Arc of Crisis

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Iran Regime Change

Perfume kiosk, Ferdowsi Square Downtown Tehran
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Sales pitch was recited verses of poetry by Hafiz

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http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/GG06Ak03.html

American Hand in Iran
by Trish Schuh           Asia Times                July 6, 2005 

Like the color-coded terror alert system, the technicolor Velvet Invasions blink warning. Despite receiving an ugly bruise in Uzbekistan, the CIA and its NGO regime change industry hope to stage another cardboard coup in Iran. But it could be a Black & Blue Revolution.

Citing a 'mission accomplished' in Iraq, President Bush told 25,000 soldiers in Fort Hood, Texas: "The establishment of a free Iraq is a watershed event in the global democratic revolution. That success is sending a message from Beirut to Tehran."

Tasked by the Bush administration with sending that message from America to Tehran and "winning hearts and minds" is Swiftboat Veteran author Jerome Corsi. On May 16, Corsi's NGO The Iran Freedom Foundation, inaugurated a 12 day "Iran Freedom Walk" from Philadelphia's Liberty Bell to Washington, D.C.

Dipping two fingers in red paint, Corsi waved a peace sign in solidarity "with the blood of oppressed Iranians" and called on "the spirit of Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King." He declared; "I love the Iranian people. America does not hate the Persian people. We love the Persian people. We want peace and we love the Persian people." Corsi's voice then dropped to a whisper; "We stand here today and we pray in the name of the Gods. I embrace Jesus Christ as my savior- and we also pray in the name of Allah, Zoroaster, and B'hai."

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Persia/Color Revolution

But Corsi has expressed very different opinions on Islam in the past. According to his own postings on FreeRepublic.com, on November 18, 2001 Corsi used a racial slur to define Arabs; "Ragheads are Boy-Bumpers [sodomizers] as clearly as they are Women Haters- it all goes together."

In November 2002, Corsi said; "They think the liberals will never let out that these two were lovers... typical Islamic boy-buggering. Older man with younger man- black Muslims..."

Using the incendiary style he perfected for 'swiftboat veteran' TV attack ads, Jerome Corsi continued; "Islam is a peaceful religion as long as the women are beaten, the boys buggered, and the infidels killed."

Comparing Islam to a disease, he added; "How's this for an analogy? The Koran is simply the "software" for producing deviant cancer cell political behavior and violence in human beings" and "Islam is like a virus. It affects the mind. Maybe even better as an analogy: it is a cancer that destroys the body it infects. No doctor would hesitate to eliminate cancer cells from the body."

In April, 2004 Corsi added; "Let's see why it isn't the case that Islam is a worthless, dangerous, Satanic religion. Where's the proof to the contrary?"

Surrounding Corsi at his 'Freedom Walk' were three dozen Los Angeles Iranian dissidents and pro-monarchists interviewed by an Orthodox Jewish journalist and by the CIA-backed Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Farda. The Los Angeles Times of March 20, 2005 revealed that 'Tehrangeles' has become a crucial recruiting ground for Iranian expatriates who gather information for the US intelligence community. Also providing assistance are various Farsi language media who broadcast messages against the Iranian government into Iran.

According to the March 4, 2005 Los Angeles Times, the US currently spends $14.7 million a year on Farsi "opposition broadcasts" into Iran. The Voice of America's Farsi service reaches an estimated 15 million Iranians with news programs and websites, and the Bush administration has recently requested an additional $5.7 million in 2006 to expand the hours of transmission.

Los Angeles Farsi radio station KRSI noted the similarity between current US efforts and the CIA's 1953 overthrow of Iran's democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeq. When asked if he was CIA affiliated Corsi replied; "No I'm not. I've never held a government position, never had any government position at all. I've been in universities. I'm an author. I'm in business. I'm not related to the CIA. It's just not true."

But when later asked how he became so committed to Iranian liberation, he explained; "When I was a young man I was an expert in antiterrorism and political violence. I had a top secret clearance when I was in universities and I worked to assist the State Department and the government." Corsi's publisher, Cumberland House, states in his biography that Corsi's top secret clearance came from the government agency USAID. USAID has often served as a conduit for American covert operations funding, under humanitarian auspices.

I then asked Corsi about the Iran Freedom Foundation's funding. He said the money came from sales of his book "Atomic Iran" and from private donations, adding that the IFF would apply for government funding when it became available.

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Atomic Iran by Jerome Corsi w/ demon-enhanced eyes

That government funding may be on the way. On February 11, 2005 a promoter of the Iran Freedom Foundation, Worldnetdaily.com announced that Corsi had helped Republican Senator Rick Santorum write the Iran Freedom and Support Act of 2005. The legislation was to authorize $10 million in assistance to pro-democracy NGOs that challenge the Iranian regime. Corsi called that figure a "starting point."

It was an accurate projection. According to the May 5, 2005 Financial Times article "US offers grants to help oppose clerics," Guy Dinmore reported that lawmakers demanded a bill aimed at overthrowing the Iranian government be increased to $50 million. This did not include the millions of dollars provided by the State Department's Middle East Partnership Initiative. "We have turned opposition into a profession," commented Ray Takeyh of the Council on Foreign Relations. "This money is going to go up."

Such "soft power" opposition activities are escalating. The May 29 New York Times quoted R. Nicholas Burns, under secretary of state for political affairs, as saying the Bush team was "taking a page from the playbook" of colored revolutions where the US funded pro-democracy NGOs helped nonviolently overthrow noncompliant governments.

The Iran Freedom Foundation lists several such activities on its website. Corsi's book "Atomic Iran" is being translated into Farsi for clandestine distribution in Iran, there is an online petition targeting the mullahs, IFF university associations are mobilizing college students, and a national speakers bureau to educate Americans on Iranian atrocities has been deployed.

The IFF is also filming a documentary and has begun running TV ads entitled; "An Atomic 9-11: When Evil is Appeased" accusing Iran of plans to detonate a 150 kiloton nuclear bomb in New York City. According to Israeli Knesset documents, Corsi was formerly with the Israel Atomic Energy Commission.  When I reminded Corsi that it was the US who began Iran's nuclear program in the 1970s, and that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld sat on the board of ABB which sold North Korea its nuclear reactors in the 1990's, he refused to comment.

The IFF's efforts are supplemented by an array of related sister organizations such as Regime Change Iran, Alliance for Democracy in Iran, Iran of Tomorrow Movement, the Iranian Opposition Council, and "The 70 Million People of Iran" who are organizing an election for a secular interim government in exile "ready to assume Iran's governmental functions by June 10, 2005." The group has also issued an ultimatum letter to world leaders, demanding they void all contracts with Iran by June 16. (Halliburton contracts in Iran were not mentioned). This small US-backed group, presuming to speak for 70 million Iranians, even borrowed State Department lingo urging "the removal of the Islamic Republic to win the "War on Terror."

Corsi's IFF has also endorsed the Free Iran Project, an enterprise created by Reagan Doctrine policy architect Dr Jack Wheeler.  In January 2005, Wheeler advocated that President Bush use nuclear weapons to destroy Mecca if America is hit by another terror attack.  Wheeler boasted on his website 'To The Point' that Osama Bin Laden is "playing poker with a Texas cowboy holding all the nuclear aces."

The goal of these strategies, Corsi announced at his event, was to incite mass protests against Iran's June 17th presidential elections and thus destabilize the regime. Iranian dissident Ghassem Sholeh Sadi agreed. In the NY Sun article, "Iranian dissidents asking aid from Bush," Sadi explained; "After the events in Kyrgystan, there is an idea to try to turn the elections into a referendum and uprising."

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Rafsanjani Campaign HQ, midtown Tehran

As early as 2003, Reuters printed allegations that the US had infiltrated several million dollars into the country to bribe officials and pay protestors. The Economist of June 13, 2003 headlined; "More unrest on the streets of Tehran. Is America pulling the strings?"

America is pulling strings, with Israeli assistance. The former head of Mossad's Foreign Intelligence Division Uzi Arad told Worldnetdaily.com; "Support of Iranian opposition by the international community could be an effective way to handle the current regime" and that "its stability can be geatly reduced by the people themselves." Pro-Israel lobbyist Michael Ledeen wrote for the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute; "Mr. Bush is correct that we should actively help the brave Iranians who are leading demonstrations against the regime..."

Israel's Student Solidarity Movement and The Jewish Agency recently staged protests at Iranian embassies worldwide. The Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz reported "AIPAC [American Israel Political Action Committee] spurring Congress to pass a sanctions bill against Iran." AIPAC is also pressuring the US to support the Iranian Mujahedin-e-Khalq (National Council of Resistance of Iran) for use against Iran's mullahs.

MEK has been legally designated a terrorist organization since 1997 for killing US citizens, for its role in the 1979 seizure of the US embassy in Tehran, and for attacking coalition troops in Iraq. Human Rights Watch recently condemned them for use of torture, bombings and assassinations. Nevertheless, 150 congressmen have petitioned Bush to remove them from the terrorism list, and several lawmakers spoke at their 2005 convention in Washington, D.C.

The Israeli Communication Ministry's R.R. Sat provides transponder capability to the MEK to broadcast programming on its two channels. Iran-interlink.org even hints that Ariel Sharon personally approved funding for the broadcasts, because of his alliance with MEK founder Maryam Rajavi.

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Election nite party on Vali Asr Boulevard

On May 28, The Iran Freedom Foundation's 'Freedom Walk' reached the White House. The closing rally featured Richard Perle, former Assistant Secretary of Defense and pro-Israel architect of Bush's Middle East policy. Jerome Corsi then phoned the White House where President Bush congratulated the marchers and offered support. Vice President Cheney's office also thanked the IFF. Corsi vowed; "If we can find sufficient monetary resources, we plan to send funds inside Iran to support those oppressed."

In response, USAToday reported that Iranian Ambassador to the UN, Mohammad Javad Zarif denounced these types of US measures as a violation of the Algiers Accords. The Algiers Accords freed 52 American embassy hostages in exchange for a US promise "not to intervene directly or indirectly, politically or militarily, in Iran's internal affairs." Iran may file a complaint with The International Court of Justice in the Hague to stop US interference.

According to Reuters, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi threatened; "Iran has always defended its interests with full power and will continue to do so. It won't hesitate even for a fraction of a moment to defend itself" and Iran's government has pledged harsh resistance.
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Iranians: They're Just Like Us!

By Trish Schuh       March 12, 2008    http://www.esquire.com/the-side/blog/iranians-like-us-031208?click=main_sr

TEHRAN, Iran — A friend jokes: "If you're going to Iran, better batten down the burqa." No need. I've long ago mastered the hijab (the Muslim headscarf). Besides, Iranian women wear the less-conservative chador, a long, black cloak that covers the arms and legs and is worn with hijab. Not the ghostlike burqa shroud- which entombs a woman in fabric- that is worn in Afghanistan to appease the Taliban.
Hell's Angels, the Persian branch? Iranians on their Harley out for a spin.
Hell's Angels, the Persian branch? Iranians on their Harley out for a spin.

What's more, my invitation to visit Iran had come through officials at the Iranian Consulate to the United Nations, where they promised that my schedule and story proposals in Iran had been reconfirmed.

"Everything's under control," I tell my friend. "I've got contacts in high places so I'm covered!" I touch down in Iran. Upon landing at Imam Khomeini Airport, the authorities survey my passport and suddenly I become The Emergency. Whispers, gestures, stares. Something is wrong. They march me to the police.

"Arms? We want the arms," the head security guard demands.

"What arms?"

"Arms. Now! Must has your arms," he repeats.

I start to panic. "No. I have no arms. Or weapons. You must be thinking of somebody else," I say.

He pulls out a tin box and a page. "Here," he points, "put arms." Then he inked my hands up to the wrist. He even fingerprinted my knuckles. Maybe Iranian intelligence reads palms? I hoped it wasn't a bad omen.

It was.
An imposing mural of Khomeini overlooking the Christian Church of St. Sarkis in central Tehran. The text says, Dear Khomeini, We will never put down the flag that you have raised.
Khomeini overlooking the Christian Church of St. Sarkis in central Tehran.
The text says, "Dear Khomeini, We will never put down the flag that you have raised."

The trouble started at the Ministry of Culture. They had not been informed by anyone at the United Nations in New York about my visit. My diplomatic contact had made no contact with them on my behalf. Nor did they recognize the name of the diplomat who sponsored me.

So I would be required to register with an official press agency that wanted $300 per day for the use of a state-approved translator. And they would charge me for every day of my stay, whether I used a translator or not.

It wouldn't help to find a cheaper translator on my own because to enter an event or exhibition, or do interviews, required verification from the same state press agency, as well as a letter of permission from the Ministry.

At one point I was evicted from my hotel for overbooking and because my visa extension was pending. The police had confiscated my passport so they could renew it. But I couldn't check into another hotel because I had no passport. So I roamed around Tehran and hauled around my entire set of luggage. Negotiating back and forth on these problems can easily waste entire days.

All this could have been smoothed over with a bit of a "baksheesh" (bribe), a colleague hinted. The big corporate news agencies pay around $60,000 dollars for a visa, not counting press agency fees, hotel commissions, etc. (In a hotel, restaurant, or store the quoted price is often doubled when dealing with foreigners.) "You should have brought some sort of a slush fund," he sniffed.

Such bureaucratic mismanagement and corruption is commonplace in the region. Rather like dealing with the IRS. In Iran it is a far bigger obstacle to U.S. business people than any reputed anti-American sentiment.

In fact, Iran is the only genuinely pro-American country in the Middle East. OK, so one person in a taxi launched into an anti-American tirade, angrily castigating me for being an American. But it turned out he was another tourist from Canada.

Despite the Iraq War, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Lebanon War of 2006, and Iran's Islamic Revolution, younger Iranians love America. After September 11, for example, Iranians were among the first to hold a candlelight vigil for the victims.

Some of this affinity is due to the proliferating "poison of Western culture" or "westoxification," as the Ayatollah Khomeini condemned it. My taxi driver from Khomeini airport didn't want to talk politics, Islam, or about the weather. He wanted to talk about Tom Cruise. And he told me he dressed like him too. 
Khomeini's Nightmare: An Islamic jettsetter departs for Beirut in stiletto boots and Raybans.
Khomeini's Nightmare: An Islamic jettsetter
departs for Beirut in stiletto boots and Raybans.

Almost 70 percent of Iranians are under the age of 30, and they emulate Western trends via satellite TV and the Internet. On the streets of the capital, young men sport subversively moussed hairdos that are short and stand on end. They wear everything from three-piece suits to European leather jackets with black suede pants and Italian loafers. Long hair and goatees in a neo-hippie style are not uncommon.

Among women in affluent north Tehran, females sometimes don fuchsia pink hijab (yes, these Islamofashion freedom fighters can be arrested for being too colorful). An Iranian Code Pink?

Other women are a bit more underground. In central Tehran, I saw copper-frosted spiked bangs poking out from under a headscarf, punk jewelry, Goth lipstick, and Joan Jett eyeliner. One middle-aged matron wore denim jeans and cowboy boots under a full chador.

As a Western visitor, I was reminded to do as the Romans do. While chatting with friends at Iran's new television channel, Press TV, one of them scolded me for my overly conservative hijab. "It's too tight — show some hair. Loosen up a bit. You look like an Islamic fundamentalist! We are not the Taliban here."
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INTERVIEW:  Morris Motamed
Only Jewish Minister of Parliament
Islamic Republic of Iran
by Trish Schuh       July 14, 2008
Simultaneous translation by Meisam Jebelli, Iranian government interpreter

AGE:  63 years old
BORN:  Hamadan, Iran
JOB:  Only Jewish MP of the Majlis- Iranian Parliament
VOCATION:  Topography Engineer, Cartography, making maps. Aerial mapping, field mapping, site mapping, satellite images.  This is my field of study and this is a consulting engineers company.  I am one of the owners of this company. I worked here for more than 20 years.  So the time that I am free and not in Parliament, I sit here.
EDUCATION:  Tehran University
International courses:
Studied earthquake prediction for one year in Japan.
Satellite images / remote sensing in the Netherlands, Poland, India

TEHRAN, Iran - Morris Motamed is the only Jewish Minister of Parliament in Iran's Majlis, and is the official representative of the largest (25,000) Jewish community in the middle east Diaspora outside of Israel.

The Persian Jewish community stretches back nearly 3000 years to around 680 BC when Jews fled King
Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia and were later freed from Babylonian captivity by the Persian King Cyrus the
Great.  Cyrus also helped them rebuild the Second Temple in Jerusalem.

But now those ties are under strain.  President Ahmedinejad has offended the Iranian Jewish community with his attacks on Israel and the Holocaust, and there is worry for the community's safety if the crisis in Lebanon with Iranian-backed Hezbollah broadens into a US-Israeli attack on Iran.
 
Concerns abound that the Jewish community could be scapegoated as they were during the Israel-Hezbollah
War of 2006.After several synagogues in the southern city of Shiraz were attacked during the conflict, Jews
held a pro-Hezbollah rally in self-defense to prove their loyalty to the regime. 

In October, 2007 Israeli media disclosed that "Danger!" warning letters had been sent to Iranian Jews by Jews in the Diaspora warning them to flee ahead of an impending military attack on Iran.

Q:  What is the condition of the Jewish community in Iran?
A:  Fortunately we have no problem in the Jewish community's living conditions.  This question has been asked by many- if there was any change after President Khatami's time changed to President Ahmedinejad?  If there was any change in conditions for religious minorities, especially Jews? We always answered fortunately and happily that there was no change, and we hope that there will be no change in a negative direction.
Q:  Do you ever consider emigrating to Israel or the USA?
A:  As for emigration, I haven't thought about it and haven't decided anything.  For the time being all my family
members are living in the United States. 
Q:  Would you rather live in Israel or the United States?
A:  If I was to decide to emigrate, I would like to live in a place where all my relatives, all my acquaintances, my family and friends are living- to have my connections and communications with them.
Q:  What is most difficult about life in Iran?
A:  Since all people here- I can say the majority of Iranian society are living in the same conditions in life, and
they are almost the same.  There is no difference between the way of life of the minority communities and the
main body of the society, which means the Muslims.  I cannot say what is the hardest part of my life.
Q:  A couple of years ago, it was reported that the Iranian government was going to force Jews to wear a star or
marking on their clothes.  What was the truth behind this?
A:  Unfortunately, this was fake news published in a Canadian newspaper.  I considered this news a big insult to the religious minorities of Iran.  I countered the news very harshly, to the point where the source of the news and the Canadian government officially apologized to the Iranian government.  I was sure this news was fake.  It was published in a newspaper following a resolution that was being talked about in Parliament on fashion and fabrics- and they misused it.  I was the person who made them apologize to Iran's government.
Q:  It seems this was not the only time the western press has mistranslated Farsi into English.  Please
comment on the alleged statement of Iranian President Ahmedinejad's threat to "wipe Israel off the map".  What did he actually say in Persian?  (Ahmedinejads notorious threat to "wipe Israel off the map" was actually a quote of the Ayatollah Khomeini who said:  "The regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the pages of time.") 
A:  I personally believe so much in democracy, and I respect democracy.  One of the basic principles of
democracy is freedom of speech, so that a person can freely say his ideas and viewpoints.  Mr. Ahmedinejad in
my viewpoint, as a person has stated his ideas and viewpoints.  So after his speech we observed and saw that
some Iranian political authorities talked in a different manner- said that Iran doesn't want the wiping out or
destruction of any nation from the page of history or from the map.
Q:  What do you think of the Iranian nuclear program?
A:  As a Jewish Iranian, I consider enrichment of peaceful nuclear technology the obvious right of Iranian society.  What is sad here- and I'm so sorry about- is that before the Islamic Revolution, we witnessed that western  Europe and America, they pressured Iran so much to establish a nuclear power plant and obtain nuclear technology.  Now the idea is brought up: "Why do you want nuclear technology?  What is the use of nuclear technology for you when you have alot of resources like fuel and gas and oil?"  My question here is that, why at that time then, the problem of natural resources was not brought up?  Now, if they talk about Iran's natural resources they threaten- warn Iran- that the oil would finish soon. But nowadays, they are talking exactly vice versa.  At the same time they say that Iran shouldn't have nuclear technology by focusing on Iran's big, huge oil and gas resources. 
Q:  Please comment on Ahmedinejad's statement that the Holocaust was a myth.
A:  About two years ago when Mr. Ahmedinejad denied the big tragedy of the Holocaust, I immediately, as the
representative of the Jewish community of Iran, held a press conference and I expressed my sadness about the
statements of the Iranian President.  I declared his words a very big insult to all Jewish communities all around
the world.
Q:  Does Ahmedinejad actually believe that there were no Jews killed in the Holocaust?
A:  Fortunately after what he said about the Holocaust the first time, we found in his next speeches, he became
more moderate.  But not to the extent that he apologized or withdrew his statement.
Q:  What about the Holocaust conference held recently here?
A:  When the Holocaust conference was being held in Iran, I sent an official letter to the institute in charge of
holding this conference.  I expressed my being sorry and sad about holding such an event which was to deny
the biggest tragedy in human history, and to undermine the rights of victims of the terrible genocide.  I
complained about it.  Fortunately and happily, we witnessed that this conference was not welcomed as the
organizers had been expecting.  Not in Iran or in the world.
Q:  Did you protest the attendance of the Jewish group Neturei Karta?
A:  Neturei Karta traveled to Iran many times for religious dialogues between faiths, which are held now and then.    It is natural that I met with them.
Q:  Recently, an Israeli government official has threatened the Palestinians in Gaza with a "Holocaust".  Could
you comment on the use of this word in this context?
A:  As a representative of the Jewish community, because of what is going on nowadays in Gaza...  We are
witnessing killing, injuring innocent people- old men, children and women in Gaza.  I'm very sorry.  We have
declared our hatred of this issue with a declaration.  What makes us so sorry- because 'Holocaust'' which
means 'genocide'- a person who knows himself as a victim of cruelty which was done to him during the second world war by Holocaust, now himself wants to bring up another Holocaust. This kind of statment is full of shamefulness and embarassment. 
Q:  Haaretz mentioned cash incentives for Iranian Jews to relocate to Israel?
A:  Iranian Jews are free.  But three months ago we published a declaration that the freedom of decision making
for Iran's Jews is not for sale.  Great numbers of Jews have been offered this, but we didn't want to leave our
homeland. We prefer to be here.
Q:  While we have been discussing today, your answers have been very moderate.  But if you did have serious
problems here - would you really be free to discuss them with a foreign reporter?  Or would you be punished
when I leave? 
A:  Never.  I had many, many press conferences...  I said my ideas.  There were no contacts, punishments.  I
don't know what you mean.
Q:  For criticizing the President?  
A:  No fortunately, nothing has happened yet and I hope in future also nothing will happen.  Whatever I told you I answered honestly. 

In recent weeks, President Ahmedinejad has amplified his criticism of Israel by calling it a "stinking corpse" doomed to annihilation.  Local authorities burned down seven ancient synagogues in Tehran while renovating the city, and clerics announced a plan to erase Iran's non-Islamic heritage by destroying the tomb of Cyrus the Great. 

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US House Approves Military Attack on Iran

by Trish Schuh     May 9, 2004   Al Arabiya & The Indypendent
                                                                                                    
Undeterred by the results of pre-emptive war in Iraq, the US House of Representatives passed non-binding
H. CON. RES. 398 on May 6 authorizing pre-emptive military strikes against Iran. The vote was 376-3. 

"It [Iran] has engaged in a systematic campaign of deception and manipulation to hide its true intentions and keep its
large scale nuclear efforts a secret," said Dan Burton (R-Indiana).

The resolution urges nations that have signed the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (to use any and all appropriate means to deter, dissuade and prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons).  It also demands that the European Union, Asian nations, and Russia cease future commercial and energy trade with the Islamic Republic. Russia is
the main contractor for Iran's nuclear grid. House members said the legislation supports the Bush Doctrine of preventive war, and creates a legal framework for sanctions and military options against Iranian nuclear sites.

Representatives Pete Stark (D-CA) and Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) have publicly condemned the bill, noting its similarity
to the law that permitted a preemptive war on Iraq. The measure's adoption capped a year of anti-Iran efforts in Congress.

A U.S. plan for military action against Iran has been complete since May 2003, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Under the plan, there would be strikes on the Arak, Natanz, Isfahan and Bushehr installations with precision missiles launched from Iraq as well as Iran's northern neighbors, Georgia and Azerbaijan.

British and American intelligence and special forces units have been put on alert for an Iran conflict within 12 months, according to British sources.  The Israeli newspaper Haaretz revealed that a special Mossad unit has been activated to draw up Osirak II (a reference to the 1981 Israeli bombing raids that destroyed the Iraqi Osirak nuclear complex near Baghdad).

Mossad chief Meir Dagan declared Iranian nuclear capability "to be the greatest threat ever faced by Israel."  In December, 2003 he informed the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that an operation to annihilate the Iranian facilities had been finalized.

Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz also announced that under no circumstances would Israel tolerate nuclear weapons in Iranian possession, warning that by the end of 2004 Iran's atomic development would have reached "the point of no return."

In response, former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani warned that "if Israel committed such an error, we would give it a slap it would never forget- not only now but for all its history."