Claims about a secret nuclear weapons program. A campaign to involve the UN. Rejecting negotiations. Spreading false “information.”

Sound like the months before the Iraq war?

For Iraq, read Iran.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), one of the leading peace champions in Congress, warned last week, “The Bush administration is preparing for war against Iran, using an almost identical drumbeat of weapons of mass destruction, imminent threat, alleged links to Al Qaeda, and even linking Iran with a future 9/11.”

Kucinich cited reports by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh that the U.S. has deployed covert military forces in Iran. He also pointed to Time magazine’s cover story about the revival of longstanding plans for a U.S. blockade of Iranian oil ports.

In another eerie echo of the run-up to Iraq, the International Atomic Energy Agency earlier this month called “incorrect” a House Intelligence Committee staff report’s allegations that Iraq is producing weapons-grade uranium. The IAEA said while Iran has enriched uranium to 3.5 percent under agency monitoring, weapons-grade uranium is enriched to a level of 90 percent.

All this is ominous enough when one considers the deaths of over 2,700 U.S. soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians since the U.S. invasion, and the continuing deterioration of security, economic and social conditions there under U.S. occupation.

Taken together with the just-leaked intelligence estimate that the Iraq war is “cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement,” the Bush administration’s drumbeat against Iran should be of grave concern to everyone who values the peace and security of our own country and the world.

“It should come as no surprise if the Bush administration undertakes a pre-emptive war against Iran sometime before the November election,” former Sen. Gary Hart said recently. While in normal times thoughtful people would dismiss the possibility, he said, “we do not live in normal times.”

Now more than ever, every possible pressure is needed to end the Bush administration’s policy of perpetual pre-emptive global warfare. Our lives may depend on it.

Hands off Iran!