Al Jazeera, the Arab television network, said over the weekend that experts at the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium, have revealed experts in the U.S. Defense Department, the Pentagon and Israel have finalized a plan for a pre-emptive strike at Irans nuclear facilities.
They said activation of this plan depends on a number of factors , including continuous U.S. efforts to hamper EU-Iranian talks that seek to persuade Iran to halt all activities concerning uranium enrichment, which is a key step toward building a nuclear weapon.
The experts said the U.S. strategy seeks to justify a military strike against the Islamic state if it does not bow to U.S. pressure. The Bush administration has stepped up pressure on Tehran in the past few months, charging the Iranians are trying to develop a nuclear bomb.
European experts also said Washington has intensified its intelligence efforts, aimed at spying on Iranian nuclear sites. They charged the U.S. is engaged in covert operations to sow discord and conflict inside that country.
U.S. media have reported that the Senate has established a review panel of the CIAs intelligence on Iran so as to avoid, if possible, the kind of mistakes and misinformation that marked the run up to the Iraq war.
Republican Sen. Pat Roberts, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said: We have to be more pre-emptive on this committee to try to look ahead and determine our capabilities so that you dont get stuck with a situation like you did with Iraq.
President George W. Bush, in his State of the Union address, called Iran the worlds primary state sponsor of terror.
Human rights activists consider Bushs statement ironic for the head of a country that runs the School of the Americas, which, in their opinion, teaches terror and torture techniques to police and military forces around the world.
Bush again accused Iran of trying to make nuclear weapons. That is an accusation Iran has continuously denied. It says its nuclear program is aimed solely at power generation for domestic consumption.
New Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, on a week-long visit to European capitals, said in London that Iran is not in the crosshairs for attack at this time. Part of the reason is that the U.S. military is stretched nearly to the snapping point. Iran also has heavy investment by China, Russia, France and other nations.
Sen. John Rockefeller, top Democrat on the intelligence committee, said: One of the lessons we learned from Iraq was not to take all information on face value and to ask more questions in the beginning than in the end.
Roberts added: The aim of the Senate review is to ensure that any weaknesses in American intelligence on Iran are being disclosed to policymakers, and that U.S. spy agencies have adequate resources to fill gaps in collecting information on the Islamic republic.
Roberts said the review would be largely confidential, and none of its findings would be made public (aljazeera.com).