Washington post reported in February 2005
The Bush administration has been flying surveillance drones over Iran for nearly a year to seek evidence of nuclear weapons programs and detect weaknesses in air defenses, according to three U.S. officials with detailed knowledge of the secret effort.
And yes, it is about oil, but that is not the only reason.
Check Oil, Geopolitics, and the Coming War with Iran By Michael T. Klare
As the United States gears up for an attack on Iran, one thing is certain: the Bush administration will never mention oil as a reason for going to war.[…]
More important, any serious assessment of Iran’s strategic importance to the United States should focus on its role in the global energy equation.
When talking about oil’s importance in American strategic thinking about Iran, it is important to go beyond the obvious question of Iran’s potential role in satisfying our country’s future energy requirements. Because Iran occupies a strategic location on the north side of the Persian Gulf, it is in a position to threaten oil fields in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, and the United Arab Emirates, which together possess more than half of the world’s known oil reserves. Iran also sits athwart the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow waterway through which, daily, 40% of the world’s oil exports pass. In addition, Iran is becoming a major supplier of oil and natural gas to China, India, and Japan, thereby giving Tehran additional clout in world affairs. It is these geopolitical dimensions of energy, as much as Iran’s potential to export significant quantities of oil to the United States, that undoubtedly govern the administration’s strategic calculations.
I don’t have much deep analysis of this article to offer, it is written with great clarity. It occured to me that this ‘story’ is not much in the news and I am deeply worried that the Bush Administration is keeping the population busy with trivia all the while planning an ‘explosion’ in the Middle East. They are not going to give the public the long preamble they gave the invasion of Iraq and there will be no time for the opposition to this war to mobilize and be effective.