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Iran And US Between The Logic Of Sanctions And The Logic Of War

USS John C. Stennis, with a crew of 3,200 and around 80 fixed-wing aircraft, including F/A-18 Hornet and Superhornet fighter-bombers, eight support ships and four nuclear submarines are heading for the Gulf, where a similar group led by USS Dwight D. Eisenhower has been deployed since December 2006.Tehran orchestrates 'nuclear symphony'
Tehran (AFP) Jan 27 - Iranian musicians will play a "nuclear symphony" on February 11 as part of events celebrating the victory of the 1979 Islamic revolution, the local media reported Saturday. "The nuclear symphony will be performed by a 100-strong orchestra in Azadi (freedom) square," deputy minister of culture and Islamic guidance in charge of arts affairs, Mohammad Hossein Imani, was quoted as saying by the Tehran Times. The newspaper gave no further details of the event.

Iranian officials have already hinted there will be a major announcement on the country's controversial nuclear programme during the upcoming 28th anniversary celebrations of the Islamic revolution. The West suspects that the Islamic republic is seeking to manufacture nuclear weapons as it continues to defy a UN Security Council demand to suspend its sensitive nuclear enrichment programme. The "nuclear symphony" will not be the first time Iranians have shown their pride in acquiring atomic technology.

In January 2006, Iran's postal service came up with a stamp that features the statement "Peaceful Nuclear Technology is the Absolute Right for Iran" in both English and Farsi. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad even dubbed April 9 as the "national day of nuclear technology" to fete Iran's successful enrichment of uranium. The Islamic republic announced that it had on April 9 successfully enriched uranium to 3.5 percent -- enough to make fuel for a nuclear power station.

by Pyotr Goncharov
RIA Novosti political commentator
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Jan 26, 2007
"The Middle East isn't a region to be dominated by Iran. The Gulf isn't a body of water to be controlled by Iran. That's why we've seen the United States station two carrier battle groups in the region," Nicholas Burns, U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs, said in an address to the Dubai-based Gulf Research Center, an influential think-tank, when commenting on the decision of President George W. Bush to send a second U.S. aircraft carrier strike group to the Persian Gulf.

He emphasized that the U.S. is striving for stability in the region and unimpeded oil and gas deliveries in the interests of all other countries.

French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said on the LCI television channel that the international community's demands that Iran stop its dangerous activities in the nuclear sphere were based on the logic of sanctions rather than the logic of war.

However, the situation around Iran has apparently turned towards the logic of war, contrary to the will of the international community, if there is such a thing.

A new U.S. carrier battle group has been dispatched to the Gulf.

USS John C. Stennis, with a crew of 3,200 and around 80 fixed-wing aircraft, including F/A-18 Hornet and Superhornet fighter-bombers, eight support ships and four nuclear submarines are heading for the Gulf, where a similar group led by USS Dwight D. Eisenhower has been deployed since December 2006.

The U.S. is also sending Patriot anti-missile systems to the region.

The above is Washington's reply to the question: What will happen if Iran drives the U.S. into a corner? Or was it the other way round?

It was believed that if Iran refused to stop its nuclear program, the U.S. as its main adversary would ensure the adoption of international sanctions and later start a military operation against Iran. The scenarios of their engagement were described as catastrophic, with Iran erasing the oil and gas infrastructure in the Gulf, blockading the Strait of Hormuz by sinking several oil tankers in it, and starting a war against Iraq, pulling the U.S. deeper into the quagmire. The inevitable conclusion was that a U.S. military operation against Iran would be suicidal, and Washington would never approve it.

So, the "what will happen if?" question has been answered. Now the world wants to know if Washington will be able to avoid a war against Iran.

Tehran is not going to abandon its nuclear program. Moreover, it has said several times that a uranium enrichment system comprising 3,000 centrifuges will be put into operation by the Iranian New Year, which is marked on March 21. From that, there is only one step towards building a nuclear bomb, given the political will, as Washington likes to point out.

If Iran reaches the industrial level of uranium enrichment, Washington will either have to swallow the humiliation, or will start a military operation against Iran. Russian expert Alexei Arbatov said the U.S. usually has to choose between two evils, one greater than the other. In this case, the greater evil will be the creation of a nuclear bomb in Iran. Therefore, if Washington refuses to speak directly with Tehran, it will most likely choose war.

In fact, the United States has already started preparations.

The Dubai-based Gulf Research Center, where Nick Burns made the above statement, has published a special report saying that Iran's nuclear ambitions will inevitably provoke a regional confrontation. Tehran must be aware that if the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is forced to choose between allowing Iran to build a nuclear bomb and letting the U.S. deliver a strike against Iran, it will choose the latter.

The Gulf Research Center is a think-tank of the defense departments of the GCC oil-producing member states (Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar). Jordan and Egypt have likewise approved Bush's new strategy in the Middle East.

In short, Washington has rallied sufficient support in the region.

The global media are writing that the plan of a potential U.S. strike at Iran has been worked out in detail, with the strike to be delivered by the end of April.

Pentagon chief Robert Gates, who advocated a "diplomatic engagement" with Iran several years ago, has said Tehran should know that the U.S., although "tied down in Iraq," remains a dangerous adversary.

He denied that his recent decision to deploy Patriot missiles and a second aircraft carrier strike group in the Persian Gulf was meant as a threat to Iran. "We need some leverage, it seems to me, before we [diplomatically] engage with the Iranians," he added.

Is the second carrier group the "leverage" Gates was referring to?

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and may not necessarily represent the opinions of the editorial board.

Source: RIA Novosti

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Iran Sends Conflicting Signals On Nuclear Work
Tehran, Jan 27 (AFP) Jan 27, 2007
Iran gave conflicting signals on its disputed nuclear work on Saturday with the Islamic republic's atomic energy agency denying Tehran has started to install 3,000 centrifuges to enrich uranium. "No new centrifuge machines have been installed in the Natanz facility," Hossein Cimorgh, public relations director of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation, was quoted as saying by IRNA news agency.

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