Serious About Diplomacy? I Report, You Decide.
New Yorker 4/8/06:
The Bush Administration, while publicly advocating diplomacy in order to stop Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon, has increased clandestine activities inside Iran and intensified planning for a possible major air attack. Current and former American military and intelligence officials said that Air Force planning groups are drawing up lists of targets, and teams of American combat troops have been ordered into Iran, under cover, to collect targeting data and to establish contact with anti-government ethnic-minority groups. . .
There is a growing conviction among members of the United States military, and in the international community, that President BushÂs ultimate goal in the nuclear confrontation with Iran is regime change. . .
One of the militaryÂs initial option plans, as presented to the White House by the Pentagon this winter, calls for the use of a bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapon, such as the B61-11, against underground nuclear sites. . .
The attention given to the nuclear option has created serious misgivings inside the offices of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he added, and some officers have talked about resigning. Late this winter, the Joint Chiefs of Staff sought to remove the nuclear option from the evolving war plans for IranÂwithout success.
New York Times 4/10/06:
President Bush said Monday that he remained committed to using diplomacy to block Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, his first public comments addressing recent speculation that the United States was weighing military action to do so. The president, taking questions from an audience at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, dismissed reports published over the weekend that described military planning for attacks against Iran, saying they contained "wild speculation."
Iran has prepared a high-level delegation to hold wide-ranging talks with the US, but the Bush administration is resisting the agenda suggested by Tehran despite pressure from European allies to engage the Islamic republic, Iranian politicians have told the Financial Times. . .Christy has suggested to me that now would be a good time to consider moving to Australia.
Iran's willingness to engage the US on Iraq, regional security and the nuclear issue, is believed to have the approval of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. It represents the most serious attempt by the Islamic republic to reach out to the US since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
But the White House insisted on Thursday that its own offer of talks with Iran, extended several months ago by Zalmay Khalilzad, the US ambassador to Baghdad, was limited to the subject of Iraq.