Iran: Let Us Intimidate Our Neighbors

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December29, 2006: The U.S. is gathering more hard evidence, in Iraq, of Iranian interference in Iraq, and efforts to gain influence, or even control, of the Iraqi government. Iranian officials, weapons and cash have also been at play, although more discreetly, in Afghanistan. Iran has, for thousands of years, been a major player in western Afghanistan. Iran has, in the last few centuries, not been interested in controlling western Afghanistan, because there's nothing there worth the effort. But now there is the growing drug trade, which has turned the Afghan border with Iran into a combat zone. Iran is trying to get the Afghans to help suppress the drug trade, or at least assist in shutting down the drug smuggling into Iran. The opium and heroin from Afghanistan has created millions of addicts in Iran, and become a major social, and political, problem.

December 28, 2006: Because of the new UN sanction, Iran will reduce its cooperation with the IAEA and other UN arms control organizations. Iran's economic problems continue to get worse. The corruption of the religious dictatorship impedes any reform, or economic growth. Lack of investment in oil production facilities has reduced oil income, or the use of natural gas (which is now largely wasted), or the refining of Iranian oil (most refined products, like gasoline, have to be imported.)

December 24, 2006: Iran dismissed the new UN sanctions, and threatened unspecified retaliation. Iran has also been making more unspecified threats to the Arab states on the other side of the Gulf. This has caused a huge build up (over $100 billion) in arms purchases by these Arab nations, who fear that the Iranians are planning military attacks, or more concrete threats.

December 23, 2006: The UN agreed to impose more economic sanctions on Iran, because of Iran's nuclear program. The sanctions would make it more difficult, and expensive, for Iran to get certain equipment needed to build nuclear power plants and other weapons related facilities.

December 22, 2006: A U.S. Army raid in Iraq caught four Iranian government officials. Two had diplomatic immunity, and were soon released. The other two appeared to be military technical experts, in Iraq to show pro-Iranian Shia fighters how to make better bombs against foreign troops, and Iraqis who did not support Iranian goals. The Kurdish president of Iraq said the two men were his "guests," but the Americans refused to release the two until an investigation was completed.

 

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