Following the incursion of jihadist rebels of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) into Iraq and the capture of its second largest city Mosul, American and Iranian officials meeting behind closed in Vienna allegedly reached, according to media reports, a historical agreement: Tehran will collaborate with Washington in fighting the ISIS rebels in the context of “America’s War on Terrorism”. A new foreign policy narrative on US-Iran relations has emerged. Is it real? Is it fake? What happened on June 16 in Vienna?
According to Tehran, nothing happened, there were no negotiations.
Moreover, in an unusual twist, according to Western media reports, Washington took the decision to “collaborate” with Tehran, despite the fact that the Islamic Republic of Iran is subject to a US sanctions regime and is categorized by the US State Department as a “State Sponsor of terrorism” which “harbors senior al Qaeda leaders”
Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism worldwide remained undiminished through the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), its Ministry of Intelligence and Security, and Tehran’s ally Hizballah, which remained a significant threat to the stability of Lebanon and the broader region. The U.S. government continued efforts to counter Iranian and proxy support for terrorist operations via sanctions and other legal tools. (US State Department,Country Reports on Terrorism 2013)
Ironically, this “fake” foreign policy shift from “countering” Iran’s (alleged) support of Al Qaeda to actually “collaborating” with Tehran “in going after Al Qaeda”, didn’t raise an eye-bat in the media or the US Congress.
Notwithstanding these apparent contradictions (see below for further analysis) Secretary of State John Kerry, was emphatic: the US government will “communicate” with Tehran with regard to “pushing back the Islamist terrorists”.
While Tehran will participate (according to US statements) in counter-terrorism operations in coordination with Washington, officially the two governments will “not work together”.
While the alleged Vienna agreement excludes an “active” relationship between Washington and Tehran, it nonetheless establishes (according to John Kerry) a positive framework of collaboration, implying the exchange of information and intelligence:
“What I said [John Kerry] is we are interested in communicating with Iran to make clear that the Iranians know what we’re thinking and we know what they’re thinking and there’s a sharing of information so people aren’t making mistakes,” (US State Department website: Interview With John Kerry, June 16, 2014 emphasis added)
In response to the question: “Can you see cooperating with Iran militarily?” Kerry responded:
“… I wouldn’t rule out anything that would be constructive to providing real stability,… I think we are open to any constructive process here that could minimize the violence, hold Iraq together, the integrity of the country, and eliminate the presence of outside terrorist forces that are ripping it apart. (US State Department website: Interview With John Kerry, June 16, 2014)
Analysts quoted by the Los Angeles Times say that:
“the U.S. and Iran are likely to agree to only limited military cooperation at best, if President Obama chooses to order direct military action, such as airstrikes, in Iraq.” (emphasis added)
America’s overture to Iran at the Vienna meetings took place on Monday June 16, 2014 when Deputy Secretary of State William Burns joined the negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program. It was understood at this meeting that “talks about the threat posed by an Al Qaeda-inspired Sunni extremist group” would be discussed on the sidelines of the nuclear negotiations:
The topic was not military coordination “or strategy determinations about Iraq’s future over the heads of the Iraq people,” the [US] official said in a statement. Instead, “we will discuss how the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, [or ISIS] threatens many countries in the region, including Iran, and the need to support inclusivity in Iran and refrain from pressing a sectarian agenda.” U.S. and Iranian officials have been hinting for several days that they may discuss at least limited cooperation on how to deal with the extremist group, which has seized the Iraqi cities of Mosul and Tikrit in the last week. (Los Angeles Times, June 16, 2014)
Tehran Denies the Existence of an Agreement with Washington
While the Western media in chorus has focused its attention on US-Iran “collaboration”, official sources in Tehran deny the existence of an entente between the two governments. On June 16, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian (i.e. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns’ Iranian counterpart) stated emphatically that:
“The Islamic Republic of Iran has had no negotiations with the Americans over mutual cooperation in Iraq.”
In turn, Iran’s Supreme Leader’s top adviser said: “Iran will not cooperate with the US over the crisis in Iraq as Tehran and Washington pursue different objectives in helping the Iraqi nation.”
… If Washington truly intends to help Iraq counter the ongoing Takfiri [ISIS] violence, it should first condemn terrorism and those parties that support and fund the terrorists.
On Wednesday, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces General Hassan Firouzabadi rejected western media speculations about Tehran’s likely cooperation with the US over Iraq, and also stressed that Iran has not deployed troops in Iraq. “There is no need to the presence of Iranian forces in Iraq,” General Firouzabadi told reporters, and added, “Cooperation between Iran and the US will never take place and is meaningless.” (Fars News, June 20, 2014, emphasis added)
What happened in Vienna on June? Nothing?
Opening the Door to Military Escalation. Towards a New Iran-Iraq War?
What these diplomatic overtures to Tehran suggest is that Washington is attempting to incite Iran to actively intervene militarily in Iraq, in a sectarian “civil war” which has been triggered by the US.
Whatever information or exchange of intelligence occurs between the US and Iran will in any event be subject to manipulation and deception. Washington’s hidden agenda is to incite Iran’s military involvement as well as control it, with a view to ultimately weakening the Islamic Republic of Iran as a regional power.
Yet it would appear that Tehran is not swallowing the bait. And on the Iranian side, there is no confirmation of a collaborative agreement.
US War of Aggression: Protecting al Qaeda
The Pentagon scenario is not military escalation directed against Al Qaeda. It is escalation directed against the Iraqi population and the Iraq resistance movement.
Known and documented, ISIS is a creation of US intelligence. It is supported by the CIA, financed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar in liaison with Washington. Needless to say, US support to Al Qaeda formations in Syria and Iraq is known to the Iranian government.
Washington’s has no intention of targeting the ISIS terrorists. Quite the opposite: Its objective is to ensure the protection of the ISIS rebel army, which is supported covertly by Washington. In this context, Tehran has responded by pointing its fingers at Qatar and Saudi Arabia which are funding the ISIS terror brigades.
At present, ISIS terrorist operatives in Syria are fighting the forces of the government of Bashar al-Assad in liaison with their US intelligence sponsors. In turn, Iranian special forces including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force are in Syria in the context of a Tehran’s military cooperation agreement with the Damascus government.
Iran: From “Active State Sponsor of Terrorism” to “Limited Military Cooperation” with Washington?
In the space of 24 hours, according to US official statements and media reports, the fundamental tenets of post 9/11 US foreign policy were (temporarily?) scrapped.
Lest we forget: since September 11, 2001, The Islamic Republic of Iran has been labelled by Washington as an “Active State Sponsor of Terrorism”, allegedly supportive of Al Qaeda. That status has not been officially revoked. On the other hand, Tehran accuses the US of supporting and financing the Al Qaeda terrorists in Syria and Iraq and denies the existence of a “collaborative agreement”.
In the words of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice:
“Iran has been the country that has been in many ways a kind of central banker for terrorism in important regions like Lebanon through Hezbollah in the Middle East, in the Palestinian Territories, and we have deep concerns about what Iran is doing in the south of Iraq.” (quoted by CFR, emphasis added)
Moreover, in 2011, a US federal district court in New York City ruled that Iran had actually supported Al Qaeda in the conduct of the 9/11 attacks:
‘U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels ruled yesterday that Iran and Hezbollah materially and directly supported al Qaeda in the September 11, 2001 attacks and are legally responsible for damages to hundreds of family members of 9/11 victims who are plaintiffs in the case.
Attorneys representing families of 9/11 victims today are filing their second lawsuit against Iran asserting evidence that Iran played a key role in planning and facilitating the 9/11 attacks. The new case, Bingham, et al. v. Islamic Republic of Iran, et al., is being filed in federal court by the same attorneys who have been litigating Havlish, et al. v. Islamic Republic of Iran, et al., now pending in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan. Iran 911 Case
About Turn? Now Iran is to join hands with America against Al Qaeda, according to Western media reports.
Following ad hoc bilateral talks in Vienna, Iran is called upon to become a partner of the “international community” in “going after al Qaeda.”
Somebody is either lying or are we all stupid?
Another Timely Media Scam: Iran is Allegedly “Preparing to Wage a Terrorist Attack” against Canada’s National Capital Region
On the 16th of June, the Western media went into overdrive. A gush of syndicated reports on the Vienna agreement inundated the news chain: Iran will henceforth be “helping America” in waging the “war on terrorism”.
Beneath the barrage of Iraq reports, a timely news story pertaining to Iran as a “State Sponsor of Terrorism” was barely noticed.
According to Canadian press reports, published on the very same day as the US-Iran agreement in Vienna (June 16,2014) quoting “reliable” intelligence documents, Iran was preparing to wage a terrorist attack against Canada’s National Capital Region.
According to Toronto’s National Post under the title: Iran’s ‘anti-Canada rhetoric’ has officials on guard for possible Ottawa area terror attacks
[In response to] Iran’s rising “anti-Canada rhetoric,” intelligence officials have been monitoring the Islamic republic as a potential terrorist threat to the Ottawa area, newly declassified documents show. While the diplomatic falling out between Ottawa and Tehran is well-known, the intelligence reports are the first indication the Canadian government is tracking the possibility it could lead to terrorism in the capital.
The reports, written by the Integrated Terrorist Assessment Centre, do not specify the exact nature of the threat Tehran may pose to the Ottawa region but in the past Iran has used its proxy force, Hezbollah, to attempt attacks internationally.
The documents also note the Iran connection to last year’s alleged plot to derail a Toronto-bound passenger train. The RCMP says the conspiracy was directed by Al Qaeda figures operating out of Iran. “The presence of numerous high-profile federal institutions, foreign embassies, military facilities, tourist attractions, and special events make the NCR a rich environment for possible plots by a variety of differently-motivated terrorists,” the report says.
The intelligence reports include Iran on a list of “other potential threats to the National Capital Region,” immediately after politically motivated violence against foreign dignitaries.(National Post, June 16, 2014 emphasis added)
Another Canadian news report confirms that:
“Canadian intelligence agencies are tracking the possibility of a terrorist attack from Iran as tensions between Tehran and Ottawa increase.”
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has continued to urge caution where Iran is concerned.
“We haven’t seen much change in the Canadian position and so, that sort of tension between Tehran and Ottawa seems to be continuing,” he said [John Baird].
That tension is what is raising the concern for intelligence agencies. (CFRA, June 17, 2014)
Meanwhile, an Ottawa Police spokesman stated that The Ottawa Police Department would seek the collaboration of:
“the RCMP, OPP, military police, Surete du Quebec and Gatineau Police as well as their ongoing partnership with Ottawa Paramedics and Ottawa Fire (Ibid)
Assuming for a moment Canada’s fake news reports on the Iran threat are real and that America’s objective is to fight Al Qaeda, why on earth would Washington seek the cooperation of a country which is “allegedly” planning to bomb its closest ally: Canada, not to mention Iran’s alleged support (based on piles of national security documents) of Al Qaeda in various terrorist undertakings.
Surely the “Iran threat” to Canada’s National Capital Region (revealed “with authority” by The National Post on June 16, quoting “reliable” Canadian Intelligence documents), should have been “an eye-opener” to US State Department officials in Vienna who had invited the Islamic Republic of Iran to assist America in waging a “Global War on Terrorism”.
Welcome to the “New Normal”, Iran is no longer a “State Sponsor of Terrorism”, Tehran no longer supports Al Qaeda, Iran is now helping America to fight Al Qaeda.
How long will this “New Normal” Last?
The hidden agenda is to suck Iran into an extended regional conflict.
Were Iran to become actively involved in Iraq’s civil war, with military operations directed against the Sunni population, the “international community” would most probably point its finger at Iran rather than at the US. Already, sections of the Sunni resistance movement consider Iran –which supports the Al Maliki government– rather than the US as the main aggressor nation.
The US is “A State Sponsor of Terrorism”
Beneath the fake intelligence, the media lies, contradictions and outright fabrications of both the US and Canadian media, the truth of the matter is as follows:
- Iran has denied the existence of a collaborative agreement with the US. It has condemned the US’ covert support of the ISIS terrorists.
- There is no evidence that Iran was behind the 9/11 attacks, nor is there is evidence that the Sunni Al Qaeda entity was supported by the “Shiite government” of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Yet in the course of the last 13 years, the political consensus supported by the media and the intelligence community is that Iran is a “State Sponsor of Terrorism”. (See US State Department, Country Reports on Terrorism 2013)
- While Iran does not support Al Qaeda, there is ample evidence that Al Qaeda including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, has been supported by US-NATO as well as Israel.
- The US is “A State Sponsor of Terrorism”. Known and documented, Al Qaeda affiliated entities have been used by US-NATO in numerous conflicts as “intelligence assets” since the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war.
- In Syria, the Al Nusrah and ISIS rebels are the foot-soldiers of the Western military alliance, which oversees and controls the recruitment and training of paramilitary forces. ISIS has Western Special Forces within rebel ranks.
- The ISIS rebels are trained and funded by the Western military alliance. The US has no intention to target its own ISIS foot soldiers, who are waging a covert war on behalf of the US in both Syria and Iraq. The US wants to preserve and protect these terrorist paramilitary forces.
- Whatever military actions are waged by the US, they will target the Iraqi resistance movement as well as the civilian population.
- ISIS is a US intelligence asset, an instrument of non-conventional warfare. The ultimate objective of this ongoing US-NATO engineered conflict opposing the al-Maliki government forces to the ISIS insurgency is to destroy and destabilize Iraq as a Nation State and suck Iran into a violent regional sectarian conflict,
- This conflict could potentially engulf (directly or indirectly) a large number of countries, including Iraq, Iran and Syria, as well as Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and Pakistan, leading to a reconfiguration of the Middle East-Central Asian region (see map below).
New Map of the Middle East Project: unofficial NATO and US War Academy map. The above map was prepared by Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters. It was published in the Armed Forces Journal in June 2006, Peters is a retired colonel of the U.S. National War Academy. (Map Copyright Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters 2006).
Minor additions and editing of the text, June 22-23, 2014
Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal and Editor of the globalresearch.ca website. He is the author of The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003) and America’s “War on Terrorism”(2005). His most recent book is entitled Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War (2011). He is also a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. His writings have been published in more than twenty languages. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org