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Trump’s New Strategy on Iran Embraces “Israel-First”, “Saudi-Second” and “America-Last” Perspective

By Philip Giraldi | American Herald Tribune | October 16, 2017

President Donald Trump’s move to decertify the Iranian nuclear Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), entered into a little over two years ago, was applauded by Israel, Saudi Arabia and a couple of Persian Gulf States, but by no one else. Quite the contrary, as the European and Asian co-signatories on the agreement, having failed to dissuade Trump, have clearly indicated that they will continue to abide by it. Also, the decision to kick the can down the road by giving Congress 60 days to increase pressure on Tehran in an attempt to include other issues beyond nuclear development like its ballistic missile program and labeling the country’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist group are likely to create confusion as Washington is unable to communicate directly with Iran. That uncertainty could possibly lead to a fraught-with-danger Iranian decision to withdraw completely from the agreement.

The Trump speech could reasonably be described as embracing an “Israel-First” and “Saudi-Second” perspective that might plausibly suggest that it was actually drafted by their respective foreign ministries. Contrary to Trump’s campaign pledges, it might also be characterized as an “America-Last” speech, since it actually encourages nuclear proliferation while rendering it even more difficult for anyone to respect the agreements entered into by the United States government.

Fred Kaplan sums up the speech’s fundamental dishonesty with considerable clarity by observing that   “It flagrantly misrepresents what the deal was meant to do, the extent of Iran’s compliance, and the need for corrective measures. If he gets his way, he will blow up one of the most striking diplomatic triumphs of recent years, aggravate tensions in the Middle East, make it even harder to settle the North Korean crisis peacefully, and make it all but impossible for allies and adversaries to trust anything the United States says for as long as Trump is in office.”

Former senior CIA analyst Paul Pillar has also dissected the untruths and false analogies that made up the bulk of the Trump speech. In short, Pillar argues that the president is using faulty analysis to end a program that is working and that employs unprecedented intrusive inspections to guarantee that Iran can make no progress towards having a nuclear weapon for at least eight more years and quite likely for even longer. Against that, Iran could well end its cooperation and, out of fear of U.S. attack, might well turn towards possession of a nuclear arsenal to guarantee its own survival. Pillar calls ending JCPOA now because Iran just might develop a weapon after it expires in 2025 as “committing suicide because of fear of death.”

In a second highly partisan international action last week, the United States led a march out the door of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization due to its alleged “bias against Israel.” UNESCO had enraged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by declaring that the Old City of Hebron and the associated Cave of the Patriarchs on the West Bank is an endangered Palestinian world cultural heritage site. A few hundred Israeli settlers live in Hebron, guarded by the Israeli Army, amidst 200,000 Palestinians who, according to The Guardian, “have long lived under harsh restrictions in the city, which is one of the starkest symbols of the Israeli occupation.” The U.S. is also threatening to pull out of the U.N.’s Human Rights Council “to protect Israel.”

Taken together, the two decisions made by the White House indicate a shift in the foreign policy team advising the president. One must now acknowledge that America’s United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, apparently operating in collusion with former UN Ambassador John Bolton, has become the most influential foreign policy voice whispering in the president’s ear, quite possibly because she is saying exactly what he wants to hear in terms of simplistic but rarely reality based responses to complex situations. That Haley, an inexperienced and instinctively aggressive ideologue who is closely aligned to Israeli thinking, should occupy such a position with an equally ignorant president ought to concern anyone who seeks to avoid a major conflagration with either Iran and North Korea, or even with both. Haley is also no friend of Russia, having once crudely advised Moscow to “choose to side with the civilized world.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford and Secretary of Defense James Mattis, apparently joined by National Security Council chair H.R. McMaster, urged renewal of the Iran certification based on the fact that Tehran was compliant but were overruled. Even Israel’s former National Security Adviser Uzi Arad had publicly urged both the White House and Congress not to reject the JCPOA. The emergence of Haley advised by Bolton is a shift to the right in an administration that is already leaning towards the military option as its preferred diplomatic tool, also suggesting somewhat ominously that neoconservative foreign policy is again dominant in Washington.

Other commentators including Eli Clifton, have observed that Trump might well have been heavily influenced by major Republican donors including Paul Singer, Bernard Marcus and Sheldon Adelson to step up the pressure on Iran. Adelson has, in fact, called for unilaterally “nuking” the Iranians. Marcus has said that “I think that Iran is the devil.”

The real objective of the Trump White House is not to “fix” the Iran deal, which would be impossible both because Iran and the other signatories would not agree to it and because there is nothing that needs repair. As Paul Pillar and Fred Kaplan note, it is working. The real objective is to blow up the agreement completely as it is an impediment to going to war and bringing about regime change in Tehran by force. That is what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Senators like John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Tom Cotton have been intent on doing and they have hardly been shy about expressing themselves. The choice is therefore quite simple. Do we Americans, 60% of whom support keeping the arrangement, want to maintain an inspection regime that deprives Iran of the ability to develop a nuclear weapon for the foreseeable future or do we want to go back to square one without any restrictions on what Tehran will choose to do. It would seem to me that the clear right choice is to stay the course.

October 16, 2017 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 3 Comments

US Treasury Department slaps sanctions on Iran’s IRGC

Press TV – October 13, 2017

The US Treasury Department has imposed sanctions on Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) over accusations that the elite force provides support for terrorist organizations in the Middle East.

The Treasury added the IRGC to its anti-terrorism sanctions list on Friday, claiming in a statement that the military unit had been designated “for providing support to a number of terrorist groups, including Hezbollah and Hamas, as well as to the Taliban.”

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stopped short of declaring the IRGC as a terrorist group, but claimed that the force has “played a central role to Iran becoming the world’s foremost state sponsor of terror.”

The department also sanctioned four entities — three based in Iran and one based in China — over claims of providing “support to the IRGC or Iran’s military.”

“We urge the private sector to recognize that the IRGC permeates much of the Iranian economy, and those who transact with IRGC-controlled companies do so at great risk,” Mnuchin said.

In a White House speech on Friday, US President Donald Trump also said his administration would place “tough sanctions” on the IRGC.

“I am authorizing the Treasury Department to further sanction the entire Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for its support for terrorism and to apply sanctions to its officials, agents and affiliates,” he noted.

The remarks were made as Iran had earlier rebuked the United States for supporting terrorist groups in the region, vowing to retaliate against any action targeting its Armed Forces, including the IRGC.

The US’s efforts to blacklist the IRGC come as advisers of the Iranian elite force are currently assisting the Iraqi and Syrian forces in their anti-terrorism campaign against Daesh Takfiri militants and other terrorist groups in both countries.

Daesh launched a terrorist offensive inside Iraq in 2014 and swiftly took over territory in the Arab country, posing a threat to seize the capital, Baghdad. Iran then offered military advisory assistance to both the central government in Baghdad and the regional government in Iraqi Kurdistan, helping them both maintain ground and win back territory lost to the terrorist group.

In Syria, too, Iran has been offering advisory support to the government. An armed conflict broke out in Syria in 2011 and soon transformed into a foreign-backed militancy by a hodgepodge of terrorist groups, including Daesh.

The terrorist group, which is by many accounts on its last legs in Iraq and Syria, is now seeking to establish footholds in countries beyond the Middle East, including Afghanistan.

October 13, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , | 2 Comments

US House committee introduces new sanctions bill against Iran missile program

Press TV – October 13, 2017

The Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives in Congress has introduced new legislation that would expand sanctions against Iran over its ballistic missile program.

“Today’s important bill requires a comprehensive investigation to identify and designate the companies, banks, and individuals – both inside and outside Iran – which supply the regime’s missile and conventional weapons programs, subjecting them to sanctions,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce said in a press release on Thursday.

The bill, the Iran Ballistic Missiles and International Sanctions Enforcement Act, targets Iran’s ballistic missile-related goods, services and technologies.

The measure requires President Donald Trump’s administration to identify the persons and the “foreign and domestic supply chain in Iran that directly or indirectly significantly facilitates, supports, or otherwise aids” the ballistic missile program.

The US Departments of Treasury and State have already imposed sanctions that target Tehran’s ballistic missile program.

Trump administration officials have argued that Iran’s ballistics program violates the “spirit” of the nuclear agreement and violates a 2010 UN Security Council resolution that calls on Iran not to conduct missile tests.

However, Tehran insists its missile tests do not breach any UN resolutions because they are solely for defense purposes and not designed to carry nuclear warheads.

The Islamic Republic has said it will spare no effort to meet its national security needs, and does not allow any party to intervene in the imperative.

Washington also claims Iran’s missile program is in breach of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorsed Tehran’s nuclear deal with the P5+1 states in 2015.

Trump is expected to declare to Congress on Sunday that retaining the 2015 nuclear deal is no longer in the US national interest, opening the possibility for Congress to re-impose sanctions against Iran and undermining a landmark victory of multilateral diplomacy.

October 13, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , | 2 Comments

Former Israeli Intel Chief Calls on Trump Not to Quit Nuclear Deal with Iran

Sputnik – October 10, 2017

The US President is facing an October 15 deadline to certify that Iran is complying with its terms under “the P5+1” nuclear deal. A senior US administration official said that the US leader is expected to quit the pact. Former Israeli intel chief Amos Yadlin, however, called on Trump to wait for better timing, which would create more pressure.

On Monday, former Israeli Defense Forces military chief Amos Yadlin, who is also the head of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), co-authored an essay with his INSS fellow and former National Security Council official Avner Golov, urging the US President against leaving the agreement.

Among the arguments provided by the authors was that any US steps at the moment “would lack European backing, let alone backing from Russia and China,” who are also parties to the deal.

The former military intelligence chief explained that first the US “must get its allies lined up for new UN resolutions against Iranian ballistic missile testing,” the Jerusalem Post quotes him as saying. “However, as the expiration date on the deal’s restrictions get closer, these countries will naturally become more worried about Iran trying to break out with a nuclear weapon and will be more ready to confront it,” the authors suggested.

“Instead of trying to end the Iran nuclear deal now, the US should pressure Iran with the threat of leaving the deal at a more strategic moment,” the authors concluded.

They also referred to a range of top US defense officials who oppose quitting the deal now, although they would support tougher inspections of Iran’s military nuclear sites and restrictions on Iran’s testing of advanced uranium centrifuges.

Ultimately, they say, “any decision by Trump to decertify the deal should be used by the US Congress and the West to raise pressure on Iran for a later battle, but not to leave the deal now and free Iran to go nuclear while blaming the US.”

Last week, a senior US administration official said that President Trump is expected to announce that he will decertify the landmark deal, more properly called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was signed in 2015 between Tehran, the five Security Council powers and Germany. The US leader had previously called the deal “an embarrassment” and “the worst deal ever negotiated.”

SEE ALSO:

Lavrov Calls Reports of Trump’s Plans to Withdraw From Iran Nuclear Deal Rumors

October 10, 2017 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Iran Rejects Reuters Report, Says Missile Program Non-negotiable

Al-Manar | October 6, 2017

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi says the Islamic Republic’s missile program is for defensive purposes and is not open to any negotiations.

Qassemi on Friday firmly rejected a Reuters report quoting unnamed Iranian and Western officials as saying that Iran has signaled to the six world powers with which it signed the historic nuclear agreement in 2015 that it is open to talks about its ballistic missile arsenal.

“Iran regards defensive missile programs as its absolute right and will definitely continue them within the framework of its defensive, conventional and specified plans and strategies,” the Iranian spokesperson said.

He added that Iran “has repeatedly in diplomatic meetings with foreign officials” emphasized that its “defensive missile program is not negotiable” and that Tehran “does not regard it as inconsistent with [UN Security Council] Resolution 2231.”

In all his meetings and interviews with international media on the sidelines of last month’s 72th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reiterated the non-negotiable nature of the Islamic Republic’s defensive missile program.

According to the Reuters report, the sources said that given US President Donald Trump’s threats to ditch the nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), reached under his predecessor Barack Obama, Tehran had approached the powers recently about possible talks on some “dimensions” of its missile program.

October 6, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment

Assange: Forget Russia,The Real Threat to America comes from Israel and the Israel Lobby

AWD News | September 22, 2017

From his refuge in the Ecuador Embassy in London, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange addressed a press conference of his supporters in Berlin on Tuesday, amid speculation that he planned to reveal potential threats to America.

But early into his speech, Assange said that while more revelations were to come, he would not be making any major announcements, asserting that there would be no point in making such revelations at a time when most Americans would be sleeping.

“Russian actions on its own doorstep in Eastern Europe do not in fact threaten the United States or any actual vital interest. Nor does Moscow threaten the U.S. through its intervention on behalf of the Syrian government in the Middle East. That Russia is described incessantly as a threat in those areas is largely a contrivance arranged by the media, the Democratic and Republican National Committees and by the White House. Candidate Donald Trump appeared to recognize that fact before he began listening to Michael Flynn, who has a rather different view. Hopefully the old Trump will prevail, there is, however, another country that has interfered in U.S. elections, has endangered Americans living or working overseas and has corrupted America’s legislative and executive branches. It has exploited that corruption to initiate legislation favorable to itself, has promoted unnecessary and unwinnable wars and has stolen American technology and military secrets. Its ready access to the mainstream media to spread its own propaganda provides it with cover for its actions and it accomplishes all that and more through the agency of a powerful and well-funded domestic lobby that oddly is not subject to the accountability afforded by the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) of 1938 even though it manifestly works on behalf of a foreign government. That country is, of course, Israel” said Assange.

The assessment of Israel and what damage it does regarding what most Americans would regard as genuine national interests is most definitely not reported, revealing once again that what is not written is every bit as important as what is. I would note how what has recently happened right in front of us relating to Israel is apparently not considered fit to print and will never appear on any disapproving editorial page. Just this week the Senate unanimously passed an Anti-Semitism Awareness bill and also by a 99 to zero vote renewed and strengthened sanctions against Iran, which could wreck the one year old anti-nuclear weapon proliferation agreement with that country.

The Anti-Semitism bill makes Jews and Jewish interests a legally protected class, immune from any criticism. “Free speech” means in practice that you can burn an American flag, sell pornography, attack Christianity in the vilest terms or castigate the government in Washington all you want but criticizing Israel is off limits if you want to avoid falling into the clutches of the legal system. The Act is a major step forward in effectively making any expressed opposition to Israeli actions a hate crime.

And it is similar to punitive legislation that has been enacted in twenty-two states as well as in Canada. It is strongly supported by the Israel Lobby, which quite likely drafted it, and is seeking to use legal challenges to delegitimize and eliminate any opposition to the policies of the state of Israel.

As the Act is clearly intended to restrict First Amendment rights if they are perceived as impacting on broadly defined Jewish sensitivities, it should be opposed on that basis alone, but it is very popular in Congress, which is de facto owned by the Israel Lobby. That the legislation is not being condemned or even discussed in the generally liberal media tells you everything you need to know about the amazing power of one particular unelected and unaccountable lobby in the U.S.

October 2, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , | 5 Comments

Iran checkmates US, Israel

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | September 24, 2017

The announcement in Tehran on Saturday regarding the successful test of a ballistic missile with a range of 2000 kilometers and capable of carrying multiple warheads to hit different targets phenomenally shifts the military balance in the Middle East.

Israel and the roughly 45,000 US troops deployed to the Middle East – Jordan (1500 troops), Iraq (5200), Kuwait (15000), Bahrain (7000), Qatar (10000), UAE (5000), Oman (200) – fall within the range of the latest Iranian missile. Iran has demonstrated a deterrent capability that deprives the US and Israel of a military option.

The missile test signals Tehran’s strategic defiance of the US, after President Donald Trump’s outrageous remarks against Iran in his address to the UN GA. From this point, Trump has to be very careful about tearing up the Iran nuclear deal. Any such rash act by Trump or the lawmakers in the Congress (imposing new sanctions) can be seized by Tehran to resume its previous nuclear program, which would have far-reaching implications, given its missile capabilities.

President Hassan Rouhani took a tough line after returning to Tehran from New York. He warned that if Trump violated the nuclear deal, “we will be firm and all options will be before us.” Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif told New York Times tauntingly that if the US wanted to re-negotiate the nuclear deal, Tehran too will insist on re-negotiating every single concession it made – “Are you prepared to return to us 10 tons of enriched uranium?”

Rouhani made a strident speech at a military parade on Friday in Tehran underscoring that Iran did not need any country’s permission to bolster its missile capability. He added, “The Iranian nation has always been after peace and security in the region and the world and we will defend the oppressed Yemeni, Syrian and Palestinian people whether you like it or not.”

“As long as some speak in the language of threats, the strengthening of the country’s defense capabilities will continue and Iran will not seek permission from any country for producing various kinds of missile,” Defence Minister Amir Hatami said in a statement Saturday.

What emerges is Iran’s determination to consolidate its influence in Syria. The US will have to carefully weigh the repercussions before making any intervention (which Israel is pressing for.) Again, Iran may establish a long-term presence in Syria. The Iran-supported battle-hardened Shiite militia fighting in Iraq and Syria is a veritable 100,000-strong army and Iran is in a position to force the eviction of US forces from Iraq and Syria.

The Trump administration must take with the utmost seriousness the thinly veiled threat by the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari on Wednesday (while reacting to Trump’s UN speech) – “The time has come for correcting the US’ miscalculations. Now that the US has fully displayed its nature, the government should use all its options to defend the Iranian nation’s interests. Taking a decisive position against Trump is just the start and what is strategically important is that the US should witness more painful responses in the actions, behavior and decisions that Iran will take in the next few months.”

The ballistic missile test followed within 3 days of Gen. Jafari’s threat. Equally, the timing of the missile test can be seen against the backdrop of the referendum being planned for September 25 by the Kurds of northern Iraq, seeking an independent Kurdistan. Tehran is in no doubt that the Kurdistan project is a US-Israeli enterprise to create a permanent base in the highly strategic region with the objective of destabilizing Iran and undermining its regional surge in Syria and Iraq.

Unsurprisingly, Israel is furious about Iran’s missile test. Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman called it a “a provocation and a slap in the face for the United States and its allies — and an attempt to test them.” Clearly, Israel is in panic that Iran is steadily, inexorably outstripping it as the number one regional power in the Middle East. However, beyond rhetoric, Israel cannot do much about Iran’s surge.

Israel foolishly instigated Trump to provoke Tehran just at this juncture when he is barely coping with the crisis in Northeast Asia. A containment strategy against Iran is no longer feasible. Wisdom lies in the Trump administration engaging Iran in a constructive spirit to influence its regional policies. Threats never worked against Iran. Time and again they’ve proved to be counterproductive.

September 24, 2017 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Russia Slams US Threat of Military Action Against Venezuela

teleSUR | September 21, 2017

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has condemned the U.S. for threatening the option of military intervention in Venezuela.

Addressing the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Lavrov criticized the illegitimate application of “unilateral sanctions” by certain Western countries, in reference to the restrictions imposed by the U.S. against Iran, Cuba and Venezuela.

Lavrov said it is unacceptable to instigate unrest and launch military threats in order to ‘democratize’ Venezuela, as are actions aimed at undermining the country’s legitimate authorities.

He insisted that in any internal conflict, the international community must urge all parties to commit to reconciliation.

“The policies of the West are based on the principle of ‘who is not with us, is against us,” said the Russian foreign minister, referring to the threats made by the U.S. President Donald Trump.

He also made reference to Cuba and said the blockade should be lifted, “Almost all UN member states have called for the immediate lifting of the economic, financial and commercial blockade imposed on Havana for several decades.”

On the subject of North Korea, Lavrov said he did not support Pyongyang’s position but he objected to the “military hysteria” which could lead to “disaster.”

He urged the UN to consider the roadmap for talks with the North put forward by Russia and China to defuse the crisis on the Korean peninsula by diplomatic and peaceful means.

Both Moscow and Beijing are proposing the suspension of Washington’s joint military maneuvers with South Korea but the White House has rejected the plan.

Lavrov also condemned U.S. unilateral sanctions on Iran – he said they would undermine the nuclear deal with Tehran

“Using unilateral sanctions … is illegitimate and undermines the collective nature of international efforts. Everyone is witnessing with alarm today the newer and newer restrictions by the U.S. against Iran.”

“They threaten the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” he added, referring to the 2015 international accord between Iran and six world powers.

Trump has suggested he is leaning towards withdrawing from the deal, but several international allies are trying to dissuade him.

September 21, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

US, Iran break ice at UN

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | September 21, 2017

The US President Donald Trump’s speech at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday has drawn attention to the Iran nuclear deal of July 2015. Will the deal survive? Or, will it perish in a sudden death? Trump said,

  • The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the US has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it. Believe me.

Harsh words, indeed. Meanwhile, the P5+1 and Iran met at foreign minister level in New York on Tuesday. According to European sources, “the meeting included a long discussion” between Tillerson and his Iranian counterpart Mohammed Javad Zarif – although Tillerson publicly maintained that they merely shook hands. In a subsequent interview with Fox News, Tillerson narrowed down the US demand at this point to the so-called “sunset provision” in the Iran deal under which time limits (of varying lengths, such as 10 or 15 years) apply to some of the restrictions put on Iran’s nuclear program.

Evidently, there is much sophistry in the arguments being proferred, (as explained lucidly by Paul Pillar, Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Center for Security Studies at Georgetown University and in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution in a blog in the National Interest magazine.) Tillerson indeed hinted that the issue goes beyond Iran’s nuclear programme. As he put it,

  • Our (US’) relationship with Iran from a security standpoint and a threat standpoint is much broader than that, as is the entire region. And we’ve really got to begin to deal with Iran’s destabilizing activities in Yemen, in Syria. The President (Trump) highlighted that today, that under the agreement – the spirit of the agreement, if you want to use that word – but even the words of the preamble of the agreement, there was clearly an expectation, I think on the part of all the parties to that agreement, that by signing this nuclear agreement Iran would begin to move to a place where it wanted to integrate – reintegrate itself with its neighbors. And that clearly did not happen. In fact, Iran has stepped up its destabilizing activities in the region, and we have to deal with that, and so whether we deal with it through a renegotiation on nuclear or we deal with it in other ways.

Simply put, the US feels agitated about Iran’s cascading influence in the Middle East and its emergence as the foremost regional power – even surpassing Israel. In turn, Israel, which has lost its military pre-eminence in the Middle East, is counting on the Trump administration (which also has a big contingent of “hawks” on Iran) to push back at Iran’s lengthening shadows, especially in Syria, Lebanon and Gaza.

One hitch here is that the European Union disfavours a re-opening of the Iran nuclear deal (for whatever reasons.) The EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini made this point quite clear after the FM-level meeting in New York. The EU position is also shared by Russia and China. The point is, the Iran nuclear deal is working splendidly well and Tehran is fulfilling to the last word its obligations (which is something even Tillerson admits.)

Unsurprisingly, Iran is furious about Trump’s threatening speech. The chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari (who reports directly to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei) hit back strongly:

  • Time is now ripe for correcting the US miscalculations. Now that the US has fully displayed its nature, the government should use all its options to defend the Iranian nation’s interests. Taking a decisive position against Trump is just the start and what is strategically important is that the US should witness more painful responses in the actions, behavior and decisions that Iran will take in the next few months.

However, it cannot be lost on Tehran what perturbs the Trump administration most could be the need to re-engage Iran in negotiations relating to regional politics. Significantly, while making an impassioned plea for the raison d’etre of the nuclear deal in his speech at the UNGA on Tuesday, President Hassan Rouhani desisted from touching on options available to Iran:

  • The deal is the outcome of two years of intensive multilateral negotiations, overwhelmingly applauded by the international community and endorsed by the Security Council as a part of Resolution 2231. As such, it belongs to the international community in its entirety, and not to only one or two countries.
  • The JCPOA can become a new model for global interactions; interactions based on mutual constructive engagement between all of us. We have opened our doors to engagement and cooperation. We have concluded scores of development agreements with advanced countries of both East and West. Unfortunately, some have deprived themselves of this unique opportunity. They have imposed sanctions really against themselves, and now they feel betrayed. We were not deceived, nor did we cheat or deceive anyone. We have ourselves determined the extent of our nuclear program. We never sought to achieve deterrence through nuclear weapons; we have immunized ourselves through our knowledge and – more importantly — the resilience of our people. This is our talent and our approach. Some have claimed to have wanted to deprive Iran of nuclear weapons; weapons that we have continuously and vociferously rejected. And, of course, we were not and are not distressed for forgoing an option that we in fact never sought. It is reprehensible that the rogue Zionist regime that threatens regional and global security with its nuclear arsenal and is not committed to any international instrument or safeguard, has the audacity to preach peaceful nations.
  • Just imagine for a minute how the Middle East would look had the JCPOA not been concluded. Imagine that along with civil wars, Takfiri terror, humanitarian nightmares, and complex socio-political crises in West Asia, that there was a manufactured nuclear crisis. How would we all fare?

Rouhani remarked later in New York, “We don’t think Trump will walk out of the deal despite (his) rhetoric and propaganda.” Tehran has all along estimated that Trump is a bluff master and a bazaari at heart. Of course, Iran is unlikely to re-negotiate the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal. But below that threshold comes the tantalizing prospect of a (re)-engagement between the top diplomats of the two countries. To be sure, the ice was broken on Tuesday. Notably, Zarif is keeping his thoughts to himself.

The US and Israel have suffered a strategic defeat in Syria from which they will never quite recover, and would, therefore, want to safeguard at least their irreducible core interests in the post-conflict situation in the New Middle East. The question is, what is it that the US can offer Iran in return? The US is only hurting its self-interests by preventing American companies from doing business in the Iranian market. Trump isn’t Barack Obama and he simply lacks the persuasiveness or the moral authority to get the rest of the world to fall in line with the US’ sanctions regime against Iran so long as Tehran scrupulously observes the terms of the nuclear deal. Having said that, from the Iranian perspective, a full-bodied integration with the international community has always been the strategic objective of its foreign policies.

September 21, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani delivers clear and calm rebuttal of Trump’s hostile remarks at UN

By Adam Garrie | The Duran | September 20, 2017

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has addressed the General Assembly in a short speech that primarily covered Iran’s foreign policy outlook, its specific goals for peace and an unambiguous warning against anyone who seeks to undermine the 2013 JCPOA (aka the Iran nuclear deal).

President Rouhani used the word ‘moderation’ throughout the speech. He characterised Iran’s history, contemporary outlook and policy positions as quintessentially moderate.

After paying tribute to Iranian voters who recently re-elected him as President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, he then set out to define Iran’s definition of moderation in the following way.

“Moderation is the inclination as well as the chosen path of the great Iranian people. Moderation seeks neither isolation nor hegemony. It implies neither indifference nor intransigence. The path of moderation is the path of peace, but a just a inclusive peace; not peace for one nation and war and turmoil for others. Moderation is freedom and democracy, but in an inclusive and comprehensive manner, not purporting to promote freedom in one place while supporting dictators elsewhere. Moderation is the synergy of ideas and not the dance of swords. Finally, the path of moderation nurtures beauty. Deadly weapons exports are not  beautiful, rather peace is beautiful.

We in Iran strive to promote peace…. we never condone tyranny and always defend the voiceless. We never threaten anyone  but we do not tolerate threats from anyone. Our discourse is one of dignity and respect. We are unmoved by threats and intimidation. We believe in dialogue and negotiation based on equal footing and mutual respect”.

Rouhani then briefly turned to the issue of Palestine. He stated that a “rogue and racist state” (Israel) cannot trample on the rights of Palestinians in the 21st century. He continued, citing Iran’s historic record of helping minorities and the oppressed.

Rouhani stated,

“Iran is a bastion of tolerance… we are the same people who rescued Jews from Babylonian servitude… open our arms to receive Armenian Christians in our midst”.

He explained further, that just as Iran fought for Jews in the past, today Iran fights for the rights of oppressed Palestinians. He stated, “We support justice and seek tranquillity”.

Rouhani then described Iran’s fight against Takriri/Salafist terrorism as a fight based on ethics and humanity rather than one of conquest. The Iranian President said that Iran does not seek to restore its empire nor export revolution through the force of arms. He contrasted this with the ‘boots on the ground’ approach of “neo-colonialists”.

Turning once again to the theme of moderation, Rouhani said that Iran does not merely preach moderation but practices it. He said that the JCPOA is a primary example of moderate geo-political behaviour.

Rouhani then said that the JCPOA which has been applauded by the wider international community, both in the east and west, can become a new model of interaction between nations. The clear inference here was to North Korea. Even German leader Angela Merkel who supports the JCPOA along with her EU colleagues are suggesting using it as a model for bringing about de-escalation on the Korean peninsula.

Hassan Rouhani then stated that Iran never sought nuclear weapons and does not now. He remarked that it is “ridiculous” for a country, Israel,  which has nuclear weapons and has signed not a single international protocol for nuclear safety has the “audacity” to preach to peaceful nations.

He then stated,

“Iran will not be the first country to violate the JCPOA but will respond resolutely to its violation by any party”.

While he did not name Donald Trump or the United States, Rouhani said that yesterday, words were spoken in the General Assembly that were “hateful” and “unfit to be heard in the UN which was established to promote peace…”.

He went on to say that Iran’s missiles are for defensive purposes and to prevent against the “adventurous tendencies” of others, before stating

“The US should explain why after spending the assets of its own people, why instead of contribution to peace, it has only brought war, misery poverty and the rise of terrorism and extremism to the region”.

Rouhani concluded by praising Iran’s economic reforms and subtly alluded to Iran’s increased participation in joint economic ventures, the clear reference being to China’s One Belt–One Road initiative.

The Iranian President concluded by inviting all those who seek peace to visit Iran which has been historically hospitable to such individuals.

Rouhani’s speech did exactly what it should have done given the circumstances. It was a calm and clear articulation of Iran’s position in the region and the wider world. By citing the wide international support for the JCPOA, including among NATO members and other US allies, Rouhani has made it clear that the US and Israel are isolated in their anger towards the deal.

Rouhani also highlighted US hypocrisy in supporting Israel’s technically non-disclosed nuclear arsenal while accusing Iran of wanting nuclear weapons without evidence and contrary to the clear statements from Iran.

Rather than reacting aggressively to Donald Trump’s provocative speech, Rouhani’s calm and at times poetic approach to the issues, put the ball squarely in the US court. As it stands, the US is currently sending mixed signals in respect of whether Trump seeks to formally pull out of the JCPOA.

September 20, 2017 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fact checking Benjamin Netanyahu’s General Assembly speech

By Adam Garrie | The Duran | September 20, 2017

Yesterday, Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu spoke before the United Nations in a speech that served as a kind of appendix to Donald Trump’s controversial, bellicose declaration that was delivered hours earlier.

Both speeches predictably focused on Iran and both leaders told a great deal of untruths and half-truths about the situation. Here are some of the most glaring untruths, followed by a factual explanation of the situation.

1. Iran is “devouring nations”. 

The full quote from Netanyahu is as follows:

“Well as you know, I strongly disagreed. I warned that when the sanctions on Iran would be removed, Iran would behave like a hungry tiger unleashed, not joining the community of nations, but devouring nations, one after the other. And that’s precisely what Iran is doing today.

From the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean, from Tehran to Tartus, an Iranian curtain is descending across the Middle East. Iran spreads this curtain of tyranny and terror over Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere, and it pledges to extinguish the light of Israel”.

In reality, Iran occupies zero countries and has not occupied any country in its modern history. By contrast, Israel has occupied part of Syria, the Golan Heights, since 1967. This occupation is condemned by the United Nations and all five permanent members of the Security Council, including the United States.

The other country on Netanyahu’s list that has been occupied by Israel and not Iran is Lebanon. After invading Lebanon in 1982, Israel set up a permanent occupying force in southern Lebanon between 1985 and the year 2000. Israel maintained a presence in the country until 2006, when Israeli forces retreated in the face of strong Hezbollah defences.

Israel continues to occupy Palestine according to the UN and most impartial observers. It previously occupied Egypt, the Jordanian West Bank and in 1981, illegally bombed Iraq.

Iran by contrast has done no such things. The Iranian assistance provided to Syria during the conflict in the country has been done under a legal agreement with Damascus based on mutual friendship and a common cause against Salafist terrorism. Iran’s training of some Iraqi volunteers has been conducted on a similar basis.

By no logical stretch of the English language, could this been seen as “devouring nations”.

2. “We will act to prevent Iran from establishing permanent military bases in Syria for its air, sea and ground forces”

This statement while designed to sound like a defensive measure is actually an admission of a premeditated war crime. No foreign country can use the threat of force to blackmail its neighbours or anyone else when it comes to internal affairs.

If Syria invites Iran to establish some sort of permanent presence in the country, that is a matter which is strictly between Syria and Iran. To use this as a pretext for an act of war, is put simply, a war crime.

3. “Syria has barrel-bombed, starved, gassed and murdered hundreds of thousands of its own citizens and wounded millions more, while Israel has provided lifesaving medical care to thousands of Syrian victims of that very same carnage. Yet who does the World Health Organization criticize? Israel”.

This one is full of outright lies. First of all, prior to the conflict, not only were all Syrians fed, but food prices were subsidised by the government, making nutritious foodstuffs more affordable in Syria than in most parts of the region.

Even today, Syrians are not starving, but due to western backed sanctions, food is more expensive and medicine is both more expensive and more scarce than they were prior to the conflict with Salafist terrorism. None of this has to do with the Syrian government nor its partners who continue to deliver aid.

Syria has not possessed any chemical weapons since 2013. In a joint effort by both Russia and the US, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons certified that by early 2014, there were no chemical weapons left in the Syrian governments hands.

Syria did develop a chemical weapons program in the 1970s in response to intelligence about Israel’s secretive nuclear weapons program.

In spite of this, Syria has never used chemical weapons, not on a foreign power and not internally.

The only chemical weapons in Syria today, are those in the hands of terrorists who are fighting Syria.

In respect of the Israeli hospital program. These hospitals have not been open to ordinary Syrians, let alone to the Syrian soldiers fighting ISIS and al-Qaeda.

Instead, the hospitals have perversely been used to give medical treatment to al-Qaeda and ISIS fighters who are known as some of the most violent terrorists in the world.

4. “Two years ago, I stood here and explained why the Iranian nuclear deal not only doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb, Iran’s nuclear program has what’s called a sunset clause”.

Not only does the JCPOA (aka Iran nuclear deal) prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, but Barack Obama’s administration admitted this openly. The EU and Russia continue to express their support of the deal and the US State Department, EU and UN have all agreed that Iran is in full compliance with the deal.

The only country in the Middle East to develop and maintain nuclear weapons is Israel. Furthermore, Israel obtained its nuclear weapons without international sanction and to this day, refuses to admit to having nuclear weapons. Israel is not a signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Israel is one of only four nations in the world to have never signed the treaty.

Israeli historian Avner Cohen as well as the award-winning US journalist Seymour Hersh have confirmed the existence of the so-called ‘Samson Option’, wherein Israel will deploy its nuclear weapons if it feels its security is threatened.

During his speech at the UN, Netanyahu alluded to the ‘Samson Option’ in saying,

“Those who threaten us with annihilation put themselves in mortal peril. Israel will defend itself with the full force of our arms and the full power of our convictions”.

In this sense, Iran has much more to fear form Israel than Israel has to fear from Iran, yet ironically it is Israel that continually protests about its own fears.

CONCLUSION

While Iran hasn’t invaded another country in its modern history, nor has it occupied a single country, Israel has occupied five: Syria, Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan. Unlike Iran, Israel has nuclear bombs, unlike every other country in the Middle East.

With this record, it becomes clear who should be afraid of whom.

September 20, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

JCPOA not renegotiable, better deal “pure fantasy”: Iran’s Zarif

Press TV – September 14, 2017

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the 2015 nuclear deal with the P5+1 group of countries, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is not open to renegotiation, stressing that there is no better alternative to the deal.

“The #JCPOA is not (re)negotiable. A ‘better’ deal is pure fantasy,” Zarif tweeted on Thursday, adding that it was time for the US to “stop spinning and begin complying, just like Iran.”

The remarks came at a time when Washington, which is a party to the nuclear agreement, seems to be laying out a case for abandoning it.

Zarif’s remarks also came following a meeting between Iran’s top diplomat and Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi on Wednesday.

During the meeting, the two sides stressed that the nuclear accord was non-negotiable and that all sides to the agreement must honor their obligations, Zarif said.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has so far fulfilled all its commitments concerning the JCPOA, but unfortunately certain sides have not remained as committed as they should. Today, we stress that this (nuclear deal) is an international and multilateral agreement and that all sides must adhere to it,” he added.

Last month, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley traveled to Vienna to press the IAEA on accessing Iran’s military sites; a demand, which has been categorically rejected by Tehran.

The top Iranian diplomat said at the time that the US was “openly hostile toward the JCPOA and determined to undermine and destroy it.”

The JCPOA was reached between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries — the US, Russia, China, France, and Britain plus Germany — in July 2015 and took effect in January 2016. Under the deal, Iran undertook to put limitations on its nuclear program in exchange for the termination of all nuclear-related sanctions against Tehran.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has on multiple occasions affirmed Iran’s adherence to its commitments under the nuclear agreement.

September 14, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment