George W. Bush’s upcoming inauguration has been overshadowed by claims that his administration has its sights set on Iran. Award winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh from the New Yorker magazine claims Bush is convinced Iran poses a threat, and is prepared to take military action against the country: “What I found is simply this: since last summer the Bush administration has been running very extensive reconnaissance operations into Iran to collect intelligence on what it believes is pretty much a largely unrevealed and still hidden nuclear weapons programme.”
The Pulitzer prize-winning reporter claims that anonymous intelligence and military officials have told him that Iran is America’s next strategic target.
The US denies the reports.
Although Tehran insists its nuclear activities are for peaceful energy purposes only, in 2002 Bush famously branded it a danger to the world: “North Korea is a regime armed with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, Iran is aggressively pursuing its weapons and it exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people’s hope for freedom. States like these and their terrorist allies constitute and axis of evil.”
Iran, where demonstrations against the US have been staged, says it is ready and able to deter an attack and does not fear foreign enemies. Seymour believes it is just a matter of time before the possibility of war becomes reality. Last year, during talks with several European nations, Iran agreed to suspend uranium enrichment but the US said this was not enough and wanted the programme terminated.
Whether Seymour’s claims are true may be irrelevant – some analysts claim the decision to attack Iran may have already been made.