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Iran: It’s more than Nuclear Weapons

Published on: January 5th 2007 12:48:59
A change of emphasis is taking place in the US approach to Iran. State Department officials tell us that they now see the nuclear weapons issue as just one aspect of a more all-encompassing competition with Iran. “It is clear that Iran is challenging us for mastery of the Middle East. Lebanon, Syria, the peace process, terrorism, energy: We are always bumping up against Iranian meddling. The stakes go far beyond nuclear weapons. It is clear that we have to orientate our policy so that we can teach Iran a decisive lesson.” Support for this policy of long-term confrontation with Iran extends widely inside the Administration and Washington’s political elites. How this confrontation expresses itself remains undecided, with the military option still confined to the group around Vice-President Cheney and his circle. This group is, however, actively seeking international support. Privately the conservative Arab leaders of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council are urging the US to mount a broad counter to Iran. More publicly, a senior assistant to the Vice-President commented: “a key person to watch is British Prime Minister Tony Blair. We have been encouraging him to speak forcefully about Iran. We were delighted to see that he did this during his recent trip to the Middle East. We hope this shows Tehran that it is not just Washington who opposes them.”

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