Iranian embassies in London, Berlin and Paris have warned their respective hosts of possible dangers of a negative – from Iran's point of view – turn of events. However, no indication has been given as yet how exactly Iran is going to make good its threats.
Experts believe there are various possibilities for the development of this confrontation. Thus, for example, Iran is the world's fourth largest supplier of oil on the world market and may, in protest, drastically reduce or altogether suspend oil supplies to the West, which would greatly damage the economies of those countries (the very mention of such a possibility makes oil prices jump up). Besides, France and Germany are Tehran's biggest trade partners.
Meanwhile, "serious steps" seem to have already begun for Iran itself. And it refers not only to the very probable handover of Iran's nuclear file to the UN Security Council. Assistant to the US President for National Security Affairs, Stephen Hadly, said the Bush doctrine envisioning pre-emptive strikes abroad to ward off threats to the US, remains in force.
If required, says the doctrine, and in accordance with the long-standing US principles of self-defense, we do not rule out the use of force before any attack has been perpetrated against us, even if uncertainty remains about the time and place of the enemy attack, intimated S. Hadly.
S. Hadly's admission, believe political observers, is part of the recent massive anti-Iranian propaganda campaign.
The US administration has been persistently building up tensions around Iran's nuclear program and presenting Iran as an enemy to the eye of the public opinion in the US and its NATO allies.
Traditionally belligerent US Vice-President Richard Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld have been making vitriolic attacks against Iran and threatening to use "all available options" to deal with it. Recently President Bush joined the campaign in person.
Speaking March 13 at the George Washington University to a meeting of the influential conservative non-governmental "Foundation for the Defense of Democracies" attended also by diplomats from Western countries, G. Bush directly charged Iran with supporting the Shia resistance movement in Iraq and in particular supplying explosive devices to it.
In his speech G. Bush, analyzing the state of affairs in Iraq, said that the main bulk of the most deadly explosive devices, which are the most effective weapon of the resistance movement and the primary cause of all security problems in Iraq, are coming from Iran. Based on this assumption, as well as on the allegation that Tehran is supporting international terrorism and seeking to get hold of nuclear weapons, the US would continue with its efforts to consolidate international community to counter Iran's threats. With its actions, noted G. Bush, Iran has long since put itself into a stand-alone, isolated position with regard to the rest of the world.
On the eve of the third anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq, which began on March 20, 2003, the White House has planned a series of special speeches to be delivered by the US President. In these speeches G. Bush is supposed to provide "irrefutable facts" allegedly proving Iran's interference in Iraq aimed at destabilizing the situation and unleashing a civil war in Iraq. In this context G. Bush is supposed to make shortly three such speeches. The first of them has already been delivered at the George Washington University, and two more are scheduled for April.
Alongside of the US President, active participation in the propaganda campaign is expected of C. Rice and R. Cheney, who have already been "warming up" the audiences. These two are supposed to concentrate on other threats coming from Iran, such as the possibility of Iran's creating nuclear weapons, their further spread and Tehran's support for terrorist organizations in the Middle East. Other officials of the US administration, including the Secretary of Defense and the Director of the CIA, as well as Republican legislators, are also likely to actively join soon in the anti-Iran propaganda campaign launched by the White House.
Yet another signal to Congress that the US administration continues to view Iran as a serious violator of international commitments and a threat to US national interests was the prolongation by G. Bush of economic sanctions against Iran.
As is known, the sanctions banning trade between the two countries, including oil deals, were imposed by Bill Clinton in March of 1995 and since then were being regularly prolonged. In his recent address to Congress G. Bush, explaining his reasons for the prolongation of sanctions, said that it was done because of Tehran's unceasing support of terrorism, violation of human rights, destabilizing activities in the region and striving for nuclear weapons.
At the same time, the US administration's campaign of blaming Iran for the continued stiff Iraqi resistance lacks support not only abroad, but also among Democrats at home. According to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, who expressed the views of the whole of the Democratic Party, the Bush administration should put forward a new, more effective strategy for stabilizing the situation and ending the violence in Iraq, and not waste time and money on propaganda campaigns.
Analysts believe that the massive anti-Iran propaganda campaign launched in the US is called upon to solve several tasks at a time. First, it has to strengthen the negative perception of Iran by American population and shift the blame for the inefficiency of US operations in Iraq on Tehran's interference. Second, it should urge Washington's vacillating allies to reactivate their policies on the Iranian sector, so that a coalition needed to overthrow the current Iranian regime could be formed in future.
Time will show if US allies will consent to that. So far there are few volunteers to pull chestnuts for the US out of the fire.