While the U.S. has always refused to take the military option off the table in dealing with Iran, the German press is reporting new developments that indicate the U.S. has gone from acknowledging the possibility of action against Tehran’s suspected clandestine nuclear weapons program to preparing its allies for a strike.
According to Der Spiegel, the German daily, reports of a pending strike escalated following Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s recent statements that Israel should be wiped off the face of the map and his calls for Israelis to be relocated to Europe.
On Dec. 23, a journalist for the German news agency DDP, who is also an intelligence expert, cited “western security sources” in a report claiming CIA Director Porter Goss asked Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to provide full intelligence cooperation and exchange for a possible air strike on Iran’s nuclear and military facilities.
Goss reportedly provided Turkey with three dossiers at the Dec. 12 meeting containing evidence Tehran is cooperating with the Islamic terror network al-Qaida, as well as information about the current status of Iran’s weapons program. German security sources, it is reported, say Goss assured Erdogan Turkey would be alerted to any air strikes, should they occur, a few hours before they were launched. Goss also gave the Turkish government the “green light” to strike the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Iran if the U.S. proceeds.
The governments of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Oman and Pakistan were also informed in recent weeks that air strikes are a “possible option,” but no timeline was provided
Ahmadinejad’s anti-Semitic speeches and claim the Holocaust is a “myth,” it is speculated, have cemented the view in Washington that Iran would not back down in a nuclear showdown and Tehran is simply trying to buy time by continuing its talks with the Europeans.
“I would be very surprised if the Americans, in the mid-term, didn’t take advantage of the opportunity delivered by Tehran,” said a high-ranking German military official. “The Americans have to attack Iran before the country can develop nuclear weapons. After that would be too late.”
In the January 2005 New Yorker, journalist Seymour Hersh reported that clandestine American commando groups were already on the ground in Iran, marking likely targets – a report the Bush administration attempted to play down as containing inaccurate statements but did not dispute.
In recent weeks, the number of visits to Ankara by American and NATO security officials has increased significantly. The head of the FBI, NATO General Secretary Jaap De Hoop Scheffer and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have made stops in the Turkish capital.
Joining the speculation in the German press, the left-nationalist Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet, though unable to discover the substance of their talks, noted the unusually long meeting Goss and Erdogan held with, “Now it’s Iran’s turn.”
As reported by WorldNetDaily, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has ordered his defense forces to plan for a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear weapons facilities by the end of March – the time intelligence sources say Tehran will be able to begin producing nuclear weapons.
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