Sunday, November 21, 2004

"Invading Iran would be a catastrophic mistake"

IranMania News: ""Invading Iran would be a catastrophic mistake"

Sunday, November 21, 2004 - ©2004
LONDON, Nov 21 (IranMania) - Invading Iran "would be a catastrophic mistake," The New York Times warned in an editorial, which deemed recent administration statements reminiscent of statements made in the run-up to the war in Iraq.

"We hope president Bush has learned enough from the Iraq adventure to understand the dangers of using flawed intelligence to create a false sense of urgency about a national security threat," the NYT said.

"Invading Iran, a country of nearly 70 mln people, would be a catastrophic mistake," it said.

"Stop us if you've heard this one before. The Bush administration creates a false sense of urgency about a nuclear menace from a Middle Eastern country. Hard-liners talk about that country's connections to terrorists. They portray European diplomatic efforts to defuse tensions as a feckless attempt to appease a rogue nation whose word can never be trusted anyway. Secretary of State Colin Powell makes ominous-sounding warnings about new intelligence, which turns out to be dubious," the editorial said.

According to AFP, the Times called it a "welcome step" that Iran committed to freezing its nuclear enrichment activities after German, British and French diplomatic work.

"Iran has long been a target of the hawks in the administration, who are undoubtedly feeling their oats after the election," the New York Times said.

"That is how president Bush rushed the country into an unnecessary conflict with Iraq in his first term, and we have been seeing alarming signs of that approach all week on Iran" and "there is no military solution here," the daily said.

The United States has no intention to change Iran's regime and it has no plans to invade the nation neighboring Iraq, where 140,000 US troops are stationed, Powell said in an interview broadcast November 14.

"We are not getting ready to invade Iran," Powell told CNBC television's "The Wall Street Journal Report" when asked if having 140,000 troops in Iraq makes it easier to deal with Iran.

"We have no intention of regime change. That is our policy: no regime change," he said, although he added: "we don't approve of this regime.

Bush, on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperationsummit in Santiago, said, "This is a very serious matter, the world knows it's a serious matter, and we're working together to solve this matter."

"It's very important for the Iranian government to hear that we are concerned about their desires, and we're concerned about reports that show that prior to a certain international meeting, they're willing to speed up processing of materials that could lead to a nuclear weapon," Bush said.

Powell, in an interview with the Chilean daily El Mercurio, defended his controversial remarks on Iran from earlier in the week.

"Now they have a new agreement with the European Union. I hope they meet their commitments," Powell said. "But there is no good reason to just trust the Iranian assurances. We need to see performance.

"We need to get the IAEA back into Iran to look at these places. And we know that Iran has a sophisticated missile program. And with such a program, one must expect that if they are developing a nuclear warhead and nuclear weapons that they will have to find a way to deliver them," Powell added.

"And so the statement that I made the other day -- that I have reason to believe that they are developing such ability -- is a correct statement, and we stand by it."

According to the Observer, while George Bush clearly favours more stick and less carrot, it is not yet clear what the stick might be: US administration sources say targeted air strikes - either by the US or Israel - aimed at wiping out Iran's fledgling nuclear programme would be difficult because of a lack of clear intelligence about where key components are located.

Despite America's attempt to turn up the heat on Iran, analysts remain deeply uncertain whether the increasingly bellicose noises which are coming from Bush administration figures represent a crude form of 'megaphone' diplomacy designed to scare Iran into sticking to its side of the bargain, or evidence that Washington is leaning towards a new military adventure.

Speaking on the fringes of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum meeting in Santiago yesterday, Bush ratcheted up the pressure on Iran.

'It is very important for the Iran government to hear that we are concerned about their desires and we're concerned about reports that show that, before a certain international meeting, they're willing to speed up the processing of materials that could lead to a nuclear weapon,' Bush said.

Referring to the European countries that negotiated the deal with Iran, Bush added: 'They do believe that Iran has got nuclear ambitions, as do we, as do many around the world, the Observer reported.

'This is a very serious matter. The world knows it's a serious matter and we're working together to solve this matter.'"


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