The plot publicized by Attorney General Eric Holder reads like the script of a bad Hollywood spy movie. An evil force, the Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, decides to carry out an assassination of a Saudi diplomat. Instead of doing it on Iranian soil, where Saudi Arabia has an embassy, or in dozens of much more accessible countries in the Persian/Arabian Gulf region, the Quds Force chooses to assassinate a diplomat, Adel Al-Jubeir, in the United States. The Quds Force has never carried out operations on U.S. soil and has no cells there, so it employs the services of Manssor Arbabsiar, the cousin of a Quds Force member, who will head the entire operation.
The cousin, a 56-year-old Iranian-born U.S. citizen living in Texas, has no military or intelligence background and over the years has been an automobile salesperson and small restaurant owner. Having no capability to carry out the assassination on his own, Arbabsiar decides to outsource the job to a Mexican drug cartel, Los Zetas, which operates primarily in Mexico and bordering areas.
But the people Arbabsiar thought were with the Los Zetas cartel turn out to be heroic U.S. government agents, who turn in Arbabsiar. Hence, a secret assassination plot is exposed and the free world is saved from another murderous plan by an evil force. Hollywood made movies pitting James Bond against evil forces-the Russians, the Chinese, the Arabs-that had more believable plots than this one presented by the Obama administration.
While rarely questioning the authenticity of the U.S. government claim, mainstream analysts and commentators have characterized the alleged plot as \’bizzare\’, \’outrageous\’ and even \’preposterous\’. Foreign Policy magazine calls it \’the worst plot ever\’. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton actually uses the outrageousness of the \’plot\’ as evidence that it must be true, saying: \’\’Nobody could make that up, right?\’\’
Since none of the published evidence can be independently verified, it is not possible to determine whether a plot existed or if the whole story was concocted by U.S. secret services. There have been several instances when FBI agents, rather than discovering actual plots planned by others, have planned an operation, coaxed unstable or disgruntled individuals into joining in, and then implicated those individuals-perpetrators in operations that would not have existed had it not been for U.S. government agents. If what is being announced as a plot ever existed, it is possible that it was the result of a similar frame-up by government agents
What would the Iranian government gain?
What can be established more definitively is whether this plot could have been ordered by the Iranian government. When analyzing political assassinations, in fact when analyzing crimes of all sorts, an elementary starting point is to establish the motive. Why would the alleged perpetrator have wanted to carry out the crime? In this case, what would the Iranian government gain from this plot, had it been carried out successfully?
While the relationship between the two countries has never been cordial, Iran has for years attempted to normalize diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia, and has met some success in this regard. After Saudi Arabia sent troops to Bahrain to help the Khalifa monarchy violently repress the mass movement, the relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran deteriorated. Still, the Islamic Republic was careful not to escalate the conflict.
Surrounded by U.S.-occupied Iraq and Afghanistan and U.S. client states including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Bahrain, Oman and others, Iran is in no position to seek confrontation with these states. Even if Iran were to escalate its conflict with Saudi Arabia, how would the assassination of one Saudi diplomat help its cause? And even if somehow Iran had decided that killing a Saudi diplomat would be in its interests, why would it want to carry out the assassination on U.S. soil?
Iran is now under four rounds of international sanctions. Since the years of the Bush administration, the U.S. has threatened Iran with everything, including bombings and refusing to rule out a nuclear attack. On Oct. 13, President Obama offered a slight variation of \’\’All options are on the table\’\’, the Bush-era mantra. Obama said, \’\’No options are off the table.\’\’
Iran\’s military budget less than 1 percent of U.S. outlays for war
The military budget of Iran is a little over $9 billion, 1.8 percent of its GDP. This is only 1.3 percent of the U.S. military budget of nearly $700 billion, and more accurately less than 1 percent of the real U.S. military budget, which should include the costs of the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as a slew of military outlays under other headings.
Why would Iran pick a fight with a country that has a military 60 to 100 times its own? Even if for some reason Iran were dead set on assassinating a Saudi official, why would it provide the United States a perfect tool with which to ratchet up the pressure on Iran in the U.N. Security Council?
Looking at the motives Washington has makes the matter more clear. As the Washington Post noted, the plot has “handed the United States an opportunity to undermine Tehran at a moment when U.S. officials believe the Iranian regime is especially vulnerable.” On Oct. 13, Obama stated, \”We\’re going to continue … to mobilize the international community to make sure that Iran is further and further isolated and pays a price for this kind of behavior.\”
The reality is that Washington badly wants to further tighten the sanctions against Iran. Four rounds of sanctions have been anything but \’crippling\’ to the Iranian economy. In early summer of this year, a team of IMF economists visited Iran and compiled a report. Among other things, the report indicated that Iran’s economic growth had accelerated to 3.2 percent in 2010-2011, up from a 0.6 percent growth the previous two years.
There is no question that, as a result of the alleged plot, Washington gains and Tehran loses. The extent of Washington’s gain and Tehran’s loss will be determined by whether allegations can be turned into new sanctions. Washington\’s real agenda: regime change
It is more than the nuclear issue. Washington’s real agenda is regime change in Iran. In the absence of a viable military option, Washington is hoping to make Iran’s economy collapse, possibly opening the path for a color revolution led by the privileged sectors of society, the same sectors that anchored the 2009 anti-government demonstrations.
Washington needs to pressure China and Russia into going along with a fifth round of sanctions against Iran. Already, the U.S. has sent agents to Beijing and Moscow to present \’evidence\’ of Iran’s alleged terror plot.
In the ongoing confrontation between Tehran and Washington, there is no question that, as a result of the alleged plot, Washington gains and Tehran loses. The extent of Washington’s gain and Tehran’s loss will be determined by how much Washington can succeed in turning the story of the alleged plot into another round of harsher sanctions against Iran. So, again, why would Iran take part in an assassination plot that, successful or not, would hand Washington a victory and Tehran a defeat?
Serial assassinations of Iranian scientists
Washington knows a thing or two about political assassinations. On July 23, Iranian nuclear physicist Dr. Darioush Rezaie was shot in the throat and killed in front of his daughter\’s kindergarten in Tehran. On Nov. 29, 2010, nuclear scientist Dr. Majid Shahriari was assassinated on his way to work, while another scientist, Dr. Fereidoon Abassi, narrowly escaped a simultaneous assassination attempt. In January 2010, another nuclear scientist, Professor Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, was murdered with an improvised explosive device. In 2007, nuclear scientist Ardeshir Hassanpour was killed by poison.
These assassinations have all been carried out professionally, leaving no solid evidence behind. However, one does not need the benefit of forensic evidence to know who is behind them. The fact that there have been a series of assassinations, including simultaneous attempts, rules out the possibility of personal or family motives for the murders. The fact that no faction of the Islamic Republic is opposed to the nuclear energy program rules out the possibility of a factional conflict leading to assassinations. The only force that would have the motive and the capability to carry out such a systematic campaign of assassinations is the United States, possibly aided by its junior partners, including Israel.
While the business media propagate the bizarre story of the alleged Iranian terror plot, they fail to mention the very relevant story of the serial murder of Iranian nuclear scientists, more than likely victims of U.S./Israeli hit squads.
It remains to be seen whether Washington will be successful in turning this alleged plot into a concrete victory in further pressuring Iran. The one thing that is clear is that the U.S. government, whether headed by Republicans or Democrats, has pursued a variety of tactics to weaken and overthrow independent states in the Middle East and elsewhere. Conversely, the people continue to struggle against Washington’s invasions, occupations, coups, sanctions and softer methods aimed at bringing the region’s resources and markets under imperialist control.
This article first appeared on \’Liberation News\’- news outlet of the US based Party for Socialism and Liberation
Categorised in: Article
This post was written by Mazda Majidi