Tuesday, November 13, 2007
A top US commander said yesterday that the United States is not planning a preemptive attack on Iran despite increasing rhetoric from Washington, D.C. The United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also denied that an attack was imminent, stating that there is no Congressional authorization for military action against Iran.
The denials came as The Observer ran a report saying that US personnel involved in interrogating insurgents in Iraq are under "huge" pressure to find evidence against Iran. It quoted Micah Brose, a privately contracted interrogator working for the US military there, as saying that information on Iran is "gold".
"They push a lot for us to establish a link with Iran", Brose claimed in the interview, adding that "it feels a lot like, if you get something and Iran's not involved, it's a let down." He further claimed that people have said to him that "they're really pushing the Iran thing." Brose denied being asked to manufacture evidence, but stated that "if a detainee wants to tell me what I want to hear so he can get out of jail ... you know what I'm saying."
The US has in the past been accused of using exaggerated and fabricated evidence to build its case against Iraq prior to the war.
The article by the British based newspaper said most military intelligence officers refused to comment but that one said "The message is, 'Got to find a link with Iran, got to find a link with Iran.' It's sickening."
On Monday, Admiral William J. Fallon, the commanding officer of United States Central Command which is responsible for the Middle East, East Africa and Central Asia, speaking in Financial Times, said that a strike against Iran is "not in the offing."
"None of this is helped by the continuing stories that just keep going around and around and around that any day now there will be another war which is just not where we want to go," Fallon continued. "Getting Iranian behavior to change and finding ways to get them to come to their senses and do that is the real objective. Attacking them as a means to get to that spot strikes me as being not the first choice in my book." Despite saying this, he refused to rule out a strike against Iran in the future.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was on ABC's This Week on Sunday, saying that a Senate resolution designating Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization does not authorize military action.
"There is nothing in this particular resolution that would suggest that from our point of view. And, clearly, the president has also made very clear that he's on a diplomatic path where Iran comes into focus," Rice said.
"This resolution is saying that there needs to be strong measures taken against Iran, which we have definitely done," Rice continued. "And if the Iranians suspend their enrichment and reprocessing, I'm prepared to meet my counterpart anyplace, anytime, anywhere. So the question isn't why will we not talk to Tehran. The question is, why will Tehran not talk to us?"
Senator Hillary Clinton, who is running for President, voted for the resolution. She has said that the resolution could not be used to justify war, but rather it seeks to escalate diplomatic efforts. "We wish to emphasize that no congressional authority exists for unilateral military action against Iran," she said in an open letter on November 1, 2007.
Last week, former Foreign Minister of Germany, Joschka Fischer said that he was worried that the upcoming US Presidential election could heighten tensions between the US and Iran. He found particularly worrisome a statement by Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani in October that "If I am President of the United States, I guarantee you, we will never find out what they will do if they get nuclear weapons, because they are not going to get a nuclear weapon ... the military option is not off the table."
== Sources ==
Demetri Sevastopulo, Daniel Dombey and Andrew Ward. "US strike on Iran ‘not being prepared’" — Financial Times, November 12, 2007
David Smith. "Iraqi fighters 'grilled for evidence on Iran'" — The Observer, November 11, 2007
"Rice: Iran Resolution Doesn't OK War" — Associated Press, November 11, 2007
"Elections in US, Iran could escalate nuclear row: former German FM" — AFP, November 10, 2007
Patrick Healy. "Clinton Signs Letter on Iran" — The New York Times, November 1, 2007