Monday, January 17, 2005

US Conducting Secret Missions in Iran

They'll be talking about this one in the morning. Actually, it's creating a buzz already. Hot off the presses at the New Yorker, another article from Seymour Hersh about the US's ever-escalating military involvement in the Middle East.

"For more than a year, France, Germany, Britain, and other countries in the European Union have seen preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon as a race against time—and against the Bush Administration. They have been negotiating with the Iranian leadership to give up its nuclear-weapons ambitions in exchange for economic aid and trade benefits. Iran has agreed to temporarily halt its enrichment programs, which generate fuel for nuclear power plants but also could produce weapons-grade fissile material. (Iran claims that such facilities are legal under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, or N.P.T., to which it is a signator, and that it has no intention of building a bomb.) But the goal of the current round of talks, which began in December in Brussels, is to persuade Tehran to go further, and dismantle its machinery. Iran insists, in return, that it needs to see some concrete benefits from the Europeans—oil-production technology, heavy-industrial equipment, and perhaps even permission to purchase a fleet of Airbuses. (Iran has been denied access to technology and many goods owing to sanctions.)

"The Europeans have been urging the Bush Administration to join in these negotiations. The Administration has refused to do so. The civilian leadership in the Pentagon has argued that no diplomatic progress on the Iranian nuclear threat will take place unless there is a credible threat of military action. 'The neocons say negotiations are a bad deal,' a senior official of the International Atomic Energy Agency (I.A.E.A.) told me. 'And the only thing the Iranians understand is pressure. And that they also need to be whacked.' {more}

There's so much more in-depth stuff here. Please, go and read it yourself.