May 22, 2019
International reported this week that an Iranian lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, has
been sentenced to 38 years in jail and 148 lashes. She has dedicated her life
to defending women accused of removing their hijabs in public. The persecution
of human rights dissidents in Iran appears to be getting worse.
makes it harder to feel sorry for Iran, even if President Donald Trump is
wielding the heavy stick against it, and even though Trump has sabotaged the
Agreement to freeze Iran’s nuclear research and uranium enrichment carefully
negotiated by President Barack Obama’s team, the EU, Russia and China.
Realpolitik demands us to stand up for this Agreement but who can be happy
stepping into the ring to defend the honour of such a regime? Iran executes
more people each year than any other country bar China. If Iran wants more
enthusiastic outside help it must put its own house in order.
the US moving towards war since Iran, pushing back against American sanctions
which were supposed to have been removed in return for Iran’s agreement on
nuclear research restraint, has now suggested in might start this work again?
seems to have maddened Trump. The White House keeps reiterating that Iran is
secretly set on making a nuclear bomb which will then be mounted on rockets
that can threaten Nato and US troops in Europe.
are only a few in Europe who have ever believed this was the Iranian intention
before the Agreement and it certainly isn’t now. Apart from anything else, the
Iranians only have short-range rockets and the Iranians have no knowledge of
how to miniaturize a bomb (which they don’t have to practice with) to fit on
the head of a small rocket.
militancy on the issue seems to contradict his campaign promise not to involve
America in any more Asian wars, all of which have ended disastrously and
counterproductively- Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. In all of them he’s pushed
for reducing American troops. Indeed, if it hadn’t been for hard lobbying by
the Pentagon there would zero troops deployed.
Iran in his mind seems to be a different case. The deployment of an aircraft
carrier in the Straits of Hormutz near to Iranian waters is a war
threat. This is much more serious than the sanctions. There’s no point in
having it there unless he is prepared to use its firepower.
Of course, the US would need far more than one aircraft carrier to overcome Iran’s defence forces. It would mean using long-range bombers. Many of them are based in British-controlled territory. But in 2012 on the last occasion the US thought about a war with Iran, at the time of President George W. Bush, the UK government’s attorney general advised Prime Minister Tony Blair that a preemptive military strike on Iran could violate international law.
The existence of this secret document suggests that the government believed then that Iran didn’t meet the legal threshold for a “clear and present danger” that would merit such an attack – and that was before the big power Agreement with Iran.
Guardian newspaper’s investigation which was reported on prominently in the
Washington Post concluded that the US was asking for access to British airbases
that are strategically located on remote islands, but that the UK refused to
cooperate. London is unlikely to be helpful today when, like its European
partners, it seriously objects to Trump’s decision to abrogate the Agreement
of the strange footnotes in the run up to the Agreement was that for years the
CIA in its annual reviews said it found no proof that Iran was developing a
Iran’s powerful religious leaders have all said loudly that to have a nuclear weapons would go against the teaching of Mohammed. The Iranian public has heard this message time and time again so they are unlikely to give their support to a bomb-making effort now, but they will support the right to develop an independent nuclear program to enable it to build civilian power stations.
They will support the right for Iran to be self-sufficient in energy in a world that is hostile to it.
has made enemies, especially Israel, whose hard line leader, Benjamin
Netanyahu, eggs Trump on. It’s true that Iran supports anti-Israeli militias
and meddles in other Middle Eastern countries, in particular Syria and Iraq.
But Obama’s plan was always to build on the Agreement and then, using the trust
that that would create, to go on and negotiate with Iran to be more responsible
in its foreign policy.
Trump has got it all back to front. Before the situation escalates to the real danger zone the matter must be put before the Security Council and with a unanimous vote the US be told to stop its confrontation and honour the Agreement.
Copyright: Jonathan Power