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From: Bart (129.171.32.13)
Subject:         Neocons order American diplomats to "search for things Iran has done wrong"
Date: September 30, 2007 at 9:30 pm PST

Neocons seek to justify action against Teheran

By Tim Shipman
Last Updated: 1:59am BST 01/10/2007

American diplomats have been ordered to compile a dossier detailing Iran's violations of international law that some fear could be used to justify military strikes against the Islamic republic's nuclear programme.
# US trains Gulf air forces for war with Iran

Members of the US secretariat in the United Nations were asked earlier this month to begin "searching for things that Iran has done wrong", The Sunday Telegraph has learnt.
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Some US diplomats believe the exercise — reminiscent of attempts by vice-president Dick Cheney and the former defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld to build the case against Saddam Hussein before the Iraq war — will boost calls for military action by neo-conservatives inside and outside the administration.

One diplomat revealed the plans for an Iran dossier to Steven Clemons, a fellow with the New America Foundation, a Washington think-tank, who has previously revealed attempts by Mr Cheney's allies to pressurise President George W Bush into war.

He said: "There are people more beholden to the Cheney side who have people searching for things that Iran has done wrong — making the case. They've been given instructions to build a dossier. They've been scouring around for stuff over the last couple of weeks." He recently exposed how a member of Mr Cheney's office used private meetings with neo-conservatives at the American Enterprise think- tank to reveal the vice-president's frustration that Mr Bush had authorised a diplomatic strategy against Iran by his secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice.

Last week, Newsweek magazine went further, claiming that David Wurmser, until last month Mr Cheney's Middle East adviser, had told fellow neo-conservatives that Mr Cheney had considered asking Israel to launch limited missile strikes against the Iranian nuclear site at Natanz. The intention, it was said, would be to provoke a reaction from Teheran that would help justify wider US air strikes.

Mr Wurmser, an analyst in the Pentagon unit that tried to link Saddam Hussein to the September 11 attacks, denied the claims, saying, "That conspiracy is unrecognisable to anything I have ever seen or heard or done." But he refused to discuss Mr Cheney's views.

Opponents of military action were further alarmed last week when it emerged that Norman Podhoretz, one of the godfathers of neo-conservatism, used a 45-minute meeting with Mr Bush at the White House to lobby for the bombing of Iran's nuclear plants.

Mr Podhoretz disclosed that, when he said Mr Bush was just "giving futility its chance" by pursuing diplomacy, the president and his former aide Karl Rove had burst out laughing. "It struck me," Mr Podhoretz added, "that if they really believed that there was a chance for these negotiations and sanctions to work, they would not have laughed. They would have got their backs up and said, 'No, no, it's not futile, there's a very good chance'." He said he believed "Bush is going to hit" Iran before his presidency ends.

Mr Podhoretz is highly influential. His son-in-law is Elliott Abrams, Mr Bush's deputy national security adviser, who is regarded by US officials as a key advocate of bombing Iran. He was found guilty of withholding evidence from Congress over the Iran-Contra scandal in the 1980s.

Concern is also growing in the CIA and the Pentagon that the White House exaggerated intelligence used to justify an Israeli air raid on a suspected nuclear facility in Syria earlier this month, which some neo-conservatives hope is a precursor to war with Iran.

Bruce Reidel, a former CIA Middle East desk officer, said the neo-conservatives realised their influence would wane rapidly when Mr Bush left office in just over 15 months. "Whatever crazy idea they have to try to transform the Middle East, they have to push now. The real hardline neo-conservatives are getting desperate that the door of history is about to close on them with an epitaph of total failure."

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