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Decision Making: Will the US Attack Iran?

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  1. Introduction.
    1. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report of Febuary 2006.
  2. The Neoconservatives: 'The World Must Be Firm'.
  3. A cautious intelligence community.
  4. The growing influence of Condoleezza Rice.
  5. The weakened presidency.

Iran has always been a major concern in United States foreign policy. With almost seventy million inhabitants, three times the population of Iraq, the former Persia is a key actor in the Middle East. The diplomatic relations between America and Iran have fluctuated according to regime changes. The United States backed the anti-communist Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who ruled Iran from 1941 to 1979. They saw him as a ?bulwark against the expansion of Soviet influence in the Persian Gulf? (Katzman). When the Shah government collapsed in February 1979, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini declared an Islamic Republic of Iran. The tensions between the new anti-West leader and the United States worsened dramatically with the Iran hostage crisis, from November 4, 1979 to January 20, 1981.

[...] Dick Cheney lost his chief of staff, the neoconservative Lewis ?Scooter? Libby was indicted in October for allegedly lying to prosecutors about his role in disclosing a Central Intelligence Agency operative's identity [Valerie Plame]? (King and Solomon). Mr Lilly said to a grand jury that the leak was ordered by his ?superiors,? that is, the Vice-President. Lawrence Franklin, part of the neoconservative strategists at the Pentagon, was charged ?with illegally disseminating classified intelligence? (King and Solomon). Finally, some of the administration's most prominent neoconservatives have left their position. [...]

[...] In practical terms, this reorganization will result in the shift of Foreign Service officers from Europe to developing countries[iii]. Mrs. Rice is very influential inside the Bush administration. She is an efficient ?bureaucratic infighter? (King and Solomon). Thanks to the influence she has built during the first term, President Bush allows her to pursue her own policy, whereas Colin Powell was not allowed to adopt such a multilateral perspective. The IAEA and the United Nations, disdained by the administration three years ago, are now the main tools for dealing with Iran. [...]

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