By Dr. Ron Paul
Hypocrisy seems to have become a defining characteristic of U.S. foreign policy, especially when it comes to Iran. After breaking the Iran deal last year and, de facto, forcing the Europeans to violate the deal in May, the U.S. administration is now complaining that Iran is no longer abiding by its obligations under the deal!
It’s remarkable to see Secretary of State Mike Pompeo take to Twitter to complain of Iran enriching uranium to pre-deal levels, as if somehow the U.S. believes it can still dictate the terms of a deal to which it is no longer a party.
This latest neocon push for U.S. war on Iran started in late July when Iran exceeded the limit of a 300 kilogram stockpile of low-enriched uranium. As usual, the fake news media only reported part of the story. One reason Iran went over the limit was that the countries to which Iran was exporting its excess uranium were notified by the U.S. in early May that they would face U.S. sanctions if they continued taking the uranium off Iran’s hands. The U.S. created the crisis by preventing Iran from exporting its excess uranium and then pointed to the expanding Iranian stockpile of uranium enriched to 3.6% as proof that Iran was about to launch a nuclear weapon.
Make no mistake about it: Trump’s neocons are determined to trap him into a massive, disastrous war with Iran and they are using the same tactics they used to hoodwink George W. Bush into a multi-trillion dollar war on an Iraq that could not have attacked us if it wanted to.
Pompeo tweeted recently the exact kind of dishonest hysterics used to terrify many Americans into supporting an Iraq attack 16 years ago: “Iran’s regime, armed with nuclear weapons, would pose an even greater danger to the world.”
As the former head of the CIA, surely Pompeo knows that his own agency had determined back in 2003 that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program and that every U.S. intelligence assessment since then has concurred with that conclusion. But then again, he did brag recently about his excellent ability to lie, cheat, and steal.
Though the Europeans promised Iran that they would continue to honor the deal, they have proven themselves unable to put forth a credible alternative to the U.S.-dominated SWIFT system, meaning no trade in Iran’s number one export: oil. Iran responded over the weekend to European fecklessness by announcing that they would begin enriching uranium up to 5%, which is a level needed to run one of its nuclear power generating plants. As could be predicted, this move—which is allowed according to section 36 of the Iran deal—is being treated as the equivalent of Saddam’s “mobile chemical weapons labs.”
The Iranians are not backing down. They rightly feel cheated, as they continued to honor the deal even as the U.S. re-imposed crippling sanctions meant to destroy their economy and starve their people.
President Donald Trump has a very serious decision to make. He is being frog-marched into war by his neocons and his Middle East “partners.” He has very little time left to change course. If the neocons are not swept out immediately, he is risking both his second term and his legacy.
Ron Paul, a former U.S. representative from Texas and medical doctor, continues to write his weekly column for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, online at www.ronpaulinstitute.org.
Longtime newsman Richard Walker presents another, more hopeful perspective on the prospects of war on Iran.
President May Get Himself A New Deal With the Iranians
Behind the scenes, the Persians seem willing to talk.
By Richard Walker
The winds of war are not blowing in favor of the neocons and warmongers in Washington, Tel Aviv, and Riyadh to give them the war with Iran that they have spent years clamoring for. Instead, reports indicate that Iran is toning down its belligerent rhetoric and is making quiet overtures to Washington through parties in Europe who believe that, in spite of all the saber rattling, a deal can be struck between President Donald Trump and Iran’s supreme leader.
There is even talk of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) being given permission by Trump to talk to Iran about finding a way forward. Paul has been a strong critic of American involvement in Middle East conflicts and is convinced one can be avoided with Iran. The very fact that he has the president’s blessing appears to confirm that things are moving in a positive direction.
Even though Trump announced the shooting down of an Iranian drone near a U.S. warship in the Persian Gulf region close to Iran, a retired British diplomat who now works in the security field insisted that the incident was not especially important. While he preferred to remain anonymous, he nevertheless said that some of his former colleagues in Europe were busy working hard to put together a plan to bring Washington and Tehran to a summit. He provided this assessment of their chances of success:
The drones issue is really all bluster. Incidents like this will not lead to war. The bottom line is that those anxious for a war with Iran are on the losing side, and that is good news. They are gradually being marginalized. From Moscow to London, and even in Beijing which would like to play a role as a peacemaker, no one wants another Middle East war. We are all still living with the traumas of previous wars and it is not pretty. From what I am hearing, there is a genuine mood in Brussels and Moscow that all those involved in crafting a plan to end this stalemate are convinced President Trump shares their belief that a political arrangement is doable. It has not gone without notice to diplomats in many capitals that the president has sidelined the likes of Bolton, and this could open space for a real chance to wrap this up. It would be a big feather in the president’s cap going into the 2020 election.
In some circles in Europe, there has been a growing consensus that everyone should be wary of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi leader Mohammed bin Salman (MBS). Both are deemed impetuous by Russian and Western European intelligence agencies. People tend to forget that it was the German BND intelligence service that first warned NATO that MBS was likely to start a war on impulse. They were right, and his war in Yemen is still ongoing.
This writer spoke to sources I have known for more than three decades, some within the diplomatic corps in Europe and others in intelligence agencies and in NATO. They all agreed that Iran meddles in the Middle East, but no more than Israel, Saudi Arabia, and other nations. One source who preferred to remain anonymous because she works with the Kremlin, offered an interesting analysis of what is being considered behind closed doors:
“Iran can be contained and persuaded to accept tighter nuclear controls than those Obama had in place,” she said. “In return, sanctions would be gradually lifted. That would allow President Trump to claim that he was tougher than Obama. Iran would get what it wants and that is money and access to international markets. The only wild card is that we have to keep an eye on other players in the region who do not wish to see such a deal, and I am not going to name them.”
When the source mentioned “other players,” she was referring to the Israelis and Saudis. History has shown that a false-flag operation could be mounted to force a military response from Iran and events could quickly spiral into a major war. The fact that this is something that is being discussed means that there will be eyes on both those nations as diplomats work to craft a way forward.
One of the surprising things I learned when speaking to a wide range of sources was a growing conviction that diplomats and intelligence agencies across Europe, meaning Russia and the EU, felt that Trump was genuinely determined to avoid America being trapped in another Middle East war if it could be avoided, and that fact alone offered hope that negotiations might produce a summit or an international agreement that the president and Iran’s leaders could live with.
If the neocons in Washington are going to argue that Iran is the side anxious for a war, they ought to heed the views of the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Army Lieutenant Gen. Robert Ashley, who told CNN Iran does not want a war with the U.S. or its allies.
Richard Walker is the pen name of a former N.Y. news producer.