2003 June 15 Sunday
Bush Administration Sharply Divided On Iran

Richard Perle says the US has no policy on Iran.

"As of now, there is no Iran policy," American Enterprise Institute scholar Richard Perle tells Insight. Until recently Perle was chairman of the Defense Policy Board, and he remains close to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. "It is well known within the administration that Iran is the single most active source of terrorism and is the biggest financier of terrorism. And yet, no clear strategy has been developed to deal with Iran," Perle says.

The Washington Post has an article quoting numerous analysts and government sources about the debate on Iran policy.

Bureaucratic tensions have reached the level where each side has begun accusing the other of leaking unfavorable stories to the media to block policy initiatives. "The knives are out," said a Pentagon official, who criticized national security adviser Condoleezza Rice for failing to end the dispute by issuing clear policy guidelines.

The clock is ticking. The United States has to choose a policy that will work before Iran gets nuclear weapons. Support democratic opposition? Threaten the mullahs with military strikes to induce them to give up their nuclear weapons program in exchange for some sort of deal with the US? It seems harder to offer Iran anything similar to what was given to North Korea starting in 1994 because Iran has oil revenue. Besides, the appeasement and bribery strategy failed with North Korea as the Pyongyang regime proceeded to pursue a secret uranium enrichment program most likely with Pakistani help.

Meanwhile, demonstrations took place in Iran for the fifth consecutive night.

There were reports of smaller demonstrations in at least two other cities, a sign that the momentum of the protests, which Washington have hailed as a cry for freedom, may be gathering pace.

It would be nice if these demonstrations kept getting larger and larger and eventually brought down the government. But, as I've previously repeatedly argued, Iran is still not a likely candidate for a successful revolution to overthrow the Mullahs.

Various elements of the Iranian government are jamming foreign satellite feeds to prevent US-based Iranian groups from inciting protests, arresting reform-minded opposition figures, and even arresting pro-government thugs who have been attacking protestors. While the Bush Administration debates Iran policy and some Iranians protest against their government the Sunday Telegraph reports the Iranian government is recruiting Iraqi rocket scientists.

The Iranian regime is particularly seeking Iraqi specialists in solid missile propellants, a technology in which Baghdad was strong but Teheran weak.

The people and government of Iran are obviously making a really big and multi-pronged effort to make their country into a major source of world news stories...

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 June 15 03:25 AM  Politics Grand Strategy

Fred J Harris said at June 15, 2003 2:24 PM:

I suspect that the US State Department has a
clearly defined policy on Iran. Thats the problem.
We should shortly see the parade of ex US Ambassadors
to Iran parading about on television shilling for the
Iranian leadership.
I sometimes wonder what it costs to buy an American

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