The analysis of contemporaneous news stories is usually difficult when they are still nascent and can be better dealt with after some time when their various dimensions are made clear. However, the recent scenario against Iran can be analyzed from two different angles on the basis of information that has been made public to date.
A) Infelicities among main elements of the scenario
1. Gary Sick, former US president Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor, has asked in his weblog why Iran should take on such an operation on US soil in the first place, while it is of no benefit to the country. Why should Iran accept to suffer more international pressure without achieving anything? In which way could the elimination of the Saudi envoy to Washington possibly help Iran’s foreign policy which is already overstrained under the pressure of international sanctions?
2. Identity of various parties involved in the alleged assassination plot has also been questioned by American experts. Working with a non-Muslim group inside the United States is essentially at odds with foreign policy records of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
3. Another important question raised by the American newspapers and other media is how USD 100,000 could have been transferred through a bank to the United States when Iran is under international banking sanctions and has difficulty in even transferring a few hundred dollars to that country?
4. Close friends of Mansour Arbabsiar (the accused in the case) have described him as a dealer in used cars who has nothing to do with politics and has, for a short period, been involved in the construction business. He is known for his wittiness and short memory. One of his friends said if Mr. Bean (the famous British comedian) had been incriminated in plotting to assassinate the Saudi ambassador, he would have not been more surprised than when hearing Arbabsiar implicated in the case.
5. The US government needs foreign enemies to justify the inefficiency of its security apparatus. Therefore, it is constantly foiling self-imagined terror plots in order to cover up polices which violate the American citizens’ rights.
B) Possible US goals in concocting the scenario
1. The US government resorted to fighting Communism as an excuse to justify billions of dollars channeled to the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the annual budget before the collapse of the former Soviet Union. Since September 2001 (9/11), they have used the “war on terror” as a new pretext to earmark hefty budgets to those organs and need new subjects every now and then to keep them going.
2. To overshadow the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, the United States needed to launch a new media game. As the movement grew in size, especially after labor unions joined it, the government was concerned enough to fabricate false news as a means of diverting public opinion from the movement. How successful the ploy has been can only be ascertained after the lapse of some time. If the movement continued unabated, it would prove the ineffectiveness of the fabricated scenario.
3. The United States has launched the recent propaganda wave to pitch Iran and Saudi Arabia as two major players in the Muslim world against each other at a time when the Hajj pilgrimage as a symbol of the unity of the Islamic ummah, is under way. Confrontation between the two countries will certainly benefit the United States at the present juncture. According to the WikiLeaks cables, the Saudi ambassador Adel al-Jubeir who has been allegedly the main target of the assassination plot, had already urged the United States to attack Iran. Thus, the Americans have chosen a subject that they think is hated by Iranians and could provide good ground for confrontation. Of course, Iranian officials never took the WikiLeaks cables seriously.
4. There is also another turn to this story. Some European Union member states started to doubt the effectiveness of unilateral sanctions against Iran and were ready to resume overt or covert economic relations with Tehran in view of the economic stagnation which is plaguing Europe. The United States, however, concocted this fabricated scenario simultaneously with the UN discussion of Iran’s human rights standing and also doubled pressure on the International Atomic Energy Agency to publish new documents forged by Washington in order to create an adverse atmosphere against Iran and provide ground for further sanctions. However, global public opinion does not seem to have forgotten the phony case in which the US claimed that the former Iraqi dictator was building weapons of mass destruction. In reality, however, the United States and its allies are used to challenging any country which refuses to accept their policies under various pretexts. The fabricated scenario of Mansour Arbabsiar is exactly another smear campaign against Iran along the general lines of the same threadbare policy.
The United States and Iran have been at loggerheads for a variety of reasons for more than 30 years. Since 2002 and the opening of Iran’s nuclear case, the US strategy to challenge Iran has entered a new phase which is called “chicken strategy” by experts. In this state, both sides head for confrontation without showing actual determination to change that course.
Washington is pushing ahead with efforts for a trilateral containment policy by increasing international pressure against Iran on imaginary grounds and hopes to align other countries, especially Russia and China, with that policy.
On the other side Iran has braced for sanctions and is trying to make conditions more difficult for its enemies by holding vibrant parliamentary elections on March 2, 2010. If Iran managed to hold such an election with the unbridled support of the nation, it would be an indirect referendum in which people would voice support for continued resistance against the West’s political and economic pressures.