US Officials Talk Up Using Military Force Against Iran

As Iran revises nuclear activities, US dials up language of war

US military buildup in the area around Iran over the past few days was done with John Bolton claiming Iran was plotting a sneak attack on the US. That was false, of course, and US officials are conceding that the administration was “exaggerating” the threat to justify the buildup.

Having done that though, administration officials are still couching everything in the language of war. Special representative on Iran Bryan Hook told reporters today that Iran’s changes to its nuclear activities violate “international norms,” and that the US is determined to put “maximum pressure” on Iran.

Maximum pressure is exactly why the US claimed it thought an Iranian attack was coming, and Hook continued to insist that any attack would be “met with force.” In reality, there is no serious thought of Iran attacking the US, and a lot of risk that the US is going to blunder into the war on its own.

Iran’s nuclear changes were actually quite minor, and both readily explained by US sanctions. Indeed, both moves were specifically allowed under the P5+1 nuclear deal in the event a signatory withdrew from the deal, and the US did.

While the US continues to try to advance the myth of Iranian aggression, the reality is that the serious risk is the US trying to “preempt” Iran by attacking them militarily. This seems a realistic threat, as the Trump Administration’s narrative continues to center around them anticipating using overwhelming force against Iran.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of