undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns, who oversaw America's Iran
engagement during the Bush administration, asked Sunday about reports
that the U.S. program began under George W. Bush, said he could not comment on intelligence matters.
Photos of an Iranian military base near Bid Kaneh in before (top) and after (bottom) a large explosion reportedly occurred, apparent damage from which can be seen / Institute for Science and International Security
In September, the head of the
Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, accused
Great Britain, Israel and the U.S. of conducting attacks on him and
other Iranian scientists."Six years ago the intelligence service of the
UK began collecting information and data regarding my past, my family,
the number of children," Abbasi-Davani told a news conference at the
annual conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in
Vienna. Abbasi-Davani, who was said to have been wounded in 2010 car
bomb explosion, said the attacks were carried out by Israel with the
"support of the intelligence services of the United States and England."
week, Iranian protesters stormed the British embassy in Tehran.
Dominick Chilcott, Britain's ambassador to Iran, later said the attack
occurred "with the acquiescence and the support of the state." Then, on
Sunday, Bahrain's interior ministry announced that an explosion
occurred inside a minibus parked near the British Embassy. There were no
immediate reports of serious damage or injuries.
alleged in October that agents acting for Iran's Revolutionary Guard,
which has increasingly exerted control over the Tehran regime, were
involved in a plot to kill that Saudi ambassador to Washington in a
restaurant. Iran denied the allegations. Then, on Sunday, in what have
been another escalation, Iran's news agency reported that Iranian armed
forces shot down an unmanned U.S. spy plane that illegally crossed the
country's eastern border.
Responding to the Iranian report, NATO
command in Afghanistan released a terse statement Sunday: "The UAV to
which the Iranians are referring may be a US unarmed reconnaissance
aircraft that had been flying a mission over western Afghanistan late
last week. The operators of the UAV lost control of the aircraft and had
been working to determine its status."
The White House declined to comment
but officials did not seem unduly alarmed, suggesting that the drone's
capture would not provide Iran with significant information about U.S.
surveillance technology and techniques.
Trita Parsi, president of
the National Iranian American Council in Washington, said the
tit-for-tat incidents "add up to a very worrisome picture," in part
because "the Iranians are absorbing all of these assassinations without
seeing the pace of their nuclear program slow down to the extent it
would be acceptable to the West." But if Iranian retaliations grow
serious enough, he said, they could provide "the pretext for a much
larger war" in which the Israelis, and possibly the Americans, launch a
full attack on Iran.