Archive | Iran

Coup Attempt in Motion Now!! Trump Stacking Pentagon in Last Ditch Attempt at Iran War

By VT Editors 

VT Exclusive

A nuclear attack on an American target, here at home or a major military facility in the Middle East has been authorized by Donald Trump.

An undisclosed number, more than 10, nuclear weapons have been sequestered inside the US by a non-Islamic Middle Eastern nation for some time. In 2010 a nuclear weapon was seized by a NES Team from a dorm furniture warehouse in Hancock County, Indiana.  Others are still out there. The cover story is here.

Trump’s new personnel in the Pentagon are there to prevent him from being physically removed, prior to January 20 for his quite obvious false flag attack on the US, which Israel is more than happy to assist with (as is Russia) and, if all fails, to defend the White House from Secret Service and Washington police on January 20.

Trump is doing the full ‘Tony Montana’ from Scarface by Brian De Palma (1983).

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will announce that Iran bought nuclear weapons from North Korea and will be offering proof he received from Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu has agreed to address the UN General Assembly after the US hits Iran with a “retaliatory” attack. Have we seen this one before as well?

Trump has sworn he will take down Iran before the shooting starts.

We have solid intelligence out of the UAE and Bahrain, both nations basking in a massive influx of Israeli “security personnel” under the Trump representation “deal of the dead.”

Sources in Syria and deep cover sources in Russia confirm that signals intercepts fabricated by Israeli and American drones are setting the stage for a fake Iranian attack.

The US 5th Fleet has been put high alert while Naval Intelligence, working with Israel, is planning an attack on one or more US ships in the Persian Gulf.

This is an exactly “play by play” of the attempt made under Bush when an attempt was made to kidnap and murder VT editor Gwyneth Todd, former member of the National Security Council under both Clinton and Bush.

QAnon and Opus Dei Revolt

The Pentagon has a number of commanders closely aligned with QAnon, a psyop video game invented by the CIA and with the Vatican’s extremist arm, Opus Dei, run in Washington by Attorney General William Barr.

Addendum I

CAIR Calls Reported Elevation of Anti-Muslim Bigot to Number Three Pentagon Role ‘Dangerous Threat’ to National Security    

(WASHINGTON, DC, 11/10/20) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today condemned the reported advancement of anti-Muslim bigot andconspiracy theorist Anthony J. Tata to the Pentagon’s top policy position for the remainder of the Trump administration.

Tata’s elevation as acting undersecretary follows the resignation of James Anderson, acting undersecretary of defense for policy – and one day after Defense Secretary Mark Esper was fired by President Trump.

“Anthony Tata is an anti-Muslim bigot and a fringe conspiracy theorist who has no business serving in the number three spot in the Pentagon for a single day, much less seventy days,” said CAIR Director of Government Affairs Robert S. McCaw. “Tata’s bigotry poses an unacceptable and dangerous threat to our nation and people around the world. Congress should vocally oppose his elevation to this position.”

BACKGROUNDER:  

In August, Trump went around the congressional vetting process by appointing Tata to the position of the “official performing the duties of the deputy undersecretary of defense for policy” after his nomination hearing to the undersecretary position was canceled in the U.S. Senate.

Tata’s confirmation hearing was canceled following Democratic and Republican members of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee objecting to his anti-Muslim social media posts and attacks against the Obama administration. CAIR welcomed the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee canceling Tata’s confirmation hearing.

SEE: Trump skirts Senate to install nominee under fire for Islamaphobic tweets in Pentagon post 

SEE: Trump Pick for Pentagon Post Sidesteps Senate Ire for Different Defense Job 

SEE: CAIR Welcomes Cancellation of Senate Confirmation Hearing for Pentagon Nominee Anthony Tata, a Longtime Anti-Muslim Conspiracy Theorist 

Prior to the confirmation hearing’s cancelation, CAIRsubmitted a statement for record urging members of the committee to vote “no” during the confirmation hearing on Tata’s nomination.

CAIR’s opposition to Tata’s nomination is based on his long history of espousing Islamophobic and anti-Muslim views, in addition to his promotion on social media of bizarre and unhinged political conspiracy theories targeting members of the Obama administration.

Prior to the hearing’s cancelation, ten Democratic committee members — led by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren — vowed to oppose the nomination and urged Tata to withdraw based on his record of “offensive and inflammatory comments.”

In April, CAIR called on members of the Senate Committee on Armed Services to reject President Trump’s then reported Tata’s nomination to the position of undersecretary of defense for policy.

On social media, in a series of since deleted tweets, Tata has called former President Barack Obama a “terrorist leader,” sharing an article that claimed Obama was “seditious” and a “Manchurian candidate” working on behalf of foreign powers, and referred to Islam as “the most oppressive violent religion I know of.”

In May 2018, Tata also promoted on Twitter a conspiracy theory of his own claiming that former CIA Director John Brennan used a coded tweet to order the assassination of Trump.

In his 2019 novel “Double Crossfire,” Tata promotes the right-wing, white supremacist, and anti-Muslim conspiracy theory that Muslims in Europe engage in sex crimes that are covered up by the media and politicians. In his book “Double Crossfire,” Tata wrote:

“Islamic ‘grooming’” is “a rite of passage for young Muslim men in Great Britain” in which “young men were gang-raping British women as part of their transition to manhood.”

The rising tide of Islam in Europe had seeped into the historically secular governments, and their collective media now forbade any speech against Islamic crimes.

CAIR notes, these far-right conspiracy theories are used as a recruiting tool by white supremacist groups in the UK and Europe.

In 2018, following a terrorist attack in Strasbourg, France, Tata told FOX News there is intent to harm Western society by Islam” and “it’s a truism that has to be built into policy so we can strengthen our borders.”      

During that same interview, Tata claimed Muslim immigration has disrupted European society: “this immigration policy of France and all of Europe with all the [Muslim] refugees that they have allowed in, millions that they allowed in have disrupted societies all throughout Europe and it’s not a good thing and they got to get control of it.”

In mid-September, CAIR renewed its call on members of the committee to oppose Tata’s nomination following reports in the media that Trump ordered the Department of Defense to hire disgraced anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist and fired National Security Council aide Richard Higgins as chief of staff to the undersecretary of defense for policy – in anticipation of serving under Tata.

The Washington-based civil rights organization has repeatedly expressed concern about the Trump administration’s Islamophobic, white supremacist and racist policies and appointments.

SEECAIR Condemns Trump’s Appointment of Anti-Muslim Bigot Sebastian Gorka to National Security Education Board

SEE: CAIR Condemns Selection of Trump’s New Islamophobic Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.    

END

CONTACT: CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448, rmccaw@cair.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com

Addendum II

Plot to Provoke war with Iran thwarted by Navy analyst

JUAN COLE 08/26/2012

Sends uber hawk Vice Admiral Kevin J. Cosgriff to Oil Gulf with instructions to provoke a war with Iran. He allegedly toys with challenging Iran’s claim to half of the Shatt al-Arab. He certainly decided abruptly to bring two aircraft carriers to the Gulf, in hopes of provoking Iran into doing something stupid, and without telling the State Department or the White House.

He also pushes analysis alleging that Bahrain Shiites intend anti-American terrorism on behalf of Iran.

Adviser to the Navy Gwenyth Todd (former National Security Council staffer) rightly challenges this stupid conspiracy theory (Bahrain Shiites are mostly Arab Akhbaris who reject ayatollahs, and would not slavishly obey Persian, Usuli Iran!).

I.e. Cosgriff was allegedly nearly making a coup in order to get up a war. Failing something so drastic, he may have (or his Neocon superiors may have) hoped to forestall direct talks with Iran that month.

Todd blows the whistle on Cosgriff, letting State know about his intended insubordination. Word gets back to Neocons or whoever was behind the provocation and Cosgriff that Todd was the leak. She is abruptly deprived of her base pass and security clearance, a trumped up case is made against her with the FBI that she received money from a former boyfriend who did illegal consulting with Sudan (she says she returned the small sum he sent her). Todd’s career is ruined, her inquiries and grievances are ignored, she marries an Austrlian naval officer and goes into exile in Perth. FBI harasses her even there.

Todd’s account is corroborated by Navy sources speaking off the record, according to the Washington Post.

But there are lots of reasons to believe there is something to her charges.

What happened to her was typical of Neoconservative ways of operating. Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, Richard Perle, Scooter Libby, and other Israel partisans inside the Pentagon or in Cheney’s office repeatedly played dirty tricks, held meetings and did not invite principals, contolled meeting agendas, and spied on and tried to discredit foeign service officers at the State Department, according to FSOs who have privately talked to me. The Neocons did these things in order to get up the Iraq War, which they thought would protect Israel.

According to Wesley Clark, they hoped for a series of wars. In 2007 Cheney was clearly pushing for a war on Iran. Many of the Neoconservatives had left government by 2007, but the network remained powerful, especially in Cheney’s office.

Among the victims/ witnesses was Karen Kwiatkowsky, who served in Feith’s Office of Special Plans, which cherry-picked raw intelligence, stove-piped it to the White House, illegally and inaccurately pbriefed Congress on intelligence, and generally behaved like a seedy third world secret police cell. She was appalled at what she saw.

A similar dirty trick was played on Joe Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame, when Wilson blew the whistle on the Bush administration’s falsehoods about alleged Iraqi ‘weapons of masss destruction.’ Plame was investigated by Karl Rove and Scooter Libby, who discovered she was CIA undercover, and they tried to spead the information around to the press in hopes of weakening Wilson’s credibility.

And, since I consulted in DC with government analysts about how to uproot al-Qaeda, and elements in the Bush White House minded my having influence with the analysts, someone in the WH in late 2005 ordered the CIA to spy on me and attempt to destroy my reputation (very illegal).

If Gwenyth Todd’s story is true, she is owed thanks by her country for thwarting a plot to get up a war on Iran. Given the things we know about how the Neocons operated, it is entirely plausible.

A dark thought: the Neocons have glommed onto Mitt Romney and will come to power if he does, and they still desperately want a war on Iran.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/bungling-spy-comes-in-for-a-cold-shoulder-20110301-1bd6u.html

https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/the-military-adviser-left-out-in-the-cold-20120929-26rzh.html

Posted in USA, IranComments Off on Coup Attempt in Motion Now!! Trump Stacking Pentagon in Last Ditch Attempt at Iran War

IAEA boss: ‘Israel lies about Iran’

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When we say that Benjamin Netanayhu is an ethnic cleanser, we are not talking about hyperbole here.

By Jonas E. Alexis

Rafael Grossi is the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). He is not an Iranian sympathizer. But when he was asked the question about how long it would take Iran to build nuclear weapons, Grossi indirectly deconstructed the entire Israeli machination by saying:

“In the IAEA we do not talk about breakout time. We look at the significant quantity, the minimum amount of enriched uranium or plutonium needed to make an atomic bomb. Iran does not have this significant quantity at the moment.”[1]

Think about the magnitude of the statement for a moment. Think about how long Benjamin Netanyahu has perpetually told the entire world that Iran has always been on the brink of building nuclear weapons. Once again, it is pertinent to bring in Netanyahu’s “scholarly” and “truthful” study here, Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat the International Terrorist Network.

“The best estimate at this time place Iran between three and five years away from possessing the prerequisites required for the independent production of nuclear weapons. After this time, the Iranian Islamic republic will have the ability to construct atomic weapons without the importation of materials or technology from abroad.”[2]

The best estimate? How did Netanyahu concoct this thread-bare hoax? Did he even cite the IAEA? Did he produce serious evidence?

No. As a pathological liar, Netanyahu was just doing what he has always done best:  producing one lie after another in order to seduce much of the West. He has to produce lies because he would love the West, particularly the United States, to bleed Iran. He did lie about Iraq, and he thinks he still can do it again.

Think about this for a moment. It’s been more than forty years since Netanyahu has written Fighting Terrorism, a book which is nothing but a fabrication. Iran still has no nuclear weapons.

In fact, it is generally agreed among U.S. and Israeli intelligence that Iran abandoned its nuclear weapons program.[3] Did Netanyahu start rethinking about his relentless lies and fabrications? Did he apologize to the world for slandering Iran? Did he listen to the head of the Israel Defense Force Lieutenant General Benny Gantz, who said that “the Iranian leadership is composed of very rational people” and is not interested in building nuclear weapons?[4]

Of course not. So, when we say that Benjamin Netanayhu is an ethnic cleanser, we are not talking about hyperbole here. He is the true manifestation of a diabolical figure who will do anything to drink the blood of other people in the Middle East.


  • [1] “Iran short of ‘significant quantity’ of potential bomb material: IAEA boss,” Reuters.com, October 11, 2020.
  • [2] Benjamin Netanyahu, Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat Domestic and International Terrorists (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1995), 121.
  • [3] “‘US, Israel agree Iran abandoned nuclear bomb,’” Jerusalem Post, March 18, 2012; James Risen and Mark Marzetti, “U.S. Agencies See No Move by Iran to Build a Bomb,” NY Times, February 24, 2012.
  • [4] Julian Borger, “Israel army chief contradicts Netanyahu on Iran,” Guardian, April 25, 2012; “Israeli military chief: Iran will not decide to make nuclear weapons,” Guardian, April 25, 2012.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, IranComments Off on IAEA boss: ‘Israel lies about Iran’

Iran’s Baku embassy condemns attacks on civilians, nonmilitary sites in Karabakh war

Rouhani – “Our region cannot afford another war”

…from PressTV, Tehran

[ Editor’s Note: Iran seems to have taken the point position in calling for Russia and Turkey to join in to stop the war, despite the evidence of Turkey having been involved in the planning and execution.

There are no oil or other economic resources in the disputed area, and Baku has a vastly higher GNP per citizen. Its claims to take over lands based on former wars of conquest, particularly WWI during the days of warlord countries scheming tirelessly at ways to expand their power, are baseless. Azerbaijan historically was not even a country.

Armenia has not been one of these aggressors, as a former victim of Turkey’s genocide. We have seen no reparation efforts whatsoever for Turkey’s terrible crimes against Armenia. It seems NATO countries get a free pass on making amends.

The arms manufacturers are the only ones to profit from these manufactured wars, which so-called civilized Western countries seem to view as economic birthday gifts, despite their claim to be human rights defenders.

The EU’s most recent sham has been pretending to support Iran’s JCPOA rights, when they have openly submitted to US domination. The EU tells the world that by not joining the US sanctions, they still support the JCPOA.

However, terrified of US sanctions, the EU conveniently excuses itself from trading with Iran.

This is the language of a chiseler that claims they will make good on their debt the next time they win the lotto… Jim W. Dean ]

– First published … October 04, 2020 –

Iran’s embassy in Baku has strongly condemned recent attacks on civilians and nonmilitary targets during the ongoing clashes between the Republic of Azerbaijan and neighboring Armenia, urging both sites to respect the law of war and protect civilian lives.

Iran’s embassy made the remarks in an official statement on Sunday after Azerbaijan announced the same day that Armenian forces had fired rockets at its second city of Ganja, killing one civilian and wounding four.

According to Azerbaijan’s presidential aide, Hikmet Hajiyev, there were also civilian casualties in another Azeri region, Beylagan, which borders Nagorno-Karabakh.

The office of Azerbaijan’s prosecutor general says a total of 19 civilians were killed on October 3 and 63 others were injured while 44 nonmilitary sites and 181 houses were destroyed as a result of attacks by Armenian forces.

Armenia, on the other side, says Nagorno-Karabakh’s main city Stepanakert, which has been under artillery fire since Friday, was hit again on Sunday and AFP journalists said there were regular explosions and clouds of black smoke rising in parts of the city.

Reflecting on the aforesaid developments, the Iranian embassy urged both warring parties to respect human rights as well as the international humanitarian law.

Reminding Baku and Yerevan of the international regulations governing armed conflicts, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians during such conflicts, the Iranian embassy condemned any form of violation of the rights of innocent people and killing them as well as destruction of nonmilitary sites, buildings and installations while condoling with the families who have lost their loved ones in the ongoing conflict.

Intense fighting rages on between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Karabakh region, with Baku claiming to have captured a string of villages in heavy clashes over the mountain enclave.

As fierce clashes between the two South Caucasus neighbors entered the eighth day on Sunday, local sources reported new strikes followed by several explosions in Khankendi, the main city of the breakaway region of Karabakh.

Clashes intensify in Karabakh; Azerbaijan claims advances

Azerbaijani authorities said they took “retaliatory measures” after rocket fire by Armenia-backed troops from the city which Armenians call Stepanakert.

During a telephone conversation with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to show restraint and reject any foreign interference over the Karabakh dispute.

Rouhani voiced concern about the ongoing fighting over the Nagorno-Karabakh territory and underlined the need for regional peace, stability and security.

“Our region cannot endure further instability and a new war,” he said.

Speaking at a regular press conference in Tehran on Tuesday, Iranian Government Spokesman Ali Rabiei said Iran, Turkey and Russia can help solve the Azerbaijan-Armenia territorial conflict, which has erupted into the worst spate of fighting between the two sides in years.

Iran, Turkey, Russia can help solve Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict over Karabakh: Government spokesman

“We still believe that the conflict between the two neighboring countries of the Azerbaijan Republic and the Armenia Republic has a peaceful solution and Iran, Turkey and Russia can help those two neighbors patch up their differences peacefully in line with the United Nations’ resolutions,” Rabiei said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday offered to host talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Russia repeats offer to mediate between Armenia, Azerbaijan

Lavrov held separate telephone conversations with his Azeri and Armenian counterparts, reaffirming Moscow’s readiness to organize necessary contacts, including by hosting a next meeting of the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Russia.

Posted in Armenia, Azerbaijan, IranComments Off on Iran’s Baku embassy condemns attacks on civilians, nonmilitary sites in Karabakh war

Guardian: European Leaders warn Trump Iran ‘snap back’ sanctions are illegal

In a joint statement, the E3 said: “The United States of America ceased to be a participant in the JCPOA following their withdrawal from the agreement on 8 May, 2018. Consequently, the notification received from the United States and transmitted to the member states of the [UN] security council, has no legal effect. It follows that any decision or action which would be taken on the basis of this procedure or its outcome have no legal effect.

France, Germany and UK say Washington does not have the authority, setting up clashEuropean leaders have warned the US that its claim to have the authority to reimpose sweeping UN-mandated sanctions on Iran has no effect in law, setting up a major legal clash that could lead to Washington imposing sanctions on its European allies.

In a joint statement on Sunday, France, Germany and the UK (E3) said any attempt by the US to impose its own sanctions on countries not complying with the reimposed UN ones was also legally void.

On Saturday, the US moved to reinstate a range of UN sanctions against Iran, saying it had the authority to do so as an original signatory of the joint comprehensive plan of action (JCPOA), the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and other major powers.

The other signatories claim the US left the JCPOA in 2018 and therefore no longer has a unilateral legal right to either declare Iran in breach of the agreement or to reimpose sanctions in the name of the UN.

The dispute leaves the US at loggerheads with much of the world on whether UN sanctions have been reimposed.

The disagreement is not just a legal wrangle since the Trump administration claims the US now has the authority to act against any country breaching the reimposed sanctions.

The US also claims the scheduled lifting of the UN embargo on arms sales to Iran in October is null and void. There is also a risk that the US will claim it has a new mandate to interdict Iranian shipping, a move that could lead to a naval clash in the Gulf.  Read more…

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/sep/20/iran-says-us-move-to-reimpose-snapback-sanctions-is-a-false-claim

Posted in USA, Europe, IranComments Off on Guardian: European Leaders warn Trump Iran ‘snap back’ sanctions are illegal

The US helped create the UN precisely to block antics like Mike Pompeo’s obsession with Iran

by: Assal Rad

In late November of 1943, FDR, Churchill, and Stalin met in Iran, which the allied powers had occupied during World War II, in what came to be known as the Tehran Conference — a strategy meeting to combat Nazi Germany and consider a post-war settlement. Another significant outcome of the meeting were conversations addressing the demise of the League of Nations, which had failed to prevent a second world war, and the need for an international body to be established with the mission to nurture world peace.

One of the central reasons for the League’s failure was that the United States refused to participate, fearing it would be constrained by international obligations. However, after the devastation of World War II, the need for such a body was self-evident and so the United Nations was born from its rubble. In a world facing a rise in authoritarianism, pandemic, the dangers of nuclear proliferation, and the existential threat of climate change, the significance of the U.N. and its origins are more relevant than ever.

Most recently, the United Nations and the international community held the United States accountable — despite its position as the unipolar power of the world — by rejecting the absurd U.S. claims that it is a “participant” in the Iran nuclear deal (which it withdrew from in May 2018) and could therefore initiate a “snapback” mechanism to reimpose U.N. sanctions on Iran.

Rather than submitting to the arrogant posturing of the Trump administration, the international body held firm to its mission of fostering peace. In their joint statement following Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s attempt at “snapback” of all U.N. sanctions on Iran, the E3, Britain, France, and Germany, made their position clear yet again, “France, Germany and the United Kingdom note that the US ceased to be a participant to the JCPOA following their withdrawal from the deal on May 8, 2018…We cannot therefore support this action which is incompatible with our current efforts to support the JCPOA.”

The 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran was a breakthrough for nuclear non-proliferation and a model for global diplomacy. While peaceful relations with allies and friends is admirable, the real work of diplomacy is its effectiveness with presumed adversaries. In the Iran deal, the second breakthrough was détente between the U.S. and Iran, after both sides had engaged in belligerent rhetoric against the other for decades.  

As the U.S. under the Trump administration — and at the behest of an outspoken Iran hawk, Mike Pompeo — has tried everything to sabotage years of negotiating efforts by the Obama administration and brought us to the brink of war with Iran, world powers, Iranians, and the American populace continue to support diplomacy and a peaceful resolution. While President Trump has maintained the language of his campaign platform and appears to want a deal with Iran in his own name, instead of a war, it has become increasingly plain that Secretary of State Pompeo wants no such deal.

In the just under two weeks since the U.S. attempt to extend the arms embargo on Iran through a U.N. Security Council resolution failed miserably, an obsessed Pompeo has tweeted more than 20 times about Iran, taking up approximately a third of all his activity. After the vote, Pompeo lambasted the international body stating, “The Security Council’s failure to act decisively in defense of international peace and security is inexcusable.” While the irony of such a statement — in light of the Trump administration’s destruction of a deal that advanced peace and prevented Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon — is striking, the dogmatic tone should not be overlooked. During his short tenure as Secretary of State, Pompeo has led the U.S. to increased isolation in the international community, slowly eroded the State Department, undermined diplomacy in favor of hostility, been investigated for misconduct, and his discourse has grown gradually more divisive both domestically and globally.

If the United Nations is to succeed where the League of Nations failed, it must stand up against precisely this kind of rhetoric, and the aggressive unilateral actions of a member state led by an administration that has damaged its own democratic institutions and seems determined to destroy an international body if it does not bend to its will. We can never know if a properly functioning League of Nations could have prevented WWII, what we do know however, is that we cannot allow another failure of that magnitude. With the global challenges we face, the need for an international body that provides collective security and prevents war through disarmament and diplomacy is crucial. The U.N. fulfilled its duty by rejecting Pompeo’s reckless schemes, it must continue to show strength, deny warmongers their desired legitimacy, and encourage the peace it was founded to protect.

Posted in USA, Iran, Politics, UNComments Off on The US helped create the UN precisely to block antics like Mike Pompeo’s obsession with Iran

Joe Biden must elaborate his Iran policy

by: Shireen Hunter

Since Donald Trump became president in 2017, U.S.-Iran relations have steadily deteriorated. This downward trend in relations accelerated following the United States’ withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, in May 2018.

The United States followed with the imposition of new sanctions, on the sale of Iranian oil as well as on many other sectors of its economy and a number of specific individuals. In fact, no part of the Iranian economy has escaped U.S. sanctions.

Even the spread of Coronavirus, which to date has claimed more than 20,000 Iranian lives, did not move the Trump administration to relent on its maximum pressure campaign on Iran and allow the country to import more medicine.

Initially, Iran responded by what it has characterized as “strategic patience” and tried to convince the European signatories of the JCPOA to take actions to ease the economic and financial difficulties caused by new U.S. sanctions. Iran even reacted cautiously to the U.S. killing of General Qassim Soleimani, commander of the IRGC’s Quds force.

This strategy did not pay off. Therefore, to impose a cost on Trump’s policy, Iran began step-by-step increases in the level of its enriched uranium, albeit within the range permitted by the JCPOA. Despite Iran’s patience and caution, the U.S. augmented pressures on Tehran and tried to extend the U.N. arms embargo on Iran. This effort failed at the U.N. Security Council, with even key U.S. allies — the U.K., Germany, and France — abstaining.

The U.S. failure at the Security Council showed the depth of other nations’ disapproval of a U.S. Iran policy based only on pressure and without any incentives, which could encourage Iran to compromise.

Finally, Secretary Pompeo attempted to force the reimposition of U.N. sanctions by invoking the JCPOA’s “snapback” mechanism — but due to the U.S. departure from the JCPOA, this was roundly rejected as illegitimate. Mike Pompeo, however, has declared that sanctions will return on September 20, with or without U.N. approval.

Democratic response

Despite the Trump administration’s ramping up of its anti-Iran rhetoric and actions, the Democrats’ criticism of these policies has remained rather muted. Their main criticism has been that Trump’s policies have failed to bring the Iranian government down, to force it to accept U.S. demands, or to reduce Tehran’s nefarious activities in the Middle East. Instead, they say, the Trump administration’s policies have isolated the U.S. internationally.

Most Democrats have not mentioned once the human cost of U.S. sanctions, even after the COVID-19 crisis hit Iran. Nor have they presented concrete plans on how they would do things differently. In short, their approach to the Iran issue has been long on criticism and short on better alternatives.

When talking more specifically, Vice President Biden’s foreign policy advisers’ statements have been eerily close to the Trump administration’s positions. On the JCPOA, despite the general expectation that a Biden administration would rejoin the agreement, a careful reading of some of Vice President Biden’s advisers’ statements shows that this outcome cannot be counted on.

For example, Tony Blinken, a likely candidate for the post of national security adviser, has said that the U.S. would return to the JCPOA only after Iran fulfills its commitments under the nuclear agreement. One assumes that he means that Iran has to reverse increases in the level of its enriched uranium before the U.S. rejoins the agreement. Moreover, according to him, in the interim, all sanctions would remain in place.

Iran is unlikely to agree to this condition. Tehran increased the levels of uranium enrichment in response to the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA and the imposition of new sanctions. Given the U.S. record on the JCPOA, Iran would not walk back from these measures without the simultaneous U.S. return to the JCPOA and some reduction in sanctions.

Blinken has also said that the U.S. would want to negotiate a longer and better agreement with Iran. But he is silent on what he means by “better.” Does he mean denying Iran the right to enrichment as initially the U.S. insisted on? Does he mean that a new agreement should also cover the Iranian missiles and its regional activities?

If this interpretation is correct, then no one should except any progress in resolving the standoff with Iran under a Biden presidency. Iran would not give up the right to enrichment, nor would it give up its missiles, except within a broader regional arms reduction plan, since missiles are its primary deterrent capability.

Other Biden advisers, notably Jake Sullivan, while emphasizing diplomacy, have talked of maintaining pressure on Tehran.

Limits of diplomacy

It seems that Biden advisers believe that diplomacy can resolve issues virtually on its own. But this is not so. Diplomacy succeeds If there is a willingness to compromise and give and take on the part of both parties. But if it is used just to deliver ultimatums, even if politely and softly, then it generally fails.

President Obama succeeded in reaching an agreement with Iran because he was willing to compromise and give incentives to Iran as well as demand concessions . But reading Blinken, one does not see much readiness for compromise or willingness to offer incentives.

This interpretation might not be correct, and we can hope that it is not. But if these statements reflect Vice President Biden’s views and inclinations, then there would not be much hope for a breakthrough in U.S.-Iran relations.

A more productive way to approach Iran under a new administration would be for the U.S. first to return to the JCPOA and at least partially lift sanctions, while Iran resumes its full compliance and reverses all increases in the levels of its enriched uranium. Gradually, a Biden administration should allow U.S. companies to deal with Iran and thus prepare the way for dialogue on regional and other issues, especially in areas where there might be some convergence of interest between Iran and the U.S.

For any breakthrough to be possible, Iran has to do its share as well. Tehran must realize that, sooner or later, it has to discuss regional issues of concern to the U.S.  and other Western powers. Without such discussions, even if the U.S. returns to the JCPOA, it cannot expect full normal economic relations at regional and international levels.Written by

Posted in USA, IranComments Off on Joe Biden must elaborate his Iran policy

Why is Iran developing missiles and bolstering regional proxies?

by: Jalil Bayat

After failing to extend the Iran arms embargo at the U.N. Security Council, the Trump administration is now seeking to initiate the “snapback” mechanism provided in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action which allows its participants to reinstate all multilateral sanctions against Iran lifted in 2015 under the nuclear deal.

Trump purportedly wants a new deal with Iran which will not only prevent it from acquiring a nuclear weapon, but will also limit the country’s missile program and cut its support for proxy forces in the region. But he seemingly pays no attention to what motivates Iran to develop a missile program or to form regional proxies.

Iranian leaders’ motivation for these behaviors in a volatile Middle East is survival. Historical and geopolitical experiences in the region impose two behaviors on Iran which have, incidentally, provoked the most antagonism by the U.S.

Developing a missile program

When Saddam Hussein launched missile strikes on Iran (1980-1988), Iran was unable to retaliate. The West had sanctioned Iran and the country had to turn to Libya and North Korea for the simplest military and missile equipment. It also lacked an advanced air force. This situation led Iranian leaders to feel the need to create and develop a native missile program; and today they have the largest missile arsenal in the region.

And now, Iran’s leaders are not prepared to simply lose this means of legitimate defense. By stating that a large number of missiles provide a deterrent force for Iran, a former diplomat and a columnist for several Iranian newspapers on diplomacy, Fereydoun Majlessi told me: “Economically, it was also much more feasible to manufacture missiles rather than purchase them. So, Iran acquired the technical know-how for this industry.”

Developing regional proxies

According to professor of International Relations at Florida International University, Mohiaddin Mesbahi, Iran is “strategically lonely” in terms of geopolitics. In other words, whether willingly and consciously or unwillingly and out of necessity, it is strategically lonely and deprived of any meaningful alliances with the great powers. During the course of history, Iran has been invaded many times by the Arabs, Turks, and Saddam from the west, by the Moghuls and Afghans from the east, by Russia from the north, and by the Portuguese from the south. It had no allies in any of these cases. Nor does it have any reliable regional allies today. Iran is the only Persian-speaking, Shiite country in the wider Arab-Sunni dominated Middle East and its strategic loneliness along its extensive borders without natural barriers means that defending itself along its borders will equate to defeat.

These conditions have led its leaders to consider creating proxies in the region to expand the breadth of Iran’s strategic defense. In fact, the motivation behind creating the proxies is mainly defensive rather than offensive as indicated in findings by the RAND Corporation: “Iran is not seeking territorial expansion or the forced imposition of its revolutionary ideology.” Hezbollah in Lebanon is seen as Iran’s first stronghold against Israel, and Ansarullah balances Saudi power in Yemen. Even support for Hash’d al Shaabi is to prevent Iraq from invading Iran again. In an interview, former diplomat and spokesperson for Iran’s nuclear negotiation team, Seyed Hossein Mousavian, said he sees Iran’s behavior as a reaction to U.S. actions. “The United States has invested in Arab states to counter Iran,” he said, adding, “and Iran has reciprocally invested in popular forces to counter and resist U.S. domination.

The outcome of Trump’s strategy

Over the last three years, however, the Trump administration has tried to “change Iran’s behavior” by disregarding these two motives. Nevertheless, it has been unable to reach a new agreement with Iran despite exiting the nuclear deal, imposing the harshest, unprecedented economic sanctions, applying tough political and military pressures, and assassinating the country’s top major general. The U.S. is seeking to extend the arms embargo on Iran while selling billions of dollars of arms to its regional rivals and giving Israel — which has nuclear weapons — economic and security backup. It has also encircled Iran with its military bases.

Iran’s leaders can only conclude that the U.S. is seeking regime change, adding resistance as a third motivation. Needless to say, no sovereign country is willing to give up its independence, in the same way Iranian leaders are not willing to forgo their defense tools, especially at a time when they are almost convinced that the U.S. pursues the policy of toppling them.

Persisting along these lines will most likely plunge the U.S. administration into an unnecessary war. A November win by Trump in the election will greatly increase the possibility of a U.S.-Iran confrontation. Perhaps that is why the Revolutionary Guards used a replica of an American ship in their recent naval drills to prepare for a real situation.

The U.S. should understand the motives of Iran’s leaders. U.S. leaders need to understand why Iran wants missiles or seeks to form regional proxies. Merely observing behavior without understanding the motives behind it does not provide U.S. leaders with and accurate analysis. It will only continue the spiral of misperceptions on both sides.

But once the U.S. discerns these motives instead of going for behavior change, it can pursue policies that give Iran no incentive to advance its missile program or support regional proxies. That is, behavior can change through motivation. This can only be achieved with a stable security system in place in the Middle East whereby countries are reassured of their sovereignty and independence and differences are resolved without military intervention. The U.S. can use its leadership potential in the world to create such a system, or else it can continue to destabilize and escalate tensions in the region by pursuing unilateral bullying policies. Which one will America choose?

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The Iranian view of Hiroshima: Beyond anti-US ideology?

by: Clément Therme and Banafsheh Keynoush

The use of the memory of Hiroshima as a political weapon against the US, a country that Iran says has undermined its sovereignty since World War II, is a recurring theme in Iranian media. During a visit to Tehran by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2019, the Iranian daily Farhikhtegan carried a picture of a mushroom cloud from a nuclear blast—a reference to America’s bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of the war. “How Can You Trust A War Criminal, Mr. Abe?” the newspaper asked in dual English and Persian headlines.

Iranian films screened in Hiroshima

On the whole, the memory of Hiroshima is regarded as a positive influence in shaping the recent bilateral relations between Tokyo and Tehran. According to Farhikhtegan, President Hassan Rouhani declared in 2013 that Iran and Japan are two countries that have suffered greatly from weapons of mass destruction. The two seem to bond by insisting on their shared historical experience as victims of weapons of mass destruction. In Japan, still to this day, survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are living testimony to the long-term health hazards of weapons of mass destruction. In Iran, there are some 50,000 victims of chemical weapons who can testify to the weapon being used by the Iraqi state during the first Gulf War (the Iran-Iraq war of 1980–1988). Every summer, Iran’s participation in the Love & Peace Film Festival demonstrates how it uses the memory of Hiroshima to strengthen cultural cooperation with Japan.

The festival screens Iranian films in Hiroshima about the sufferings of chemical warfare victims in the first Gulf War. Japanese directors have also screened films about Hiroshima at Iran’s Fajr International Film Festival.

Despite this connection based on memories of human suffering, at first glance Japan and Iran appear to have achieved little to advance a common understanding about the nuclear bomb since Hiroshima. This is partly explained by the fact that the Allied Powers in World War II insisted that Iran break off diplomatic ties with Japan in 1943, in exchange for signing a treaty to guarantee Iranian sovereignty. It was not until 1951 that Iran was able to end its officially declared war on Japan, once Tokyo re-established peaceful relations with the wartime Allied Powers by signing the Treaty of San Francisco. In 1953, bilateral diplomatic relations were restored when the Japanese mission reopened in Tehran.

Personal friendship between the Shah and the Emperor

The period coincided with Iran’s national drive to obtain nuclear technology under the US Atoms for Peace program. Iran’s quest for nuclear sovereignty in this period was not a hurdle to its bilateral relations with Japan. By the 1970s, Iran launched its nuclear energy program, and the period was marked by a brief renewal of Japanese interest in Iran’s commercial and energy markets, driven by the personal friendship between Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and Emperor Hirohito. In 1979, Iran’s Islamic revolution halted the country’s nuclear program, only to be resumed in the mid 1980s. By the time the Islamic Republic of Iran’s massive nuclear build-up was exposed to the world in 2002, Tehran appeared to have parted ways with Japan over the issue of nuclear weapons.

The anti-US ideology of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini, created obstacles by way of an understanding between Tokyo and Tehran on the subject of shunning nuclear weapons. Even Tehran’s political ties and energy cooperation with Japan were constrained by the issue and over Tokyo’s military and security dependency on Washington. But despite the US factor in placing limits on the making of a strong Japanese-Iranian partnership, the memory of Hiroshima continued to influence political interactions between Tehran and Tokyo.

“Japan of the Middle East”

Iran’s fascination with the successful “Japanese model” for economic growth and development despite the setbacks of World War II predated its revolution. The leaders of imperial and revolutionary Iran both liked to compare their country’s development process, and its share of hurdles and anti-western culture clashes, with Japan’s rise to power after Hiroshima. The fascination transcended Iran’s rigid Islamist factional debates under the Islamic Republic. It was the product of a national consensus from the Shah’s era to transform Iran into the “Japan of the Middle East.” The Iranian intellectual Ali Shariati who inspired the revolution to fight imperialism, and who disregarded the history of Japanese imperialism as a thing of the past, saw Japan as a successful example of modernization without the problems of westernization.1.

Despite these positive views of Japan, Iran’s political ties and energy cooperation with the country were limited. Even after the reformist President Mohammad Khatami visited Japan in 2000, the first by an Iranian leader since 1958, prospects of better relations with Iran looked dim. It was under Khatami that Iran’s nuclear program developed, triggering a nuclear proliferation crisis in the following years. Japan was a key ally for the US and Europe in their efforts to limit the scope of the Iranian nuclear program. For its part, Iran began memorializing Hiroshima, to deflect criticism over its nuclear activities. For example, Iran opened a Peace Museum in 2011, inspired by the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum’s efforts to bring to life the narratives of countries that fell victim to weapons of mass destruction.

Forty years of confrontation

Iran’s tensions with the US and its allies have lasted over forty years, and increased in intensity, especially after Washington pulled out of the nuclear deal in 2018. Though Iran’s conflicts with the US in particular are not as deadly as the World War II tensions, they carry a potential to incur a heavy cost on all sides. This begs the question of whether the nuclear debate in Iran encompasses more than what meets the eye, especially if it cannot be confined by the memory of Hiroshima or joint US-Japan efforts to date to end the potentially dangerous aspects of the Iranian nuclear program. Ayatollah Khamenei has publicly declared time and again that the nuclear deal made under the Obama administration harmed Iran’s interests by delaying its nuclear program. At the same time, he has banned the use of nuclear weapons through a fatwa, given that public sentiments in Iran are still generally opposed to the idea of the bomb. But average Iranians do not have a say on matters of foreign policy, or on how revolutionary Iran will address the issue of nuclear deterrence if it works to enhance its security.

The Islamic Republic of Iran seems to be piecing together the memories of Hiroshima not so much to take Japan’s path toward disarmament, or improved relations with the U.S.2. Tehran is intrigued by the US insisting on having nuclear weapons, and on the right to use them, and what that entails for Iran’s long-term security given the tensions between the two. It is these issues that preoccupy Tehran when it opts to work with other countries that have defied US nuclear ambitions, such as North Korea, Russia and China, to develop the Iranian nuclear program.

In 1983, Japan’s Foreign Minister Shintaro Abe met with Ayatollah Khamenei in Iran to broker a deal that would ensure maritime navigation in the Persian Gulf during the first Gulf War. Iran welcomed the idea, but it was not enough to get Iraq on board to end the war. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzu Abe accompanied his father on that trip as a young man, his first to Iran, to witness the challenge of averting military confrontation. On his second trip to Tehran last year, Abe was told that Iran would not stay committed to the nuclear deal if other parties refused to salvage it. Iran resumed its nuclear activities shortly after, pointedly showing that the memory of Hiroshima was not enough to end the revolution’s drive to obtain full sovereignty in its nuclear policy decisions.

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How the recent Iran-IAEA agreement can save the nuclear deal

by: Julia Masterson

Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency recently resolved a year and a half-long dispute over an Agency investigation into possible undeclared nuclear materials and activities. While this investigation is focused on accounting for past activities, Iran’s cooperation eliminates a key obstacle that may have impeded any potential return to full compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal.

Their agreement, whereby Iran will provide the Agency with access to two locations that are not part of Iran’s declared nuclear program, demonstrates Tehran’s commitment to fulfilling its safeguards obligations under the deal. It is also an important step for the IAEA to ensure that all nuclear materials in Iran are accounted for and monitored.

While the United States bids to re-impose United Nations Security Council sanctions on Iran that were lifted in accordance with the deal, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Tehran’s cooperation with the IAEA exemplifies Iran’s continued commitment to preserving the agreement. Coupled with an otherwise strong international allegiance to upholding the multilateral accord, Iran’s agreement with the IAEA significantly increases the JCPOA’s chance for survival.

The IAEA’s recent investigation into Iran’s possible undeclared nuclear activities began in early 2019, when Iran granted inspectors access to a previously undeclared site. Then, IAEA inspectors detected sources of anthropogenic (human-processed) uranium particles. The presence of uranium at the site suggests that Iran used it to store materials that should have been declared to the agency.

The IAEA also sought clarification from Iran about three additional locations that the Agency suspects could possibly have been used for undeclared nuclear materials or activities before 2003. U.S. intelligence concluded that Iran terminated its organized nuclear weapons program around that time. The Agency requested physical access to two of those sites in January 2020, which Iran denied.

Iran continued to stonewall the investigation into the summer months. While it was clear from IAEA reports that the investigation targeted activities that might have occurred almost two decades ago and do not pose a near-term proliferation risk, Iran’s reluctance to cooperate undermined Tehran’s credibility. Its failure to comply with the investigation also threatened to further damage Iran’s standing under the JCPOA, which obligates Iran to provisionally apply a more intrusive additional protocol to its safeguards agreement, expanding the IAEA’s inspection privileges.

Iran’s implementation of its safeguards agreement and the additional protocol requires it to comply with Agency investigations. The IAEA’s Board of Governors passed a resolution on June 20 calling on Iran to grant access to the sites in question. The resolution, spearheaded by the European parties to the JCPOA (France, Germany, and the United Kingdom), underscored their concern about Iran’s failure to cooperate with the IAEA. Following the resolution, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi warned that if Iran did not cooperate by the end July, “it will be bad.”

But the agreement that was eventually reached on August 26 outlines Iran’s provision of access to the Agency to conduct safeguards inspections at the two sites in question. The Agency relayed that in the “present context” it has no further questions or requests for access — language likely included to address Iranian concerns that the IAEA intended to re-investigate all of Iran’s pre-2003 nuclear activities. But this is not to say that the IAEA won’t seek future clarification from Iran. The IAEA may pursue answers or request additional access depending on the outcome of those inspections — as the Agency is required to.  

For the time being, cooperating with the IAEA is an important demonstration of Iran’s commitment to upholding its safeguards obligations and the additional monitoring mechanisms agreed to under the JCPOA.

It’s still concerning that Iran remains in violation of the deal, but each of the steps that Iran has taken to violate the agreement — including exceeding the enrichment limit, growing its stockpile of low-enriched uranium, introducing advanced centrifuges, and resuming enrichment activities at the Fordow facility, among other things ­— are reversible. Iran’s resolution with the IAEA builds confidence that Iran does not intend to reduce its compliance with the IAEA in its bid to pressure the remaining parties to the deal to deliver on sanctions relief. Any such steps could risk collapsing the deal.

This conclusion also lends assurance to the Security Council members who will continue a battle to block the U.S. attempts to re-impose U.N. sanctions on Iran. For now, the overwhelming majority of the Security Council stands committed to rejecting the U.S. demand to snap back sanctions over Iran’s violations of the JCPOA (which were brought about by the U.S. violating the deal first and reimposing sanctions), but it doesn’t appear that the Trump administration will give up its fight. Iran’s compliance with the IAEA’s investigation assuages one key concern that states may have used as justification for supporting the U.S. push to re-impose the U.N. sanctions.

For the states that see the JCPOA for what it is — a nuclear nonproliferation agreement — efforts to collapse a deal that has so far succeeded in promoting an exclusively peaceful Iranian nuclear program seem foolish. Preservation of the deal also leaves an opportunity for a future U.S. administration to negotiate re-entry. Iran has implied that U.S. re-entry could be matched by return to Iranian compliance, and Iran’s President Rouhani said in late-August that Tehran would negotiate with Washington pending its re-entry to the deal.

Iran’s resolution with the IAEA marks an important step toward addressing concerns over Iran’s past undeclared nuclear materials and activities, which is important for both Iran, seeking to meet its international commitments, and for the IAEA, striving to comprehensively verify Iran’s nuclear program.

But it also marks an important development for the JCPOA. With a complete IAEA safeguards agreement and the international community’s professed support for the nuclear deal, Iran has positioned itself well to try and ensure that the deal outlasts the current U.S. administration. Full implementation of the JCPOA remains the international community’s best avenue to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program remains entirely peaceful going forward.

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Iran Hawk Bolton Says US Snapback ‘Not Worth The Risk’

Trump Bolton

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has reiterated that US recourse to a dispute mechanism of the 2015 nuclear deal is baseless after Washington’s withdrawal from the agreement, citing the statements of one of Washington’s own former top officials.

“US recourse to Dispute Resolution Mechanism in 2231 has NO LEG TO STAND ON,” Zarif said on Twitter on Sunday, citing assertions by former US national security advisor John Bolton who has admitted that Washington’s contention holds no water.

.@AmbJohnBolton has repeated today what he said on May 8, 2018, while National Security Advisor in the Trump administration.

At least he is consistent—a trait notably absent in this US administration.

US recourse to Dispute Resolution Mechanism in 2231 has NO LEG TO STAND ON. pic.twitter.com/txNBhyOkv4

— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) August 16, 2020

US President Donald Trump pledged Saturday to trigger a return of all sanctions on Iran using a provision, known as snapback, in UN Security Council Resolution 2231, a day after the UN Security Council overwhelmingly rejected an American resolution to extend an arms embargo on Iran.

“Snapback” was envisioned in the event Iran was proven to be in violation of the 2015 nuclear accord. Trump pulled out of the agreement, known as the JCPOA, in 2018. But the US circulated a six-page memo Thursday from State Department lawyers, claiming that the United States remained part of the 2015 Security Council resolution that endorsed the deal and still had the right to use the snapback provision.

Zarif also posted two photos in his Sunday tweet showing Bolton’s remarks that the US has no right to use the snapback technique.

One of the photos showed Bolton’s remarks during a press briefing back in 2018 in which he said the US was not using the provisions of Resolution 2231, “because we’re out of the [nuclear] deal”.

The other photo was of an article by Bolton titled “Iran ‘Snapback’ Isn’t Worth the Risk” published by the Wall Street Journal on Sunday in which he referred to paragraph 11 of Security Council Resolution 2231 that provides that a “participant state” in the nuclear deal, asserting “significant non-performance of commitments” thereunder, can force a Security Council vote on snapback within 30 days.

In the article, Bolton backed the arguments made by the agreement’s supporters who say Washington, having withdrawn from the deal, has no standing to invoke its provisions.

“They’re right. It’s too cute by half to say we’re in the nuclear deal for purposes we want but not for those we don’t. That alone is sufficient reason not to trigger the snapback process,” the war-mongering neocon said.

Bolton “has repeated today what he said on May 8, 2018, while National Security Advisor in the Trump administration,” Zarif said in his Sunday’s tweet.

“At least he is consistent—a trait notably absent in this US administration,” he added.

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