In a news analysis, ABC News reports that "provocative words by President Bush and a fresh American military buildup in the Persian Gulf seem to mark a new focus on Iran that could signal another Cold War or even a deadly confrontation." Last week President Bush set a tough tone with Iran when he basically dismissed the Iraq Study Group's recommendation of dialogue with Iran and Syria. The same day the US raided an Iranian consulate in northern Iraq and arrested six Iranian diplomats who the US military said were connected to a group that funds insurgents in Iraq. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice later said that "The United States is simply responding to Iranian activities that have been going on for a while now that threaten not just to destabilize the chance for Iraq to proceed to stability but also that endanger our forces."
But Jon Soltz, an Iraqi war vet who heads the VoteVets Action Fund, says tough measures against Iran won't work.
[Soltz] said the move could signal a forthcoming strike against Iran or be an attempt to create enough leverage to force Tehran back into talks on its nuclear ambitions.
"There's no question it's a chicken game with Iran," he said. "By us playing more war games with them, it only gives them more reasons to tie us down in Iraq."
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that one of the six Iranian diplomats arrested by the US last week has been released, and Iran's envoy to Iraq has said that the other five will be released "within days."
The Guardian reports that a senior Iraqi official Tuesday criticized the raid and the US position on Iran, which experts are describing as another sign of a growing rift between Iraq and the US about how to deal with Iran. Former Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari told reporters that he does not believe that Iran is a threat to Iraq. Other politicians also criticized the US actions in Mosul.