Bill Van Auken
With the clock ticking to an August 31 deadline set by the United Nations Security Council’s resolution demanding that Iran abandon its uranium enrichment program, a section of the American ruling establishment is pressing US intelligence agencies to produce “evidence” that Iran’s nuclear ambitions pose an imminent nuclear weapons threat.
The aim is the same as that pursued by Vice President Dick Cheney and others in the Bush administration in the run-up to the Iraq War who sought to manufacture phony “intelligence” that Saddam Hussein’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction justified a US invasion and occupation of the country.
This is the political significance of the hastily written and shoddy report issued by the House Intelligence Committee last Wednesday, a day after Iran issued its response to the UN ultimatum, which Washington deemed to have fallen “short” of the resolution’s conditions for avoiding sanctions.
While Russia and China—both veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council—have indicated support for Iran’s call for further negotiations, Washington is having none of it, demanding instead that Teheran unconditionally surrender to the UN diktat.
Iran has shown no inclination to follow such a course. Instead, on Saturday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad staged a symbolic inauguration of a heavy water plant near Arak, in central Iran. He insisted that the facility was intended solely for peaceful purposes, serving medical, scientific and agricultural needs. But Western powers have stressed that it is possible to extract plutonium—a material used in the production of nuclear weapons—from spent fuel produced at an associated heavy water, research reactor that is still under construction.
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