As talks open in Turkey over Iran’s nuclear programme, there is increasing evidence that a countdown to an attack on the Islamic republic by Israel and the United States has begun behind the smokescreen of face-to-face meetings.
The negotiations between Iran, the permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, seem designed to fail because there’s nothing on offer. A military strike in the autumn, on the eve of the American presidential election, is now openly being discussed in military circles.
A scenario similar to the one that proceeded the 2003 invasion of Iraq is unfolding. International law is being manipulated to justify a pre-emptive attack on Iran, even though there is no evidence that the country represents an imminent threat to either Israel or the US.
Anthony D'Amato, a professor of international law at Northwestern University in the US, claims that Iran says it wants to “to push the Israelis into the sea and that they are constructing nuclear weapons. That's enough for me to say that cannot be allowed. If the U.S. or Israel takes the initiative to block that action, it can hardly be said to be violating international law. It can only be preserving international law for future generations."
Other experts take a totally opposite view. But they can be easily ignored. After all, the Foreign Office’s most senior lawyer quit on the eve of the Iraq war after she submitted that it would an illegal act of aggression.
In fact, there is no evidence that Iran is actually building a nuclear bomb. Even the Central Intelligence Agency and Mossad admit that. But just as in 2003, over the fabled but non-existent “weapons of mass destruction”, the facts are either being ignored or simply distorted.
Yukiya Amano, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) since July 2009, which is responsible for verifying Iran’s nuclear programme, stands accused of pro-Western bias and of “over-reliance on unverified intelligence and of sidelining sceptics”. IAEA reports have becoming increasingly hostile, leading one former weapons inspector to comment:
“What we learned back in 2002 and 2003, when we were in the run-up to the war, was that peer review was very important, and that the analysis should not be left to a small group of people. So what have we learned since then? Absolutely nothing. Just like [former US vice-president] Dick Cheney, Amano is relying on a very small group of people and those opinions are not being checked."
President Obama is being driven by the powerful Zionist lobby to support an attack by Israel or face losing key votes in the November election. On the other hand, there is no appetite among American voters for another war. In a recent poll, only 20% strongly favoured an attack that could lead to an Iraq-type conflict.
Ultimately, the intention of Washington and its allies is to create conditions for what they hope will be regime change in Tehran. They know that bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities in itself would be meaningless because they are buried deep below ground. Instead, they hope a military attack would lead to the downfall of the Iranian theocracy and its replacement by a pro-Western “democracy”.
Yet leading figures in the Iranian opposition feature in a video showing activists and intellectuals speaking out against an attack. They say it would strengthen the hand of the regime, which has brutally cracked down on its opponents.
Sadeq Zibakalam, who teaches at with Tehran University , says: "A military strike will not help the democracy and reformist movement at all because it will cause militarisation of the country. The military, the revolutionary guards and radical elements will increase their power."
None of this is of concern to the major powers. Just as in Iraq, the long-term “prize” is the opening up of markets to global corporations and investment banks who are struggling in the capitalist recession. With Iran far better armed than Iraq was, the potential for miscalculation leading to international war is immense.
The campaign to stop an attack on Iran should begin now. Regime change should begin at home.