by Mike Head / WSWS News –
(November 20, 2003) — Ever since President Bush named Iran, along with Iraq and North Korea, as an “axis of evil” in his January 2002 State of the Union address, the White House has maintained a barrage of allegations and threats against the Iranian regime, repeatedly accusing it of conducting a secret nuclear weapons program.
Washington’s provocative campaign reached new heights this week, with US Secretary of State Colin Powell flatly rejecting as “deficient” a European draft resolution criticizing Iran for allegedly concealing various nuclear activities. Briefing reporters after meeting European Union foreign ministers in Brussels, Powell condemned the British-French-German resolution for not having “trigger mechanisms” for intervention against Iran, a country with 65 million people.
Powell added a thinly veiled threat of unilateral military action if Washington did not get its way at today’s scheduled meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). “If a resolution [is] totally inadequate, then maybe we don’t have a resolution right now,” he said.
Washington Tries Again to Strong-arm the IAEA
For the third time this year, the US has demanded that the 35-member IAEA board of governors declare the Islamic republic in “non-compliance” with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). It wants the IAEA to cite the breaches to the UN Security Council, paving the way for a UN resolution to justify punitive measures.
The resistance of the EU powers reflects definite economic and strategic conflicts. European companies, together with Russian, Japanese and Malaysian firms, have multi-billion dollar contracts for exploration and drilling in Iran, which has the fourth largest crude oil reserves and the second biggest natural gas reserves in the world.
These companies have substantially supplanted the US and British firms that effectively controlled Iran’s oil and gas riches for 25 years under the Shah of Iran. The US and British contracts were revoked following the 1979 revolution that ousted the US-backed dictator. A US economic embargo on Iran since 1979 also allowed its European and Asian rivals to win large shares of the country’s substantial internal market.
The aim of any US intervention would be to install a puppet regime that would privatize the country’s oil industry and turn it over to US-based transnationals. More broadly, along with the US occupation of Iraq and the stationing of thousands of US troops throughout the former Soviet central Asian republics, “regime change” in Iran would seek to establish unchallenged American hegemony over the Middle East and Central Asia..
US Rejects IAEA Report
Despite the complete collapse of its “weapons of mass destruction” fabrications in Iraq, the White House is making equally unsubstantiated allegations against Iran, accusing it of secretly pursuing a massive nuclear munitions program. Last week, it rejected out of hand a draft IAEA report, which concluded that “no evidence” of such a program existed.
Instead, the Bush administration seized upon Iran’s admissions of earlier minor failures to report nuclear-related activities to the IAEA. According to the IAEA report, which was widely leaked to the Western media, Iran has admitted producing small amounts of nuclear materials, including low-enriched uranium and plutonium..
For the complete article, see: