Saturday, May 06, 2006

Tehran Changes Tone on Eve of Security Council Decision

Hamid Ahadi, Rooz Online:
As unofficial reports growingly indicate that the UN Security Council will issue a stern resolution against Iran - confirming the failure of Iran’s diplomacy during the past 2 months – Iranian officials now clearly acknowledge that a military strike against it is a reality and are embarking on ways to confront it. READ MORE

Just a few days ago, for example, Mohsen Rezai, the former Passdaran Revolutionary Guards Corps commander and current secretary of the powerful State Expediency Council that mediates differences between the legislature and executive branches of Iran’s government disclosed in his talk at a seminar on current affairs, that the US and Iran were now at jogger heads. Another insider, Hadi Nejad-Hosseinian who used to be the government’s representative at the UN and is now the number two man at Iran’s oil ministry said, after his talks with the Indian oil minister, There is a possibility of a US attack on Iran, I am concerned and in fact everybody is concerned.”

The former Passdar commander who been a presidential candidate in the June of last year but was rejected by the politicians on the right, told the participants, “The Americans cannot embark on a ground invasion of Iran. At best, they can engage in military strikes but we should bear in mind that whichever country they have attack from the air, the target country has been subjected to difficulties. In any case, they have plans to destabilize Iran and both Tehran and Washington are now moving into the battlefield, which could be either a boxing ring or a wrestling match.”

Nejad-Hosseinian who was busy last month signing a pipeline agreement and then realized that with US opposition, the plan was doomed to failure, also spoke of his concerns about a possible war but also warned and predicted that any conflict would shoot the price of oil to $100 per barrel.

Reminding the world that the price of oil will sharply rise in case of an attack on Iran is a tool Iranian officials have been widely using over the recent years as a deterrent to dissuade such an attack and through this have tried to warn other countries of the dangers that they would be confronted if a clash takes place between the two contending states.

Until just a few days ago, government officials believed that Europe’s public interest to participate in Iran’s oil projects and sign a $200 billion gas exporting project to China, and also the peace plan between India and Pakistan were indications that international trade relations were booming, thus concluding that there were no chances of a UN Security Council resolution against Iran.

These new expressions of concern by Iranian officials that military strikes against Iran are a real possibility come amid news reports by the Iranian pro-government press, such as Keyhan, Java and Jomhurie Eslami, that until last week ruled out any military strikes against Iran and talked of the failure of the US to create a coalition against Iran. And up to 10 days ago when a report from New York reached the foreign ministry that based on reliable information obtained from European embassies confirming that the US had succeeded in winning the support of UN Security Council permanent members, the managing director of Keyhan newspaper who is normally credited to be informed about the political discussions behind the scenes in Iran published a strong editorial warned “leftover” Iranian officials in the administration who “lacked guts” and did not see the changed atmosphere in the country, to resign and open up their positions to brave people who would also not be under the influence of Westerners.

In its last editorial then, Keyhan belittled the US and the West by claiming that they were on the run and that they had failed completely in their goals, after using every means at their disposal, while Iran during this period had turned into a major power not just in the region, but the whole world.

And again while just a few days ago, Keyhan asked in an interview with foreign minister Manoutchehr Mottaki: “How does the minister of the most powerful country in the region feel?” last Tuesday the newspaper reported that if the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna were to acknowledge Iran’s inherent right and close the case, Iran could allow nuclear inspectors from the agency to inspect its nuclear facilities. Otherwise, it continued, all inspections must be denied.

But as soon as a particular news item appeared on the official ISNA student news agency’s website, it was immediately transmitted to the world, even though nobody took it seriously in Tehran and the news site even removed the news from its website. According to the site, which was also quoted in the Washington Post, Passdaran Revolutionary Guards Corps commander Dehgani said that if the US attacked Iran, Iran would attack Israel. At the same time Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, the minister of the interior of Iran also said, in a government committee, As we witnessed in the Persian Gulf military exercises of the brave forces of Iran’s armed forces, the Persian Gulf is no longer a safe place for our enemies. The Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman are now hunting grounds for the armed forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Any force with whatever strength and equipment that tries to hold military exercises in this theatre will not be immune from the fire of the armed forces of Iran.”

According to political observers, at a time when a Security Council resolution against Iran is in its final stages, these are just the final instruments being used to influence the Council.