Gold Star Families for Peace, CODE PINK: Women for Peace, Progressive Democrats of America, Democrats.com, After Downing Street – 2006-04-10 23:27:58
Petition Opposing Attack on Iran
Dear President Bush and Vice President Cheney:
We urge you not to attack the nation of Iran. In so doing, we hope to make clear to the world that public opinion is strongly opposed to such criminal behavior.
We urge you to respect international law and the right of sovereign nations not to be attacked.
US Plans Strike to Topple Iran Regime – Report
Julian Borger & Bob Tait / The Guardian
WASHINGTON & TEHRAN (April 10. 2006) — The US is planning military action against Iran because George Bush is intent on regime change in Tehran – and not just as a contingency if diplomatic efforts fail to halt its suspected nuclear weapons programme, it was reported yesterday.
In the New Yorker magazine, Seymour Hersh, America’s best known investigative journalist, concluded that the Bush administration is even considering the use of a tactical nuclear weapon against deep Iranian bunkers, but that top generals in the Pentagon are attempting to take that option off the table.
Hersh, who helped break the story of the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal, quoted an unnamed Pentagon adviser as saying the resurgence of interest in tactical nuclear weapons among Pentagon civilians was “a juggernaut that has to be stopped” and that some senior officers and officials were considering resignation over the issue.
There is also rising concern in the US military and abroad that Mr Bush’s goal in Iran is not counter-proliferation but regime change, the article reports. The president and his aides now refer to the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as a potential Adolf Hitler, according to a former senior intelligence official.
Another government consultant is quoted as saying Mr Bush believes he must do “what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do” and “that saving Iran is going to be his legacy”.
“The word I’m hearing is messianic,” Mr Hersh said yesterday on CNN. “[Bush] is politically free. He really thinks he has a chance and this is his mission.”
There was no formal response from the White House yesterday but Fox News television quoted unnamed officials as saying Mr Hersh’s article was “hyped, without knowledge of the president’s thinking”. In Britain, Jack Straw told the BBC that the idea of a US nuclear strike against Iran was “completely nuts.”
Military action against Iran was “not on the agenda”, the foreign secretary said. “They [the Americans] are very committed indeed to resolving this issue … by negotiation and by diplomatic pressure.”
An Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, Hamid Reza Asefi, dismissed the reports as “psychological war, launched by Americans because they feel angry and desperate regarding Iran’s nuclear dossier”.
Vincent Cannistraro, a former CIA counter-terrorism operations chief said Mr Bush had not yet made up his mind about the use of direct military action against Iran.
“There is a battle for Bush’s soul over that,” he said, adding that Karl Rove, the president’s chief political adviser is adamantly opposed to a war.
However, Mr Cannistraro said covert military action, in the form of special forces troops identifying targets and aiding dissident groups, is already under way.
“It’s been authorised, and it’s going on to the extent that there is some lethality to it. Some people have been killed.”
He said US-backed Baluchi Sunni guerrillas had been involved in an attack in Sistan-Baluchistan last month in which over 20 Iranian government officials were killed and the governor of the provincial capital was wounded. The Iranian government had blamed British intelligence for the incident.
Last week, the Iranian regime made a public show of its combat readiness by test-firing some of its missile technology during seven days of war games in the Gulf, images of which were broadcast repeatedly on state television.
The Washington Post reported yesterday that Pentagon and CIA planners had been exploring possible targets, including a uranium enrichment plant at Natanz and a uranium conversion site in Isfahan, as part of a broader strategy of “coercive diplomacy” aimed at forcing Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions.
But that report made no mention of the possible use of a tactical nuclear bunker-buster, such as the B61-11, against deep underground targets, reported by Mr Hersh.
The UN security council has given Iran until the end of this month to suspend its uranium enrichment programme, which most western governments believe is intended to produce a nuclear warhead, not generate electric power as Tehran insists.
There is no consensus in the security council over what steps to take if the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reports back that Iran has failed to comply. The IAEA director, Mohamed ElBaradei is due in Tehran this week for talks.
The US ambassador to the UN, John Bolton said last week the US would explore other diplomatic and economic options if the security council fails to agree. He has also told British parliamentarians that he believes that military action could halt or at least set back the Iranian nuclear programme by striking it at its weakest point.
The Washington Post reported that while no military action is likely in the short term, the possible targets went beyond suspected nuclear installations and included the option of a “more extensive bombing campaign designed to destroy an array of military and political targets”.
It is a widespread belief in Washington’s neo-conservative circles that a comprehensive air assault would disorient the Tehran government and galvanise the Iranian people into bringing it down.
The departure of senior neo-conservatives from the administration after Mr Bush’s 2004 re-election was thought to have weakened their clout, but Mr Hersh’s report suggested that the president’s personal convictions may yet prove decisive.
Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2006
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