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US Lawmakers Urge More Pressure, Full CAATSA Sanctions Against Russia, Iran

Sputnik – 21.05.2019

WASHINGTON US President Donald Trump should fully implement sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act as a result of the activities of Iran and Russia in Syria, 400 US lawmakers said in a letter to the US president.

“Increase pressure on Iran and Russia with respect to activities in Syria”, the letter said. “America must continue economic and diplomatic efforts to counter Iran’s support for Hezbollah and other terrorist groups as well as Russia’s support for the brutal Assad regime. We encourage full implementation of sanctions authorized in the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), a broadly supported bipartisan bill that you signed into law”.

The lawmakers expressed concern by the threat posed by terrorists and US adversaries in Syria and recommended steps the United States can take to limit the terrorists’ presence, counter adversaries as well as strengthen Israel’s security and continue to oppose international efforts to isolate and weaken the Jewish state.

“With the region in flux, it remains critical that we reiterate to both friend and foe in the region that we continue to support Israel’s right to defend itself”, the letter said. “We must also look for ways to augment our support in the context of the current ten-year Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and Israel and to ensure that Israel has access to the resources and materiel it needs to defend itself against the threats it faces on its northern border”.

The lawmakers also urged increasing pressure on Hezbollah by fully implementing the 2015 and 2018 sanctions against the organization and those who fund it.

“Additionally, we must continue to press UNIFIL to carry out its UN Security Council mandate, including investigating and reporting the presence of arms and tunnels on Israel’s border”, the letter said.

On 29 January 2018, the United States began imposing sanctions on foreign companies under CAATSA Section 231 on all major transactions made with the Russian defence or intelligence sector.

The US Congress passed CAATSA in response to allegations that Russia attempted to influence the 2016 US presidential election.

Russia has repeatedly denied involvement in the US political system.

May 20, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Who Wants This War with Iran?

By Pat Buchanan • Unz Review • May 17, 2019

Speaking on state TV of the prospect of a war in the Gulf, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei seemed to dismiss the idea.

“There won’t be any war. … We don’t seek a war, and (the Americans) don’t either. They know it’s not in their interests.”

The ayatollah’s analysis — a war is in neither nation’s interest — is correct. Consider the consequences of a war with the United States for his own country.

Iran’s hundreds of swift boats and handful of submarines would be sunk. Its ports would be mined or blockaded. Oil exports and oil revenue would halt. Air fields and missile bases would be bombed. The Iranian economy would crash. Iran would need years to recover.

And though Iran’s nuclear sites are under constant observation and regular inspection, they would be destroyed.

Tehran knows this, which is why, despite 40 years of hostility, Iran has never sought war with the “Great Satan” and does not want this war to which we seem to be edging closer every day.

What would such a war mean for the United States?

It would not bring about “regime change” or bring down Iran’s government that survived eight years of ground war with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

If we wish to impose a regime more to our liking in Tehran, we will have to do it the way we did it with Germany and Japan after 1945, or with Iraq in 2003. We would have to invade and occupy Iran.

But in World War II, we had 12 million men under arms. And unlike Iraq in 2003, which is one-third the size and population of Iran, we do not have the hundreds of thousands of troops to call up and send to the Gulf.

Nor would Americans support such an invasion, as President Donald Trump knows from his 2016 campaign. Outside a few precincts, America has no enthusiasm for a new Mideast war, no stomach for any occupation of Iran.

Moreover, war with Iran would involve firefights in the Gulf that would cause at least a temporary shutdown in oil traffic through the Strait of Hormuz — and a worldwide recession.

How would that help the world? Or Trump in 2020?

How many allies would we have in such a war?

Spain has pulled its lone frigate out of John Bolton’s flotilla headed for the Gulf. Britain, France and Germany are staying with the nuclear pact, continuing to trade with Iran, throwing ice water on our intelligence reports that Iran is preparing to attack us.

Turkey regards Iran as a cultural and economic partner. Russia was a de facto ally in Syria’s civil war. China continues to buy Iranian oil. India just hosted Iran’s foreign minister.

So, again, Cicero’s question: “Cui bono?”

Who really wants this war? How did we reach this precipice?

A year ago, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a MacArthurian ultimatum, making 12 demands on the Tehran regime.

Iran must abandon all its allies in the Middle East — Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen, Hamas in Gaza — pull all forces under Iranian command out of Syria, and then disarm all its Shiite militia in Iraq.

Iran must halt all enrichment of uranium, swear never to produce plutonium, shut down its heavy water reactor, open up its military bases to inspection to prove it never had a secret nuclear program and stop testing missiles. And unless she submits, Iran will be strangled with sanctions.

Pompeo’s speech at the Heritage Foundation read like the terms of some conquering Caesar dictating to some defeated tribe in Gaul, though we had yet to fight and win the war, usually a precondition for dictating terms.

Iran’s response was to disregard Pompeo’s demands.

And crushing U.S. sanctions were imposed, to brutal effect.

Yet, as one looks again at the places where Pompeo ordered Iran out — Lebanon, Yemen, Gaza, Syria, Iraq — no vital interest of ours was imperiled by any Iranian presence.

The people who have a problem with Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon are the Israelis whose occupations spawned those movements.

As for Yemen, the Houthis overthrew a Saudi puppet.

Syria’s Bashar Assad never threatened us, though we armed rebels to overthrow him. In Iraq, Iranian-backed Shiite militia helped us to defend Baghdad from the southerly advance of ISIS, which had taken Mosul.

Who wants us to plunge back into the Middle East, to fight a new and wider war than the ones we fought already this century in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen?

Answer: Pompeo and Bolton, Bibi Netanyahu, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Sunni kings, princes, emirs, sultans and the other assorted Jeffersonian democrats on the south shore of the Persian Gulf.

And lest we forget, the never-Trumpers and neocons in exile nursing their bruised egos, whose idea of sweet revenge is a U.S. return to the Mideast in a war with Iran, which then brings an end to the Trump presidency.

Copyright 2019

May 16, 2019 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 5 Comments

India’s betrayal of Iran is only the beginning

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | May 15, 2019

The sudden visit to New Delhi by the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif for a meeting on May 14 with the outgoing External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in the dying days of the Modi government underscores dramatically how much Tehran has been traumatised by the Indian decision under American pressure to summarily stop all imports of Iranian oil w.e.f May 2.

If one were to encapsulate the anguish and bewilderment in the Iranian mind, an analogy would be the plaintive entreaty by Julius Caesar in William Shakespeare’s play of that name — ‘Et tu, Brute’ (Even you, Brute) — when on the Ides of March in 44 BC the great Roman statesman spotted amongst the conspirators in the Senate building the pale visage of his old dear friend Marcus Junius Brutus, who were stabbing him in a pre-conceived assassination plot.

To be sure, the unexpected betrayal by the old and dear Indian friend has shocked Tehran. According to reports, Swaraj offered her best explanation by taking a de tour and reportedly holding out a non-committal assurance that Delhi will review the situation after a new government is formed “keeping in mind our commercial considerations, energy security and economic interests.”  

Now, this is a big shift from the Indian stance that it will only abide by UN sanctions. But then, it is not within Swaraj’s competence to commit anything. The Boss has to decide, and he’s busy campaigning. In the final analysis, if PM Modi keeps his job, it will be a tricky decision. For, Modi enjoys wonderful friendship with three players of the infamous “B Team” — Benjamin Netanyahu, bin Salman (Saudi Crown Prince),  bin Zayed (UAE Crown Prince) — and is wary of the fourth player, Bolton (Trump’s national security advisor). And the B team sponsors the Iran project, which is about ‘regime change’ in Tehran.

The most galling thing about the Indian betrayal is that amongst the three top importers of Iranian oil — China, India and Iran — it’s only India that summarily packed up under American pressure. For the Modi government which claims to be ‘muscular’, such cowardly behaviour is a matter of shame. Simply put, the strategic understanding forged during the historic meeting between Modi and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Ufa, Russia, on the sidelines of the SCO summit in May 2019 turns out to be a damp squib. Tehran is bound to reflect over the quality of the hand of friendship that Modi extended.

To jog memory, India is party to a trilateral MOU with Iran and Afghanistan with plans to commit at least $21billion to developing the Chabahar–Hajigak corridor, including $85 million for Chabahar port development by India. This includes $150 million line of credit by India to Iran, $8 billion India-Iran MoU for Indian industrial investment in Chabahar Special Economic Zone, $11-billion for the Hajigak iron and steel mining project awarded to seven Indian companies in central Afghanistan, and $2 billion commitment to Afghanistan for developing supporting infrastructure including the construction of the Chabahar-Hajigaj railway line.

The Chabahar-Hajigaj railway line holds the potential to expand trade manifold via connectivity to the 7,200-km-long multi-mode North-South Transport Corridor India is working on to connect to Europe and Turkey — and all across Russia by linking with the R297 Amur highway and the Trans-Siberian Highway. Over and above, a planned Herat to Mazar-i-Sharif railway will provide access for the Central Asia states via Chabahar Port to link with the Indian market. The Chabahar Port also provides the only means of India developing direct access to its erstwhile air base in Farkhor in Tajikistan. Expert opinion is that the Chabahar route will result in 60% reduction in shipment costs and 50% reduction in shipment time from India to Central Asia.

The Indian media quoted government sources to the effect that the compliance with the US sanctions against Iran is the price that Washington demanded from India as quid pro quo for its support in the UN Security Council on the designation of Masood Azhar as global terrorist. The veracity of this interpretation can never be established, because the Americans will never claim ownership of any derailment of the India-Iran relationship.

Yet, it is an unfair linkage since Azhar designation has been a far from a solo US enterprise. It was collective effort where Britain and China probably played key roles alongside some very effective behind-the-scene bilateral negotiations between Delhi and Beijing aimed at carrying Pakistan along. The Americans are always quick to claim credit when something good happens — and there is always the Indian chorus that is only too keen to echo such tall claims.

Indeed, the “big picture” is not at all reassuring. For, Washington has now added two further templates to its “linkage diplomacy” vis-a-vis India. First, Washington has ratcheted up the pressure on India to remove “overly restrictive market access barriers” against American products — to quote from a speech in Delhi by visiting US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in New Delhi last week. Ross repeated President Donald Trump’s accusation that India is a “tariff king”, and threatened India with “consequences” if it responded to U.S. tariffs with counter-tariffs. Ross audaciously proposed that India could balance the trade figures by buying more American weaponry.

So, what do we have here? Delhi falls in line with the US diktat on Iran sanctions, which of course will hit the Indian economy very badly, while the US is also at the same time aggressively demanding that India should open up its market for American exports. Why can’t the Modi government prioritise India’s economic concerns?

Second, the Trump administration cracking the whip on India to give up the S-400 missile defence system and conform to the US sanctions against Russia’s arms industry. A report in the Hindustan Times says that the US would expect India to instead buy from it the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) and Patriot Advance Capability (PAC-3) missile defence systems as an alternative to S-400s. But these American systems are far more expensive and may still not be on par with the advanced S-400 system in capability.

Evidently, like in the case with Iran, the US attempt is to complicate India-Russia relations by forcing Modi to resile from a commitment he gave to President Vladimir Putin on the S-400 deal.

Meanwhile, another report has appeared that under American pressure, India joined a US-led naval exercise in the South China Sea with America’s Asian allies Japan and the Philippines. Whereas the US, Japan and the Philippines are longstanding allies bound together under military pacts, India is not part of any alliance system. Yet, India took part in the exercise in the disputed South China Sea within a ‘Quad Lite’ format. The US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has a cute expression for it — “banding together”.

The running theme in all this is that India’s strategic ties with Iran, Russia and China are coming under challenge from Washington. But the big question is how come Washington regards the “muscular” Modi government with a 56″ chest to be made of such cowardly stuff? Are the ruling elites so thoroughly compromised with the Americans? There are no easy answers.

May 15, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , | 2 Comments

Iran: Preparing the ‘Battle Space’

By Alastair Crooke | Strategic Culture Foundation | May 13, 2019

Bernard Lewis, a British-American historian of the Middle East, has been formidably influential in America – his policy ideas have towered over Presidents, policy-makers and think-tanks, and they still do. Though he died last year, his baleful views still shape America’s thinking about Iran. Mike Pompeo, for example, has written: “I met him only once, but read much of what he wrote. I owe a great deal of my understanding of the Middle East to his work … He was also a man who believed, as I do, that Americans must be more confident in the greatness of our country, not less”.

The “Bernard Lewis plan”, as it came to be known, was a design to fracture all the countries in the region – from the Middle East to India – along ethnic, sectarian and linguistic lines. A radical Balkanisation of the region. A retired US Army officer, Ralph Peters, followed up by producing the map of how a ‘Balkanised’ Middle East would look. Ben Gurion too had a similar strategic ambition for Israeli interests.

Lewis’s influence however, went right to the top: President Bush was seen carrying articles by Lewis to a meeting in the Oval Office soon after September 11, and only eight days after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Lewis was briefing Richard Perle’s Defence Policy Board, sitting next to his friend Ahmed Chalabi, the leader of the Iraqi National Congress. At that key meeting of a board highly influential with the Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the two called for an invasion of Iraq.

Lewis seeded too the broader idea of a backwards-looking Muslim world, seething with hatred against a modernising and virtuous West. It was him, and not Samuel Huntington, who coined the phrase ‘clash of civilisations’ – implying further, that Islam and the West are embroiled in an existential battle for survival.

Through the Evangelical prism of today’s policy-makers, such as Pompeo and Mike Pence, this dark prognostication has metamorphosed from a civilisational ‘clash’ into the cosmic battle of good and evil (with Iran particularly pinpointed as the source of cosmic evil in today’s world).

This is the key point: Bringing regime change to Iran – the primordial threat, in Lewis terms – was always a Lewis fantasy. “Should we negotiate with Iran’s ayatollahs?” Henry Kissinger asked him on one occasion; “Certainly not!” came Lewis’ uncompromising retort. The overall stance that America should adopt to the region was presented in a nutshell to Dick Cheney: “I believe that one of the things you’ve got to do to Arabs is hit them between the eyes with a big stick. They respect power”. This Orientalist advice naturally applied ‘in spades’ to Iran and its ‘Ayatollahs’, Lewis held: “The question we should be asking is why do they neither fear nor respect us?”.

Well, now, inspired by his intellectual hero (Lewis), Pompeo, together with Richard Perle’s PNAC colleague, John Bolton, seem to be itching to try it, using the Lewis recipe of ‘hitting Iran between the eyes with a big (sanctions) stick’.

We have been here before. The US did not just leaf through Lewis’ books, as it were; it has been acting on it for decades. As early as the 1960s, Lewis had published a book which picked up on the potential vulnerabilities, and therefore the potential use, of religious, class, and ethnic differences as the means to bring an end to Middle Eastern states.

Seymour Hersh, writing in 2008, reported that:

“Late last year [2007], Congress agreed to a request from President Bush to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran, according to current and former military, intelligence, and congressional sources. These operations, for which the President sought up to four hundred million dollars, were described in a Presidential Finding signed by Bush, and are designed to destabilize the country’s religious leadership. The covert activities involve support of the minority Ahwazi Arab and Baluchi groups and other dissident organizations …

“Clandestine operations against Iran are not new. United States Special Operations Forces have been conducting cross-border operations from southern Iraq … since last year. But the scale and the scope of the operations in Iran, which involve the CIA, and the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), have now been significantly expanded, according to the current and former officials. Many of these activities are not specified in the new Finding, and some congressional leaders have had serious questions about their nature”.

And such operations just expanded further – as the present head of CIA, Gina Haspel, has confirmed, she is shifting Agency resources to focus on Russia and Iran. And the US has been assiduously planting its military bases at points that abut on Iran’s ethnic minorities.

So what is the ‘end game’? Is it US election hype, and intended principally for domestic consumption? Is it just to contain and weaken Iran? Is it to force Iran to negotiate a ‘better’ JCPOA? Or is it to trigger regime change?

Well, it looks like this: Pompeo has refused to renew two key US sanctions waivers (besides the various oil waivers). These two waiver-refusals look very much like the veritable ‘smoking gun’ – pointing to Pompeo and Bolton’s true intent. One withdrawn waiver is for Iran’s export of low enriched uranium, and the other retraction is for the export of ‘heavy water’ from the Arak reactor.

The point is that under the JCPOA, Iran is not permitted to accumulate either substance beyond 300 Kilos and 300 litres, respectively. So Iran is compelled by the Accord to export any potential surplus which might breach these limits. The former goes to Russia (in return for raw yellow-cake), and the latter is stored in Oman.

Let us be very clear: There is absolutely no nuclear benefit to Iran from these exports. They serve only the interests of those who are signatories to the JCPOA. They are JCPOA ‘housekeeping’ items – i.e. they serve only those who advocate non-proliferation of nuclear-related materials. The export is envisaged by the Accord, and is demanded of Iran.

If these exports represent precisely the working of the nuclear agreement, why then would Pompeo refuse to renew the waivers to such a structural component to non-proliferation? They are of no economic significance per se.

The only answer must be that Pompeo and Bolton are trying to corner Iran into a breach of the JCPOA: They are deliberately trying to provoke non-compliance by Iran, and are effectively forcing Iran to proliferate. For, if these substances cannot be exported, Iran will be obliged to accumulate them, in breach of the JCPOA (unless the UNSC dispute procedure embedded in the JCPOA, rules otherwise).

But pushing Iran into a formal breach opens many possibilities for Bolton to provoke Iran further, and perhaps even to taunt it into providing the US with its casas belli for flattening Iran’s enrichment facilities. Who knows?

So how do Iran’s ethnic minorities fit into the picture? (The majority of the Iranian population is Persian, estimated at between 51% and 65%. The largest other ethno-linguistic groups are: Azerbaijanis (16–25+ %), Kurds (7–10%), Lurs (c. 7%), Mazandaranis and Gilakis (c. 7%), Arabs (2–3), Balochi (c. 2%) and Turkmens (c. 2%)). These groups are ‘the material’ that the US hopes to turn into armed secessionists and anti-Iranian insurgents, under the CIA ‘train and assist programmes’. When this programme was mooted in 2007, there was considerable dissent both within the US Administration (including coming from Secretary Gates and General Fallon, who both rejected the questioned the merit of such thinking). As Seymour Hersh noted:

“A strategy of using ethnic minorities to undermine Iran is flawed, according to Vali Nasr, who teaches international politics at Tufts University and is also a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. “Just because Lebanon, Iraq, and Pakistan have ethnic problems, it does not mean that Iran is suffering from the same issue,” Nasr said. “Iran is an old country—like France and Germany—and its citizens are just as nationalistic.

“The US is overestimating ethnic tension in Iran.” The minority groups that the US is reaching out to are either well integrated or small and marginal, without much influence on the government or much ability to present a political challenge, Nasr said.

“[However], you can always find some activist groups that will go and kill a policeman, but working with the minorities will backfire, and alienate the majority of the population”.

And as Professor Salehi-Isfahani at Brookings has shown, the poorest elements of Iranian society have been somewhat protected from the harsh economic impact of sanctions (more than the middle class), so that one might rightly conclude that Iran can weather the economic siege.

Yes … but … ‘We have been here before’, in another important way:

Iraq and ‘Curveball’ (the codename for the Iraqi agent of German intelligence, who provided false intelligence on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction); the Iraqi exiles who assured the Americans they would be welcomed in Baghdad as ‘liberators’ with their path strewn with flowers and rise; and ‘Team B’ (the alt-intelligence unit, established by then Vice-President Cheney to provide ‘like-minded’ intelligence reporting that countered that of the CIA, and supported Cheney’s world view). The outcome from America’s disconnect to the realities of Iraq was, of course, a disaster.

Here we are again, with history seemingly repeating itself: The former ‘Team B’ is now no longer a unit implanted in the DOD, but is a network of former intelligence officials of some sort, acting together with embittered Iranian exiles – fishing within the MEK and the jaundiced exile community, and then ‘stove-piping’ their findings into the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies think-tank, and into the White House – shades of Chalabi and the Iraq Saga, all over again.

It is the old, old intelligence story: Start with deep orientalist prejudices and pre-conceived opinions about the nature of ‘the other’; Convince yourself that no ‘modern’ man or woman would support the ‘Ayatollahs’; And guess what? You find what you wanted to see: That Iran is on the brink of “immanent collapse”; that the minorities are poised to rise up against the overbearing Persian élite; and that American intervention to remove this hated ‘regime’ would be welcomed ‘with flowers and rice’.

It is nonsense, of course. But the capacity to self-delude is sufficient, in itself, to start wars.

The US history of the original ‘Team B’ serves as a grim warning: Cheney did not like, or trust, what the formal Intelligence services were saying. So he set up an ‘Alt-Intelligence Service’ (Team B) of ‘like-minded’ analysts who ‘found’ what he wanted to see about Iraq (and Russia).

Trump, precisely because of his experience with the Deep State, does not trust the top echelon of US services – and hence, is known to read little of what they produce. He too, does not see them as ‘like-minded’ for their globalist outlook on the world, and generally disdains their opinions (preferring those with a more like-minded zeitgeist). There is real vulnerability here.

Whilst it is true that Trump in the past days has acknowledged that Bolton wants to get him “into a war”, and has expressed concern that, as the Washington Post notes, “Bolton has boxed him into a corner, and gone beyond where he [Trump] is comfortable”, Trump’s prejudices on Iran run deep, and are being continually fed by others – including family – and not just by Bolton.

Mostly, Trump acts in foreign policy as a New York real-estate mogul, with care only for ‘the deal’ and his image, and with zero emotional or moral engagement. This is probably true too, for US involvement in Syria and Afghanistan. But is this so for Iran? Might Iran be the exception – precisely because it stands in the way of Trump’s ‘legacy project’ – of actuating ‘Greater Israel’ (otherwise known as the Deal of the Century)?

Bolton may have been mildly rebuked by Trump over getting it wrong on Venezuela, but it might be that Pompeo and Bolton are pushing at a half-open door when it comes to Iran.

May 13, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

US sanctions could force Pakistan to ditch ‘Peace pipeline’ project with Iran

RT | May 12, 2019

Pakistan has notified Iran that mounting US economic pressure makes it “impossible” to proceed with the massive Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline (IP) project, also known as the ‘Peace pipeline’.

“We cannot risk US sanctions by going ahead with the [IP] project as America has clearly said that anybody who will work with Iran will also be sanctioned,” Mobin Saulat, the managing director of Inter State Gas Systems, which works under the auspices of the Pakistani government, told Arab News.

Islamabad recently informed Tehran in writing about the hurdle to implementing the pipeline project, according to the official. He noted that if the restrictions against Iran are lifted, Pakistan will be eager to go ahead with it. The same position was earlier voiced by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The project, which has been under discussion since 1994, was initially meant to deliver natural gas from Iran’s giant South Pars field to Pakistan and India. New Delhi quit it in 2009, citing the costs and security concerns.

The US vocally opposed the $7 billion project long ago, even before the 2015 nuclear deal, from which Washington has already withdrawn. It said that the construction of the pipeline could violate sanctions imposed on Iran over alleged nuclear activities, despite Iran denying the claims and arguing that natural gas cannot be used for making atomic bombs.

Iran has already slammed Pakistan for failing to adhere to the bilateral deal and delays in laying down the pipeline. In February, the Islamic Republic threatened to take its project partner to the international court of arbitration over the lack of progress on construction. Islamabad has at least two months to respond to Iran on the matter, according to Inter State Gas Systems.

“We have time till August this year to legally respond to Iran’s legal notice and settle the issue through negotiations,” Saulat said.

The news comes just days after the Trump administration imposed new sanctions targeting anyone who fails to wind down transactions related to Iran’s metal sector. This is in addition to the tough restrictions on energy exports, which the US seeks to cut to zero.

On Sunday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called for unity as the country faces “unprecedented” pressure from its “enemies.” He compared the current situation with the conditions during the 1980s war with Iraq, saying that it is not clear if they are “better or worse,” but back then Iran had no problems with its banks, oil sales, or imports and exports, except for arms purchases.

May 12, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , | Leave a comment

US-Iran Conflict – Europe Indulges Washington’s Aggression

Strategic Culture Foundation | May 10, 2019

Iran’s announcement this week that it is suspending participation in the international nuclear accord is regrettable. But it is hardly unexpected, given the unrelenting provocations by the United States towards the Islamic Republic.

The latest provocation by Washington was the purported dispatch of a naval carrier strike group and B-52 nuclear-capable heavy bombers to the Persian Gulf. That US move was claimed to be based on “security concerns”, which in their vapidity and vagueness should prompt contempt from other observers. Especially, too, because the US concerns of alleged Iranian “aggression” were delivered by none other than John Bolton, the national security advisor to President Trump, who has a long and sordid personal history of telling lies in order to justify American wars in the Middle East.

Iran’s warning that it will walk away completely from the 2015 nuclear accord, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as it is formally known, marks a reprehensible unwinding of international diplomacy. The JCPOA was signed by Iran, Russia, China, the US and European Union (France, Germany and Britain) after several years of rigorous negotiations. The deal finally signed in July 2015 was ratified by the UN Security Council. The accord is thus mandated by the highest authority of international law. It is the American side under the Trump administration which has done everything imaginable to trash the treaty, primarily by abrogating its signature one year ago.

Furthermore, the Trump administration has ratcheted up economic sanctions on Iran, in particular on the country’s vital oil trade. Recently, Trump announced the US was cancelling waivers on eight nations which had continued to import Iranian crude, including China, India and Japan, thereby indicating that Washington was intent on imposing a global stranglehold on Iran’s economy. The US moves are a total repudiation of the nuclear accord. Indeed, arguably, they constitute an act of war.

Tehran originally signed the deal with the unprecedented commitment to curb its nuclear enrichment activities. It was a generous concession by Iran – an unprecedented self-imposed restriction and forfeiture of its legal right to enrich uranium as a long-time signatory to the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Iran did that to assuage American claims it was secretly trying to build nuclear weapons, something which Tehran has consistently denied, saying that its nuclear industry is dedicated to civilian purposes, as the NPT permits.

Despite over a dozen on-site inspections of Iranian facilities by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, which have all verified Iran’s full compliance with the terms of the nuclear accord, Washington has done everything to impede Iran from benefiting from sanctions relief, which Iran is legally entitled to from implementation of the JCPOA.

Iran’s economy has suffered greatly from the ongoing de facto blockade that the US has imposed, an abuse of power owing to the latter’s influence on global banking and the dominance of the American dollar in oil trade. Washington’s provocations have risen to new heights with the recent US designation of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps as a “terrorist organization”. Claims by Washington that Iran is engaged in covertly sponsoring regional terrorism are groundless, and indeed bitterly ironic given American complicity in sponsoring state and non-state terrorism.

In any case, the alarming stand-off that has emerged between the US and Iran is indisputably the consequence of Washington’s bad faith and irrational aggression towards Tehran. Iran is responding by notifying its cancellation of the JCPOA, and also if it is attacked military by the US it will block the vital oil trade route known as the Strait of Hormuz, the Persian Gulf outlet through which a quarter of the world’s daily shipped oil passes. If the stand-off goes that way, then the world will witness an economic meltdown, if not a military conflagration.

This week when Iran announced its intention to suspend participation in the nuclear accord, the European powers reacted by remonstrating with Tehran for not upholding the JCPOA. China and Russia called on all sides to comply with the treaty. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov went further and said that Washington must take responsibility for the dire state of affairs. The European powers have hardly implemented the JCPOA beyond paying lip service over the past four years. They have pathetically ceded to Washington’s outrageous intimidation of “secondary sanctions” hitting legitimate European investment and trade with Iran. How’s that for monstrous arrogance? Washington is no longer a signatory to the JCPOA – a deplorable violation in itself – but in addition it wants to tear up the signatures of others who intend to abide by the treaty.

Rather than admonishing Iran for its intended suspension of the JCPOA, the European Union should be siding with Russia, China and the UN in fully backing the JCPOA and, what’s more, expressing its full condemnation of the US for making a mockery of international diplomacy and law. By not doing so, the Europeans are only indulging Washington’s worst instincts for aggression. And the rest of the world may pay a severe price for this indulgence and lack of European integrity and independence.

May 10, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Wars for Israel | , , | Leave a comment

Pandering to Israel Means War With Iran

By Philip Giraldi | Strategic Culture Foundation | May 9, 2019

The United States is moving dangerously forward in what appears to be a deliberate attempt to provoke a war with Iran, apparently based on threat intelligence provided by Israel. The claims made by National Security Advisor John Bolton and by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that there is solid evidence of Iran’s intention to attack US forces in the Persian Gulf region is almost certainly a fabrication, possibly deliberately contrived by Bolton and company in collaboration with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It will be used to justify sending bombers and additional naval air resources to confront any possible moves by Tehran to maintain its oil exports, which were blocked by Washington last week. If the US Navy tries to board ships carrying Iranian oil it will undoubtedly, and justifiably, provoke a violent response from Iran, which is precisely what Bolton, Pompeo and Netanyahu are seeking.

It would be difficult to find in the history books another example of a war fought for no reason whatsoever. As ignorant as President Donald Trump and his triumvirate or psychotics Bolton, Pompeo and Elliott Abrams are, even they surely know that Iran poses no threat to the United States. If they believe at all that a war is necessary, they no doubt base their judgment on the perception that the United States must maintain its number one position in the world by occasionally attacking and defeating someone to serve as an example of what might happen if one defies Washington. Understanding that, the Iranians would be wise to avoid confrontation until the sages in the White House move on to some easier target, which at the moment would appear to be Venezuela.

The influence of Israel over US foreign policy is undeniable, with Washington now declaring that it will “review ties” with other nations that are considered to be unfriendly to the Jewish state. For observers who might also believe that Israel and its allies in the US are the driving force behind America’s belligerency in the Middle East, there are possibly some other games that are in play, all involving Benjamin Netanyahu and his band of merry cutthroats. It is becoming increasingly apparent that foreign politicians have realized that the easiest way to gain Washington’s favor is to do something that will please Israel. In practical terms, the door to Capitol Hill and the White House is opened through the good offices of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

Israel is desperate to confirm its legitimacy in international fora, where it has few friends in spite of an intensive lobbying campaign. It seeks to have countries that do not have an embassy in Israel to take steps to establish one, and it also wants more nations that do already have an embassy in Tel Aviv to move to Jerusalem, building on the White House’s decision taken last year to do just that. Not surprisingly, nations and political leaders who are on the make and want American support have drawn the correct conclusions and pander to Israel as a first step.

One only has to cite the example of Venezuela. Juan Guaido, the candidate favored by Washington for regime change, has undoubtedly a lot of things on his plate but he has proven willing to make some time to say what Benjamin Netanyahu wants to hear, as reported by the Israeli media. The Times of Israel describes how “Venezuela’s self-proclaimed leader Juan Guaido is working to re-establish diplomatic relations with Israel and isn’t ruling out placing his country’s embassy in Jerusalem, according to an interview with an Israeli newspaper published Tuesday.”

One would think that Guaido would consider his interview sufficient, but he has also taken the pandering process one step farther, reportedly displaying huge video images of the flags of both Israel and the United States at his rallies.

This deference to Israel’s interests produced an almost immediate positive result with Netanyahu recognizing him as the legitimate Venezuelan head of state, followed by an echo chamber of effusive congratulations from US (sic) Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, who praised the Jewish state for “standing with the people of Venezuela and the forces of freedom and democracy.” Donald Trump’s esteemed special envoy for international negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, also joined in, praising the Israeli government for its “courageous stand in solidarity with the Venezuelan people.”

A similar bonding took place regarding Brazil, where hard right conservative leader Jair Bolsonaro was recently elected president. Netanyahu attended the Bolsonaro inauguration last December and the two men benefit from strong support from Christian Evangelicals. Bolsonaro repaid the favor by promising that Israel would be his first foreign trip. In the event he went to Washington first, but the state visit to Israel took place in April, just before that country’s elections, in a bid to demonstrate international support for Netanyahu.

Brazilian Jews constitute a wealthy and powerful community which reacted positively to Bolsonaro’s pledges to fight corruption and high crime rates while also repairing a struggling economy. They also appreciated his stance on Israel. He committed to moving the Brazilian embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, though he has backpedaled a bit on that pledge. And he also promised to shut the Palestinian embassy in the capital Brasilia. He famously asked and answered his own question, “Is Palestine a country? Palestine is not a country, so there should be no embassy here. You do not negotiate with terrorists.”

Bolsonaro’s pro-Israel anti-Venezuela credentials also endeared him to Donald Trump on a visit to Washington in mid-March which was described by the media as a “love fest.” The Brazilian leader’s visits to Israel and the US as well as Guaido’s promises to Israel reveal that the foreign policies of Tel Aviv and Washington have become inextricably intertwined, with supplicant nations and politicians wisely seeking to do homage to both regimes to gain favor. It is a development that would shock the Founding Fathers, most particularly George Washington, who warned against entangling alliances, and it means that American interests will be seen through an Israeli prism, a reality that has already produced very bad results.

May 9, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Senior diplomat: Withdrawal from nuclear deal on Iran’s agenda

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araqchi during an interview with state TV on May 08, 2019.
Press TV – May 8, 2019

A senior Iranian diplomat says the Islamic Republic has put a “step-by-step” withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), on the agenda.

“We have not left the JCPOA so far, but we have put such a move on our agenda and that would happen step-by-step,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araqchi said in an interview on Wednesday.

“No country can accuse Iran of breaching or leaving the nuclear deal,” the diplomat noted, adding that all the measures Tehran has adopted so far, including Wednesday’s move, has been within the deal’s framework.

The ambassadors of the countries remaining in the nuclear deal — France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China — on Wednesday received a letter penned by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani elaborating the suspension of some of Iran’s commitments under the accord, officially called the JCPOA.

The letter was handed over by Araqchi to the ambassadors of the five countries, who had been invited to the Foreign Ministry. The document specifies the details of the decision taken by Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, which is chaired by Rouhani himself.

The document says Tehran has exercised utmost self-restraint and patience since Washington’s exit from the deal last May, and has given the remaining signatories “considerable” time at their own request to compensate for Washington’s withdrawal and guarantee Iran’s interests.

Nevertheless, the other parties have failed to adopt any “practical measures” to blunt the impact of the economic sanctions that were re-imposed against Tehran by the US following its withdrawal, the statement said.

The Islamic Republic is thus entitled to restore the balance between its rights and obligations under the JCPOA, and has no option but to “reduce its commitments” within the framework of the deal, it added.

At the current stage, the statement said, Iran will no longer consider itself committed to the limits agreed under the deal on its stocks of enriched uranium and heavy water stocks.

Under the JCPOA, Iran is allowed to keep 300 kilograms of uranium enriched up to 3.67 percent. The deal requires Tehran to sell off any enriched uranium above the limit on international markets in return for natural uranium.

Tehran’s stock of heavy water is also restricted to 130 tonnes under the deal, which also calls for Iran’s excess heavy water to be sold to a foreign buyer.

The council has given Iran’s partners in the deal “60 days to meet their commitments, especially in the banking and oil sectors,” said the statement.

If they fail to address Iran’s concerns, Tehran will suspend the implementation of two more commitments under the JCPOA, according to the statement.

In the next stage, Tehran will no longer be bound by its commitment to enrich uranium up to 3.67 percent and will also begin developing its Arak heavy water reactor based on its pre-JCPOA plans, it added.

May 8, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , | Leave a comment

New Iran sanctions: Trump threatens anyone trading aluminum, iron, steel & copper

RT | May 8, 2019

The US has imposed sweeping new sanctions on anyone who trades with Iran in iron, steel, copper, aluminum and related products, escalating the economic blockade of Tehran as the nuclear deal continues to unravel.

An executive order signed by US President Donald Trump on Wednesday says the property of anyone who owns or operates or engages in “significant” transactions with Iran’s metals sector will be seized by the US under sanctions laws. Likewise, anyone accused of materially assisting, sponsoring or supporting anyone who is sanctioned will have their property blocked as well.

The blocked property “may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in,” says the executive order. The sanctions apply to property inside the US, or in possession or control of any US person.

The Treasury Department announced it would allow a 90-day “wind-down” period for any transactions related to Iran’s metal sector.

The new sanctions are part of the continuing US policy to “deny Iran all paths to both a nuclear weapon and intercontinental ballistic missiles, and to counter the totality of Iran’s malign influence in the Middle East,” it said, adding that revenues from the metals trade could be used to “provide funding and support for the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorist groups and networks, campaigns of regional aggression, and military expansion.”

Metals are said to represent about 10 percent of Iran’s exports.

Trump’s latest move comes exactly a year after he unilaterally withdraw the US from the JCPOA nuclear agreement, negotiated by his predecessor in 2015 to limit Iran’s ability to develop atomic weapons. Tehran has consistently claimed its nuclear program was peaceful, but Israel has disagreed and actively campaigned against the deal.

Earlier on Wednesday, Iran announced it would no longer sell excess uranium and heavy water as provided under the JCPOA, citing last week’s decision by the US to end sanction waivers on these transactions. Tehran officially remains party to the JCPOA, but has grown increasingly frustrated by the lack of practical steps from Europe to offset US sanctions.

May 8, 2019 Posted by | Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , | 2 Comments

When We Were the ‘Good Guys’: US Keeps Invoking WWII to Validate New Wars

By Helen Buyniski | Helen of desTroy | May 8, 2019

Americans are sick of fighting a 20-year war against an undefined enemy they can’t seem to beat. With morale and recruitment scraping bottom, the world’s best-funded military reckons that, if it can’t win, it can at least look like a winner.

The US Army looked to World War II, the last war the US could decisively be said to have “won,” for inspiration when designing its new service uniform to invoke “the most prominent time the Army’s service to our nation was universally recognized,” as sergeant major Daniel Dailey, the Army’s highest-ranking enlisted soldier, told the New York Times. But the specter of World War II – when Americans were hailed as “the good guys” – was conjured up long before the military decided to reenact its golden age through cosplay. Indeed, the US has been borrowing from the WWII playbook since before the War on Terror officially began.

Like WWII, the US’ forever-war, which has long since spilled beyond the Middle East, is being fought on multiple fronts against countries that, left alone, would pose no threat to the US. In both cases, the American people had to be tricked into supporting long, bloody, expensive conflicts that served little strategic purpose for the US – but strongly benefited their allies.

Neocon think tank Project for a New American Century (PNAC) infamously called for a “new Pearl Harbor” to advance its foreign policy goals, and the attacks of September 11 were used to shred the Constitution and pitch the country headlong into nearly two decades of unparalleled destruction, destabilizing the Middle East for generations and bankrupting the US. Neither attack happened without plenty of warning, however, and both were arguably permitted to take place in order to manufacture consent for extremely unpopular wars.

With the US barely out of World War I, President Franklin Roosevelt faced a population 80 to 90 percent opposed to entering another global conflict; he even ran on the promise that “your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.” Not only did Roosevelt deliberately place the US’ Pacific fleet in harm’s way by anchoring it in Pearl Harbor against the advice of fleet commander Admiral James Richardson; he relieved Richardson of his command for complaining, reportedly telling him “Sooner or later the Japanese will commit an overt act against the United States and the nation will be willing to enter the war.” US military intelligence, which had cracked the Japanese encryption codes, intercepted radio messages indicating Japan planned to attack Hawaii. The attack was allowed to happen, and overnight, a population allergic to war was baying for Japanese blood.

Several government agents, including FBI Minneapolis field office chief counsel Coleen Rowley and FBI Special Agent Robert Wright, came forward before September 11, troubled by evidence that seemed to point to a foreign group planning an attack on American soil. Saudi nationals training at flight schools and Israeli “art students” probing security vulnerabilities in government buildings set off alarms in government agencies all over the country.  But the administration of President George W. Bush, packed with PNAC alumni, ignored and even punished these whistleblowers. The Twin Towers were destroyed, the PATRIOT Act (pre-written and ready to go) was rammed through a docile Congress and, less than a month later, according to General Wesley Clark, the decision to invade Iraq had been made, even as hostilities had barely commenced in Afghanistan. Clark was told of a classified memo from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that described how “We’re going to take out seven countries in five years,” and while their timetable is a little behind, Iran is the only country on that list where the US and its allies haven’t attempted a regime change.

It’s worth looking at what triggered the Pearl Harbor attack, because it is happening again. When Japan refused to pull its forces out of China, the US imposed an oil embargo on Japan, cutting the nation off from 80 percent of its oil supply and leaving it no choice but to seek fuel elsewhere. The closest oil was in then-Dutch Indonesia, but US-controlled Philippines physically barred the way. The US had thus almost guaranteed Japan would have to attack the US, allowing Washington to enter the war with the American people’s approval in order to fight Germany, whom Roosevelt perceived as the “real” enemy.

The US has imposed the strictest sanctions on Iran yet, repealing the last waivers last week in the hope of forcing the country into a similarly suicidal act. Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz if it is blocked from using the waterway, which sees 20 percent of the world’s oil traffic. US officials have deemed such a move “unacceptable,” suggesting massive retaliation would follow, and a US carrier strike group is on its way to the region, supposedly acting on a “credible threat” that Iran plans to target US interests. Regardless of who fires the first shot – and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has warned Trump a false flag attack is extremely likely – war with Iran would be the result, and Americans would be cheering it on. The question is not if, but when.

War with Iran wouldn’t benefit the US at all – a 2002 Pentagon wargame simulation has even indicated the US would lose. But Iran is the strongest enemy of Israel left standing, and Trump’s inner circle – like the neocons at PNAC (whose members included John Bolton) – has made it clear where his priorities lie. Just as laying waste to Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen only created an endless supply of enemies for the US while crossing Israel’s regional rivals off the list, attempting to destroy Iran will have devastating repercussions for the US while ensuring no one is left to challenge Israel’s regional dominance. It is no coincidence that the intel suggesting Iran was plotting an attack on American targets in the Middle East – the tip that triggered the deployment of the carrier strike group Abraham Lincoln to the region last month – came from the Mossad, the Israeli intel agency whose motto is “by deception, thou shalt do war.” Israel has been lying about Iran’s ambitions for decades. In the same way, Britain, not the US, stood to benefit from the US attacking Germany in WWII. While the US did eventually profit from Germany’s defeat, splitting a destroyed Europe with the Soviets, Britain needed US intervention if it hoped to survive at all.

World War II was a golden era for propagandists on both sides, and the US’ reliance on the art has only grown since the days when buck-toothed racist Japanese caricatures spoke to American civilians in broken English: “Please, take day off!” Hitler remains the exemplar of evil in the American mind only because history is written by the victors – Stalin, whose body count was significantly greater, was cast as kindly Uncle Joe, until the military-industrial complex required a new enemy to maintain military spending levels and the Soviet Union was transformed from powerful friend into formidable foe. Anti-Nazi propaganda has flourished since the war’s end, with lurid tales of lampshades and soap made from concentration camp victims, and “Nazi” itself has become shorthand for anyone we disagree with politically.

Americans are told again and again that military intervention is the only way to “save” the people of Libya, Syria, or Iraq, especially their women and children. While Libya may have taken the cake for most bizarre propaganda narrative yet, with stories that Muammar Gaddafi was doling out Viagra to his soldiers to ensure they were at the top of their rape game, the terrorist White Helmets in Syria won an Oscar for their convincing portrayal of a noble civil defense force, convincing the folks back home that Bashar Assad was a gas-happy monster instead of the cosmopolitan statesman who’d received the French Medal of Honor just a few years before.

An important part of both eras’ successful propaganda campaigns was bringing the war closer to home. Most Americans couldn’t care less about what is happening halfway around the world, no matter how many babies are supposedly being thrown into ovens or out of incubators. During WWII, this was accomplished with a speculative story in Life magazine on how the Nazis might invade the US. One of the routes took the Nazis up through Mexico. The narrative hasn’t changed much since then, except now it’s ISIS camped out at the border, lustily eyeing our “freedoms.”

Trump isn’t the only American aware that the US is no longer “winning.” But enacting the rituals of the last time it tasted victory is not going to catapult the world back into the golden age of the American empire. Those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it – worse, they are doomed to think repeating it is a good idea.

May 8, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Iran stops selling excess uranium, will enrich to higher level in 60 days unless Europe acts

RT | May 8, 2019

Iran’s President Rouhani announced a gradual scale-down of the country’s nuclear commitments. Tehran refused to dispose of excessive heavy water and uranium, and said additional measures will be taken over periods of 60 days.

The deal signed with Iran by leading world powers and the EU, offered Tehran a relief of sanctions in exchange for voluntarily restrictions of its nuclear industry. Last year the US broke its commitments under the deal and has been seeking to cripple Iran’s economy with economic sanction. Iran nevertheless remained faithful to its commitments as other signatories pledged to keep the deal alive by withstanding to US pressure.

On Wednesday, President Hassan Rouhani announced on national television that Iran will be suspending some of its commitments under the deal, which is also called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), due to continued US violation and a failure of European signatories to compensate for the damage done by Washington.

As of now, Tehran will no longer sell off excessive enriched uranium and heavy water, the Iranian president said. Under JCPOA terms, it is required to dispose of those materials if production exceeds certain thresholds.

Other signatories will have 60 days to negotiate with Iran and address its concerns, particularly in oil industry and banking sector, which Washington targets with its sanctions. If an agreement is reached, the suspension will be reversed.

Otherwise Iran will no longer be bound by an obligation not to enrich uranium over a certain level and may restore the shut heavy water nuclear reactor in Arak, which was supposed to be repurposed with the help of other signatories under the nuclear deal.

After those measures are implemented, 60 more days will be given for negotiations, Rouhani warned. And then Iran may take additional unspecified measures, he said.

Rouhani defended the JCPOA as a deal that was beneficial to Iran and detrimental to the enemies of Iran. He said only “radicals in the US,” Israel and Saudi-led Arab nations were interested in destroying it.

“Today is not the end of the nuclear deal,” he stated, calling on other signatories to act and salvage the agreement.

The deal was signed under US President Barack Obama, but the Trump administration sided with Israel, which believed the agreement to be a threat to its national security and sought to undermine it. Washington withdrew from the JCPOA in May last year.

May 8, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , | Leave a comment

US responsible for ‘unacceptable’ deadlock on JCPOA – Lavrov

RT | May 8, 2019

The irresponsible policies of the US have put the multilateral pact on Iran’s nuclear program at risk of failure, the Russian foreign minister said, adding that Washington should try diplomacy instead of threats for a change.

Sergey Lavrov criticized the US during a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif, who personally brought a letter from his government informing Russia about Tehran’s latest decision on the nuclear agreement. Russia is one of the signatories of the 2015 document, also known as JCPOA, which offered Iran relief from economic sanctions in exchange for accepting restriction on its nuclear industry.

“As I understand, our main task here is to discuss the unacceptable situation, which has unfolded around the JCPOA as a result of irresponsible behavior by the United States,” the Russian diplomat said before negotiations with the Iranians.

The Iranian minister said Tehran’s actions came in response to the US withdrawal from the deal, and were not meant to destroy the agreement. “[They] can be reversed. There is a 60-day windows of opportunity for diplomacy,” he said.

Later in the day, Lavrov lamented the current US administration’s habit of coercing other nations with threats of sanctions or direct use of military force, be it in the Middle East or Venezuela.

“The day before yesterday, I met US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Finland and called on him to use instruments of diplomacy instead of threats when dealing with all issues of contention, and to stick to international law and UN principles, which require the peaceful resolution of conflicts,” he said. “One has to have a taste for diplomacy, which probably not everyone has today.”

Iran on Wednesday announced that it will no longer observe the limits on reserves of enriched uranium and heavy water established by the deal, calling it a response to the US withdrawal from the JCPOA exactly a year ago. Unless European signatories of the agreement deliver on their promise to protect the Iranian economy from unilateral sanctions reimposed by the US over the last 12 months, Iran would take further action, President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised address.

All signatories were formally notified about Tehran’s decision, with Zarif using his coinciding visit to Moscow to offer personal explanations about why it was taken.

Lavrov stressed that Russia appreciated Iran’s continued compliance with the JCPOA even after the US broke its side of the bargain.

May 8, 2019 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , | Leave a comment