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Axis of Evil - Target Number Two?

Reported by Eleanor - June 18, 2004 -

The Washington Times (June 15) says, "Saudi daily Al-Sharq al-Awsat, monitored in Beirut, reports Iran has massed four battalions at the border." This report sounds ominous until you read in the BBC News, UK Edition (March 1, 2004) that Iran and Iraq hammered out a deal - with the US's blessing, no less - to build an oil pipeline from Iraq to Iran, at the border. See Iran Meets Iraq Over Oil Pipeline. Construction on this pipeline is underway. It seems logical that Iranian troops are currently deployed at the border to protect the pipeline from attacks - which will be even more likely if civil war breaks out in Iraq after June 30.

Note the lack of mention in the Washington Times about the "little detail" of an Iraq-Iran pipeline.
Iran Massing Troops on Iraq Border

Excerpts from the BBC article read in part: "US-led occupation authorities in Iraq have backed plans to build an oil pipeline to Iran to help speed up the flood of oil out of the country."

"We have agreed in principle to an offer from Iran," Iraq's oil minister Ibrahim Bahr al-Uloum told the FT. "The cost of the pipeline, which should take three months to build, will be fixed as soon as a feasibility study is completed in the next two weeks," said Mr Bahr al-Uloum.

"I can say with confidence the pipeline will be established by the end of the year," he told the Financial Times.

Meanwhile, coalition officials confirmed that a "memorandum of understanding" had been reached between the former enemies. This is even though US president George W Bush strained relations between Washington and Tehran after he declared Iran part of an "axis of evil".

"We leave the whole diplomatic question in the hands of the Iraqis. Paul Bremer (the US chief administrator in Iraq) says he realises they (the Iraqis) have to have good relations with all their neighbours," one senior coalition official said. Iran was one of the first non-coalition states to recognise Iraq's highest body, the US-appointed Governing Council. Oil production is vital for Iraq's economic stability, but exports and revenues have been held back by narrow access to ports in the Gulf and by guerrilla attacks which have delayed the reopening of its northern pipeline to Turkey.

Comment: Why does the American press not tell the entire story? There's a perfectly good reason (of which US officials are perfectly aware) for Iranian troops to be "massed on the border." Is this another example of fear mongering by the Bush administration - or maybe something worse? Justification for the invasion of Iran?