Tasnim – An American political analyst praised the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) as a force deterring any kind of missile attack on Iran, stressing that any opposition to the IRGC would facilitate, not lessen, aggression against the Islamic Republic.
In a telephone interview with the Tasnim News Agency, James Petras, a retired professor of sociology at New York’s Binghamton University, and an author and political analyst, blamed the US government for violating the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a nuclear agreement between Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany), and for militarizing its foreign policy.
He also warned of the American schemes to isolate the IRGC in order to accelerate aggression against Tehran.
Following is the text of Tasnim’s interview with Petras:
Tasnim: As you know, the US Senate has passed a bill to step up sanctions against Iran over its ballistic missile program and over what it called Tehran’s support for terrorism. Many figures in Iran have described the new bill as a breach of the spirit or even the text of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Meanwhile, the International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly confirmed that Iran has complied with the nuclear deal.
What is your assessment of the Senate’s decision and in your opinion, what would it signal to the world’s public opinion on the US commitment to the international and multilateral agreements?
Petras: It’s very clear that from the very beginning Washington was not interested in meeting the terms of an equitable agreement between the United States and Iran. In the first instance, even during the Obama administration, all sanctions were not abolished. There was still restrictions on banking and oil agreements, even as some countries rejected that were trading partners with Iran. Subsequently, with the election of Trump, he decided to base his Middle East policy on three pivots: One was to join forces with Saudi Arabia, and the second was to join and deepen ties to Israel, and the third was to militarize the Middle East.
In the first instance, I think it’s clear that Saudi Arabia is very fearful of the electoral process in Iran as a bad example for its despotic rule in Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, the Saudis are very fearful of popular democratic movement led by the Houthi movements in Yemen and are very hostile to people’s movements in Yemen and the fact that Iran expresses solidarity with the people in Yemen.
The other factor I think playing here is that within Saudi Arabia itself is deep discontent with the government and people look to the electoral process in Iran as an example. So the US agreement with Iran essentially is the sale of several hundred-billion-dollars in arms, most of which will rust in the deserts of Saudi Arabia because they’re incompetent to run the armaments they’re buying, but in exchange for the selling of arms, Trump administration has taken out this very irrational position toward Iran.
The second fact the influences US hostility toward Iran, which covers both the Obama and Trump period, is the powerful influence that Israel exercises within the US Congress and within the US presidency through the billion-dollar Zionist supporters who dictate policy in the Middle East to many instances.
The third factor we need to take account for this blatant violation of the agreement is the militarization of US policy. They sending of troops to Afghanistan, the US bombings in Yemen, the US decision to continue the war in Syria, all of these factors in addition to the attacks on Qatar, now the latest blockade is because Qatar has attempted to play a conciliatory role in the Middle East, particularly engaging friendly normal relations with Iran. And Saudi Arabia is very fearful that (Persian) Gulf states recognizing Iran will undermine the efforts and hostility towards the Persian people. These factors that influence US policy, in addition to the fact that the violently Islamophobic policies which infect the US Congress and the presidency. The inability to recognize Iran as a historical civilization that has not invaded a single country in the last twenty thirty centuries.
So I think all of this is a phenomenon that we need to take account. There is absolutely no basis for accusing Iran of breaking the sanctions. All that has taken place is Iran has attempted to support democratic movements, it attempted to support the Palestinians against Israel, and I think that Washington is a banking on a totally bankrupt policy.
Tasnim: How do you perceive the American justification for hitting Iran with terrorism-related sanctions, while its major regional ally Saudi Arabia was involved in the 9/11 attacks and is believed to be a hotbed of radical ideologies?
Petras: There are two things or possibilities to understand. One is everyone recognizes that, including the government, that Saudi Arabia has financed the terrorists, the ISIS terrorists in Iraq and Syria, and terrorists engaged in politics throughout the world. The examples we have are numerous, not only 9/11, but more recent actions that have taken place including the terror attacks in Iran. So I think there’s a general consensus. However, at the same time, the US media in general, but the political parties have fomented this idea of Iran being a sponsor of terrorism. But they confuse is Washington’s support for terrorism with Iran’s support for liberation movements in Palestine, Yemen, and Syria.
So I think the terrorism label fits Washington and its Israeli and Saudi partners, more than it applies to Iran.
Tasnim: Do you see any connection between the sanctions and a plan to inhibit Iran’s regional influence, particularly its support for Syria and its role in the war against ISIL?
Petras: I think that is one important consideration, but Washington wants to overthrow the elected government in Iran. The attacks on Syria and another countries like Yemen are simply stepping stones for overthrowing the government in Iran. The more they can encircle Iran, isolated from the Islamic peoples and the secular movements as in Syria and elsewhere, the greater ease they feel that they will have in intervening in Iran. Particularly they want to disarm Iran.
They want to isolate the Revolutionary Guards because they are a force that can exercise opposition to any kind of missile attacks on Iran. Iran would be very foolish to criticize the Revolutionary Guard’s security policy, because that would facilitate aggression, not lessen aggression. And some reformists in Iran claim that if they comply with the US, they will secure greater concessions. On the contrary, that would simply accelerate aggression. The weaker Iran is, the more likely that it will be attacked.