Trump Vindicates Iranian Hardliners and Victimizes Ordinary Citizens

Donald Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the Iranian nuclear deal only strengthens Iranian hardliners, hurts average people and drives up the potential for a devastating war, argue Trita Parsi and Ryan Costello.

By Trita Parsi and Ryan Costello

When the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was announced in 2015, the Iranian people poured into the streets to celebrate what they thought was the beginning of a new era.

Long squeezed by both U.S. pressure and their own government, they had just cause for optimism. The threat of war was receding, and the sanctions that had stifled Iran’s economy were soon to be lifted. Many hoped that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, vindicated by his success at the negotiating table, would leverage his political capital and ease Iran’s harsh security environment at home.

Today, as President Donald Trump tears up the agreement, the Iranian people are once again those who will suffer most. Iranian hardliners, empowered by the deal’s failure, are sharpening their knives for Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, and the chances of catastrophic war are undoubtedly greater.

Iran did everything it needed to comply with the accord’s terms, destroying the core of its reactor at Arak, empowering International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors and dramatically limiting its uranium enrichment program. Sanctions were initially lifted under President Barack Obama, and Iran saw some limited relief. But that long-overdue optimism was quickly halted by the election of Trump, who vowed to terminate the agreement struck under his predecessor. Iran’s hopes for a brighter future had been turned over to a reality TV star turned demagogue.

A More Imminent Threat of War

Doubts about whether Trump actually meant what he said during his volatile campaign were put to rest in the first

Rouhani: Knives out for him. (Official Iranian photo)

week of his presidency, when he banned Iranians and many others from entering the United States on the basis of little more than bigotry.

Shortly after the ban, Trump began subjecting the nuclear deal to a death by a thousand cuts. Major deals with international companies like Boeing never came to fruition. European banks, fearful of U.S. sanctions that remained on the books, refused to re-enter the Iranian market. Moreover, Trump and his top officials repeatedly violated the accord, warning foreign companies against doing business with Iran while leaving the implementation of U.S. commitments in doubt. 

And in March, Trump began elevating the most caustic voices on Iran to key national security positions. John Bolton, who has never stopped calling for bombing Iran and took money from a despised Iranian terrorist cult that seeks regime change, became national security adviser. Mike Pompeo, one of the foremost opponents of the nuclear deal, is now secretary of state. The threat of war has returned, this time more imminent than ever before.

Many Iranians are again feeling hopeless, due to a variety of factors, not the least of which is an economy stifled by sanctions, a fact that manifested in December and January when Iran was rocked by the largest protests since the 2009 Green Movement. Yet, many stayed home, not out of support for the regime but out of fear for what might come next.

Now the hardline narrative, that the United States cannot be trusted and will never lift the sanctions, has been vindicated by Trump’s shortsighted and self-serving decision to abrogate the nuclear accord. The hardliners seek to seize back all levers of power from moderates like Rouhani and Zarif, to destroy hopes for reform and to ensure the elevation of a hardline successor to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. If they succeed in doing so, it will mean greater repression at home and escalation abroad.

Yet, much like hardliners in Washington, Iranian hardliners have no good “plan B” for what comes after the deal. And, given the suddenness of Trump’s decision to rip up the deal without an Iranian violation, Rouhani and Zarif have been given one last chance to salvage nuclear compromise and to prevent Trump’s war cabinet from finding a justification to put their war and regime change plans into place.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has vowed that Europe will stick with its commitments under the deal, acting within its security interests and protecting its economic investments. French President Emmanuel Macron has warned that Trump’s decision threatens the very fabric of the nonproliferation regime. Critically, Rouhani as well has indicated that Iran can achieve benefits under the JCPOA without the United States. This sets the stage for a last-ditch effort for Europe, Russia, China and Iran to negotiate a follow-on deal, with Europe taking steps to mitigate the effects of U.S. sanctions re-imposition and protecting companies doing business with Iran.

But the chances for such a follow-on agreement, even absent Trump, are slim.

Europe, in particular, is extremely vulnerable to U.S. sanctions, and Europe has been slow to recognize that its best hope for keeping the nuclear deal rests not with cultivating Trump but in blocking Trump. Israel and Saudi Arabia also hold many cards that could short-circuit diplomacy and drag the United States into direct military confrontation.

The majority of the Iranian people, though, have little choice but to hope that Rouhani and Zarif can navigate these treacherous waters, lest Iran be torn apart by outside powers, just like Iraq and Syria before them.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

Trita Parsi is the president of the National Iranian American Council. Ryan Costello is assistant policy director of the National Iranian American Council. Ryan Costello joined NIAC in April 2013 as a Policy Fellow.

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76 comments for “Trump Vindicates Iranian Hardliners and Victimizes Ordinary Citizens

  1. May 12, 2018 at 7:51 am

    The “deprivation of social services” applies just as well to Americans as Iranians, Fergus Hashimoto. Whatever you say the Iranian mullahs are doing to prosyletize worldwide, is done much more vigorously by the USA through its CIA and allied organs. The massive amounts of money spent by the US on its military establishment dwarfs the rest of the nations’ outputs, while a huge precariat population, those in dire need, has developed within the US. But US military spending is never cut.

  2. Fergus Hashimoto
    May 10, 2018 at 9:59 pm

    If the Iranian clerical-fascists don’t want war, they can easily avoid it. Ever since the revolution of 1979 Iran has sought to expand throughout the Middle East by inciting local Shia minorities to rebel against Sunni rulers. Moreover Iran has established a huge terror apparatus that covers dozens of countries on every continent. In Latin America it has been seeding several countries with targeted religious proselytism in order to create a social base for its worldwide imperialist ambitions.
    Iranians themselves are no more enthusiastic about their empire than Americans are about theirs, among other things because it involves depriving Iranians of social services in order to feed an ever growing military colossus.
    It is profoundly hypocritical to denounce US imperialism while keeping silent about Iranian imperialism.

  3. bobzz
    May 10, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    I have wondered how much of Trump’s decision to wreck the Iran agreement is based on unsubstantiated pretexts and how much is based on personal hatred of Obama.

  4. May 10, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    I think part of Trump’s decision is to see if, once again, Washington can force its vessels into acting against their own interests and continue to bow down towards Washington. This is the biggest turning point in the international scene since at 2013.

  5. Mild -ly- Facetious
    May 10, 2018 at 11:22 am

    So, on the heels of The Idiot — Trump – walking away from the Iran Agreement, the Zionists launch a bombing attack in Lebanon and Syria,is it not apparent that Bebe Netanyahu is salivating for War on Iran?

  6. May 10, 2018 at 2:35 am

    The read-from-the-bottom-up format in the Consortium News comment section is idiotic.

    • Mild -ly- Facetious
      May 10, 2018 at 11:24 am

      Agreed.

  7. anastasia
    May 9, 2018 at 10:23 pm

    Trump and Netanyahu were working in tandem with each other to give Trump the ammunition to tear up this deal, and bring this country into another war in the mid-east. Trump did not say during his campaign that he was going to tear up the deal. He simply spoke about the deal being wrong because of all the money exchanged. He kept talking about the millions or billions in cash that was given to Iran. He led his followers to believe that if there were a future deal to be made in the mid-east, he would do a far better job. He never said he was going to breach the contract made with Iran. Who would expect him to act so lawlessly and immorally? He never said he would tear it up or withdraw from it. Trump is a bad liar too. Not only can you prove all his statements were untrue on a substantive level, (eg. “I keep my promises”, “Iran killed hundreds of American soldiers” “Iran tortures Americans”) he even sounds like he is lying. When he lies, he speaks in a perfect monotone.

    • susan mullen
      May 11, 2018 at 5:01 pm

      No “contract” was made with Iran so no “breach” took place. Iran never signed what Obama and others put together. A Nov. 19, 2015 letter from Obama’s own State Dept. official Julia Frifield confirms this: It “is not a treaty or an executive agreement, and is not a signed document.” It “reflects political commitments.” The letter was sent in response to a query by then Rep. Mike Pompeo. An 8/29/2015 AP article quotes Iran’s President Rowhani stating that Iran won’t sign anything, it wouldn’t be fair to the Iranian people to do so. He called it a “political understanding” not a pact requiring parliamentary approval. As you know, the US congress never approved the Obama Iran commitments either. No “deal” has ever existed on this topic since Iran never signed anything. https://www.scribd.com/document/291042867/Letter-from-State-Department-Regarding-JCPOA#from_embed

  8. May 9, 2018 at 9:10 pm

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it the case that the US can only hurt Iran, or any targetted country, to the extent that that country is intertwined with the US-led Corportacracy? If that’s so, then a solution, or a logical response to that problem, would be for a targetted country, or any country not desiring to become a target (for promoting or even seeming to promote democracy, for example), to disengage as far as possible from that American-designed and dominated global capitalist system that has become the wild beast of Corporatocracy?

    • Realist
      May 10, 2018 at 12:36 am

      Well, yes, if feasible. The problem is that Washington employs a “domino effect” in its sanctions. If Washington wants the EU to sanction Russia but the EU refuses, Washington will employ major sanctions against the EU–or any country on the face of the earth. Either you target America’s enemies, as ordered, or Washington puts a hit out on you. It is totally a violation of national sovereignty by Washington, which does not allow any other country to exercise its own independent foreign policy. The American tentacles are stretched so far and wide that those dominoes are poised to fall on just about any country in the world, unless the country is already totally isolated. Even North Korea was not that isolated.

      • john wilson
        May 10, 2018 at 4:16 am

        Perhaps Realist, the time has come for the rest of the world to sanction America and trade without the Yanks being involved.

        • Pete
          May 10, 2018 at 2:58 pm

          That is what the American Military is for.

  9. KiwiAntz
    May 9, 2018 at 8:50 pm

    On what legal grounds does the US have to exit from the JPOCA Iran nuclear deal, if Iran has been in full compliance under the International Atomic monitoring agency? The US Govt has illegality violated the terms of this deal & they should be sued & sanctioned for this deceitfu & unlawfull behaviour! America has become the laughingstock of the World, it can’t adhere to any agreements it signs & has proven that it can never be trusted to honor any deal it enters into? And with the other signatories committed to keeping the agreement, who really needs the US anyway, other Countries can fill the void such as China? From its isolationist withdrawal from Climate change pacts to Trade deals, the World is just moving on & sorting things out among themselves wiithout the spoiling tactics & selfish, zero sum game activities of the US & we are leaving America & its failed leadership in the rear view mirror? Pity America’s isolationist ambitions don’t extend to meddling in other Countries affairs & regime change or retreating from the 80 Military bases in 100 Countries, that they have no right to be in?

    • May 9, 2018 at 9:15 pm

      The grounds? Remember what we’re dealing with here. The claim of democratic is only pretense. Always was.

      The way the wolves get to rule over the sheep is for them to cleverly huddle with the rest of us in order to decide on the rules which we will all follow, which will, when they are followed, conduce to social harmony and gain for all and not just a minority. Then the wolves strategically break those rules (while claiming to do so in the name of law & order and democracy), which places them in positions of dominance over sucker sheep who stuck to the rules. From positions of dominance, the wolves – who, as Jesus Christ noted, like to be called “Benefactors” – can dictate outcomes, including economic outcomes that will benefit themselves and their pack.

      https://app.box.com/s/xdifsykv19efol39pp5vdzkomk1iq6hy

      • Mathew Neville
        May 10, 2018 at 11:17 am

        Arby —–

        please leave Jesus Christ out of it — “some people” have to involve a J.C.Crusade everywhere.

        And perhaps all this war in the middle East is really a Judeo Christian Crusade .

        The “released N.Korean prisoners” even were pushing Jesus Christ in Korea (Christian Crusade).

        The Judeo/Christian war on Islam with Christian Soldiers has a strong Biblical background.

    • Realist
      May 10, 2018 at 12:29 am

      Yeah, you would think that an international treaty (let alone one with six or seven co-signatories) is inviolable, like a contract and that breaking it would be subject to major penalties. Washington is the party that should be sanctioned for breaking its word and acting with aggression towards the innocent party. When will the world learn that the word of the American government has never been any good. Just ask the native Americans. The thugs in Washington are just world class crooks and liars. All of us hard working American citizens will ultimately pay for this when the whole house of cards constructed by the cheaters in charge totally collapses just a little ways down the road. If I ran a foreign government or business, I’d never trust America again. I’d take all my business to China, Russia or anywhere but America and its closest co-conspirators against decency and fair play.

  10. May 9, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    Sorry, published today May 9, (my typo), by Mark Hibbs, Senior Associate, Carnegie’s Nuclear Policy Program, based in Bonn and Brussels: “The Specter of an Anti-American Eurasia”, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

  11. May 9, 2018 at 8:24 pm

    See “The Specter of an Anti-American Eurasia”, in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, opinion piece published today, May 8. Pretty much says that the US has now isolated itself with this move and Eurasia and the Shiite Middle East will unite against it. I can’t copy the link but it’s well worth reading.

  12. mike k
    May 9, 2018 at 8:00 pm

    We are indeed in “a time of troubles”. We observers will be whipsawed between hope and despair again and again. The only certainty is uncertainty. General understandings have more chance of holding up than short term predictions – and may be more useful in the long run. Detaching from the drama and excitement of current events allows for a broader, deeper understanding.

  13. May 9, 2018 at 7:35 pm

    I’m not losing hope and I hope the Iranian people don’t. Today’s geopolitics are not as they were back in the days of Kissinger and even G.W. Bush. I don’t think Europe will just knuckle under to Trump and his minions. From reading Haaretz, even Israelis aren’t pleased with Netanyahu, he is losing ground over there with the corruption case and who knows what else? Russia and China are big partners, and I read today that sanctions on Russia were bypassed by European countries that needed Russia’s gas this winter and onward. Does anyone believe that the US will dictate to the world when people in other countries get uncomfortable because of unreasonable US dictates?

    Iran is a key player in Eurasia. China’s introduction of the petroyuan, not yet implemented, is a game changer. The US elites won’t accept a multipolar world gracefully but it’s coming nonetheless. We have to think positively and not let these backward thinkers rule us, despite their money support and damage they are causing! Power to the Iranian people…bless their future! Thanks for this article.

    • Sam F
      May 9, 2018 at 8:36 pm

      Yes, one cannot help but sympathize with the people of Iran, so long betrayed by the US.
      I wonder whether they are much at odds with the Sunni Syrian majority, or just ISIS et al.
      It would be interesting to see a Sunni-Shiite rapprochement in Syria/Qatar/Iran/Pakistan isolating the US proxies in KSA/UAE/Egypt. Perhaps in part motivated by the once-proposed Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline.

      • May 9, 2018 at 9:17 pm

        Wonder no more. Give Stephen Gowans’s book, “Washington’s Long on Syria” a read.

    • Abby
      May 10, 2018 at 12:16 am

      Trump might well be a gift to the rest of the world by withdrawing from the Iran deal and his other actions. We’re seeing Russia and China moving closer together financially and it looks like other countries are going to join them. This action by Trump might just give them the nerve to tell us to stick it and go their own ways.

      Pence said that the Iran deal could be made better than where it currently stands, but who is going to believe any new deal that’s made? What he and Macron want to see happen is for Iran to leave Syria and give up its ballistic missiles. Riiight, I don’t see them doing this because it would leave them as helpless as Libya was just before Obama invaded them and removed Gaddafi from both office and the earth.

      Sanctions are an act of war and they rarely achieve their goals. They end up killing lots of civilians while the government continues to eat, drink and be merry.

  14. Realist
    May 9, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    I guess Trump’s announcement was the signal to Israel to start the planned war against Syria and Iran, as numerous news sources are saying Southern Syria is now being attacked by missiles and artillery from Israel who–guess what?–are saying they are defending themselves from Iranian attacks. The lead story on Zero Hedge has the most detailed info. I guess all the rumors about a planned invasion by Israel, Washington and Saudi were true. Putin’s move… and it’s obviously one he never wanted to make. Everyone here knows what the options are, unless Israel desists.

    • Realist
      May 9, 2018 at 7:09 pm

      Israel Attacks Syria Less Than an Hour After Trump Speech
      Nine killed in Israeli attacks near Damascus
      Jason Ditz Posted on May 8, 2018Categories NewsTags Israel, Syria

      https://news.antiwar.com/2018/05/08/israel-attacks-syria-less-than-an-hour-after-trump-speech/

      • Sam F
        May 9, 2018 at 8:28 pm

        It will be surprising if Israel attacks without the US, and so far we have seen only pussy-footing by Trump.
        Perhaps Russia is waiting while producing weapons for Syria and Iran.
        It would be good to see a sign of Russia’s commitment to defend Iran.

          • Realist
            May 10, 2018 at 12:13 am

            This is exactly the same thing that Paul Craig Roberts said was about to happen a few days ago.

            https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/05/05/russia-washingtons-next-vassal/

            Moreover, Saker is all upset over the appointees to the new Russian administration. I don’t know any of them from Adam. He’s talking like Putin has decided to unconditionally surrender to Washington.

            If true, what has been the point of Russian foreign policy over the past four years? Why squander all the national resources, prolong a war in Syria, invite a war in Iran and incur all the economic backlash from NATO and the EU just to roll over to Washington in the end? Has Putin become convinced that Washington is truly insane and actually poised to start World War III? Just what have the maniacs in DC threatened?

          • Sam F
            May 10, 2018 at 7:25 am

            It appears that Roberts cites Helmer who cites only a UK Financial Times story citing only Kudrin himself as preferred by Putin, when others state that Kudrin is about to be purged. So it looks like a foolish bid by Kudrin to become a US proxy, or to get political airtime. Roberts says wait for Putin’s inaugural address to find any policy shift.

  15. mrtmbrnmn
    May 9, 2018 at 6:17 pm

    Satanyahu (kudos to whomever thought up that handle!) and his imbecilic ventriloquist’s dummy Trump are the two most dangerous and pathologically dishonest political leaders on the planet. Listening to Trump’s stream of sewage and whoppers about Iran and the nuke agreement, I can only paraphrase writer and critic Mary McCarthy’s assessment of Lillian Hellman: Every word he said is a lie including “and” and “the”.

  16. backwardsevolution
    May 9, 2018 at 5:31 pm

    ThomasGilroy – “This really makes me wonder whether Putin or Julian Assange have any regrets helping to elect Trump. […] Putin’s interference in the US election to help elect Trump has not brought a return on his investment. In fact, it may have made things worse.”

    Thomas, they didn’t help Trump get elected. Hillary lost all on her own.

    “A few nights ago, Israel bombed an Iranian military facility in Syria. Iranian military facilities in Syria is a step too far for Israel.”

    What a laugh. Everything is a “step too far” for Israel. If they handed out a Whine Prize, Israel would win hands down, year after year.

    So Israel can have nuclear weapons, but Iran can’t. Fine. Israel can fly all over Syria, bombing up the countryside, but woe betide the fool who puts his foot onto the Golan Heights. Whoops, I forgot, that’s not even Israel’s land. They stole it from Syria. Talk about a “step too far”!

    • May 9, 2018 at 9:24 pm

      Exactly!

    • Abby
      May 10, 2018 at 12:25 am

      Israel’s troops are too cowardly to do their own fighting. Those cowards can only shoot unarmed Palestinians. This is why Israel tells our government to send our troops to do their fighting for them. Look at how many decades ours have been dying not to defend this country, but for Israel.

      I too have seen comments saying that Trump tore up the Iran deal because Putin told him to do so. And that Russia wants us to start a war with Iran, “even though they are its allies.” This is how insane Russia Gate has made people and just because Hillary lost the election.

      • backwardsevolution
        May 10, 2018 at 1:54 am

        Abby – yep, it’s just nuts. People truly have lost their ability to think. Thanks for your post.

    • Skip Scott
      May 10, 2018 at 6:58 am

      I guess I missed Gilroy’s post and it was scrubbed. I’m sure I didn’t miss much.

      • Sam F
        May 10, 2018 at 7:35 am

        You did not miss anything worthwhile. It was a recital of MSM conclusions without evidence or argument, deleted while I was making a reply with too much patience.

  17. Al Pinto
    May 9, 2018 at 5:28 pm

    Quote:

    “The majority of the Iranian people, though, have little choice but to hope that Rouhani and Zarif can navigate these treacherous waters, lest Iran be torn apart by outside powers, just like Iraq and Syria before them.”

    I’d go as far to say that the Iranian people have no choice, but being subjected to the same treatment as Iraq and Syria for number of reasons…

    There are to many countries that are either joined the NATO, a.k.a. allied forces, or supports the US efforts to destroy Iran, such as Israel and Saud Arabia. The EU will not stick with the commitment under the deal, regardless what the foreign minister of EU and Iran have stated. Couple of billions here, another there, may be some arm twisting and voile, everyone is on board with the US except Iran.

    Even in Asia and Australia, the US has quite of few countries supporting its foreign policies. It really boils down to Russia and China to prevent destroying Iran, but it’s unlikely that they would intervene. These countries may not realize that they will be the next on the “chopping-block”, if they don’t act now. And once Russia is neutralized, China has no chances to escape the same fate.

    Hoping for the US empire to fall over is futile. This is not your yesteryears empire, this is an empire that has built strong alliances and spread its military all over the world. The strength includes nuclear weapons everywhere and the US is not afraid to use them, if and when its empire is threatened. The only way out of this would be people rising up within the the US and change foreign policy direction. With the oligarchs choke-hold of the government and MSM, the chance of that is as good as Iran maintaining the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with EU.

    We will see in the upcoming couple of month, but the chances are that it will not be pretty…

    • mike k
      May 9, 2018 at 7:52 pm

      The bigger they are the harder they fall.

  18. Theo
    May 9, 2018 at 4:34 pm

    I’m afraid Europe will finally comply with the sanctions.Germany doesn’t have politicians like Schröder and Fischer anymore.

  19. Abe
    May 9, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    U.S. policymakers have sought “regime change” in Syria and Iran due to the pro-Israel Lobby, which includes a network of think tanks and policy institutes like American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA), which have included rabid pro-Israel warhawk and terrorist lobbyist John Bolton among their members.

    The Brookings Insititution is a leading pro-israel Lobby “regime change” think tank.

    The 2009 Brookings report, “Which Path to Persia?: Options for a New American Strategy toward Iran”, was authored by a team of pro-Israel war hawks headed by Martin Indyk, a former staffer at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

    https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/06_iran_strategy.pdf

    On 3 December 2017, Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser on Middle East/Israel issues, gave his first on-the-record appearance at the Saban Forum at the Brookings Institution.

    Addressing the audience at Brookings, Kushner said, “It’s really an honor to be able to talk about this topic with so many people who I respect so much, who have given so much to this issue.” He acknowledged that “We’ve solicited a lot of ideas from a lot of places.”

    Kushner used pro-Israel Lobby bellicose rhetoric about “Iran’s aggression” and claims about “their nuclear ambitions and their expansive regional mischief”.

    Trump’s Administration, as Kushner’s remarks clearly indicate, obviously bases its understanding of “regional dynamics” on “a lot of ideas” from the pro-Israel war hawks at the Brookings Institution.

    Indyk, the “director” of the Saban Center at Brookings, cofounded the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in 1985 with the wife of AIPAC Chairman Lawrence Weinberg and former president of the Jewish Federation, Barbi Weinberg. Despite his well known affiliation with the Israel Lobby and his Australian nationality, Bill Clinton appointed Indyk as the first foreign-born US Ambassador to Israel in 1995. The issuance of his US nationality had been expedited for his previous appointment by Clinton in 1993 as Middle East adviser on the National Security Council.

    Kenneth M. Pollack, the “director of research” at the Saban Center, is a former CIA analyst and National Security Council staffer under Bill Clinton. A prominent “liberal hawk” cheerleader for the Iraq War, Pollack is credited with persuading liberals to endorse the invasion of Iraq. His 2002 book, The Threatening Storm, was influential in selling the “WMD” case. His 2005 book, The Persian Puzzle, recycled many of the same arguments, this time directed at Iran.

    Michael E. O’Hanlon, the “director of foreign policy research” at Brookings, is a war hawk and frequent op-ed writer for major news outlets like the Washington Post. In recent years, O’Hanlon has pushed for U.S. intervention in Syria. In April 2007, O’Hanlon and Fred Kagan urged the United States to invade and occupy Iran.

    In March 2003, shortly after the United States invaded Iraq, O’Hanlon contributed his name to an open letter published by the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), a neoconservative advocacy outfit closely associated with American Enterprise Institute that played a major role generating public support for the invasion of Iraq and pushing an expansive “war on terror.” Among those contributing their names to the document were hardline neocons like Max Boot, Eliot Cohen, Joshua Muravchik, and William Kristol, as well as liberal interventionists like O’Hanlon and Ivo Daalder, also a scholar based at Brookings.

    In their landmark book, The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy (2007), American political scientists John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt note that the Saban Center at Brookings is “part of the pro-Israel chorus” (pg 156).

    Mearsheimer and Walt observed that “Saban Center publications never question US support for Israel and rarely, if ever, offer significant criticism of key Israeli policies.”

    With the failure of the Israeli-Saudi-U.S. Axis “regime change” project in Syria, Israel has demonstrated its readiness to stage further provocations

  20. Abe
    May 9, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    “plans by US policymakers have been documented and are available freely to the public from among the various corporate-financier funded policy think tanks that produce US foreign and domestic policy.

    “Prominent among these is the Brookings Institution whose corporate-financier sponsors include arms manufacturers Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon, energy giants Exxon Mobil, BP, Aramco, and Chevron, and financiers including Bank of America, Citi, and numerous advisers and trustees provided by Goldman Sachs.

    “In their 2009 paper, ‘Which Path to Persia?: Options for a New American Strategy Toward Iran’, Brookings policymakers would first admit the complications of US-led military aggression against Iran:

    “‘…any military operation against Iran will likely be very unpopular around the world and require the proper international context – both to ensure the logistical support the operation would require and to minimize the blowback from it.’

    “The paper then lays out how the US could appear to the world as a peacemaker and depict Iran’s betrayal of a ‘very good deal’ as the pretext for an otherwise reluctant US military response:

    “‘The best way to minimize international opprobrium and maximize support (however, grudging or covert) is to strike only when there is a widespread conviction that the Iranians were given but then rejected a superb offer – one so good that only a regime determined to acquire nuclear weapons and acquire them for the wrong reasons would turn it down. Under those circumstances, the United States (or Israel) could portray its operations as taken in sorrow, not anger, and at least some in the international community would conclude that the Iranians ‘brought it on themselves’ by refusing a very good deal.’

    “And from 2009 onward, this is precisely what the United States set out to achieve. First with US President Barack Obama’s signing of the 2015 JCPOA, up to and including current US President Donald Trump’s attempts to backtrack from it based on fabricated claims Iran failed to honor the agreement. […]

    “The ‘game’ – as Brookings policymakers called their attempts to covertly provoke war with Iran in their 2009 paper – they had hoped to hide from public view, is now exposed […]

    “The entire ‘Iran Nuclear Deal’ was conceived, promoted, and then intentionally sabotaged at the cost of years of propaganda and public displays as well as both public and behind-the-scenes diplomatic maneuvering.”

    America Planned to Break “Iran Nuclear Deal” Years Before Signing It
    By Tony Cartalucci
    http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2018/05/america-planned-to-break-iran-nuclear.html

  21. mike k
    May 9, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    The thing about Trump and his neocon handlers is they never make a mistake. If they create a huge mess and really screw everything up horribly, they just label it a great success and merrily move on to the next disaster. Maybe they really believe they are doing “the Lord’s work” and hastening the return of Jesus? Or maybe they are just too stupid and delusional to recognize their mistakes for what they are. Besides, the money keeps rolling in, and that proves they are always on the right track – until the train we are all riding in goes over the cliff. And even then they will find someone else to blame for their failures – like Hillary did.

  22. strgr-tgther
    May 9, 2018 at 3:18 pm

    Anyone notice that just when Mueller is closing the trap, Trump does something like this? Iran is Putin’s friend so he thinks if he scraps this deal Robert Mueller can’t say he is colluding with Russia. But this treaty means little if it saves Trump from getting impeached. My guess is he called Putin and the Iranians and told him he is only doing this for political reasons and not to worry, behind the scenes he is playing ball and doing Putin’s business in the Middle East as they agreed before the election. Before Trump we were on our way to getting rid of Assad like Qaddafi and getting peace in the Middle East. And now we are just executing Putin’s plans for the region.

    • mike k
      May 9, 2018 at 3:26 pm

      For a demoRussiagate troll, you have quite an imagination!

      • strgr-tgther
        May 9, 2018 at 3:33 pm

        No! Sorry! Mika said it today on “Morning Joe”… it is already national news… no imagination needed. Just read and educate yourself.

      • May 9, 2018 at 8:28 pm

        Mueller seems to be “closing the trap” in the time proven way: inspecting inconsistencies concerning some sexual peccadilloes.

    • May 9, 2018 at 3:39 pm

      Just no.

    • Tom F
      May 9, 2018 at 4:11 pm

      Your guess about Trump is based on what? At best it is wishful thinking and your failure to appreciate the real danger we all now face is quite bewildering.

      • backwardsevolution
        May 9, 2018 at 6:41 pm

        Tom F – another astute blogger, Skip Scott, pointed out that strgr-tgther is just using sarcasm. Read his post again from that angle. It’s actually quite funny.

        • Tom F
          May 9, 2018 at 8:01 pm

          Well hopefully so but I wouldn’t place money on it. Perhaps there is a cleverish troll at work.

          • backwardsevolution
            May 10, 2018 at 12:07 am

            Tom F – yes, who knows for sure whether it’s sarcasm or not, but what he said next sure points to it:

            “No! Sorry! Mika said it today on “Morning Joe”… it is already national news… no imagination needed. Just read and educate yourself.”

            I think he’s poking fun at the people who listen to Mika and actually take what she says as the truth, with no more “imagination needed”.

    • Joe Tedesky
      May 9, 2018 at 4:11 pm

      strgr-tgther, I wouldn’t put it pass Trump to trash the JPCOA as a sidestepping method to avoid Mueller’s ever expanding investigation, but I would only point to the real interfering country, and that is Israel. In fact it is Israel who is going to Russia, as Netanyahu is going to participate in Russia’s V-Day celebration. You got to hand to the Israeli’s they do know how to play both sides of the field.

      http://theduran.com/israels-netanyahu-to-be-guest-of-honour-at-russias-9th-may-victory-day-celebration/

      One last thing, don’t put your money on peace in the Middle East if by some chance Assad is taken out. Assad isn’t the problem, but I’ll give you three guesses though to who is… first it is the U.S., then second there is Israel, and the third is Saudi Arabia. Trust me on this strgr-tgther. Joe

      • Joe Tedesky
        May 9, 2018 at 10:31 pm

        Here is some added reading on how bipartisan war is in the U.S. Governments everyday mechanisms.

        http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176418/tomgram%3A_danny_sjursen%2C_hail%2C_%28donald%29_caesar%21/

        It doesn’t really matter to how you get there, but in the terms of modern day America’s foreign policy war is the ultimate course to take, because that’s where the profit is. Quit blaming Russians for what is standing procedure for the U.S. politician, and that is to be continually at war. There’s no profit in ending war, as bogged down means even more profit, and yet even more profit, profit, profit.

        Israel is taking advantage of that American flaw. Russia on the other hand is encased by it, literally Russia is surrounded by American weaponry. Brzezinski to MacKinder, it doesn’t much matter, as long as there is profit in it. Screw mankind, to the profiteers there is only the short term to consider. Remember to the elite the immediate cash gives them time to capitalize on low interest rates, which means bomb production in the short term will bring even higher yields. This is the American Dream.

        Quite blaming Russia, and maybe start looking towards Wall Street, and the Hedge Fund Managers.

  23. Mild -ly- Facetious
    May 9, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    It’s wonderful to have the mind of Trita Parsi on these pages.
    ()

    Israel conducts airstrike west of Damascus: Report

    By ASIA TIMES STAFF
    MAY 9, 2018

    Just moments after the Trump administration announced the United States’ withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal on Tuesday, reports are coming out of Syria that Israel has conducted airstrikes in the countryside outside of Damascus.

    Syrian Al-Masdar News reported, citing preliminary reports, that the Israeli Air Force struck a military target near the town of Kisweh. No casualties have been reported as of yet.

    Other unconfirmed reports, according to Al-Masdar, claimed that Israel had struck a Hezbollah convoy.

    Israeli news outlet Haaretz also reported explosions south of Damascus on Tuesday evening, following the Israeli government’s order for communities in the northern Golan Heights, near Israel’s border with Syria, to open shelters. The order came after an Israeli military statement cited “unusual movements” of Iranian forces in Syria.

    The Zionist desire to expunge and obliterate the existing remnants of the (historical) Persian Empire has been the despotic purpose of Netanyahu’s Nationalistic Right Wing warmongers and Talmudist religious zealots who’re Essentially Evil.

  24. Joe
    May 9, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    When the Kosher Kon Man, Netanyahu, made his latest cartoon presentation a week and a half ago, regardless of the ludicrous lies put forth, the deal was confirmed sealed. Obviously the ‘decision’ was made much earlier, but that Bibsy dog and pony show, with all of it’s chutzpah, hubris, and nonsense, was really the public ‘scoop’ that the JCPOA was toast. There is really nothing more to say. I am speechless, embarrassed, and disgusted.

  25. Joe Tedesky
    May 9, 2018 at 2:21 pm

    Well if there was ever any question to how embedded Israel is inside of the U.S. government, well with Trump’s opting out of the JPCOA added to his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel capital, then there is no unanswered questions left to be found. It’s official the U.S. belongs to Israel. The foreign interference, as we on this comment board all know, isn’t Russia as it is Israel, who jams up the cogwheels of our American government. Seriously, I ask you all, how is stooping so low as America has done for Israel a defensive strategy to guard America’s National Security? Let me answer that question for you, it isn’t.

    • Joe
      May 9, 2018 at 2:34 pm

      Joe- you are correct. I mean, there is no surprise here, but one is left shaking their head in utter disgust.

      • Joe J Tedesky
        May 9, 2018 at 3:02 pm

        Even the expected is shocking when finally confronted with it. Thanks Joe for the supporting comment. Joe

    • Bob Van Noy
      May 9, 2018 at 3:09 pm

      So true Joe and if one wants to understand how this happened they can read F. William Engdahl’s book “Manafest Destiny,” Democracy as Cognative Dissonance. Or they might enjoy the discussion with Info Wars
      Alex Jones to have the story told to them. Thanks…

      http://www.williamengdahl.com

      • Joe Tedesky
        May 9, 2018 at 4:00 pm

        Engdahl is quite the writer, I always look forward to reading his articles, so I would bet his book is spectacular.

        Bob, we on this comment board often do get these events more right than not. I wish Trump were not to be so beholden to Israel, but with Adelson, Sanger, and Saban, in his corner donating boatloads of money to his presidential campaign, I fear Trump is loss to the Zionist.

        Granted Trump never hid his objections to the JPCOA, but now that he is in full swing with his taking the U.S. out of it, well like I said to another here ‘that sometimes even the expected is a shock once confronted with it’. So this is where we are at.

        I see Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and now this trashing of the Iranian JPCOA, as Trump going full on Zionist. This of course is not setting well with the other signatures as well as it is not being received well by our allies. So I see the U.S. sliding into an isolationism of sorts, and with that the Empire crumbles.

        They say everything happens for a reason, so let’s hope that with these recent Trump policies we are on our way to better times once our days of Empire are over. Always good to correspond with you Bob. Joe

  26. May 9, 2018 at 2:02 pm

    It doesn’t matter what Iran, its people, or its leaders do. The USA has a hard-on for a long time to go to war with Iran. The Project for a New American Century spelled it out in black and white over twenty years ago. When Bush got into office he put the Neo-Cons behind the Project in control of USA foreign policy. Obama didn’t really replace them, but he did try to moderate things a bit, which is where the deal with Iran came from.

    But once it was clear that Hillary was going to be the Democratic nominee in 2016 that meant that sometime in the next administration, whether she won or a Republican (any of them) won, that we’d go to war with Iran.

    Please, everyone, don’t think this is a problem of just Trump. This is a problem of the American Imperial Project and this was one of the aspects of it that Trump was on board with from before the campaign. But if he hadn’t been on board, they’d have gotten him on board like they’ve been doing with every other aspect. Hillary was on board with this too, despite her needing to sound like she supported Obama on it.

    Not only we are up shit creek without a paddle, not only is the boat now leaking, now there are Chainsaw Massacre types on the banks with shotguns getting ready to shoot at us.

  27. Sally Snyder
    May 9, 2018 at 2:00 pm

    Here is a fascinating look at the direct connection between the United States and Iran’s nuclear program:

    https://viableopposition.blogspot.ca/2018/05/irans-nuclear-capability-american.html

    It is interesting to look back in history to see what a tangled diplomatic web has been woven when it comes to Iran and its nuclear program, a web that was largely woven by Washington.

    • rosemerry
      May 9, 2018 at 2:35 pm

      Thanks for the link. It is interesting that Henry Kissinger, a strong proponent of Iran’s nuclear program at the time of the Shah, is still alive to see this step in the process.

      The important thing is that the bullying that the USA insists on using to punish its allies and others for daring to keep to an international agreement is not allowed to succeed. When we see the disgraceful ways US banks have behaved over the last few years to destroy the lives of so many Americans, banks should not be used to ruin trade and agreements with Iran and other countries which have worked in good faith to establish ties legally and productively. The USA is the only partner at fault.

    • Sam F
      May 9, 2018 at 5:06 pm

      Good points, Sally and Rosemerry. I was at MIT in the 1970s when Iran had nuclear science students there (under the Shah) and we protested the Shah, not the nuclear students. Indeed the US uses economic war for no purpose of its people, but rather those of Israel and the banks.

      • Mild -ly- Facetious
        May 9, 2018 at 7:45 pm

        Amen, Brother ! Find the movies “The Battle of Algeriers”

        and the later movie, (c.1968); “The Dreamers”; Starring Michael Pitt and Eva Green.

    • backwardsevolution
      May 9, 2018 at 6:26 pm

      Sally Snyder – that was a very interesting article. Thanks for posting it.

  28. mike k
    May 9, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    The US is a Warfare State. It is totally committed to prosecuting war all over the globe. Any talk of peace by agents of the American government is simply lying propaganda with no substance whatever. Born in violence, the US has been the greatest cause of war in the world throughout it’s history. If our world will finally be completely destroyed by war, the USA will be the leader in that debacle. If the US can be turned from it’s mad military dream of conquering the world, we may survive for many centuries. If not, then we may not live to see the end of this century.

    • Druid
      May 9, 2018 at 6:45 pm

      “Born in Violence”. It’s in our DNA

    • Tom F
      May 9, 2018 at 8:27 pm

      “We may not live to see he end of the century” … well replacing century with decade might be more apposite. The apparent lack of resolve of Putin, who is also in bed with Bibi, to defend Syria from constant aerial attack has undoubtedly given the green light to the Empire to now ravage Iran. Russia needs to get its act in Syria together and soon at that, or it might as well scuttle off home right now.

      • Kalen
        May 9, 2018 at 10:03 pm

        Such frustration is shared by many who mistaken Putin Syrian intervention with principled stand against America imperial belligerence while he stated he came to defeat ISIS terrorists there instead at home not to save Assad. Here are some facts:

        Just seven years past and despite unquestioned positive role that Russian played in Syria mostly to reduce pain and suffering of Syrian people But there is no need to deny Russian initial stand in the conflict that did nothing but encouraged US and NATO gangsters to reek chaos that caused tens of thousands dead and injured.

        Just to remind people’s that in 2011 it was Medvedev representative of Russian western oligarchic lobby (friendly with Obama and neocons) in Kremlin who was in charge during Arab Spring.

        It is well documented fact that Assad pleaded with Medvedev in March 2011 for Moscow to deliver already ordered and paid for in 2008 dozens of new combat helicopters as well as massive amount of parts to refurbish and upgrade Russian made warplanes that were also withheld not to upset Israel and US at that time.

        Assad was not invited to Moscow at that time while he repeatedly declared that his military will be able to defeat terrorist insurgence financed by the CIA in a matter of weeks if Syrian Army is resupplied and paid for already contracts executed.

        None of that happened at that time, while at the same time Quadaffi was thrown under the bus by Russians and Chinese UN non veto of the planned NATO agression on Libya, appeasement or coincidence?

        Russian got their pay off for playing western game in MENA when in 2012 Putin was barely elected in a quite rediculous political charade facing CIA/Soros funded failed Moscow Spring which actually started slippery slope of open western anti-Russian hysterical embellishments.

        What was even more puzzling for those not so sophisticated political analysts was Putin inconsistent actions and declarations especially in regard to Syria between 2012 and 2014 when he joined US phony peace talks and calling on Assad removal from his post in a some sort of democratic process only to find out that US do not want peace in Syria but some Saudi run fiefdom friendly to Israel.

        The same appeasement to the west was in Putin attitude to Ukraine until 2014 and its 23 millions of ethnic Russians tolerating rapidly growing western financed Nazism as well his tolerance of Russia connected Ukrainian oligarchic theft that plunged the country into economic depression enabling political instability.

        At that time Russian minorities in Baltic States were also viciously attacked by security forces as well by discriminating Nuremberg- like laws making them, most born there, second class citizen restricted in ownership and civil rights to organize and to maintain their culture and language.

        All those Putin foreign policies of weakness and submission to the west and that included reluctance in approach to alliances with China were in sharp contrast to his extreme push to revamp entire military of Russian with enormous like for Russia military imvestments and extremely rationalizing it giving them 5 year term to accomplish massive changes while dropping hype about future fancy technologies for simple solutions that effectively will defend the country from western aggression.

        Putin knew what was coming so why Kremlin policies of appeasement and hence encouragement of bullying and aggression. Who was really in charge?

        In fact Putin reacted only when Russian vital national security was directly threatened in 2014 in Crimea where navy bases are located and in 2015 when he realized that western trained and funded terrorist army commanded by Chechnya Russian speaking terrorists is being prepared to invade Chechnya after Assad was deposed and the only maditeranian navy base was threatened.

        As always in history policy of appeasement of a bully leads to the same thing ultimate confrontation, more delayed more costly it is.

        So is Putin as Xi for that matter is about to submit their nations to the western oligarchy even more for their personal advancement at the global oligarchic table or they split which means war.

        I do not think global nuke war is coming they have too good thing going and their power is not threatened by the enslaved people.

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