Bahman 6 1399 - January 25 2021
Iran Hawks Begin Effort To Undermine Joe Biden's Diplomacy

President Joe Biden and his top foreign policy aides have promised to move carefully to achieve one of his main diplomatic goals: restoring the 2015 international agreement to limit Iran's nuclear program, which former President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from in 2018. Iran hawks like Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) are determined to quickly stymie Biden's plans. -Akbar Shahid Ahmed, Huffington Post 1/25/21

Petition to U.S. President Joe Biden: End Sanctions on Iran

In violation of legal bans on collective punishment, U.S. sanctions on Iran harm ordinary people, not the Iranian government. These crippling sanctions have robbed the people of their livelihood, violating individuals' right to health, making the Coronavirus pandemic more lethal, and causing unnecessary suffering and death. Many members of the U.S. Congress have expressed their urgent concern. -Action Network 1/22/21

Making New friends: Meet an Iranian

The United States and Iran have spent decades in a tumultuous relationship, including: US overthrowing their elected leader in 1953, Iranian revolution with American hostage-taking, sanctions, diplomatic breakthroughs and a nuclear treaty, US exiting the treaty, coupled with the start of yet more sanctions. President Biden hopes to re-enter the nuclear treaty with Iran, which was working well, according to all international arms inspection organizations. -David Powell, Counterpunch 1/22/21

'Going Back to the Cheney Playbook': Fears of War Grow as Pompeo Plans to Accuse Iran of Ties to Al Qaeda

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is reportedly planning to accuse Iran of links to Al Qaeda in a speech Tuesday, an allegation critics described as a rehashing of a Bush administration lie that served as part of the rationale for the catastrophic invasion of Iraq in 2003. -Jake Johnson, Common Dreams 1/12/21

Experts urge swift return to Iran nuclear deal

A group of more than 50 international relations and Middle East experts have signed onto a letter urging President-elect Joe Biden to swiftly return to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. President Donald Trump had broken with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, replacing it with an economic and military pressure campaign aimed at the Iranian government. -Matthew Petti, Responsible Statecraft 1/8/21

Donald Trump's parting gift to the world? Signs suggest it may be war with Iran

President Trump's incitement of criminal mob violence and occupation of the Capitol makes clear there is no limitation whatever on the abuse of power he may commit in the next two weeks he remains in office. Outrageous as his incendiary performance was on Wednesday, I fear he may incite something far more dangerous in the next few days: his long-desired war with Iran. -Daniel Ellsberg, Guardian 1/8/21

Biden Must Do More Than Rejoin the Iran Nuke Deal

We need a decisive break from the previous century of US policy toward Iran, which has been based on domination. One year after the United States government assassinated Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani and nearly plunged the two countries into war, will the new administration lead a shift in relations? -Azadeh Shahshahani and Khury Petersen-Smith, Nation 1/5/21

'His Biggest-And Likely Most Disastrous-Stunt Yet'? Experts Warn a Desperate Trump May Attack Iran

Foreign policy experts are sounding the alarm that U.S. President Donald Trump could launch an assault on Iran in the final weeks of his administration, potentially provoking a full-blown war just days before President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration. -Kenny Stancil, Common Dreams 1/5/21

Trump and Netanyahu Keep Trying to Goad Iran Conflict. They Have 18 Days.

The U.S. mainstream media's biggest failure is not that it distorts coverage, but that most of it doesn't cover the danger of a Mideast conflict at all. -James North, Common Dreams 1/5/21

Trump and Iran in Last 17 Days: Will They or Won't They?

There is a lot of buzz inside the Beltway, most of it generated inside the Beltway, about possible hostilities between Iran and the Trump administration in the Mad President's last 17 days in office. Some of this buzz is around today's January 3rd, 2020, anniversary of Trump's assassination of Gen. Qasem Soleimani and Gen. Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, by rocket at Baghdad International Airport. -Juan Cole, Common Dreams 1/4/21

Iran attack may be next in Trump's farewell bag of tricks

No one thought President Donald Trump would leave quietly. But would he go so far as to start a military confrontation with Iran on his way out? Recent military movements by the Pentagon in the Middle East, combined with Israeli media reports that Saudi Arabi and Israel are pressing Trump to bomb Iran before he leaves office, has fueled speculation that Trump may be planning his biggest - and likely most disastrous - stunt yet. -Trita Parsi, Responsible Statecraft 1/2/21

Iran's Top Diplomat Warns Trump Plotting to 'Fabricate Pretext for War' as US Flies B-52s Over Persian Gulf

Hours after the U.S. flew two nuclear-capable B-52 bombers over the Persian Gulf for the second time this month, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif claimed Thursday that he is aware of intelligence suggesting that President Donald Trump's administration is engaged in a "plot to fabricate a pretext for war"during its final days in power. -Jake Johnson, Common Dreams 1/2/21

Time for Reflection: a year ago the U.S. assassinated a national leader

Sunday marks the first anniversary of the assassination of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani by the United States, using an armed drone at the Baghdad International Airport. Soleimani was a major political and military figure whose role went well beyond his formal position as commander of the Quds force within the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. His influence over much of Iran's security policy was probably second only to that of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. -Paul R. Pillar, Responsible Statecraft 1/2/21

The big finale: is Trump dangerous enough to start a war?

Donald Trump, in the final days of his presidency, presents at least as much reason for worry. The principal specific concern is not the kind of circumvention of senior levels of the chain of command that Schlesinger's directive was designed to counter. And with the teetotaling Trump, alcohol is not a factor as it reportedly was with Nixon. But the psychopathology is. -Paul R. Pillar, Responsible Statecraft 12/27/20

'Unhinged, Lame-Duck President Wants to Start a War': Warnings as Trump Blames Iran for Rocket Attack

Anti-war campaigners are warning that U.S. President Donald Trump is on the verge of launching a full-blown military conflict with Iran after the lame-duck incumbent on Wednesday blamed the Middle East nation for a rocket attack on the American Embassy in Baghdad over the weekend, an accusation Tehran rejected as "fabricated." 12/27/20

House Dems unite to support the Iran nuclear deal

Democratic congressional leaders are marshaling a message to President-elect Joe Biden "strongly endorsing" his promise to return to the Iran nuclear deal without preconditions, Gregory Meeks, (D-N.Y.), the incoming chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee told the Quincy Institute this week. "We are sending a signal to our allies that America is getting back to the table!" -Trita Parsi, Responsible Statecraft 12/14/20

Now's the Time for Israel to Make Peace With Iran

The shifting sands in the Middle East have elicited surprising alliances and rapprochements between sworn enemies. Is an agreement with the Islamic Republic really science fiction? -Ofri Ilany, Haaretz 12/11/20

Boasting of 'Combat Power' to Threaten Iran, US Flies Two Massive B-52 Bombers Over Persian Gulf

The Pentagon predictably described the maneuver as defensive, even though it was the U.S. that pushed the two nations to the brink of war repeatedly over the past several years. -Jake Johnson, Common Dreams 12/11/20

The Assassins & Iran

I was on the telephone with a friend in Tehran Sunday and found myself telling him about a Christmas card I kept tacked to the pantry door of a farmhouse I lived in many years ago. "Merry Christmas, and I'm sorry...," it read on the front. And inside: "I'm sorry my country bombed your country." Soroosh, and we will stay with first names, laughed as I knew he would. "The joke extends to assassinations now," he said in a tone that was good-humored and rueful all at once. -Patrick Lawrence, Special to Consortium 12/11/20

'Shameful': Senate Republicans-and Two Democrats-Kill Effort to Stop Trump's Lame-Duck Sale of F-35s and Drones to UAE

"The United States should be working to deescalate conflict in the Middle East, not fueling it by selling more and more weapons to regimes using them to kill civilians," said Sen. Bernie Sanders. -Common Dreams 12/10/20

US and Its Allies Stoking Fears of Possible Iranian Attacks

Since Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed in an apparent Israeli plot, the US and Israel have been warning about threats in the region. Despite Iran's clear desire to make it to January 20th without a military confrontation with the US, anonymous officials are hyping the threat of Iranian retaliation for Fakhrizadeh's death. -Dave DeCamp, Antiwar.com 12/9/20

The assassination of an Iranian scientist and the double-standards of American outrage

Another day, another sleek Israeli (allegedly) assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist in broad daylight outside Tehran. "An Eye for an Eye: Zionists Must Prepare Themselves" screamed the Saturday headline on Kayhan, Iran's hardline newspaper, a day after the car Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was travelling in with his wife was sprayed by bullets. Like so many other targeted killings by Israeli intelligence agency Mossad on Iranian scientists over the last 10 years (Fakhrizadeh was the fifth), the attack unfurled like a spy movie thriller. -Shenaz Kermalli, Responsible Statecraft 12/4/20

How Biden Is Determined to Parry Trump's Sabotage and Restore Iran Nuclear Deal

Biden realizes that the number one issue is Iran's nuclear capability, which is now civilian, and which Biden want to keep that way. Biden could reenter the JCPOA with a stroke of a pen on January 20, 2021. -Juan Cole, Common Dreams 12/4/20

Insanity Reigns - the US, Israel, and Iran

All too often, events occur that make me feel that I am living in "Bizarro World". The recent talk and extensive US corporate media coverage about whether or not the US and/or Israel will soon attack Iran is one of these occasions. The alleged rationale for such an attack is the possibility that Iran might pursue the development of a nuclear weapon. This rationale ignores the religious ruling or fatwa issued by the Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei against the acquisition, development and use of nuclear weapons. -Ron Forthofer, Antiwar.com 12/4/20

Iran Assassination Is a Political Provocation

Imagine for a moment what would happen if unknown assassins murdered a high-ranking US scientist involved with chemical weapons. Let's say officials in Iran quietly took responsibility, arguing that the US had violated international law because it continues to hold stockpiles of mustard gas and nerve agents VX and sarin, despite numerous commitments to destroy them starting in the late 1990s. Compare that fictional assassination with Israel's actual assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a prominent Iranian scientist described as the "father of the Iranian bomb." The fictional and real murders are analogous with an important exception. -Reese Erlich, Antiwar.com 12/4/20

Facing up to Israel's destabilizing behavior

Responsibility for the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh is still officially a matter of speculation, but it is highly likely that Israel did it. Israel has the motive, the methods, and the moxie. It also has the record, including not only a string of murders of other Iranian nuclear scientists some eight years ago but also a more widely used killing machine that has made Israel the world's leader in targeted assassinations. -Paul R. Pillar, Responsible Statecraft 12/3/20

Despite Trump Efforts to Foment War With Iran, Experts Say Biden Has Chance to Restore Needed Diplomacy

Progressive experts on US-Iranian relations on Wednesday urged caution-and expressed hope for renewed diplomatic efforts from the incoming Biden administration-following news that Iran's parliament voted to increase uranium enrichment just days after the nation's top nuclear scientist was gunned down in an assassination plot endorsed by President Donald Trump and which many believe was carried out by the Israeli government. -Brett Wilkins, Common Dreams 12/3/20

How US media manipulates Iran's nuclear program into a sinister myth

Experts, media elites, and other Iran observers lit into New York Times national security reporter David Sanger this week for his sloppy - and perhaps "Judith Miller-level bad" - reporting on Iran's nuclear program following the assassination of one of the country's top nuclear scientists last week. The offense in question involved the opening line of Sanger's "News Analysis" which asserted that the scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, had "led Iran's pursuit of a nuclear weapon for the past two decades." -Ben Armbruster, Responsible Statecraft 12/2/20

Calls for Diplomacy-Not War-as Scientist's Assassination, Trump Impede Biden's Path to Iran Engagement

Rep. Ro Khanna on Monday called for strengthened diplomacy to "prevent catastrophic war" with Iran amid swirling fears the Trump administration is recklessly sabotaging the Biden White House's prospects for such diplomatic efforts. The post from Khanna (D-Calif.) tweet was shared by Win Without War, which earlier on Monday sounded a similar note as Sen. Chris Murphy. "A Monday morning reminder that the Trump administration's maximum pressure against Iran has been a maximum failure," the group tweeted. -Common Dreams 12/1/20

Art elites issue statements of grief over assassination of Fakhrizadeh

Iranian cineastes and stage artists have issued statements on Sunday evening expressing their grief and regret over the assassination of the Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. The statement signed by 34 cineastes begins with the phrase, "To you whom I didn't know". "We heard the news of your cruel assassination and regretted why we didn't know you as well as the enemies of our country." -Tehran Times 12/1/20

Confronting the Islamic Republic of Iran: Give Peace a Chance

As President Donald Trump prepares to leave office, Iran is leading the news after the assassination of a top Iranian nuclear engineer, likely by Israel with U.S. knowledge if not assistance. The Obama administration criticized a similar Israeli hit in 2012, but Trump lauded the latest murder. He has been fixated on Iran since taking office. -Doug Bandow, Antiwar.com 11/30/20

'Reckless, Provocative, and Illegal': Sanders Warns Assassination of Iranian Scientist Designed to Kill Diplomacy

Sen. Bernie Sanders warned over the weekend that the assassination of top Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh-widely believed to have been the work of Israel-was carried out with the intention of undermining any prospect of diplomacy between the United States and Iran just weeks before President-elect Joe Biden is set to take office. -Common Dreams 11/30/20

Will the World Community Condemn the Murder of Iran's Nuclear Scientist?

Israel used all four years of Trump's presidency to entrench its systems of occupation and apartheid. Now that Joe Biden has won the U.S. election, the assassination of Iran's top nuclear scientist, likely by Israel with the go-ahead from the US administration, is a desperate attempt to use Trump's last days in office to sabotage Biden's chances of successful diplomacy with Iran. Biden, Congress, and the world community can't let that happen. -Medea Benjamin, Ariel Gold, Common Dreams 11/30/20

How the assassination of Iran's top nuclear scientist can sabotage diplomacy & start a war

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a key Iranian nuclear official, has been assassinated in Tehran. While it's unclear as of this writing who is responsible, Israel has assassinated numerous Iranian nuclear scientists in the past, but had, until now, been unable to get to the highly protected Fakhrizadeh. Some Iranian reports claim it was a suicide attack, which would reduce the likelihood of Israeli operatives carrying out the attack, but the bullet holes in Fakhrizadeh's car cast doubt on that. -Trita Parsi, Responsible Statecraft 11/30/20

'Iran in the Crosshairs?' Reports of Secret Meeting Between Netanyahu, MbS, and Pompeo Spark Fears of War Plot

The alarming possibility of a military attack on Iran-a nation that has long been in the sights of war hawks in the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Israel-was immediately invoked by foreign policy analysts Monday following reports that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in secret late Sunday with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. -Jake Johnson, Common Dreams 11/24/20

The NYT's Trump Iran 'attack' story and the failures of foreign policy reporting

The New York Times published a major story this week, reporting that President Trump recently sought options for a military strike on Iran's nuclear program in response to a new International Atomic Energy Agency report finding that Iran had significantly increased its stockpile of low-enriched uranium. -Ben Armbruster, Responsible Statecraft 11/20/20

A Dedicated Obsession: Washington's Continuing Iran Sanctions Regime

One dogma that is likely to persist in US foreign policy during a Biden presidency will be the sanctions regime adopted towards Iran. Every messianic state craves clearly scripted enemies, and the demonology about the Islamic Republic is not going to go begging. -Binoy Kampmark, Counterpunch 11/19/20

US or Israeli attack on Iran unlikely - but not impossible

If there is one thing we know for certain about the Trump administration, it is that when we think it cannot possibly get worse, it does. In his waning days as president, Donald Trump is actively considering war with Iran. -Joe Cirincione, Responsible Statecraft 11/18/20

Trump's Requested Strike on Iran Could Kill More People Than Atomic Bombing of Nagasaki

First, it should be noted that Iran is not engaged in illegal activity. Its right to enrich uranium for civilian electricity production was acknowledged by the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or nuclear deal signed with all the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany. Iran has only departed from that agreement in very minor ways, and mainly as a way of putting pressure on Europe to defy the US severe economic sanctions, which contravene the treaty. It is Trump's Washington that has behaved illegally, not Iran. -Juan Cole, Common Dreams 11/17/20

A Defeated Trump 'Has No Authorization for a New War,' Say Campaigners After NYT Reports President Wanted Military Strike Options for Iran

"Trump's request for military options to strike Iran's nuclear program in his waning days in office encapsulates the bankruptcy of the pressure-only approach toward Iran favored by so many in Washington." -Kenny Stancil, Common Dreams 11/17/20

In a Persian Market: Iran and the U.S.

Let's send over to modern Persia (Iran) a major U.S. orchestra. Or, it could be a fine town/gown company, such as the (Rio Grande) Valley Symphony Orchestra. Let them go-as a goodwill gesture - to Iran, to play that piece and others over there. Why? It's time to make peace with Iran, site of ancient Persia, where civilization began. Persian scientists invented the first wind machine. Persians first distilled alcohol; Gracias! Salud! Viva Persia! Persia, now Iran, is home of my ancestors ("Mounce," a derivative of the Persian word for "moon"). Time to make nice. -Dr. Gary Mounce, Rio Grande Guardian 11/9/20

Covert strikes against Iran recount Israeli campaign against Iraq

The country had become an existential threat. It was ruled by a megalomaniac who wanted Israel eliminated. And now he wanted a nuclear bomb. The leader claimed his nuclear program was purely a civilian program, but Israel knew that was not true. So, it set the program back. Israel undertook covert assassinations of nuclear scientists. And, when that did not work, it blew up a nuclear facility. But the country wasn't Iran. This was Iraq under Saddam Hussein who came to power in 1979 and ruled for 24 years. -Ted Snider, Mondoweiss 10/28/20

Chomsky: from nuclear weapons to Iran, Trump's worst threats are dangerously ignored

Noam Chomsky warns that the Trump administration poses a unique threat to humanity, and its most reckless policies are receiving far too little attention. -Aaron Mate, Gray Zone 10/23/20

For Arizonans, war with Iran should be a top issue

On Wednesday night, Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris debated many issues that are on the minds of Arizonans: COVID-19, racial unrest, and Supreme Court nominations, to name a few. However, they also dedicated significant time to an urgent matter that has slid under the radar of many voters: the threat of a U.S. war with Iran. -Heather Mace, Arizona Daily Star 10/13/20

After two decades of war, it's time to shift our focus on diplomacy

For two decades we have both decided on and then lived with the vision that with the world's most powerful military, we could use it to solve political and security problems far faster and far more effectively than our past resorts to negotiation. The idea was seductive beyond attractive. It built on the experience of World War II and unconditional surrender. According to Colin Powell, when he was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Clinton administration, then-U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Madeleine Albright once asked, "What's the point of having this superb military that you're always talking about if we can't use it?" -Tom Pickering, Responsible Statecraft 10/13/20

An Iranian Woman Walking For Peace: Pupeh Mahdavi Nader embarks on round-the-globe journey

Iranian globetrotter Pupeh Mahdavi Nader has started a journey on foot from the UNESCO-registered Burnt City, southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan province, with the motto of "Love, Friendship and Global Peace". 9/30/20

Mike Pompeo is trying to provoke U.S. conflict with Iran to boost his own presidential aims, not just Trump's

Mike Pompeo, the U.S. Secretary of State, is already running for president in 2024. To that end, he is trying to provoke Iran into a conflict in the days and weeks to come. The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier Nimitz just steamed through the Straits of Hormuz and into the Persian Gulf, the first American capital ship there in nearly a year. The Trump administration has already illegally imposed harsh sanctions against Iran, and reserves the right to board Iranian (or other) vessels to enforce them. -James North, Mondoweiss 9/25/20

When it comes to Iran, how many failures is enough for Pompeo?

For many years Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has worked to bring Iran to heel, if not to destroy the Islamic Republic altogether. He would presumably prefer to accomplish those ends through economic and political warfare, but it is unlikely he would object to military attacks if that is what it takes. As a Congressman from Kansas as early as 2014, he was urging Washington to attack Tehran's nuclear facilities, noting it would take "under 2,000 sorties," or bombings, to do the job. "This is not an insurmountable task for the coalition forces," he said. -Muhammad Sahimi, Responsible Statecraft 9/15/20

Another Opinion Columnist Pushing War With Iran Who Doesn't Actually Exist

There is at least one more foreign policy opinion writer from the Mujahideen-eKhalq (MEK) whose existence is dubious, based on a study by a social media analyst and statements from a defector from the group. Amir Basiri, who contributed to Forbes 9 times, the Washington Examiner 52 times, OpenDemocracy, Algemeiner, and The Hill once also appears to be a fabrication. -Arthur Bloom & Paul Brian, American Conservative 9/4/20

The Trump administration is hungry for war with Iran

Seeing the likely scenario of a Biden victory, Iran hawks have doubled down on their failed approach in hopes of sparking a conflict before Trump potentially leaves office -Negar Mortazavi & Assal Rad, Independent 8/19/20

Will October Surprise Be Trump-Provoked War With Iran?

Was Donald Trump's January 3rd drone assassination of Major General Qasem Soleimani the first step in turning the simmering Cold War between the United States and Iran into a hot war in the weeks before an American presidential election? Of course, there's no way to know, but behind by double digits in most national polls and flanked by ultra-hawkish Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Trump is a notoriously impetuous and erratic figure. -Bob Dreyfuss, Common Dreams 8/12/20

The Beginning of the U.S.-Iran Hot War?

In the face of overt aggression from the Trump administration, Iran has alternated between restraint and careful counter-escalation. As the Iranian economy has come under a brutal chokehold, Iran has responded in calibrated fashion to demonstrate the costs of maximum pressure while isolating the U.S. internationally and keeping the nuclear deal alive. -Sina Toossi, Juan Cole 7/28/20

How a hawkish Washington 'think tank' is promoting ethnic strife in Iran

As Iran is riled by a series of incidents, of which some bear all the hallmarks of a novel, and audacious, sabotage campaign, traditional forms of pressure on the country persist. Among those are attempts to promote ethnic strife in a society where various minority groups account for almost half of the population. -Eldar Mamedov, Responsible Statecraft 7/23/20

The undeclared war against Iran

A series of violent attacks, involving explosions and fires, has been hitting Iran. The incidents have been too frequent and intense to be random accidents. They are part of an organized effort. Caution is always advisable in attributing responsibility for such unclaimed acts, especially for all of us outside the government channels that possibly have better information about what is going on. But circumstances point strongly, as some mainstream press reporting reflects, to either or both of two suspects: the Netanyahu government in Israel, and the Trump administration in the United States. -Paul R. Pillar, Responsible Statecraft 7/16/20

Sabotage, sanctions and the bullying of Iran is bound to backfire on the west

t now seems fairly certain that Israel or its agents blew up Iran's main nuclear fuel enrichment facility at Natanz on 2 July. A "Middle Eastern intelligence official" who told two American newspapers that Israel was behind the explosion was identified in Israeli media reports last week as Yossi Cohen, head of the Mossad spy agency and a close confidant of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. -Simon Tisdall, Guardian 7/13/20

Israel Is Trying To Provoke Iran To Start a War

With only four months left to the U.S. presidential elections, and the increasing likelihood of Donald Trump, the most pro-Israel President in history, losing, Israel has been trying to provoke Iran to start a war, so that it can drag the United State into it. This is not anything new. For over a decade Benjamin Netanyahu has been trying to force the United States to go to war with Iran, and Israel itself almost attacked Iran three times between 2010 and 2011. But the with events of the last several months darkening the prospects of a second Trump term, Israel feels a new urgency for a war with Iran. -Muhammad Sahimi, Antiwar.com 7/6/20

How John Bolton and Mike Pompeo thwarted Trump's plan to get a deal with Iran

Former national security adviser John Bolton's new book gives a window into President Donald Trump's preferred style of negotiation. Bolton paints a picture of a Trump who wants deals but does not believe in conventional diplomacy. Instead, Trump approaches international relations with the real-estate market tactics he formulated in "The Art of the Deal." Trump thought Bolton would help him in this regard. He was sorely mistaken. -Sina Toossi, Responsible Statecraft 7/2/20

Who Are the Secret Puppet-Masters Behind Trump's War on Iran?

On May 6th, President Trump vetoed a war powers bill specifying that he must ask Congress for authorization to use military force against Iran. Trump's "maximum pressure" campaign of deadly sanctions and threats of war against Iran has seen no let-up, even as the U.S., Iran and the whole world desperately need to set aside our conflicts to face down the common danger of the Covid-19 pandemic. -Medea Benjamin, Nicolas J.S. Davies, Common Dreams 5/29/20

13 Organizations to DNC: Support JCPOA Reentry

NIAC Action and a dozen other organizations - including Foreign Policy for America, J Street, MoveOn, Our Revolution and Truman Center for National Policy - sent a letter jointly calling on the Democratic National Committee to support an unequivocal U.S. return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or the Iran nuclear deal, in the Party's 2020 Democratic Platform. While there may be divisions on some issues within the Democratic Party between the center and the left, the breadth of organizations backing this letter demonstrates a political consensus on this key foreign policy issue. 5/29/20

Washington's Tall Tale of Iranian-Al Qaeda Alliance Based on Questionably Sourced Book, The Exile

The U.S. assassination of Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani in January touched off a new wave of disinformation about Soleimani, with Trump administration allies branding him a global terrorist while painting Iran as the world's worst state sponsor of terrorism. Much of the propaganda about Soleimani related to his alleged responsibility for the killing of American troops in Iraq, along with Iran's role in Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. - Gareth Porter, Antiwar 5/20/20

U.S. and Iran Need a Coronavirus Peace Plan

While Americans are rightly focused on handling the coronavirus at home, the government must also remain vigilant to threats around the world. Yet the Donald Trump administration's approach to Iran, in particular, increasingly lacks any clear policy or overarching strategy. The administration is at times threatening and at times conciliatory, giving Iran little sense of what actions the president will take. This could inadvertently lead us to war, and neither the U.S. nor Iran can afford to engage in hostilities that distract us from the pandemic. -Senator Dianne Feinstein, Bloomberg 5/15/20

Trump Vetoed the Iran War Powers Resolution, but America's No-War Message Is Clear

To no one's great surprise, President Donald Trump vetoed a bipartisan resolution last week passed by the Senate and the House to prevent him from starting an unauthorized war with Iran. Though the Senate was unable to override Trump's veto, Congress sent a clear message challenging the Trump administration's Iran policy and reasserting a core principle of the Constitution. -Assal Rad, Newsweek 5/14/20

'The Blob' strikes back, and misses

In an age of war, debt, and plague, is America's foreign policy establishment, or "the Blob" as it has been dubbed, part of the problem? Or part of the answer? According to Hal Brands, Peter Feaver, and William Inboden, three sharp minds who served in government and the academy, America needs its specialist class of experts at the helm. What's more, to challenge the Blob's workings, record, and judgement is to be Trumpian, and hostile to "expertise" in general. -Patrick Porter, Responsible Statecraft 5/6/20

Is Iran on the verge of collapse or a menace flush with cash? How hawks sell regime change using contradictory arguments

Iran's request for a $5 billion emergency loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is revealing serious desperation, and not only on the part the Iranian government. Desperation is also apparent in the responses from the Trump administration and the regime change lobby in Washington led by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) as they try to block the loan. -Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, Responsible Statecraft 4/29/20

Right-Wing Think Tanks Are Using Covid-19 To Push War with Iran

Since the global Covid-19 pandemic began, a cluster of U.S. think tanks has been aggressively lobbying the Trump administration to escalate militarily toward Iran and tighten U.S. sanctions. This push has come despite warnings that such sanctions are worsening the death toll of Iran's outbreak, which is one of the worst in the world. -Sarah Lazare, In These Times 4/28/20

70+ Groups Demand Trump Immediately End US Sanctions Against Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, and Others During Covid-19 Crisis

Over 70 civil society groups representing more than 40 million people called on President Donald Trump Thursday to issue immediate sanctions relief for numerous countries-including Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, and North Korea-for at least the duration of the coronavirus crisis which threatens to kill thousands in the hard-hit countries. The "urgent appeal" came in the form of an open letter sent by the groups to Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin calling for curtailing the sanctions regime for the duration of the pandemic. -Common Dreams 4/24/20

Creating the enemies they need: US militarism's strange bedfellows

Listen to America's imperial proconsuls long enough and they often let slip something approaching truth - perhaps exceptionalist confession is more accurate. Take Admiral Craig S. Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), with responsibility for all of Latin America. Just before the COVID-19 crisis shifted into full gear, on March 11 he testified before the House Armed Services Committee and admitted, "There will be an increase in the U.S. military presence in the hemisphere later this year." Naturally, admiral, but why? -Danny Sjursen, Responsible Statecraft 4/24/20

Trump Failed to Vanquish Coronavirus With Hot Air, Now Wants to "Shoot Down" Tiny Iranian Skiffs

What Trump was advising would be a war crime, since Iranian boats that haven't actually fired on or harmed US vessels have a right to be on the high seas, and interfering in that right to the point of termination with extreme prejudice is illegal. -Juan Cole, Common Dreams 4/24/20

How a misleading report on Iran from a hawkish 'think tank' made its way to Trump administration talking points

Whatever pain COVID-19 inflicts, it offers a golden opportunity for Washington lobbyists committed to tough sanctions against Iran. 'Regime change' or 'regime collapse', they say, is now within grasp if only the United States stands firm. United States sanctions have not just spawned a proliferating industry profiting lawyers, bureaucrats and "expert" consultants. They have created an opaque maze around which "bullet points" bounce from lobby groups and "think tanks" to the media to government, becoming "facts" through repetition and circular sourcing. -Gareth Smyth, Responsible Statecraft 4/23/20

Regime Change Is Wrong

Eric Edeleman and Ray Takeyh dispense with the usual hawkish smokescreens and evasions and call for regime change in Iran: "Regime change" is a toxic phrase in Washington. It conjures up images of the Iraq war, with the United States trapped in a quagmire of its own making. That is why those who favor a coercive U.S. approach to Iran are routinely charged with secretly supporting regime change. In response, the accused almost always deny it. They don't want regime change, they insist: they just want the Islamic Republic's theocrats to change their behavior. -Daniel Larison, American Conservative 4/15/20

The Roman Empire's experience tells us it's a bad idea to go to war with Iran during a pandemic

Almost 2,000 years ago, an overextended empire picked a new fight with an old rival. After Persian incursions in Syria, the Roman Empire launched a military expedition that quickly backfired. Although the Roman army managed to defeat the Persians near modern-day Baghdad, it returned to Rome with some sort of infectious disease, likely smallpox. The resulting Antonine Plague, also known as the Plague of Galen, would afflict the Roman Empire for more than 20 years, killing as many as one in five in the empire's city of Alexandria alone. -Akshai Vikrams, Responsible Statecraft 4/12/20

Beware of Trump Using the Coronavirus as a Cover for War With Iran

THE NEWS IS ALL coronavirus. Whether it's cable news, national newspapers, public radio, or even my own Intercept podcast, we can't get away from it. The pandemic has overwhelmed us all; we talk, think, dream of little else. But let me try and grab your attention for a few moments and point you in a different direction. How many of you noticed a rather disturbing New York Times story from Mark Mazzetti and Eric Schmitt last week that was headlined, "Pentagon Order to Plan for Escalation in Iraq Meets Warning From Top Commander"? -Mehdi Hasan, Intercept 3/31/20

The Quiet and Lethal Wars Against Iran

Some wars are fought with bombs and bullets. These are the wars in Syria and Iraq, in Afghanistan and Yemen. Then there are quieter wars executed by drone. These cowardly wars also kill people, but not our people. These quieter wars accomplish what the more cacophonous wars accomplish without the public outcry and condemnation. -Ted Snider, AntiWar.com 3/31/20

How hawks are trying to shatter the Iran nuclear deal once and for all

If you visit the State Department's Iran page, you'll see an ominous clock counting down the days, hours, minutes, and seconds until the expiration of the United Nations arms embargo on Iran. The clock, and the embarrassing propagandistic script that accompanies it, reflects how far the State Department has fallen from the days when it laboriously worked to craft a deal to constrain Iran's nuclear program and open a window to resolve additional longstanding concerns with Iran's regional activities. -Ryan Costello, Responsible Statecraft 3/13/20

US Congress votes to limit Trump's war powers against Iran

The United States House of Representatives approved on Wednesday a War Powers Resolution aimed at limiting President Donald Trump's ability to wage war against Iran. The passage of the resolution was yet another rebuke of the president over his decision to order the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in January amid escalating tensions with Tehran. -Al-Jazeera 3/12/20

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