On April 14th 1980 after months of training with the elite military unit Delta Force, an ambitious – over ambitious – mission was launched by America to rescue 52 American hostages who were being held by Ayatolla Khomeini’s revolutionary guard at the embassy in Teheran. It involved eight helicopters and accompanying refueling planes, which were to rendezvous at an abandoned airfield not far from Teheran, from where a commando force was to drive in and find the hostages, who were supposedly held at different locations in the capital. Iranian jets were to be destroyed at Teheran airport, and the rescuers evacuated by the helicopters flying in. The helicopters were to be subsequently destroyed, and everyone was to be flown out in C-130 transport planes.Operation Eagle Claw was aborted because several helicopters were damaged in a dust storm, and in the subsequent confusion, a helicopter hit a transport plane and 8 soldiers were killed. For Jimmy Carter, whose gut instinct was to use diplomacy and not force, it was a colossal disaster. And looking at the astrology for the event, it is not difficult to see why:

Operation Eagle Claw: 24.04.1980 Sunset. Masirah, Oman

It is fascinating to see, how significant Mars is in the horoscope, which is set for when six Air Force C-130s carrying 132 Delta commandos set off for Iran from Oman. Mars is conjoined with Rahu – the North Node of the Moon – at 27 Leo which happens to be exactly opposite the US Moon at 27 Aquarius. In other words, the eclipse cycle was passing over the US Moon, and with the reputation of Rahu and Ketu as “the abortive planets”, in Vedic astrology at least, it is hardly surprising that the over-confident Mars in Leo came to grief. A Mars/Rahu conjunction in Leo is a classic signature for hubris, and Icarus-like, this rash venture crashed in flames.

What is more significant is that there is also a Saturn/Neptune square at the time from 20.51 Virgo to 22.25 Sagittarius. Referring again to the US horoscope, Mars is at 21.33  Gemini and Neptune at 22.25 Virgo, so the Saturn/Neptune square activates the warlike US Mars, which is so often historically undermined by its square to Neptune. This was a guaranteed pattern for chaos and humiliation, and indeed Jimmy Carter was systematically humiliated by the new fundamentalist government in Iran for a period of 444 days. The hostages were finally released on the very day Carter handed over the presidency to Ronald Reagan.

It is worth looking at the US chart relocated for Teheran, because this gives an Ascendant of 24 Taurus, which means that Uranus at the time of the aborted mission was exactly on the relocated Descendant. Note too, that the US nodes are exactly on the relocated MC/IC axis, which both shows a fateful relation to Iran, and suggests the tendency for abortive relations. The key here is that the nodal axis in the US chart is exactly on the midpoint of the Mars/Neptune square in a semisquare aspect to the North Node. This keys in the latent weakness of US military might to all relations with Iran, and from this it is safe to predict that all aggressive ventures directed at Iran – especially if connected with oil and naval enterprise – will end in chaos.

The election of the relatively unknown Mahmoud Ahmadinijad to the Iranian presidency on August 3rd 2005 brought a new and acute development in Iran’s relations to Europe and America, who had been negotiating for several years to get Iran to stop their development of nuclear technology. It can be argued that Iran is absolutely entitled to develop this technology for peaceful purposes. It can even be argued that a secret plan to develop nuclear weapons is understandable, when they have the US military on its eastern borders in Afghanistan, and its western borders in Iraq. North Korea has shown by example that a nuclear deterrent is extremely valuable in relation to America. Israel has nuclear weapons, and what has the USA or the UN done to prevent that?

Yet Mahmoud Ahmadinijad could not have handled this situation in a worse manner. He is simply an unsavory character. In his period as mayor of Teheran, he required all male city employees to have beards, and instituted separate elevators for men and women in municipal offices. No surprise there. But earlier he had been a senior commander in the elite Qods Force, from where he directed assassinations of dissidents in the Middle East and Europe, including the assassination of Iranian Kurdish leader Abdorrahman Qassemlou, who was shot dead by senior officers of the Revolutionary Guards in a Vienna flat in July 1989. At a Teheran conference The World without Zionism, on October 28th 2005, Ahmadinejad stated that “Israel must be wiped off the map”, further stating that a “historic war between the oppressor and the world of Islam” would occur in Palestine. Later that same day, at a gathering of students, he called for “the annihilation of the Zionist regime.”

These are hardly reassuring words at a time when Iranian negotiators were trying to convince their European counterparts that they were developing nuclear power for peaceful purposes. The noon chart for Ahmadinejad tells a story of just how intractable he is:

Mahmoud Ahmadinijad: 28.10.1956 Garmsar, Iran. Solar Sign.

As a Scorpio with a Sun/Uranus square he is clearly an uncompromising and rather dangerous character – in fact Kim Jong-il of North Korea also has a Sun/Uranus square. It seems to give a tendency for leaders to involve themselves irresponsibly with nuclear weapons and to practice brinkmanship. Donald Rumsfeld, who has an even more threatening Sun/Pluto conjunction square Uranus, has – no doubt with Iran’s underground nuclear facilities in mind – initiated plans to develop earth-penetrating nuclear weapon designed to destroy hardened underground targets. An equally irresponsible idea that completely blurs the distinction between nuclear and conventional weapons.

Ahmadinijad also has Saturn in Sagittarius conjunction the North Node square Pluto, which does show an ideological hard-liner, with immovable religious and political convictions. His view of democracy is quite clear: in his view Iran “did not have a revolution in order to have democracy, but to have an Islamic government.” The Jupiter/Venus conjunction in his chart indicates a leader who is comfortable with women having a subservient role, servicing Islam in every detail. Obviously this aspect shows someone seeking to deal with a discomfort with women through petty regulation. Men in Teheran can thank Ahmadinijad for the new sex-segregated bus service about to be launched, and soon a special park for women will be opened. The current Pluto square to his Venus in Virgo shows a growing repression and subjugation of women in the country he governs.

In fact, the position of Venus at 26 Virgo resonates extremely strongly with the powerful Islamic Republic Chart from 1979.

See chart for Iran: 1.04.1979 15.00 IRDT Teheran

This chart has a Mars/Mercury conjunction in Pisces directly opposite Ahmadinijad’s Venus. And on Ayatolla Khomeini’s triumphant return from exile, Venus was at 25 Sagittarius, so this is clearly a sensitive area for Iran. The current Pluto transit activates this area and indicates a growing crisis for the regime. In 1980 both Jupiter and Saturn in transited the late degrees of Virgo aspecting this sensitive spot. This was the time when Iraq, secretly encouraged by the US, invaded Iran in what was to be an eight year war of attrition that left the male population of Iran decimated. Against an Iraq armed with more advanced weapons, Iran used human waves of infantry with some success but enormous casualties. Iraq also used poison gas against the Iranian troops, whilst the international community turned a blind eye.

These Iranian martyrs are clearly shown by the Mars/Mercury conjoining the South Node in Pisces in the 8th house of the horoscope for the Iranian Republic.

Bearing in mind that Pluto squares these planets in 2006 and 2007, an issue is raised as to whether there will be another wave of martyrs. The veiled threats from both Israel and the Bush government that all options are on the table, raise the specter of an armed attack on Iran. The window of danger is open well up to December 2007, when Jupiter conjoins Pluto at 28 Sagittarius. As this is a time when Mars retrogrades from Cancer into Gemini, there is likely to be an alarming struggle at this time, probably triggered by the first of three oppositions of Mars to Pluto on September 21st 2007 at 26 Gemini/Sagittarius.

At present Europe and the USA are trying very hard to get Iran to stop uranium enrichment through diplomatic means. These seemed doomed to failure. Ahmadinijad has not shown the slightest hint of wishing to compromise. His election platform was confrontation with the USA and EU, and he will not change course. The position of Iran appears extremely strong. At a time when control of oil and gas is increasingly in the hands of Russia and an independently-minded South America, with both demand and prices high, and with India and China desperate to ensure future supplies and intent on building a pipeline to Iran, America has little international leverage. At the same time the USA is overextended in Iraq, and the American people want their soldiers out. There is little domestic support for a military adventure in Iran.

The USA has the option of destroying nuclear facilities through a missile attack or bombing via proxy using Israel, who successfully destroyed the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq on June 7th 1981. If they do this, Iran may well shut off oil flow in the Persian Gulf, and a severe economic crisis could be the result. Iran’s horoscope shows Uranus in Scorpio in the 4th house, which indicates both the likelihood of a secret project to develop nuclear weapons, and that they are buried deeply underground. In March 2006 Jupiter stationed 1½ degrees short of Uranus, which was the time when Iran revealed a vast expansion of its uranium refinement process through an exponential increase in centrifuge production. When Jupiter finally transits the Uranus degree on October 10th, can we expect to hear that Iran has finally manufactured a bomb? Note the fact that there is a grand trine in water between Mars, Jupiter and Uranus in Iran’s chart, and that these same three planets have been in a grand trine in May 2006… something that can only happen once every 14 years, if that. It would seem that nothing will stop Iran’s nuclear expansion plans.

The next 1½ years are crucial for Iran, for there is a real danger that they will be bombed. The Bush government has no faith in the UN, or the EU for that matter, and Russia and China are sure to veto any effective resolutions against Iran. Yet it would seem to be madness for America to go it alone. Bush would have to get permission from Congress, yet there are many powerful voices in Congress, not least senator John McCain, who will not countenance the possession of nuclear weapons by Iran. If Ahmadinejad continues on his rabid and suicidal course, then the unconscious drive towards self-destruction and martyrdom of the Islamic Republic of Iran may become a reality.

Ahmadinejad was elected when the progressed Ascendant of Iran conjoined its Saturn. Next year the progressed MC will square Saturn, and prior to this Saturn will conjoin the Ascendant of Iran in August 2006. This double hit is surely a sobering experience for Iran. Added to this is the fact that Neptune makes a long triple transit to Iran’s Descendant, opposing Saturn of course, which shows hopeless international relations, with little sense of reality about the intentions of the West. It is said that Saddam Hussein was completely taken aback when the US actually invaded his country, and perhaps the Iranian perception of American intentions is just as unrealistic.

Transit Pluto squares Iran’s unhappy Mars three times, the final time in November 2006, though retrograde Mars can still trigger this transit as late as January 2008. In an extraordinary transit + progression hit involving Mars and Pluto, Iran’s progressed Mars in Aries opposes progressed Pluto in March 2007 and radix Pluto in March 2008. This a dangerous – and radioactive – influence that has the hallmarks of destruction. The laying waste of Iran’s nuclear facilities may well become a reality.

It is difficult to see America daring to take this step however. Bush does have progressed Mars conjoining his Moon later this year, which may be warlike, but surely reflects the enormous domestic unrest in the USA. The US progressed Mars will go stationary retrograde during the course of the year, though this probably signals the gradual withdrawal of troops from Iraq. With the Pluto station at 24.05 Sagittarius directly opposite Israel’s Uranus at 24.21 Gemini in the 9th house, it seems more likely that an Israeli long-distance strike will take place with US assistance. Indeed Israel’s progressed Moon is triggering a progressed Mars square progressed Uranus in July and August 2006, so there will be a readiness to take some extreme risks.

It would be wiser to take a deep breath and let things take their course in Iran, keeping up a constant diplomatic pressure. North Korea and Pakistan are already members of the nuclear club, and in reality they cannot use their weapons… they are only effective as a deterrent. Even an Iranian nuclear strike on Israel is inconceivable – there are almost as many Arabs in the region anyway, and retaliation would be brutal and swift. But logic is one thing, and world history quite another. If American rhetoric against Iran increases in the coming months, then there is every likelihood that the Iranian nuclear dreams will suffer the same fate as the Iraqi dreams in Osirak, with unforeseeable consequences for the world economy.

Adrian Ross Duncan 19.05.2006