Against the advice of practically the whole world, including many American scientists, politicians and diplomats, and contrary to the Security Council Resolution 2231 that has given the Iran Nuclear Deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA) the backing of international law, last night President Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement.
Not only did he withdraw America from the deal, but he also threatened to impose sanctions on all countries and companies that trade with Iran. He also issued a warning that he would do to Iran what that country has never experienced before.
That statement by itself is in clear violation of International law.
His short statement that was meant to justify his action was full of clear errors and inaccuracies and the reversals of known facts.
He implied that Iran had violated the terms of the agreement. This is not true.
In the short time since the signing of the agreement, on ten separate occasions the IAEA has certified that Iran has fully complied with the terms of the deal.
He said that the IAEA inspectors were barred from visiting some sites. This is not true. The IAEA is able to inspect both military and non-military sites, and in fact has done so on numerous occasions.
He said that the so-called “sunset clauses” meant that Iran could rush to make a bomb after they expire. This is not true.
Unlike Israel, Iran has been a member of the NPT and has also joined the “Additional Protocol”, which requires continuous, unannounced inspections of all her nuclear sites, and she has also given an undertaking never to produce nuclear weapons.
All nuclear experts have testified that the agreement blocks all possible paths to Iran’s manufacturing of nuclear weapons, and this does not stop when Iran is again allowed to enrich uranium to which she is entitled under the NPT terms.
President Trump was wrong to say that Iran was rushing to build intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
Iran has limited the range of her missiles to 2,000 kilometres, which is much shorter than the range of Israeli or Saudi missiles. They are incapable of hitting any part of Europe, let alone the United States.
They are not designed to carry nuclear weapons, and in any case Iran does not have nuclear warheads. They are almost Iran’s only defensive mechanism against the threats of her much better armed neighbours, not to mention the United States.
President Trump was wrong to claim that Iran was spreading terrorism in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, etc.
Iran has been fighting against ISIS and other terrorists in Iraq and Syria at the invitation of the governments of those countries.
All experts agree that the mantra of “Iran-backed Houthis” is false propaganda.
Iran’s contacts with the Houthis and influence over them is minimal, and it is Saudi Arabia and the UAE, with American support, that are bombing the poor Yemeni people, killing and wounding tens of thousands of innocent people and creating the world’s greatest humanitarian catastrophe there.
American allies in the region have also been the ones who have supported the Al-Nusra Front and other terrorist groups in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere.
Their main problem with Iran is that she has been successful in defeating the terrorists that have been nurtured by those regional countries with American support.
As for Lebanon, Hezbollah – that was the only Arab force to challenge Israel and force Israeli troops to end their occupation of Southern Lebanon and leave – has just won the largest number of seats in the Lebanese Parliament. It seems that some people have a problem with democracy.
President Trump was wrong to say that Iran was supporting Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
Iran was fighting against them and helped the United States to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE were the two countries that helped create the Taliban and were the only countries in the region to recognise it, apart from Pakistan. One can go on and on.
Above all, President Trump’s decision was a slap in the face for all his allies who meekly went to Washington and massaged his ego in the vain hope of preventing him from taking this dangerous decision.
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In a bizarre way, President Trump is undermining the interests of the European countries that wish to have normal trading relations with Iran.
The question is whether the European Union and all other European countries will meekly surrender to US bullying or for once will show some resolve in their own interests and the interests of the world.
Above all, what is really at stake is international law.
Are we moving away from a law-based international order towards the law of the jungle where might makes right, or are we trying to create a world with equal opportunities for all, without a hegemon ruling over the destinies of mankind.
We have seen the disastrous consequences of trying to appease a dictator, and soon realised that there was no end to the demands of a power-hungry despot, and all of us were caught up in the flames of an all-consuming war, which this time may be the final war.
At best, even if the war is limited to Iran and the Middle East, Europe will have to bear the brunt of the disaster with another major country in chaos and millions of refugees seeking shelter.
Let us not close our eyes to impending doom and make a mistake. A war against Iran will not be like the Iraq war, it will be much worse.
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President Trump is creating an artificial crisis where none existed. He may not like the Iranian government and might prefer his administrations’ friends, the terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq [MKO], to be in power in Tehran.
His aides John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and Rudy Giuliani have repeatedly spoken at that cultish group’s Saudi-funded meetings. Apart from the fact that MKO is hated by the vast majority of Iranian people, the cost of a regime change in Iran is going to be huge for Iran and for the entire region.
Iran took part in long and complex talks with all the leading world powers, reached an agreement and has abided by its side of the bargain.
The way forward is to repeat that procedure on a rational and fair basis and address other issues of disagreement with Iran.
What the Middle East needs is not more wars, but a collective security agreement that would bring peace to that part of the world that has suffered more than its fair share. This would mean, above all, to resolve the long-lasting Arab-Israeli conflict.
Millions of stateless Palestinians whose country has been occupied and where illegal settlements have continued to expand have been under the longest period of occupation in modern history.
Israel cannot go on bombing all her neighbours, as she is doing in Syria at the moment, in order to subjugate them forever, and force them to accept her illegal expansion in the region.
Sooner or later, those who live by the sword will die by the sword. For the sake of the long-term peace of Israel, the Israelis need to turn to peace and reconciliation instead of to war and aggression.
That is the only solution that can guarantee Israel’s continued existence in the Middle East.
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For the sake of the peace of the world and for their own interests, Europeans should shake off this post-Second World War attitude of subservience to the United States. It is time Europe declared her independence.
As the friends of the United States, they should tell the US Administration that they are not going to go along with this ill-begotten, illegal decision, taken by the neoconservative hawks in Washington, egged on by Israel and Saudi Arabia.
They should join hands with Russia and China to find a fair and realistic solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict and find a workable settlement for the problems of the Middle East as a whole.
We are marking the 100th anniversary of the colonialist Sykes-Picot designs to partition the Middle East. Some neo-colonialists in the United States seem to think that it is possible to revive the 19th century empires and dominate Asia and Africa again. That was a rotten system that ended up in the flames of war.
In the modern world, the repetition of that system is inconceivable. This is why we had the United Nations Charter to which all countries have verbally subscribed.
It is time to turn back to the ideals of the United Nations and to look forward to a world of dignity and prosperity for all, not only for a chosen, exceptional few.