Tag Archives: Iranian nuclear deal

Iran’s ‘only crime is we decided not to fold’, by Pepe Escobar

In 1979, Iran got rid of it’s US puppet ruler, the Shah, installed an Islamic theocracy, and has determinedly gone its own way, come hell or high water. The US has never forgiven Iran. From Pepe Escobar at asiatimes.com:

Foreign Minister Zarif sketches Iran-US relations for diplomats, former presidents and analysts

Just in time to shine a light on what’s behind the latest sanctions from Washington, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in a speech at the annual Astana Clubmeeting in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan delivered a searing account of Iran-US relations to a select audience of high-ranking diplomats, former Presidents and analysts.

Zarif was the main speaker in a panel titled “The New Concept of Nuclear Disarmament.” Keeping to a frantic schedule, he rushed in and out of the round table to squeeze in a private conversation with Kazakh First President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

During the panel, moderator Jonathan Granoff, President of the Global Security Institute, managed to keep a Pentagon analyst’s questioning of Zafir from turning into a shouting match.

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One Click Closer to Annihilation, by Philip Geraldi

Is President Trump playing 4-dimensional chess or has he been completely captured by Israel, Saudi Arabia, and his neocon advisors? From Philip Geraldi at unz.com:

Doomsday Clock

The nuclear war doomsday clock maintained on the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists website has advanced to two minutes before midnight, the closest point to possible atomic apocalypse since the end of the Cold War. In 1995 the clock was at fourteen minutes to midnight, but the opportunity to set it back even further was lost as the United States and its European allies took advantage of a weakened Russia to advance NATO into Eastern Europe, setting the stage for a new cold war, which is now underway.

It is difficult to imagine how the United States might avoid a new war in the Middle East given the recent statements that have come out of Washington, and, given that the Russians are also active in the region, a rapid and massive escalation of something that starts out as a minor incident should not be ruled out.

President Donald Trump set the tone when he harangued the United Nations last Tuesday, warning that the United States would go it alone in defense of its perceived interests, with no regard for international bodies that exist to limit armed conflict and punish those who commit war crimes.

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EU finally stands up to US ‘bullying’ over Iran sanctions, by Pepe Escobar

Naked emperors don’t get much respect. It looks like the EU may actually tell the US to take a hike. From Pepe Escobar at atimes.com:

Brussels sets up a ‘special purpose vehicle’ to bypass the US dollar and allow financial transactions with Tehran to continue

History may one day rule this was the fateful geopolitical moment when the European Union clinched its PhD on foreign policy.

Last week, EU foreign policy head Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, announced at the UN a “special purpose vehicle” (SPV) to deal with the Trump administration’s sanctions on Iran after the US unilaterally pulled out of the JCPOA,  also known as the Iran nuclear deal.

Mogherini crucially emphasized, “in practical terms, this will mean that EU member states will set up a legal entity to facilitate legitimate financial transactions with Iran and this will allow European companies to continue to trade with Iran in accordance with European Union law and could be open to other partners in the world.”

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Weaponizing the US Dollar Is Accelerating Global De-Dollarization, by Federico Pieraccini

You catch more flies with honey than vinegar, if catching flies is your quest. Turn the dollar into vinegar and other countries turn to alternatives. From Federico Pieraccini at strategic-culture.org:

Donald Trump has in just over two years abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), ditched the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), withdrawn the US from the Paris climate agreement, and unilaterally removed American participation in the Iranian nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Some of these decisions have undoubtedly received popular support from far beyond America’s shores. Washington’s withdrawal from the TPP was welcomed by the People’s Republic of China. During the Obama presidency, Xi Jinping strongly protested the exclusion of Beijing from the TPP. In the case of the TTIP, European allies for the most part were strongly opposed to the treaty because European multinationals would be subjected to sanctions and fines from American authorities.

The climate agreement, placing important limits on CO2 emissions as well as imposing regulations governing pollution, has been strongly resisted by US energy oligarchs. The withdrawal from the Paris accord has satisfied a substantial proportion of Trump’s donors linked to the hydrocarbon industry and beyond. Finally, the abandonment of the JCPOA was praised by Riyadh and Tel Aviv, two essential partners in Trump’s domestic and foreign strategies.

Observing the consequences of these political choices in the months since, it is easy to see how the world has reacted in a more or less similar fashion, which has been by ignoring the United States and emphasizing cooperation amongst themselves. The TPP, with its agreements between 11 countries, has remained in place without Washington. The development of relations between ASEAN and China continues on without Washington’s participation. While the TTIP has been halted, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), is in its final approval stage, an agreement between Canada and the EU that bypasses the American-inspired TTIP. The Iran deal remains in force despite Washington’s cowardly withdrawal, and the five countries remaining in the Iranian nuclear agreement have every intention of respecting the JCPOA, which had been negotiated over a number of years.

To continue reading: Weaponizing the US Dollar Is Accelerating Global De-Dollarization

‘Tweet of Mass Destruction’ ratchets up tension on Iran, by Pepe Escobar

President Trump has underestimated the difficulty of either getting the present Iranian government to renegotiate the Nuclear Agreement or replacing that government with one more congenial towards the US. From Pepe Escobar at atimes.com:

Iranians burn an image of US President Donald Trump during an anti-US demonstration outside the former US embassy headquarters in the capital Tehran on May 9, 2018. Photo: AFP/Atta Kenare

Iranians burn an image of US President Donald Trump during an anti-US demonstration outside the former US embassy headquarters in the capital Tehran on May 9, 2018. Photo: AFP/Atta Kenare

Trump Was Right To Blow Up The Iran Deal, by David Harsanyi

Whatever the merits of the Iran nuclear deal, procedurally this non-treaty is defective, which may be reason enough to kill it. From David Harsanyi at thefederalist.com:

For starters, it wasn’t a treaty.

Like most of Barack Obama’s legacy, the Iran Deal was brittle and unsustainable because it was undertaken unilaterally. Even with the creation of a media echo chamber and the ugly, relentless attacks on critics, the former president was unable to pull together a consensus. The Obama administration circumvented that accountability. For that reason alone, it’s a good thing Trump nixed the deal.

Even as John Kerry was acquiescing to one Iranian demand after the next, a number of senators explained to the despots in Tehranthat such a deal could be easily scuttled. Nearly every Republican candidate running for the presidency in 2016 — not to mention nearly every GOP candidate running for the Senate — promised to withdraw from (or renegotiate) the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action if they won.

Obama likely didn’t believe the GOP would regain the presidency — and if it did, he probably couldn’t conceive of a situation where a president would dare back out of a non-proliferation agreement, however flawed. And, as many problems as I do have with Trump, I can’t imagine that any other Republican would have withstood the unrelenting political pressure that was likely exerted, not only from allies but also from business interests at home, either.

In the end, though, Trump walked away from a promise made by the Obama administration, not the American people. Despite what you may have read, the United States has not “violated” any international agreement. The president has the prerogative to withdraw the United States from the JCPOA, whether or not Teheran was found in violation by IAEA. Just ask Ben Rhodes.

Since the Iran Deal did absolutely nothing meaningful to safeguard against the production of nuclear weapons in the long run, it’s in the national interest of the United States to exit and seek a better deal. The Obama administration, which assented to every imaginable Iranian demand to preserve this agreement, allowed Teheran to dictate the terms of IAEA access, which included asking permission for inspections, the ability to deny access to military sites and the ability to take nearly a month’s time to clean up at sites.

The Untold Story of John Bolton’s Campaign for War With Iran, by Gareth Porter

John Bolton has never let facts stand in the way of his warmongering. From Gareth Porter at theamericanconservative.com:

Everyone knows Bolton is a hawk. Less understood is how he labored in secret to drive Washington and Tehran apart.

In my reporting on U.S.-Israeli policy, I have tracked numerous episodes in which the United States and/or Israel made moves that seemed to indicate preparations for war against Iran. Each time—in 2007, in 2008, and again in 2011—those moves, presented in corporate media as presaging attacks on Tehran, were actually bluffs aimed at putting pressure on the Iranian government.

But the strong likelihood that Donald Trump will now choose John Bolton as his next national security advisor creates a prospect of war with Iran that is very real. Bolton is no ordinary neoconservative hawk. He has been obsessed for many years with going to war against the Islamic Republic, calling repeatedly for bombing Iran in his regular appearances on Fox News, without the slightest indication that he understands the consequences of such a policy.

His is not merely a rhetorical stance: Bolton actively conspired during his tenure as the Bush administration’s policymaker on Iran from 2002 through 2004 to establish the political conditions necessary for the administration to carry out military action.

More than anyone else inside or outside the Trump administration, Bolton has already influenced Trump to tear up the Iran nuclear deal. Bolton parlayed his connection with the primary financier behind both Benjamin Netanyahu and Donald Trump himself—the militantly Zionist casino magnate Sheldon Adelson—to get Trump’s ear last October, just as the president was preparing to announce his policy on the Iran nuclear agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). He spoke with Trump by phone from Las Vegas after meeting with Adelson.

To continue reading: The Untold Story of John Bolton’s Campaign for War With Iran

Why Europe Must Reject U.S. Blackmail Over Iran’s Nuclear Agreement – An Update, by Moon of Alabama

Europe can’t just get along and go along with the US on the Iranian Nuclear Agreement. From moonofalabama.org:

The Trump administration has threatened to end the nuclear deal with Iran. In our last post we argued in detail that the attempt of the European 3, the United Kingdom, France and Germany, to soothe Trump by condemning Iran’s ballistic missiles is itself a breach of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and the UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

The University of Alabama endorsed Moon of Alabama‘s legal reasoning :-). Professor Daniel Joyner, author of several books on international law, non-proliferation and the nuclear deal with Iran, responded to the piece:

Dan Joyner @DanJoyner1 – 6:43 PM – 24 Jan 2018
Replying to @MoonofA
Hi, I enjoyed your post and agree with its analysis.
I examined 2231 in a chapter you can download here: Iran’s Nuclear Program and International Law: From Confrontation to Accord, Chapter 7
I addressed the missile issue at pg. 240, and reached the same conclusion you do.

Ellie Geranmayeh, a member of the European Council of Foreign Relations (a U.S. aligned institution), is also defending the nuclear deal and warns against endorsing its breach. She argues in Foreign Policy that the Europeans should not soothe Trump but take a strong stand against any U.S. attempt to put Iran back into the bad corner:

Some European officials state in private that the best option is for Europe to muddle through in the hope that Trump will eventually shift his position. But muddling through just won’t do. Trump is likely to continue increasing his maximalist demands unless Europe flexes its political muscle.In order to protect its economic and security interests, Europe must not only reject Trump’s ultimatum — which would be a kiss of death for the nuclear deal — but also push back. Europe should put in place a viable contingency plan if the United States continues backtracking on the deal and let Washington know it’s ready to use it.

The author puts forward a four point plan which would indemnify European companies which are dealing with Iran but threatened by secondary U.S. sanctions:

Put simply, EU officials must tell Trump: If you fine our companies’ assets in the United States, we will reclaim those costs by penalizing U.S. assets in Europe. This would cause a major trade conflict that the Europeans want to avoid by all means. But the option and the precedent exist.

To continue reading: Why Europe Must Reject U.S. Blackmail Over Iran’s Nuclear Agreement – An Update

VP Pence Confirms US Will No Longer Certify Iran Deal, by Mike Pence

If the Trump administration refuses to certify the Iranian Nuclear Agreement, it just about guarantees that Iran will restart their nuclear program. That’s the only way it can protect itself from US sponsored regime change. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

While President Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans battle to reopen the federal government, Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Israel this week to meet with dignitaries and visit a handful of historic sites – including the Holocaust Memorial.

But during a speech to the Knesset – Israel’s parliament – Monday afternoon (local time) , Pence surprised his audience by declaring that the US would not re-certify the Iran deal when it comes up for renewal in May, virtually guaranteeing that the US will reimpose economic sanctions against the Iranian regime. Trump re-certified the deal earlier this month “for the last time”, part of a deal with Democrats to buy them some time to work out a compromise.

Here’s the Associated Press:

Vice President Mike Pence is calling the Iranian nuclear deal a “disaster” and says the Trump administration will no longer certify it.

Instead, Pence told the Israeli parliament on Monday that the administration is “committed to enact effective and lasting restraints on Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.”

Pence has received a warm welcome in Israel, which has praised the American decision last month to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is among the fiercest opponents to the nuclear accord the Obama administration reached with Iran, saying it could pave a path for the Islamic Republic acquiring a nuclear weapon that could threaten Israel’s existence.

Pence says that the deal is not fixed and that in the coming months, the United States will “withdraw from the deal.”

While a wave of economic protests that momentarily threatened the government’s grip a few weeks ago have mostly subsided, Iranians are still struggling with massive youth unemployment and runaway inflation.

The US bowing out of the deal would most likely lead to its collapse, as Iranian leaders have warned they would consider the whole pact – which also involves Germany, the European Union, Russia, China and France – null and void if the US were to pull out.

To continue reading: VP Pence Confirms US Will No Longer Certify Iran Deal

US Urges EU to ‘Fix’ Iran Deal: Brussels Between a Rock and a Hard Place, by Peter Korzun

President Trump is “squeezing” Europe on the Iranian nuclear deal, but he can’t really squeeze Iran, Russia, or China. From Peter Korzun at strategic-culture.org:

President Trump said it was the final waiver extending Iran nuclear deal. He did it with strings attached. The president’s demands include: immediate inspections at sites by international inspectors and “denying Iran paths to nuclear weapons forever” (instead of 10 years as stipulated under current law). New sanctions were issued against 14 people and entities involved with Iran’s ballistic missile programs and a crackdown on government protesters. The president wants the deal to cover Iran’s ballistic missile programs.

Restrictive measures were extended three times last year. And Donald Trump never certified the agreement. Senator Bob Corker, the current chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Foreign Relations, said “significant progress” had been made on bipartisan congressional legislation to address “flaws in the agreement without violating US commitments.”

According to President Trump, there are only two options: either the deal is fixed or the US pulls out. This time he wants to pass the buck, emphasizing that the decision to do it the last time is explained by his desire to secure the agreement of US European allies to fix what he calls “the terrible flaws” of the Joint Commission Plan of Action (JCPOA) or the Iran nuclear deal. Europeans have 120 days to define their position. From now on, Europe is facing a real hard choice: it’s either dancing to the US tune or being adamant in its support for the deal. The latter will bring it closer to Russia.

Germany said on Jan.12 that it remained committed to the deal and that it would consult with “European partners to find a common way forward”. The European Union remains committed to support the implementation of the JCPOA.

The US plan hardly has a chance of success. Even if Europe joins the US, which is not the case, at least for now, the introduction of any changes to the deal requires the consent of other participants: Russia, China and Iran. Tehran has taken a tough stance, flatly refusing any talks on changes.

To continue reading: US Urges EU to ‘Fix’ Iran Deal: Brussels Between a Rock and a Hard Place