The U.S. is gathering more hard evidence, in Iraq, of Iranian
interference in Iraq, and efforts to gain influence, or even control, of the
Iraqi government. Iranian officials, weapons and cash have also been at play,
although more discreetly, in Afghanistan. Iran has, for thousands of years,
been a major player in western Afghanistan. Iran has, in the last few
centuries, not been interested in controlling western Afghanistan, because
there's nothing there worth the effort. But now there is the growing drug
trade, which has turned the Afghan border with Iran into a combat zone. Iran is
trying to get the Afghans to help suppress the drug trade, or at least assist
in shutting down the drug smuggling into Iran. The opium and heroin from
Afghanistan has created millions of addicts in Iran, and become a major social,
and political, problem.
28, 2006: Because of the new UN sanction, Iran will reduce its cooperation with
the IAEA and other UN arms control organizations. Iran's economic problems
continue to get worse. The corruption of the religious dictatorship impedes any
reform, or economic growth. Lack of investment in oil production facilities has
reduced oil income, or the use of natural gas (which is now largely wasted), or
the refining of Iranian oil (most refined products, like gasoline, have to be
24, 2006: Iran dismissed the new UN sanctions, and threatened unspecified
retaliation. Iran has also been making more unspecified threats to the Arab
states on the other side of the Gulf. This has caused a huge build up (over
$100 billion) in arms purchases by these Arab nations, who fear that the Iranians
are planning military attacks, or more concrete threats.
23, 2006: The UN agreed to impose more economic sanctions on Iran, because of
Iran's nuclear program. The sanctions would make it more difficult, and
expensive, for Iran to get certain equipment needed to build nuclear power
plants and other weapons related facilities.
22, 2006: A U.S. Army raid in Iraq caught four Iranian government officials.
Two had diplomatic immunity, and were soon released. The other two appeared to
be military technical experts, in Iraq to show pro-Iranian Shia fighters how to
make better bombs against foreign troops, and Iraqis who did not support
Iranian goals. The Kurdish president of Iraq said the two men were his
"guests," but the Americans refused to release the two until an
investigation was completed.