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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Other voices on the U.S. and Iran


From the "For what it's worth" department - an opinion piece from Asia Times Online: Growing need for US-Iran confidence steps:
But not everyone in Washington is sold on the idea of upping the ante against Iran. The New York Times has reported of a growing rift between the hawks, led by Vice President Dick Cheney, and the doves, led by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, over Iran policy. This has been reflected in the US media, with hawks such as Max Boot defending the Cheney line by anticipating a "catastrophic" victory for Iran and al-Qaeda if the US withdraws from Iraq, and more moderate voices such as the Washington Post's David Ignatius, calling for "cooling" US-Iran tensions, eg by endorsing a growing call by various US military leaders for an "incident at sea agreement" with Iran.

The idea of such an agreement, like ones the US previously signed with the Soviet Union and with China, is timely and worth pursuing in light of the potential collision of the US and Iranian navies in the Persian Gulf. Already the two navies are in almost daily contact, alerting each other to their approaching ships and boats, but that is not enough and to avoid accidental warfare - both sides need to deepen their military-to-military communication.

The aim of this, which could be formalized through a working committee that is an offshoot of the working committees set up as a result of the US-Iran dialogue in Baghdad, would be to adopt concrete measures or steps to avoid unwanted maritime collisions or conflicts in the Persian Gulf and vicinity waters

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