed, IMF, and World Bank is that the $37.2 billion the U.S. is obligated to pay to the IMF annually, is actually secured by the American taxpayer. We the People, and the ability of the U.S. Congress to confiscate our wealth through that unconstitutional apparatus referred to as a federal income tax, makes loaning money to the Islamic Republic of Iran easy because if Iran defaults on its World Bank loans, the U.S. portions of the loans work their way back to the lender of last resort, which is the U.S. Congress. When the U.S. Congress responds to failed loans and failed banking institutions, they assume responsibility for the loan amount, and pass the burden of repayment onto the American people.

Finally, but very much part of the U.S. government’s charade aimed at deceiving the American people into believing that the U.S. has played no part in the development of Iran or its nuclear power programs, is the absolute economic threat that Iran poses to the global value of the U.S. dollar. Unless the U.S. intervenes, on March 20, 2006 the world will have the option of purchasing oil with euros instead of dollars through the opening of the Iranian Oil Bourse. The Iran Oil Bourse will be the third exchange in which global oil transactions will be executed. While financial analysts debate whether such an exchange operating solely in euros will have the potential to collapse the U.S. economy, the complete silence of the mainstream media regarding this most important untold story can be interpreted as a sign that this suggested economic threat is real. As the Bush Administration has proven itself to be the most dishonest, secretive presidency in the history of the United States, it has repeatedly demonstrated that the truth about its motives and agendas can only be found in what is not being reported to the American people. And if the Iran nuclear threat rhetoric is the firewall that the U.S. government is hiding the U.S. dollar global supremacy behind, than any military action in Iran will be solely on behalf of the member banks of the Federal Reserve – at the expense of American sons and daughters serving in the U.S. military and at the burden of the U.S. taxpayer who is already indebted to the federal government to the tune of $28 thousand, which is each and every American’s current share of the Federal Reserve / U.S. Congress banking cartel produced national debt - $28,000 and growing faster than ever!

Here’s a patriotic challenge and very American gut check for your consideration: Next time you hold your children and / or grandchildren, look them in the eye and explain to them how they are, right at this very moment, indebted to the federal government of the United States of America, to the tune of $28,000, and then ask yourself how you allowed it to happen. Sobering fact that feels better to ignore, does it not? But hell, we’re spreading democracy, right? I don’t think so, and hopefully soon, neither will you.
Freelance writer / author, Ed Haas, is the editor and columnist for the Muckraker Report. Get smart. Read the Muckraker Report. To learn more about Ed’s current and previous work, visit Crafting Prose.



[1] The White House, Vice President of the United States, Richard B. Cheney,, [Accessed March 4, 2006]
[2] United States Department of Defense, Biography – Donald H. Rumsfeld,, [Accessed March 4, 2006]
[3] Washington Post, Realism, Rewarded, George F. Will, May 12, 2005,, [Accessed March 4, 2006]
[4] Washington Post, Past Arguments Don’t Square with Current Iran Policy, Dafna Linzer, March 27, 2005,, [Accessed March 4, 2006]



Past Arguments Don't Square With Current Iran Policy

By Dafna Linzer

Washington Post Staff Writer

March 27, 2005; Page A15

Lacking direct evidence, Bush administration officials argue that Iran's nuclear program must be a cover for bomb-making. Vice President Cheney recently said, "They're already sitting on an awful lot of oil and gas. Nobody can figure why they need nuclear as well to generate energy."

Yet Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and outgoing Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz held key national security posts when the Ford administration made the opposite argument 30 years ago.

Ford's team endorsed Iranian plans to build a massive nuclear energy industry, but also worked hard to complete a multibillion-dollar deal that would have given Tehran control of large quantities of plutonium and enriched uranium -- the two pathways to a nuclear bomb. Either can be shaped into the core of a nuclear warhead, and obtaining one or the other is generally considered the most significant obstacle to would-be weapons builders.

Iran, a U.S. ally then, had deep pockets and close ties to Washington. U.S. companies, including Westinghouse and General Electric, scrambled to do business there.

"I don't think the issue of proliferation came up," Henry A. Kissinger, who was Ford's secretary of state, said in an interview for this article.

The U.S. offer, details of which appear in declassified documents reviewed by The Washington Post, did not include the uranium enrichment capabilities Iran is seeking today. But the United States tried to accommodate Iranian demands for plutonium reprocessing, which produces the key ingredient of a bomb.

After balking initially, President Gerald R. Ford signed a directive in 1976 offering Tehran the chance to buy and operate a U.S.-built reprocessing facility for extracting plutonium from nuclear reactor fuel. The deal was for a complete "nuclear fuel cycle" -- reactors powered by and regenerating fissile materials on a self-sustaining basis.

That is precisely the ability the current administration is trying to prevent Iran from acquiring today.

"If we were facing an Iran with a reprocessing capability today, we would be even more concerned about their ability to use plutonium in a nuclear weapon," said Corey Hinderstein, a nuclear specialist with the Institute for Science and International Security. "These facilities are well understood and can be safeguarded, but it would provide another nuclear option for Iran."

Nuclear experts believe the Ford strategy was a mistake. As Iran went from friend to foe, it became clear to subsequent administrations that Tehran should be prevented from obtaining the technologies for building weapons. But that is not the argument the Bush administration is making. Such an argument would be unpopular among parties to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which guarantees members access to nuclear power regardless of their political systems.

The U.S.-Iran deal was shelved when the shah was toppled in the 1979 revolution that led to the taking of American hostages and severing of diplomatic relations.

Despite the changes in Iran, now run by a clerical government, the country's public commitment to nuclear power and its insistence on the legal right to develop it have remained the same. Iranian officials reiterated the position last week at a conference on nuclear energy in Paris.

Mohammad Saeidi, a vice president of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, told the conference that Iran was determined to develop nuclear power since oil and natural gas supplies were limited.

U.S. involvement with Iran's nuclear program until 1979, which accompanied large-scale intelligence-sharing and conventional weapons sales, highlights the boomerang in U.S. foreign policy. Even with many key players in common, the U.S. government has taken opposite positions on questions of fact as its perception of U.S. interests has changed.

Using arguments identical to those made by the shah 30 years ago, Iran says its nuclear program is essential to meet growing energy requirements, and is not intended for bombs. Tehran revived the program in secret, its officials say, to prevent the United States from trying to stop it. Iran's account is under investigation by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is trying to determine whether Iran also has a parallel nuclear weapons program.

Since the energy program was exposed, in 2002, the Bush administration has alternately said that Iran has a secret nuclear weapons program or wants one. Without being able to prove those claims, the White House has made its case by implication, beginning with the point that Iran has ample oil reserves for its energy needs.

Ford's team commended Iran's decision to build a massive nuclear energy industry, noting in a declassified 1975 strategy paper that Tehran needed to "prepare against the time -- about 15 years in the future -- when Iranian oil production is expected to decline sharply."

Estimates of Iran's oil reserves were smaller then than they are now, but energy experts and U.S. intelligence estimates continue to project that Iran will need an alternative energy source in the coming decades. Iran's population has more than doubled since the 1970s, and its energy demands have increased even more.

The Ford administration -- in which Cheney succeeded Rumsfeld as chief of staff and Wolfowitz was responsible for nonproliferation issues at the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency -- continued intense efforts to supply Iran with U.S. nuclear technology until President Jimmy Carter succeeded Ford in 1977.

That history is absent from major Bush administration speeches, public statements and news conferences on Iran.

In an opinion piece on Iran in The Post on March 9, Kissinger wrote that "for a major oil producer such as Iran, nuclear energy is a wasteful use of resources." White House spokesman Scott McClellan cited the article during a news briefing, saying that it reflected the administration's current thinking on Iran.

In 1975, as secretary of state, Kissinger signed and circulated National Security Decision Memorandum 292, titled "U.S.-Iran Nuclear Cooperation," which laid out the administration's negotiating strategy for the sale of nuclear energy equipment projected to bring U.S. corporations more than $6 billion in revenue. At the time, Iran was pumping as much as 6 million barrels of oil a day, compared with an average of about 4 million barrels daily today.

The shah, who referred to oil as "noble fuel," said it was too valuable to waste on daily energy needs. The Ford strategy paper said the "introduction of nuclear power will both provide for the growing needs of Iran's economy and free remaining oil reserves for export or conversion to petrochemicals."

Asked why he reversed his opinion, Kissinger responded with some surprise during a brief telephone interview. After a lengthy pause, he said: "They were an allied country, and this was a commercial transaction. We didn't address the question of them one day moving toward nuclear weapons."

Charles Naas, who was deputy U.S. ambassador to Iran in the 1970s, said proliferation was high in the minds of technical experts, "but the nuclear deal was attractive in terms of commerce, and the relationship as a whole was very important."

Documents show that U.S. companies, led by Westinghouse, stood to gain $6.4 billion from the sale of six to eight nuclear reactors and parts. Iran was also willing to pay an additional $1 billion for a 20 percent stake in a private uranium enrichment facility in the United States that would supply much of the uranium to fuel the reactors.

Naas said Cheney, Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld all were in positions to play significant roles in Iran policy then, "but in those days, you have to view Kissinger as the main figure." Requests for comment from the offices of Cheney, Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld went unanswered.

"It is absolutely incredible that the very same players who made those statements then are making completely the opposite ones now," said Joseph Cirincione, a nonproliferation expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "Do they remember that they said this? Because the Iranians sure remember that they said it," said Cirincione, who just returned from a nuclear conference in Tehran -- a rare trip for U.S. citizens now.

In what Cirincione described as "the worst idea imaginable," the Ford administration at one point suggested joint Pakistani-Iranian reprocessing as a way of promoting "nonproliferation in the region," because it would cut down on the need for additional reprocessing facilities.

Gary Sick, who handled nonproliferation issues under presidents Ford, Carter and Reagan, said the entire deal was based on trust. "That's the bottom line."

"The shah made a big convincing case that Iran was going to run out of gas and oil and they had a growing population and a rapidly increasing demand for energy," Sick said. "The mullahs make the same argument today, but we don't trust them."

Researcher Robert E. Thomason and staff writer Justin Blum contributed to this report.



Jan 31, 2006

A high-risk game of nuclear chicken

By F William Engdahl

In the past weeks, media reports have speculated that Washington is "thinking the unthinkable", namely, an aggressive, preemptive nuclear bombardment of Iran, by either the United States or Israel, to destroy or render useless the deep underground Iranian nuclear facilities.

The possibility of war against Iran presents a geostrategic and geopolitical problem of far more complexity than the bombing and occupation of Iraq. And Iraq has proved complicated enough for the US. We try to identify some of the main motives of the main actors in the new drama and the outlook for possible war.

The dramatis personae include the Bush administration, most especially the Dick Cheney-led neo-conservative hawks in control now of not only the Pentagon, but also the Central Intelligence Agency, the UN ambassadorship and a growing part of the State Department planning bureaucracy under Condoleezza Rice.

It includes Iran, under the new and outspoken President Mahmud Ahmadinejad. It includes President Vladimir Putin's Russia, a nuclear-armed veto member of the UN Security Council. It includes a nuclear-armed Israel, whose acting premier, Ehud Olmert, recently declared that Israel could "under no circumstances" allow Iranian development of nuclear weapons "that can threaten our existence". It includes the European Union, especially Security Council permanent member, France, and the weakening President Jacques Chirac. It includes China, whose dependence on Iranian oil and potentially natural gas is large.

Each of these actors has differing agendas and different goals, making the issue of Iran one of the most complex in recent international politics. What's going on here? Is a nuclear war, with all that implies for the global financial and political stability, imminent? What are the possible and even probable outcomes?

The basic facts

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The Bush administration role in Iran

Unlike the Iraq war buildup where it became clear to a shocked world that the Bush administration was going to war regardless, Washington with Iran has so far been willing to let the EU states take a diplomatic lead, only stepping up pressure publicly on Iran in recent weeks.

On January 19, the US repeated that neither it nor its European partners wanted to return to the negotiating table with Iran. "The international community is united in mistrusting Tehran with nuclear technology," said Rice. "The time has come for a referral of Iran to the [UN] Security Council." Rice's choice of the word "referral" was deliberate. If Iran is only "reported" to the Security Council, debate would lack legal weight. A formal "referral" is necessary if the council is to impose any penalty, such as economic sanctions.

The neo-conservatives, although slightly lower profile in the second Bush administration, are every bit as active, especially through Cheney's office. They want a preemptive bombing strike on Iran's nuclear sites. But whatever Cheney's office may be doing, officially, the Bush administration is pursuing a markedly different approach than it did in 2003, when its diplomacy was aimed at lining up allies for a war. This time, US diplomats are seeking an international consensus on how to proceed, or at least cultivating the impression of that.

Iraq and the deepening US disaster there has severely constrained possible US options in Iran. In 2003, in the wake of the Iraqi "victory", leading Washington neo-conservative hawks were vocally calling on Bush to move on to Tehran after Saddam Hussein. Now, because of the "bloody quagmire" in Iraq, the US is severely constrained from moving unilaterally. With 140,000 troops tied down in Iraq, the US military physically cannot support another invasion and occupation in yet another country, let alone Iran.

Because of Iran's size, a ground invasion may require twice as many troops as in Iraq, says Richard Russell, a Middle East specialist at the National Defense University in Washington. While an air campaign could take out Iran's air defenses, it could also trigger terrorism and oil disruptions. Washington is internally split over the issue of a successful nuclear strike against Iran,

The AIPAC and Abramoff impact Washington

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Conplan 8022

In January 2003, Bush signed a classified presidential directive, Conplan 8022-02. This is a war plan different from all prior in that it posits "no ground troops". It was specifically drafted to deal with "imminent" threats from states such as North Korea and Iran.

Unlike the war plan for Iraq, a conventional one, which required coordinated preparation of air, ground and sea forces before it could be launched, a process of months, even years, Conplan 8022 called for a highly concentrated strike combining bombing with electronic warfare and cyberattacks to cripple an opponent's response-cutting electricity in the country, jamming communications and hacking computer networks.

Conplan 8022 explicitly includes a nuclear option, specially configured earth-penetrating "mini" nukes to hit underground sites such as Iran's. Last summer, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved a top secret "Interim Global Strike Alert Order" directing around-the-clock military readiness to be directed by the Omaha-based Strategic Command (Stratcom), according to a report in the May 15 Washington Post.

Previously, ominously enough, Stratcom oversaw only the US nuclear forces. In January 2003, Bush signed on to a definition of "full spectrum global strike", which included precision nuclear as well as conventional bombs, and space warfare. This was a follow-up to the president's September 2002 National Security Strategy, which laid out as US strategic doctrine a policy of "preemptive" wars.

The burning question is whether, with plunging popularity polls, a coming national election, scandals and loss of influence, the Bush White House might "think the unthinkable" and order a nuclear preemptive global strike on Iran before the November elections, perhaps early after the March 28 Israeli elections.

Some Pentagon analysts have suggested that the entire US strategy towards Iran, unlike with Iraq, is rather a carefully orchestrated escalation of psychological pressure and bluff to force Iran to back down. It seems clear, especially in light of the strategic threat Iran faces from US or Israeli forces on its borders after 2003, that Iran is not likely to back down from its clear plans to develop full nuclear fuel cycle capacities, and with it the option of developing an Iranian nuclear capability.

The question then is, what will Washington do? The fundamental change in US defense doctrine since 2001, from a posture of defense to offense, has significantly lowered the threshold of nuclear war, perhaps even of a global nuclear conflagration.

Geopolitical risks of nuclear war

The latest Iranian agreement to reopen talks with Moscow on Russian spent fuel reprocessing has taken some of the edge off of the crisis for the moment. On Friday, Bush announced publicly that he backed the Russian compromise, along with China and ElBaradei of the IAEA. Bush signaled a significant backdown, at least for the moment, stating, "The Russians came up with the idea and I support it ... I do believe people ought to be allowed to have civilian nuclear power."

At the same time, Rice's State Department expressed concern the Russian-Iran talks were a stalling ploy by Tehran. Bush added. "However, I don't believe that non-transparent [sic] regimes that threaten the security of the world should be allowed to gain the technologies necessary to make a weapon." The same day at Davos, Rice told the World Economic Forum that Iran's nuclear program posed "significant danger" and that Iran must be brought before the UN Security Council. In short, Washington is trying to appear "diplomatic" while keeping all options open.

Should Iran be brought before the UN Security Council for violations of the NPT and charges of developing weapons of mass destruction, it seems quite probable that Russia and China will veto imposing sanctions, such as an economic embargo on Iran, for the reasons stated above. The timetable for that is likely some time about March-May, that is, after a new Israeli government is in place.

At that point there are several possible outcomes.

* The IAEA refers Iran to the UN Security Council, which proposes increased monitoring of the reprocessing facilities for weapons producing while avoiding sanctions. In essence, Iran would be allowed to develop its full fuel cycle nuclear program and its sovereignty is respected, so long as it respects NPT and IAEA conditions. This is unlikely for the reasons stated above.

* Iran, like India and Pakistan, is permitted to develop a small arsenal of nuclear weapons as a deterrent to the growing military threat in its area posed by the US from Afghanistan to Iraq to the Emirates, as well as by Israel's nuclear force.

The West extends new offers of economic cooperation in the development of Iran's oil and gas infrastructure and Iran is slowly welcomed into the community of the World Trade Organization and cooperation with the West. A new government in Israel pursues a peace policy in Palestine and with Syria, and a new regional relaxation of tensions opens the way for huge new economic development in the entire Middle East region, Iran included. The mullahs in Iran slowly loose influence. This scenario, desirable as it is, is extremely unlikely in the present circumstances.

* Bush, on the urging of Cheney, Rumsfeld and the neo-conservative hawks, decides to activate Conplan 8022, an air attack bombing of Iran's presumed nuclear sites, including, for the first time since 1945, with deployment of nuclear weapons. No ground troops are used and it is proclaimed a swift surgical "success" by the formidable Pentagon propaganda machine. Iran, prepared for such a possibility, launches a calculated counter-strike using techniques of guerrilla war or "asymmetrical warfare" against US and NATO targets around the world.

The Iran response includes activating trained cells within Lebanon's Hezbollah; it includes activating considerable Iranian assets within Iraq, potentially in de facto alliance with the Sunni resistance there targeting the 135,000 remaining US troops and civilian personnel. Iran's asymmetrical response also includes stepping up informal ties to the powerful Hamas within Palestine to win them to a Holy War against the US-Israel "Great Satan" Alliance.

Israel faces unprecedented terror and sabotage attacks from every side and from within its territory from sleeper cells of Arab Israelis. Iran activates trained sleeper terror cells in the Ras Tanura center of Saudi oil refining and shipping. The Eastern province of Saudi Arabia around Ras Tanura contains a disenfranchised Shi'ite minority, which has historically been denied the fruits of the immense Saudi oil wealth. There are some 2 million Shi'ite Muslims in Saudi Arabia. Shi'ites do most of the manual work in the Saudi oilfields, making up 40% of Aramco's workforce.

Iran declares an immediate embargo of deliveries of its 4 million barrels of oil a day. It threatens to sink a large oil super-tanker in the narrows of the Strait of Hormuz, choking off 40% of all world oil flows, if the world does not join it against the US-Israeli action.

The strait has two 1-mile-wide channels for marine traffic, separated by a 2-mile-wide buffer zone, and is the only sea passage to the open ocean for much of OPEC oil. It is Saudi Arabia's main export route.

Iran is a vast, strategically central expanse of land, more than double the land area of France and Germany combined, with well over 70 million people and one of the fastest population growth rates in the world. It is well prepared for a new Holy War. Its mountainous terrain makes any thought of a US ground occupation inconceivable at a time the Pentagon is having problems retaining its present force to maintain the Iraq and Afghanistan occupations. World War III begins in a series of miscalculations and disruptions. The Pentagon's awesome war machine, "total spectrum dominance" is powerless against the growing "asymmetrical war" assaults around the globe.

Clear from a reading of their public statements and their press, the Iranian government knows well what cards its holds and what not in this global game of thermonuclear chicken.

Were the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld axis to risk launching a nuclear strike on Iran, given the geopolitical context, it would mark a point of no return in international relations. Even with sagging popularity, the White House knows this. The danger of the initial strategy of preemptive wars is that, as now, when someone like Iran calls the US bluff with a formidable response potential, the US is left with little option but to launch the unthinkable - nuclear strike.

There are saner voices within the US political establishment, such as former National Security Council heads, Brent Scowcroft or even Zbigniew Brzezinski, who clearly understand the deadly logic of Bush's and the Pentagon hawks' preemptive posture. The question is whether their faction within the US power establishment today is powerful enough to do to Bush and Cheney what was done to Richard Nixon when his exercise of presidential power got out of hand.

It is useful to keep in mind that even were Iran to possess nuclear missiles, the strike range would not reach the territory of the US. Israel would be the closest potential target. A US preemptive nuclear strike to defend Israel would raise the issue of what the military agreements between Tel Aviv and Washington actually encompass, a subject neither the Bush administration nor its predecessors have seen fit to inform the American public about.

F William Engdahl, author of A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order, Pluto Press, can be contacted via his website,

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