Presidential candidates continue war rhetoric
Republican presidential candidates continued their war rhetoric towards Iran on Wednesday (Reuters 12/7). Front running candidate Mitt Romney said that “covert and overt” actions are needed to pressure Iran. Candidate Jon Huntsman added that “you have to have all options on the table.” Presidential hopeful Michelle Bachman said “the Pentagon must prepare a war plan.”
Stephen Walts argues against any covert or overt actions against Iran based on four grounds: the risk of undesirable escalation, the overestimation of the nuclear threat, the inevitable risk of “blowback,” and the reaffirmation of deep suspicions between the United States and Iran (Walts Foreign Policy 12/7).
The Washington Post reports that AIPAC has endorsed sanctions on Iran’s Central Bank despite concerns that the sanctions would raise oil prices and benefit Iran financially (Washington Post 12/7). Platts reports that Iran may divert petrochemical cargoes meant for Europe to Asia if new sanctions are imposed by the European Union (Platts 12/7).
Jayshree Bajoria details expert opinion on how increased sanctions would weaken European economies, shrink global oil supplies and raise prices, and do little to divert Iran’s nuclear ambitions (Bajoria Huffington Post 12/7).
M.E.K. status update
Republican legislators on Wednesday urged the Obama administration to remove M.E.K. from its list of terrorist organization (NY Times 12/7).
According to a Washington Post article, the fallen drone incident highlights a growing covert strategy against Iran (Washington Post 12/7). Iran’s PressTV broadcast the first images of the fallen drone. U.S. officials say they doubt Iran can make use of the drone (AFP 12/7).
In a Guardian op-ed, Seumas Milne says that an attack on Iran would turn a regional “maelstorm into a global firestorm.”
Iran would certainly retaliate directly and through allies against Israel, the US and US Gulf client states, and block the 20% of global oil supplies shipped through the Strait of Hormuz. Quite apart from death and destruction, the global economic impact would be incalculable.
All reason and common sense militate against such an act of aggression. Meir Dagan, the former head of Israel’s Mossad, said last week it would be a “catastrophe”. Leon Panetta, the US defence secretary, warned that it could “consume the Middle East in confrontation and conflict that we would regret”.
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Additional Notable News:
The State Department criticized Iran’s blocking of the new “virtual embassy,” saying, “The Iranian government should explain to its own people why it fears their ability to access the information that they choose.”
Iran’s foreign ministry dismissed the virtual embassy initiative, stating, “The virtual initiatives will neither compensate for (American) mistakes, nor relay the U.S. message to the Iranian people.”
In an exclusive interview with ABC, Syria’s Assad claims that there has been no systematic crackdown on protestors, reports Science Christian Monitor.