Gas Week

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America and Iran play rivals for mastery of the post-Saddam Gulf; leaders of both countries ratchet up rhetoric

Posted by gasweek on 20 September, 2007

America and Iran have come to see each other as rivals for mastery of the post-Saddam Gulf. American relations with Iran appear to be going from bad to worse. The two countries are used to trading insults, but they have now become explosive. The more George Bush flounders in Iraq, the greater his temptation to blame Iran. On 28 August he called Iran the world’s leading supporter of terrorism, claiming that its nuclear programme had put the Middle East “under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust” and authorised his commanders to confront Iran’s “murderous activities”, reported The Economist, (12/9/2007, p.14).

I’m a “master of tabulation and calculation”: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s president, sounds almost as if he is goading Bush to attack. As a “master of tabulation and calculation”, he told Iranian students this week, he had concluded that the country’s enemies “dare not fight us”. Whatever the master of tabulation may think, there is however a danger that America will at some point dare to strike Iran, either as part of its battle against Iranian-supported Shia militias inside Iraq, or in order to cripple its nuclear programme. Here, too, Ahmadinejad is no help.

Iran a nuclear power: No sooner had the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported at the end of August that Iran was going slow on uranium enrichment than he popped up to say opposite. Iran, he said, had achieved its aim of running 3,000 uranium-enriching centrifuges and would add a new cascade every week.

The Economist, 12/9/2007, p. 14

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