“The U.S. Cannot be Trusted”: The message of re-imposing sanctions on Iran

American Herald Tribune | ROBERT FANTINA : In his bizarre quest to undo everything associated with his predecessor, Barack Obama, United States President Donald Trump has now ‘decertified’ the nuclear agreement with Iran. He claims that Iran is not in compliance with the terms of the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, signed in 2015). This belief is not supported by the United Nations, the European Union, France, Germany, Britain, China or Russia, all of which are party to the agreement.

Perhaps most incredible is that U.S. government officials believe that Iran is in compliance, and have tried in vain to persuade Trump to certify it, as he has twice since assuming the office of president. But no, he has ‘decertified’, much to the dismay of the international community, and now the entire situation goes to an unwilling and incompetent Congress, to decide what to do. If Congress decides to re-impose sanctions while Iran is in compliance, then the U.S. will be the party to violate the agreement, not Iran.

The message this sends to the international community is clear: the U.S. cannot be trusted to keep its word. This, of course, is nothing new; the U.S. routinely declares its non-involvement in foreign governments as it works covertly to destabilize them (see Syria and Venezuela today; the historical list is too long to include herein). But violating the terms of the JCPOA is a more blatant example, which shows the lengths to which U.S. hypocrisy and lack of integrity extend.

But Trump is not wholly without support in this area. None other than Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who opposed the agreement from the start, and who has been saying for decades that Iran is ‘months’ away from having nuclear weapons, weighed in on the U.S. president’s decision to decertify. Incredibly, he said this: “Because remember we cannot allow Iran, the world’s foremost terrorist regime, that hangs gays, kills protesters, jails journalists, and foments aggression throughout the region and the world. We cannot allow this rogue regime 30 times the size of North Korea’s economy to have a nuclear arsenal. It’s a very brave decision, and I think it’s the right decision for the world”.

The hypocrisy within these few words is beyond astounding.

We will look at some of the most appalling components of this statement.

1. “Iran, the world’s foremost terrorist regime”. It is no wonder that the U.S. and Israel are so closely aligned; their leaders are always talking about their ‘shared values’, of which there are many: violence, contempt for international law; quest for power;  repression of human rights, etc.

The U.S. is currently bombing at least seven countries, mostly at the behest of Israel. It not only supports the barbaric Israeli occupation of Palestine, it actually finances it, allowing Israel to arrest, detain, torture and kill innocent Palestinian men, women and children, with nearly complete impunity.

The U.S. has been at war for 220 of its bloody 241-year existence; Iran has not invaded another nation since 1798.

The U.S., until very recently, supported anti-government rebels in Syria, and is deeply involved in the civil unrest in Venezuela. It arms and trains terrorists around the world, and operates one of the world’s most notorious torture chambers at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Additionally, it kidnaps people, including U.S. citizens, and sends them to so-called ‘rendition’ sites around the world, where they are tortured.

Israel has been at war since its criminal inception in 1947-1948, during which time it has killed hundreds of thousands of innocent Palestinians. It disdains international law; the United Nations has criticized Israel for violations of international law more than it has for all other nations combined.

Israeli settlers, living illegally on Palestinian land, routinely enter the homes of Palestinians and evict them, taking over the homes themselves. The government destroys Palestinian homes to make room for more housing that is only for Israelis: Arabs are not eligible to live in them.

For Israel to accuse the peaceful nation of Iran of being “the world’s foremost terrorist regime” is the height of hypocrisy, and an insult to every thinking person on the planet. That designation belongs to the United States, with Israel in second place.

2. Iran, Netanyahu says, “kills protesters” and “jails journalists”. In the West Bank, it is not infrequent for IDF (Israeli Defense Forces; read: terrorists) soldiers to kill peaceful, unarmed protesters opposing the criminal, brutal and illegal occupation of Palestine. During Israel’s periodic carpet-bombing of the Gaza Strip, press vehicles and offices are targeted, along with churches, mosques, residential centers and United Nations refugee centers.

3. Iran, according to Netanyahu, “foments aggression throughout the region and the world”. There is no question that Iran has assisted the democratically-elected government of Syria in its struggle against rebel groups trained and armed by the United States and Britain, and which have the full support of Israel. This is not aggression. Iran is allied with Syria, so providing that assistance is no different than what any nation would do when one of its allies is threatened. Supporting such ‘rebel’ groups, as Israel does, is ‘fomenting aggression’.

Unlike Israel, Iran does not steal land belonging to another country. It does not encourage the U.S., the most powerful country on the planet, to bomb its ‘enemies’ which in no way threaten its security. And unlike the United States, Israel’s financier, Iran does not covertly destabilize foreign governments.

What Iran does that Israel finds so objectionable is to have increasing influence in the Middle East, a region that Netanyahu wants for himself alone. And as long as Israeli lobbies in the U.S. continue to fund U.S. elected officials, the U.S. will continue to dance to Netanyahu’s discordant tune.

4. “We cannot allow this rogue regime 30 times the size of North Korea’s economy to have a nuclear arsenal.” Yet, for some reason, the rogue regime of Israel is allowed to have a nuclear arsenal. Iran’s leaders have repeatedly stated that they have no intention of acquiring nuclear weapons; they point to the fact that Iran, unlike Israel, is a signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Those leaders have stated that, even if the U.S. withdraws from the JCPOA, that nation will not develop nuclear weapons, because it made that commitment when signing the NPT.

5. “It’s a very brave decision, and I think it’s the right decision for the world”. The Prime Minister seems to be standing almost alone with this thought; only Israel and Saudi Arabia have endorsed Trump’s illogical and dangerous move.

Trump, along with the clown-like Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, proclaims that Iran has violated the ‘spirit’ of the law. He points to what he perceives are Iran’s other nefarious activities, such as testing long-range missiles. He and Haley seem to overlook the fact that any nation has the right and responsibility to defend its citizens from foreign aggression. And with the U.S. behaving aggressively towards Iran, that country is only fulfilling its responsibility to its people. Doing so, as long as it doesn’t involve the development of nuclear weapons, does not violate the terms of the JCPOA, as all other parties to the agreement attest.

What happens next remains to be seen; the best case scenario is that the U.S. Congress is so disorganized and dysfunctional that it will not act on renewing sanctions, and will simply maintain the status quo. Trump can decertify all he wants to; as long as sanctions aren’t re-imposed on Iran, in all likelihood the agreement will stand. But should Congress re-impose the sanctions, or if Trump does so by Executive Order, the U.S. will have violated the agreement, rendering it null and void. He will not have made any new friends for the U.S; certainly, Israel’s leaders will be pleased, but it’s highly likely that the other parties to the agreement will grow closer to Iran, and more distant from the U.S.

It is unlikely that Trump could do more to alienate the U.S., compromise its security, and cause more international hostility to it if he tried.