‘SWIFT Boating’ Iran: Economic War a Prelude to Military Attack
by Tom Burghardt
February 20, 2012
Despite, though likely because, Iran is ready to restart negotiations with the so-called P5+1 group (the five members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) over its civilian nuclear program, belligerent rhetoric and sharply-worded political attacks from Israel and the United States have escalated.
Indeed, as investigative journalist Robert Parry pointed out on the Consortium News web site, arch neocon Senator Joseph Lieberman “is leading a group of nearly one-third of the U.S. Senate urging that the red line on war with Iran be shifted from building a nuclear weapon to the vague notion of Iran having the ‘capability’ to build one.”
“In other words,” Parry warned, “the next preemptive war could be launched not against Iran for actually building a bomb or even trying to build a bomb but rather for simply having the skills that theoretically could be used sometime in the future to build a bomb. The ‘red line’ has been moved from some possible future development to arguably what already exists.”
Last week Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili wrote European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, reiterating that the Islamic Republic’s willingness to return to the negotiating table “is tied to the P5+1’s constructive approach to Iran’s initiatives,” Press TV reported.
In that letter, Iran voiced their “readiness for dialogue on a spectrum of various issues which can provide ground for constructive and forward-looking cooperation,” and that talks should be approached “on step-by-step principles and reciprocity.”
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, flanked by Ashton at a Friday press conference that was pure Kabuki theater said “We think this is an important step, and we welcome the letter,” The Washington Post reported.
“I’m cautious and I’m optimistic at the same time for this,” Ashton told reporters after a gabfest with Clinton at the State Department.
“It also demonstrates the importance of the twin-track approach,” Ashton told The New York Times, “referring to the international effort to intensify sanctions while leaving the door open for a diplomatic resolution of concerns about the possibility of Iran developing nuclear weapons.”
In essence what Ashton is saying is: We have a gun pointed at your head and can pull the trigger at any time; better to capitulate now and give up your right to enrich uranium for your civilian program rather than run the risk of war.