Erlich's new book describes the CIA's lack of support for bombing Iran.
Vivian Leung/the Gauntlet

Journalist questions the U.S.'s role in Iran

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An American covert war is being waged in the Middle East. Foreign correspondent Reese Erlich is working to expose it.

His new book, The Iran Agenda: The Real Story of U.S. Policy and the Middle East Crisis, deals with the tangled web of allies, spies and propaganda that stems from the American search of support for bombing Iran.

Erlich explained that America has justified its desire to bomb Iran since Sep. of last year stating Iran has nuclear weapons.

"There was a very conscious, concerned public relations campaign to try and build up popular support for a possible bombing attack on Iran," said Erlich in the public forum Wed., Feb. 13. Conversely, he thinks the United States is motivated to take hold of Iran because of their potential to be an important military stronghold for oil access.

Even the CIA has stopped supporting the official American stance, noted Erlich. They came out with a report saying that Iran does not currently have nuclear weapons. The report, known as the National Intelligence Estimate, is a consensus of all the U.S. intelligence agencies. When the report was issued the Bush administration sent it back twice.

"Then the Bush administration talked about not issuing any public NIE's. [They discussed the possibility that] they would stop ever giving declassified information. They did everything they could to try and keep this thing from coming out," said Erlich. He explained the loss of the CIA's support is a result of knowing Bush's days in office are limited.

"This was a calculated maneuver," said Erlich. "Bush is going to be gone in a matter of months to a year, they're still going to be around and they're going to be left to clean up the mess that the U.S. attack on Iran would leave."

When the report finally came out in Dec. '07, it hampered the plans to attack Iran. After the report, Russia and China withdrew their support and all of Europe had already refused to get involved. Only Israel remained convinced of the necessity to bomb Iran, he explained.

The lack of support has not stopped the U.S. from trying other methods. A Kurdish organization known as the Kurdistan Workers Party--the PKK--has been denounced "terrorist" by the U.S. for launching military attacks against Turkey. The PKK has a branch organization known as the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan or PJAK, based in Iraq, which attacks Iran.

"They go in, kill revolutionary guards, they blow up civilians but they're doing it with financing and arms from the United States," said Erlich. "That's the covert war."

Erlich pointed out the irony, noting he has received confirmation from high U.S. senatorial sources who have been briefed by the CIA.

Quoted in an article in the New Yorker Magazine, Erlich explained that the public is largely unaware of the situation.

"It has been ignored by the mainstream press in the U.S." said Erlich. "[However,] it's very well know in Iraq, Iran, Turkey--only in North America and Europe that it's kept a secret because it's so obviously embarrassing."

There have also been alleged ties of the U.S. with the Suni-terrorist organization Jundullah, which attacks Iranian targets, said Erlich.

"Jundullah not only receives funding from the United States, but is led by a former leader of the Taliban," he said.

America's effort to promote democracy in Iran has seemingly left few Iranians grateful. Erlich interviewed many Iranian citizens, including activists in the human rights, independent union and student movements and noted none of them found American meddling in their politics helpful.

"Every one of them said the U.S. policy toward Iran is a disaster," he said. "The U.S. Policy is absolutely counter-productive."