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"The U.S.-led coalition dropped 1,447 bombs on Iraq last year, an average of nearly four a day, compared with 229 bombs, or about four each week, in 2006."

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THE UNITED STATES AND THE IRAN-IRAQ WAR 17.Jan.2008 22:52

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"Simultaneous with these activities, the U.S. pursued its second track: trying to establish ties with the Iranian mullahs based on the interest they shared with Washington in combating the left. The U.S. purpose, Reagan announced in November 1986, after the Iran-Contra scandal blew open, was "to find an avenue to get Iran back where it once was and that is in the family of democratic nations" -- a good trick, as Mansour Farhang has commented, since pre-1979 Iran was hardly democratic.<64>

According to the Tower Commission, "In 1983, the United States helped bring to the attention of Teheran the threat inherent in the extensive infiltration of the government by the communist Tudeh Party and Soviet or pro-Soviet cadres in the country. Using this information, the Khomeini government took measures, including mass executions, that virtually eliminated the pro-Soviet infrastructure in Iran."<65> These massacres elicited the expected level of concern from U.S. officials. "The leftists there seem to be getting their heads cut off," remarked an undersecretary of state from the Carter administration.<66> The U.S. also passed to the Iranians "real and deceptive intelligence" about the Soviet threat on Iran's borders.<67>

Reagan administration officials claimed that their efforts in Iran were designed to build ties to moderates. In fact, however, they were aware that they were dealing with the clerical fanatics. Oliver North told Robert McFarlane and John Poindexter in December 1985 that the anti-tank weapons the U.S. was secretly providing to Iran would probably go to the Revolutionary Guards, the shock troops of the mullahs.<68> In August 1986, the special assistant to the Israeli prime minister briefed George "Out-of-the-Loop" Bush, telling him, "we are dealing with the most radical elements....This is good because we've learned that they can deliver and the moderates can't."<69>

The idea of building a strategic connection to Iran had wide support in the U.S. government, though the policy of using arms transfers to achieve it did not. The Tower Commission, for example, stated that while it disagrees with the arms transfers, "a strategic opening to Iran may have been in the national interest."<70> And it should be made clear that a strategic opening does not simply mean beginning a dialogue with or acting civilly toward an former adversary; rather, it was part of a policy to prevent any comparable access for the Soviet Union. Thus, a CIA position paper in 1985 noted that whichever superpower got to Iran first would be "in a strong position to work towards the exclusion of the other."<71> Another CIA official wanted to achieve "a securing of Iran" so that it would again "have a relationship with the U.S." and be "denied to the Soviets."<72> And McFarlane cabled to Poindexter after a secret meeting in Teheran in May 1986: "we are on the way to something that can become a truly strategic gain for us at the expense of the Soviets."<73>"