Friday, January 13, 2012
US President Barack Obama is busy aligning Middle East allies with the next US steps on Iran. Contributing to the mounting sense in Washington of an approaching US-Iranian confrontation, the Pentagon is substantially building up its combat power around Iran, stationing nearly 15,000 troops in Kuwait – two Army infantry brigades and a helicopter unit – and keeping two aircraft carriers the region. TheUSS Carl Vinson, the USS John Stennis which was to have returned to home base and their strike groups will stay in the Arabian Sea.
Iran is caught up in the same pre-war swirl of activity. Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani spent two days in Ankara this week. But Turkish leaders failed in their bid to sell their good offices as brokers for averting the expected collision between Tehran and the West. Before flying out of Ankara Friday, Jan. 13, Larijani commented: “We have different ways of doing things.”
DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources quote the Iranian official as telling his hosts that his country is prepared to take on any military aggressors. One of the responses weighed in Tehran to meet the rising military pressure might be an open declaration of Iran as a nuclear power. By accepting a visit by IAEA inspectors on Jan. 28 – to investigate charges that Iran is running a clandestine nuclear bomb program – Tehran may be moving toward that irreversible admission – or possibly its first nuclear test.