TheÂ Â recent accounts Â of Iranian Â pilot boatsÂ circling US Navy destroyers differÂ and it isn't clear if the US was lying or the Iranians were lyingÂ or if there was a misperceptionÂ of the situation, in this case by the Americans , who may have thought the Iranian boats threatened them. ( They may have heard a threat broadcast from a transmitterÂ on shore and thought it came from the boats. That Â leaves a question who would have made the threat and why: the USÂ toÂ claim Â a provocation or the Iranians to provoke.)Â TheÂ mutual Â monitoringÂ in disputed territorial waters has been a constant practice.Â Â *
TheÂ Â US has turned downÂ its Â threats of military strikes against Iran.This has deprived Ahmadinejad of hisÂ main Â stratagem - the need to rally the people to confront the threat from the Great Enemy - the term he uses to referÂ to the US administration and George W Bush . This might explain whyÂ Â some of Ahmadinejad'sÂ followers Â in the Revolutionary GuardÂ Â may have increasedÂ the activityÂ Â of Â the "swarm" boats against the US destroyers
The buzz Â in the GulfÂ states is Â that the US administration and Supreme Leader Kamenei's advisors are workingÂ hard Â behind the scenes for "a comprehensive settlement"Â Â somewhat along the lines of the deal with North Korea.
Tehran isÂ threatened Â byÂ the Â spiral of violence in neighbouring IraqÂ . ItÂ Â would be amenable, in its interest, to increase its help in managing Iraq's security throughÂ it's influence with Â Shia militias.Â Â As part of the bargain, Â Iran would keep its civil nuclear power intact; sanctions would be lifted and investment could flow from Europe and even America.
The Â Iranian Islamic Republic isÂ preparing for Â elections Â for the assembly on March 14. ThisÂ Â is going to be in partÂ a referendum on the policies of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He and his radical followers Â appear to be losing support, both from the voters who carried him to power and from the nation's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Khamenei'sÂ people Â have made itÂ clear Â they're fed up with Ahmadinejad's failing economic policies,Â and an Â inflation rate of 19 per cent.
*Washington Post, January 12:
Questions remain about the verbal threat picked up on a common maritime radio channel. Pentagon officials acknowledged that they will probably not be able to determine the origin of the voice that threatened to "explode" an unspecified target, although a forensic examination has begun to try to determine the accent of the speaker and other details.
Middle East experts, Farsi speakers and Iranians in the United States insist that the voice could not have come from Iran. The accent "sounded Pakistani, South Asian or an American trying to sound Iranian, but it definitely didn't sound Iranian," said Karim Sadjadpour, an Iranian-born American at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
"Once again, US President George W Bush has pulled no punches in describing Iran as a threat to world security and the leading state sponsor of terror. In turn, the recent incident in the Strait of Hormuz involving Iranian speedboats and US Navy vessels - seemingly in Iranian, not international waters - gives Tehran political and legal leverage to wring concessions from the US Navy over its activities in the sensitive area. "- Kaveh L Afrasiabi (Jan 14, '08)