Lund, Sweden, May 21, 2018
Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo’s speech, held at the Heritage Foundation can be seen and heard here at The Transnational. And here is State Department’s full transcript. Here are some TFF Associate comments on it:
Stop the war on Iran now!
By Farhang Jahanpour, TFF Board
Speaking at the Heritage Foundation this morning, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo practically declared war on Iran. His unprecedented threats against Iran went even beyond what President Trump had said in the past.
Commenting on the speech, JStreet wrote: “With their decision to violate the historic JCPOA arms control agreement, the president and his ‘war cabinet’ have created a strategic disaster of their own making and undone the major accomplishments of the previous administration. They have made the US, Israel and the world less safe.”
Let us review what the US administration is demanding.
After 12 years of intensive talks, initially between Britain, France and Germany (the EU-3), and finally between Iran and the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany (P5+1), Iran and the leading world powers reached a landmark agreement. The nuclear deal (officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA) was the result of the efforts of the greatest experts in nuclear non-proliferation, including experts from the IAEA and departments of energy and intelligence service of all those countries.
Now, Mike Pompeo wants to reverse the provisions of this uniquely important international agreement, and he has practically shredded not only the Iran nuclear deal, but also the NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty) agreement. His list of 12 demands goes well beyond any international law and the IAEA rules. Let me mention just one here:
The IAEA that is the only legal body in charge of monitoring the deal has, on eleven separate occasions, certified that Iran has fully complied with the terms of the deal.
But Pompeo says: “Second, Iran must stop enrichment and never pursue plutonium reprocessing. This includes closing its heavy water reactor.” Demanding that Iran should stop enrichment goes against NPT rules. As for “never pursuing plutonium reprocessing”, this is precisely what Iran has agreed to do under the JCPOA, and has destroyed her heavy water reactor.
In a forthcoming analysis, I’ll go through some of the many intolerable conditions, Pompeo has established.
President Trump and his two senior officials, Mike Pompeo and John Bolton, seem to be preparing the ground for a disastrous war with Iran.
Their hostility towards Iran does not seem to have anything to do with Iran’s nuclear programme, but has everything to do with an obsession for regime change.
In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, Bolton condemned the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran as a “massive strategic blunder.”
However, he went on to say that American policy, “should be ending Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution before its fortieth anniversary.”
He continued: “Recognizing a new Iranian regime in 2019 would reverse the shame of once seeing our diplomats held hostage for four hundred and forty-four days. The former hostages can cut the ribbon to open the new U.S. Embassy in Tehran.”
This obsession with the past and a deliberate decision to bring about a regime change in Iran will have incalculable costs.
Prior to Iraq war, Paul Wolfowitz, the author of that war, predicted that it would be a “cake walk”, that it “would pay for itself”, and that “US forces would be welcomed with roses”. Fifteen years after that disastrous war, American forces are still operating in that country, and the war which has cost trillions of dollars to US taxpayers has killed and wounded millions of innocent Iraqi people, shattered that country and has given rise to a number of vicious terrorist movements.
It should be clear to everyone who is familiar with the Middle East that a war against Iran will not be like Iraq, it will be much worse.
It will kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people, will set the Middle East on fire and will do a great damage to Israel and other US allies that she seemingly wishes to support.
It is time for the Europeans, for the peace-loving Americans and for millions of concerned people all over the world who will be paying the cost of this misadventure to stop this madness before it is too late.
JCPOA and the UN Security Council
By Gunnar Westberg, TFF Board member
The JCPOA was endorsed by the UN Security Council, UNSC, as resolution2231/2015. The SC has obligations to support the resolution and the JCPOA itself, and the partner of the Agreement have obligations to the SC. Thus the SC is provided with the right to, among other activities,
- monitor and take action to improve implementation of the resolution;
- respond appropriately to information regarding alleged actions inconsistent with the resolution;
- undertake outreach to promote proper implementation of the resolution;
- review and decide on proposals by States for nuclear, ballistic missile, or arms-related transfers to or activities with Iran; and
- grant exemptions to the restrictions.
It thus appears proper that the UNSC now should ask the USA, partner to the Agreement, to explain the complaints it has against the development of the JCPOA. The SC could attempt to bring about negotiations. The SC should search for ways to maintain the status of the agreement after the loss of USA as partner and encourage the other JCPOA members to carry out all possible aspects of the Agreement.
The JCPOA is still valid. The partner which leaves the agreement has no say in its application in the future.
The JCPOA contains provisions for trade with Iran. Sanctions that applied before the Agreement have been explicitly terminated by the SC.
The European members and the EU should cooperate with Russia and China to find ways to uphold the JCPOA disregarding the objections of the partner that has left the cooperation.
Trade, especially with oil, could be carried out in other currencies than the US dollar.
Political, economic and military war for no good reason: Stop now and think!
By Jan Oberg, TFF Board and director
Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo’s speech, held at the Heritage Foundation can be seen and heard here at The Transnational.
The speech comes in the wake of President Trump’s withdrawal of the U.S. from the JCPOA with Iran – the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action, or the nuclear deal with Iran on May 8. Since the JCPOA is a part of international law and embedded in a UN Security Council resolution (see above) that withdrawal was a violation of international law.
Like President Trump’s speech, Pompeo’s today was a gross violation of the UN Charter’s Article 2.4 according to which “all members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state…”
The speech makes it extremely difficult to see how a war – economic, political and/or military – on Iran can now be avoided.
Tehran must see it as a series of diktats based upon dubious assumptions, empirically unfounded assertions, wild exaggerations, sweeping accusations – and omissions of every fact and argument that would paint a balanced image of Iran.
The conditions outlined in the speech are of such a wide-ranging, maximalist nature that one must assume they are stated with the deliberate intention to be unacceptable to Iran’s decision-makers. And thus serve as a pretext for violent action against the country, sooner rather than later.
With another major, unpredictable war in the Middle East on the horizon, one must ponder questions such as these:
• Taking into account that the US coalition during 13 years of sanctions and the invasion and occupation killed around one million people out of 24 million in Iraq, is the Trump administration and the US as such now embarking on killing, proportionately, some 3-4 million Iranians?
• Does the US calculate with a war on Iran being an easy piece of cake like Iraq? Does it assume that the Iranians will line the road greeting the occupiers with flowers? That there will be a Mission Accomplished within 3 months?
• The US has been in Afghanistan since 2001 and Iraq since 2003. Be aware that Iran’s military is not going to change to civilian clothes and run away like Iraq’s did. How many years will the US be able to fight in Iran? How many trillion of dollars to pay for yet another military, political and moral failure? How many dead US soldiers?
• Just how self-destructive could such a new war be on the US itself – in terms of legitimacy in the world’s eyes, economic loss and hatred among millions who do not hate the US today?
• How many more terrorists will a war on Iran produce? How much will ISIS see a US war on Iran as a new option?
• How many million Iranians will be forced to flee and try to reach the neighbouring countries and Europe?
• Does the US count on blind support among NATO and EU friends and allies for yet another predictable war fiasco, unspeakable human suffering and economic turmoil? Or will they finally say: Dear Washington, we are no longer with you because you are a risk to your own best friends too and we do not appreciate Hitlerist speeches like this?
• Will Russia, China and others just sit still and let another onslaught take place on a central country of humanity’s civilisation? If they don’t, are we heading for a kind a major war that might, at some point, include the use of nuclear weapons?
• Can the UN intervene forcefully between the US and Iran and serve as a mediator? Could the EU? Will the US listen to anyone anymore?
• Will the world’s civil society and people of peace finally rise in the millions and say “No More Wars”? Will citizens around the world boycott the US, stop visiting it, stop buying US products, link up with the (still) comparatively weak forces of peace, human rights and justice in the US?
• Will this policy and war spell the end of the US Empire?
• Will the Rest of the world see this as the famous drop and and turn its back on the US – the most war-fighting, interventionist, regime-changing, base-building and most killing country in the world since 1945?
• Will the friends and allies of the US now simply introduce a policy of Gandhian civil disobedience and achieve critical mass? If a few companies, banks and other commercial actors continue and intensify their commercial cooperation with Iran, US authorities will be able to sue them and get them punished by multi-billion fines. However, if this is done by hundreds or thousands of commercial actors – reaching critical mass, so to speak – the US will have to give up legal procedures against them.
• Will countries, corporations and citizens increasingly drop the US dollar and do their transactions in Euros, the Chinese yuan, Bitcoins?
• Will mainstream media and mainstream research finally liberate themselves from the manufactured consent and fake war rhetoric? If not now, when?
The net contribution of the US to our world has become negative. This speech is one among many indicators. It’s serious enough to become the tipping point…
The West will only survive in the long run if it liberates itself, not from the US Republic but from the US Empire.
The future, cooperative, problem-solving and more peaceful world has no place for that Empire or Hitlerist speeches and policies of the type we tragically witnessed today.
A few days before Pompeo’s speech, TFF associate and investigative reporter, Gareth Porter, wrote an analysis of the likely consequences of the US withdrawal from the JCPOA which was published in The Middle East Eye here. Among many aspects, you’ll find the role of MEK highlighted there too.
If you are interested in reading about this speech from the perspective of a mainstream strategic analysis that shows no prior sympathy with Iran but, so to speak, take the position of the U.S. for an unproblematic fact – but point-by-point criticizes Pompeo’s type of diplomacy (or lack of it), you may enjoy “Demanding All and Getting Nothing” by Anthony H. Cordesman of CSIS, Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.