Major General Rick Lynch announced that U.S. military forces in Iraq were building a base just four miles from the Iranian border. He also said they were constructing six fortified checkpoints on roads leading to Baghdad from Iran. Washington charges Tehran with providing weapons to militias in Iraq hostile to U.S. occupation forces there.
On September 20, U.S. forces in Iraq arrested an Iranian in the Kurdish city of Sulaimaniya, accusing him of smuggling explosives into the country. They said he was a member of the Quds Force of Irans Revolutionary Guards. The Kurdish regional government protested the arrest saying the man was an invited trade official and demanded his release.
Meanwhile, further information came to light about a September 6 Israeli air strike in Syria near the Turkish border. Initially Tel Aviv made no comment on the raid, and Damascus said little. But on September 19, former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised current prime minister Ehud Ohlmert for the attack.
The September 21 Washington Post reported that U.S. government sources said the Israeli raid targeted a suspected nuclear site set up in apparent collaboration with North Korea. Information about the facility, the Post said, was passed to Israel from Washington.
On September 21, U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner held a joint news conference to announce plans to tighten sanctions against Iran. We have explored and have used various freezes on assets of individuals. We have used visa bans, said Rice. I think there are any number of ways that we can expand those efforts.
Kouchner said France is seeking a diplomatic solution to its conflict with Iran. But days earlier, on September 16, he said the world should prepare for the worst with Iran and that the worst is war.
German chancellor Angela Merkels party, meanwhile, indicated that it agreed with further sanctions against Tehran. It seems now legitimate to raise the stakes, said Ruprecht Polenz, of the Christian Democratic Union.
U.S. uses UN visit to whip up prowar rallies against Iran
U.S. hands off Iran! No sanctions!
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