Tuesday 27 July 2004

Iran: The Next Big Lie

by Eric Margolis

Did Iran help al-Qaida to stage the Sept 11 attacks on the United States? Perhaps, suggested the US 9/11 commission which claimed Iran allowed 8 al-Qaida future airplane hijackers to pass through Iran from Afghanistan between 7 and 11 months before the attacks on America.

Unnamed senior Bush Administration officials also claim Iran proposed collaborating with al-Qaida in 2000, but was rejected by Osama bin Laden. `Maybe we attacked the wrong country,’ one of the dimmer lights in Congress ruefully observed.

There has been no evidence produced that Iran knew of the 9/11 attacks or assisted them. But never mind Iran. The Bush Administration still has not published the White Paper promised by Colin Powell in late 2001 proving Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida were behind 9/11. What we have seen is a faked tape of bin Laden, a lot of faked documents produced by the Afghan communists who run the so-called Northern Alliance, and more fakery from the Chalabi group in Iraq.

Why would Iran, knowing it was in Bush’s gunsights, join in a monstrous terrorist attack that, if linked to Tehran, could have brought US nuclear retaliation? Iranians are a very clever, sophisticated people, and certainly not suicidal.

This column has long predicted the Bush Administration would orchestrate a pre-election crisis over Iran designed to whip up patriotic fervor in the US and distract public and media attention from the Iraq fiasco. Bush’s strategic mentor, Israel’s PM Ariel Sharon, called on the US `to march on Tehran the day after it takes Baghdad.’

The growing clamor over Iran’s nuclear intentions, with rumblings about Fall US-Israeli air strikes against Iran’s reactors, are part of this manufactured crisis.

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