President Bush's recent remarks stating that the United States had not removed the military option from the table was not a U.S.-Iran policy shift toward greater U.S. aggression.  Rather, the president’s comment reflects a long standing U.S. policy toward Iran, the world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism.  Maintaining the military option "on the table" as a last resort appears to have considerable backing in the U.S. congress.  However the EU3, whose negotiations with Iran the U.S. fully supports, couldn't be more divided on the subject of force under any circumstances.  Iran has already announced its intention to not comply with an IAEA resolution passed 10, August 2005.

To that end German Chancellor Gerhard Schoder has made resistance to a military solution for Iran’s non-compliance a domestic campaign issue.  This should not be a surprise when one realizes Germany’s ailing economy has seen some relief recently in the form of increased trade with Iran (33.4% increase in exports 2004).  French and UK officials have remained relatively quiet on the issue of Iran’s non-compliance with the IAEA’s most recent resolution.  They have however made remarks suggesting that they harbor a steadfast unwillingness to allow Iran to develop a nuclear bomb.  Tough talk from the Brits and the French from their political perspective sidesteps the greater issue of Iran developing the capacity to rapidly manufacture nuclear warheads if its foreign policy were to shift in the direction of overt ambition to join the nuclear armed community. 


Nations with warheads in Iran's neighborhood include Pakistan and Israel.  The political ascension of the ultra violent, Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) is a strong indicator that Tehran may in fact shift what they describe as a peaceful nuclear program to one that not only produces electric power but also thermo-nuclear detonations.  The resumes of Iranian President Mahmood Amadinejad’s presidential appointees indicate a continuation of the trend toward IRGC dominance.  A trend that was not surprising initiated by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenie, a former Revolutionary Guard Commander himself.  The record confidence level demonstrated by Iranian nuclear negotiators, spurred on by Tehran’s ruling elite appears to be pegged to the price of a barrel of light crude.


Hitting record highs of $67 a barrel a massive wealth transfer to oil producing states is underway.  Unfortunately, the recent increase in clashes between a restive Iranian populace and state security forces indicates that the surplus revenues the country are experiencing are not being spent on education and social services domestically.  Instead, greater Iranian aggression in neighboring Iraq indicates officials in Tehran are preparing for a major conflict with the West.  The future of Iraq, where currently more than 100,000 U.S. soldiers and other coalition forces are feverishly working to maintain security while improving social services for Iraqis, will dramatically impact Iran’s future.  Although the majority Shiaa community in Iraq has made positive moves by stalling a plan to create an Iraqi Shiaa Federation, the eventual formation of such a federation will play well into Iran’s regional strategy.


Schroder Starts Campaign With Attack:  AP via Moscow Times, 15 August 2005

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder: "But take the military options off of the table; we have seen that they're not suitable," Schroder said, in apparent reference to U.S. President George W. Bush's statement on Friday that "all options are on the table."


Iran, Germany’s largest market in Middle East:  Iran Mania, 10 August 2005

"Germany is traditionally the most important supplier of goods and services to Iran, and its exports to the country grew by 33.4 % in 2004, a 3.6-bln-euro business," Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) quoted an official in Germany’s Ministry of Economy and Labor.


Tehran Warns US Against Military Action Over Nuclear Program:  VOA 14 August 2005

U.S. Senator John McCain: "I guess my point is, for us to say that the Iranians can do whatever they want to do, and we won't, under any circumstances, exercise a military option, would be for them to have a license to do whatever they want to do," he said. "So, I think the president's comments that we wouldn't take the [military] option off the table was entirely appropriate."


Iran vows to defy Sept. 3 nuke deadline:  CBS News, Last Updated Sun, 14 Aug 2005 11:42:44 EDT

Hamid Reza Asefi: "Europe's behaviour will heavily influence the decision," [Iran’s Foreign Ministry] spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said told reporters.  "Work in Isfahan will not be suspended again for confidence building," Asefi said, referring to a past attempt to shore up negotiations.

Nuclear trace tests may back Iran's case:  The Age, August 15, 2005 - 6:24AM

Mohamed ElBaradei:  "All declared (nuclear) material in Iran is under verification, but we still are not in a position to say that there is no undeclared nuclear material or activities in Iran," IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei told reporters after an emergency meeting of the IAEA's governing board last week.  "With regard to the country as a whole, the jury is still out," he added.



Hardliners take key offices, Only one of Khatami's reformists to stay on: Bangkok Post, Monday 15 August 2005

Ali Reza Rajaei & Saeed Madani: ``All those who worked against Khatami's reformist agenda have now been nominated to sit in the government,'' the reformist writer Ali Reza Rajaei said. ``Most of them are either former military commanders or people in close touch with security agencies.''  Political scientist Saeed Madani agreed, saying that the appointment of people associated with security forces to executive positions would retard Iran's progress.  ``The list means Iran will behave more secretly in its dealings, both with the nation and the international community,'' he said, adding it would also put greater emphasis on security.


Hard-liners dominate new Iran cabinet:  Iran Focus,  Sat. 13 Aug 2005

Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Manouchehr Mottaki

Chairman of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee, former Deputy Foreign Minister and ambassador to Turkey and Japan, former liaison officer between the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and the Foreign Ministry.

Ministry of Defence: Ali-Akbar Ahmadian

Rear Admiral (Revolutionary Guards), chief of staff of IRGC, former deputy commander of naval forces

Ministry of Intelligence and Security: Hojjatol-Islam Gholamreza Mohseni Ezhei

Prosecutor and Judge of Special Tribunal for Clergy, formerly Special Prosecutor in the Ministry of Intelligence and Security

Ministry of Interior: Hojjatol-Islam Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi

Former Deputy Minister of Intelligence and Security

Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance: Hossein Saffar Harandi

Former deputy editor in chief of ultra-conservative daily Kayhan, former commander in IRGC

Ministry of Oil: Ali Saeedlou

Long-time ally of Ahmadinejad in ultra-conservative Abadgaran faction, former deputy mayor of Tehran for finance and administration, replaced Ahmadinejad as interim mayor of Tehran after presidential elections

Ministry of Energy: Morteza Saghaian-Nejad

Mayor of Isfahan, chairman of hard-line Islamic Association of Engineers in Isfahan Province

Ministry of Economy: Farhad Rahbar

Economics lecturer in Tehran University

Ministry of Commerce: Ahmad Khaledi

Former Deputy Minister of Commerce

Ministry of Education: Hamid-Reza Haji-Babai

Member of presiding committee of Majlis, member of hard-line faction’s leadership in parliament

Ministry of Justice: Alireza Jamshidi

Deputy Chief of Judiciary for legal affairs

Ministry of Communications: Mohammad Soleymani

Former Deputy Minister of Science, former chancellor of University of Science and Technology of Tehran (where Ahmadinejad studied, taught, and founded the Islamic Association)
Ministry of Roads and Transportation: Ali Abadi

Deputy mayor of Tehran for development (from Ahmadinejad’s Abadgaran faction)

Ministry of Welfare: Sajjadi

Head of Presidential Office for Technology

Ministry of Science and Research: Mohammad-Mehdi Zahedi

Hard-line chairman of Kerman City Council

Ministry of Agriculture: Mohammad Reza Eskandari

Head of Wheat Self-sufficiency Programme

Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs: Habibollah Dahmardeh

Chancellor of University of Sistan and Baluchistan (may be replaced with Mohammad Jahromi, senior election officer in the Guardian Council)

Ministry of Health: Kamran Lankarani

Currently head of a hospital in the southern city of Shiraz, known for his hard-line Islamist views

Revolutionary Guards and allies sweep Iran’s new cabinet: Iran Focus, Sun. 14 Aug 2005

"There is not one minister in this cabinet who could be described as a moderate", said Ali Tavassoli, an Iranian affairs analyst based in Dubai. "There are a few hard-liners and many more very radical hard-liners. Ahmadinejad must feel quite at home among this crowd".


USADI Calls for Immediate Referral of Iran’s Nuclear Case to Security Council:  USADI, 09 Aug 2005

USADI:  Iran's theocratic system, with the ultra-conservative faction and Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) now in full control, is incapable of meeting the political, social and economic demands of the Iranians and its international obligations. It, therefore, seeks to ensure its permanence by cracking down at home, sponsoring terrorism abroad, and developing weapons of mass destruction. The IRGC-engineered presidency of former Guards’ commander Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is primarily aimed to counter these existential challenges with even more brutality at home and intransigence abroad.



Playing with fire:  Washington Times,  August 12, 2005

Raymond Tanter:  "There is evidence from independent sources that Iran is fueling the insurgency," said Raymond Tanter, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, co-chair of the Iran Policy Committee, who served on the staff of the National Security Council from 1981-82. "The Middle East Media Research Institute reported in January that a former commander of an insurgent group, Army of Muhammad, said, 'The truth is that Iran has played a significant role in supporting the Army of Muhammad and many factions of the resistance.'"


Iran backing Iraqi insurgent bombers - Time report:  Reuters, 14 Aug 2005 16:27:34 GMT

The U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad replied to a question on Sunday by George Stephanopoulos of ABC News about Iranian influence by saying: "Well, I am concerned. I do not oppose good relations between Iraq and Iran. They are neighbors.  "But at the same time, there are Iranian activities that undermine the current system. There are weapons that come across the Iranian border. There are people that come across from the Iranian border into Iraq."


Shiaas have Opposed Al Hakim's Call for Establishing a Shiite Federal Region - Sunnis felt "Shock and Fear":  AlMendhar, 14/08/2005 07:17:40

Jamal Eddin:   In an interview with Al Sharq Al Awsat on the phone from his office in Baghdad said, "At present, we need to establish the state institutions. I believe that if we are to speak on a system, it is appropriate to speak about the non-centralization system in administering the provinces, so as to assist the government." He added, "The first task that we should be interested in, is the establishment of the state institutions and providing services for the people, who have not asked or demanded for the federation. They are calling for the provision of services; electricity, water and security."


Shiaas have Opposed Al Hakim's Call for Establishing a Shiite Federal Region - Sunnis felt "Shock and Fear":  AlMendhar, 14/08/2005 07:17:40

Saleem Abdullah, leader in the Iraqi Islamic party and member in the constitution drafting committee, said, "This call confirms the reality of the worries of Arab Sunnis with regard to the existence of a division operation of the country into several regions, which are granted wide-scale competence." He continued, "Resorting to the gradual division of the country from provinces into regions is not based on a detailed studies and this is a rejected matter on our behalf."


US, UK get blame for Iran unrest:, Sunday 14 August 2005, 21:49 Makka Time, 18:49 GMT

Vahed Qaribian, Kurdish activist: "Peace has returned to the area, but security is tight. Dozens of activists are still in jail," he said.  Those jailed include Ajlal Ghavami, Saeed Jalali and Roya Toloui, a women's rights activist. Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the security forces wounded hundreds when they opened fire in Mahabad on demonstrators who were protesting against the police killing of a Kurdish activist, Shivan Qaderi, on 9 July.


5,000 in southern Kurdistan protested against the regime in Iran:  KurdishInfo, 14 August 2005

"Every Kurd in every part of Kurdistan has the same pain. The Kurds need their unity more than ever. We must all stand united against the attacks on the Kurdish people. The Kurds must support each other", Dr. Gulpi continued. Demonstrators also chanted slogans in favour of the Kurdish uprising in eastern Kurdistan and for the imprisoned Kurdish national leader Abdullah Ocalan. Slogans as "Our sun [Ocalan] is never alone!", "North, south, east, Ocalan leader of the nation!", "Again, Again, Uprising, Our leader is Ocalan", "We are with the eastern Kurds!" and "The eastern Kurds are never alone!" were shouted by the demonstrators.


Oil Prices Hit Record Near $67:  AP via PetroleumIran,  12 AUGUST 2005

Mike Fitzpatrick: "This is a bubble that will have to burst at some point," said Mike Fitzpatrick, an oil broker at Fimat USA in New York. A large increase in supply or a noticeable dropoff in demand will be needed to end the buying frenzy, he said.





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