Ratcheting Up the Rhetoric…

Is the rhetoric in the war of words between the U. S. and Iran ratcheting up?

There’s a story making its way around the Russian language news outlets which, if true, represents a substantial ratcheting up of the rhetoric on Iran. The story was first reported in the business newspaper, Kommersant. Here’s the take from Russia Today, a government-funded television network:

The US wants Russia to deliver a message to Iran: Tehran has one last chance for talks. If it is wasted, an attack will happen in a matter of months, according to Russian diplomatic sources.

The threat was voiced by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a meeting with her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in New York on Monday, a diplomatic insider told Kommersant daily.

“The invasion will happen before year’s end. The Israelis are de facto blackmailing Obama. They’ve put him in this interesting position – either he supports the war or looses the support of the Jewish lobby,” the diplomat told the Russian newspaper.

The source said Washington has given Tehran one last chance to solve the conflict peacefully and wants Moscow to deliver the message. Iran has to make progress with the P5+1 group, which consists of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany.

There’s a somewhat more dramatic statement in the Kommersant report that doesn’t appear in the Russia Today article (translating):

Diplomats, among them Russian diplomats, speaking on the probability of an attack by Israel and the United States on Iran, are now employing the concrete “when” rather than the indefinite “if”.

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Dave Schuler
About Dave Schuler
Over the years Dave Schuler has worked as a martial arts instructor, a handyman, a musician, a cook, and a translator. He's owned his own company for the last thirty years and has a post-graduate degree in his field. He comes from a family of politicians, teachers, and vaudeville entertainers. All-in-all a pretty good preparation for blogging. He has contributed to OTB since November 2006 but mostly writes at his own blog, The Glittering Eye, which he started in March 2004.


  1. Rob in CT says:

    I don’t know how credible the above is, but Obama specifically rejected containment as an acceptable course of action. That’s the “dovish” side of our “debate” in this country.

    It’s appalling.

    I am now wondering how we avoid war. Have we not backed ourselves into a corner? If Iran’s leadership hunkers down and says screw you, don’t we have to attack them (or admit to bluffing, which any political leader hates doing)?

  2. steve says:

    This seemed inevitable. Once Netanyahu said he would attack, we needed to decide if it was better for them or us to do it. (Is there any doubt that we would support Israel if they attacked first?) If there must be an attack, I can see some reasons why it might be better if we did it on our own schedule. I had hoped Obama would grow a pair and tell Netanyahu/AIPAC to get lost, but no luck.


  3. Hey Norm says:

    We need some sanity people.
    There is no upside to an unprovoked attack on Iran. None.

  4. TastyBits says:

    The present US Administration’s position is that military action must be approved by the International Community and/or the UN Security Council. If Russia and China, among others, are included, there is little chance of any US military action occurring anytime soon.

    Unless something has changed, Israel planes cannot make it back from a bombing run to Iran. With Iraqi airspace unprotected, Israel could station a tanker for refueling over Iraq, but Iran and Syria may decide to defend Iraqi airspace. In addition, Israel planes will need to overfly one or two countries, and they may also take action. Israel would need to decide how many planes they are willing to lose.

    PM Netanyahu is not known for bluffing. He is taken seriously, but his wording allows Israel to not act militarily. Who or what has rattled Israel’s cage is the question to ask. They wanted tough sanctions, and they got tough sanctions. Now, they want military action. It seems like Good Cop/Bad Cop with the US and Israel.

    PM Netanyahu may be trying to get President Obama to publicly commit to military action. If the President does commit, it will include some conditions that must be met before any action is taken.

    This may be the start of “Cold War II”.

    “For the Snark was a Boojum, you see.”

  5. walt moffett says:

    Since we are are told by Obama, window is shrinking, are Douhet and Lemay warming up in the bullpen?

  6. Ron Beasley says:


    PM Netanyahu is not known for bluffing.

    But he is very cautious. The Israeli military and intelligence service are opposed to an attack – the US military and intelligence organizations are opposed to an attack. The attack itself could lead to the end of Israel. Both countries will continue covert acts of sabotage but no attack.

  7. Carson says:

    “Go ahead. Make my day.”

  8. KariQ says:

    Realistically, there is no chance that Iran will abandon its nuclear program. Military attacks will only make them step up that program. I certainly hope that we don’t go down that road; no good can come of it.

  9. An Interested Party says:

    Certainly not to defend Iran, but after what the Bush Administration did to Iraq but not to North Korea, why wouldn’t Iran be seeking nuclear weapons? After all, we live in the real world and it is bit foolish to act like the leaders of Iran are James Bond villains rather than rational actors….

  10. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @An Interested Party: It’s not a choice–the leaders of Iran are James Bond villains and rational actors. It’s just that there is more that one blind man looking at this particular elephant.