Cheney pushes Bush to act on Iran
· Military solution back in favour as Rice loses out
· President 'not prepared to leave conflict unresolved'
Ewen MacAskill in Washington and Julian Borger
Monday July 16, 2007
The balance in the internal White House debate over Iran has shifted back in
favour of military action before President George Bush leaves office in 18
months, the Guardian has learned.
The shift follows an internal review involving the White House, the Pentagon
and the state department over the last month. Although the Bush
administration is in deep trouble over
well-placed source in
The White House claims that
increased significantly over the last six years, is intent on building a
nuclear weapon and is arming insurgents in
The vice-president, Dick Cheney, has long favoured upping the threat of
military action against
state, Condoleezza Rice, and the defence secretary, Robert Gates.
Last year Mr Bush came down in favour of Ms Rice, who along with
meeting of the White House, Pentagon and state department last month, Mr
Cheney expressed frustration at the lack of progress and Mr Bush sided with
him. "The balance has tilted. There is cause for concern," the source said
Nick Burns, the undersecretary of state responsible for
diplomat who is one of the main advocates of negotiation, told the meeting
it was likely that diplomatic manoeuvring would still be continuing in
January 2009. That assessment went down badly with Mr Cheney and Mr Bush.
"Cheney has limited capital left, but if he wanted to use all his capital on
this one issue, he could still have an impact," said Patrick Cronin, the
director of studies at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
successors in the White House, Republican or Democratic, to deal with
decisively. They are also reluctant for
"The red line is not in
adamant it will attack, the
said. "The choices are: tell
Almost half of the
two aircraft carrier groups. The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise left
the USS Nimitz and there would be no overlap that would mean three carriers
in Gulf at the same time.
No decision on military action is expected until next year. In the meantime,
the state department will continue to pursue the diplomatic route.
Sporadic talks are under way between the EU foreign policy chief, Javier
of a freeze in
refused to contemplate a freeze, but has provisionally agreed to another
round of talks at the end of the month.
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, has
said that there are signs of
it is building in Natanz. Negotiations took place in
between Iranian officials and the IAEA, which is seeking a full accounting
programme in 2003. The agency's deputy director general, Olli Heinonen, said
two days of talks had produced "good results" and would continue.
At the UN, the
other security council members for a new round of sanctions against
international dealings of another Iranian bank and a mega-engineering firm
owned by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.