Donald Trump on Friday made official his plan to demolish the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) by announcing in a bombastic speech he is decertifying the deal. The intention to refuse to recertify the deal was a poorly kept secret, Trump reluctantly recertifying the deal twice already during his presidency.
Trump, along with fellow neocon fanatics and extremists in the political establishment of Israel all want to destroy Iran and will not let the nuclear deal get in the way of their deadly plans for the Middle East. Remarkably, Trump made virtually no reference to the actual deal, knowing Iran is in compliance with its obligations, something which has been reinforced by high ranking members of his own regime, such as James Mattis and Rex Tillerson. Trump made irrelevant allegations of Iran sponsoring terrorism, claiming this put it in violation of the spirit of the deal. This wild allegation was reflective of the entire speech, with Trump blaming Iran for everything from a series of bombings, to supporting Al-Qaeda to assisting North Korea in its aggressive pursuits. It is difficult to see how he could have crammed more lies and distortions into an 18-minute speech.
The people of Syria can attest to the destructive intentions of successive US regimes and are appreciative of the vital assistance Iran has provided in resisting the spread of US-led terrorism. Syrians know the path to Persia goes through Damascus and stand firm as a partner against the trail of death of US imperialism which sweeps up the entire region in its path. They know the US supports the terrorist groups Al-Qaeda and ISIS, despite all claims to the contrary, and that it intends using these destructive groups to destroy both countries. The terrifying assault has united the countries and they stand together firmer than ever, determined and capable of repelling US-led aggression.
Trump has an ability to shoot from the hip, reacting with impetuosity and bravado whenever he is slighted. In his snarling speech, he largely ignored the actual nuclear deal, showing his inclination to ramble on about matters outside of the agreement. It betrayed his bumbling engagement with the world of international relations and his natural affinity for hyperbole and outrageous accusation. It was a display of pure hatred and viciousness, unbecoming of the leader of a major nation. It could have been scripted by Benjamin Netanyahu himself, with the fervent Israel supporters and die-hard Iran haters, Jarred Kushner and Stephen Miller no doubt having influence on this incredible diatribe.
Trump, in a disingenuous display of concern for Iranians, said their will was subverted and freedom crushed in the revolution of 1979. He made no mention of the truth of the matter, which is that Iranians rose up against a brutal US installed dictator, the Shah of Iran, who ruled the country with an iron thumb for 26 years.
Condemnation and dismay at Trump’s reckless act were immediate and unambiguous. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani reacted with customary dignity, pointing out the US cannot unilaterally decertify an international multilateral deal ratified by the United Nations.
EU Foreign Policy Chief, Federica Mogherini said: “The president of the United States has many powers (but), not this one.” She went on to say it is not a bilateral agreement, does not belong to any single country and it is not up to any single country to terminate it. In a clear sign of the dissatisfaction of the EU with Trump’s unilateralism, she pointed out the unanimous endorsement of the deal at the United Nations and that the deal is working as intended.
The leaders of the powerhouse European trio, British Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron issued a joint statement saying they ‘stand committed’ to the deal. “We stand committed to the JCPOA and its full implementation by all sides. Preserving the JCPOA is in our shared national security interest” the statement read.
To put Trump’s madman rantings to bed, the international body tasked with verifying Iran’s compliance with the deal, the International Atomic Energy Agency reminded us all that “Iran is subject to the world’s most robust nuclear verification regime” and that Tehran has implemented all the commitments it made under the deal. Anyone who has read the actual agreement and its stringent requirements can attest to that. Trump’s specious claims on Iran’s alleged support of terrorism, human rights abuses and alliances with other so-called rogue states are irrelevant to a specific nuclear deal Iran is complying with.
The real reason Trump and the neocon fanatics—totally in the service of Israel— want to destroy the deal is that they want the same thing they wanted in Syria; regime change. The US does not do compromise, it demands capitulation. Its idea of negotiations is to make ultimatums. It demands loyalty and subservience of client regimes in the Middle East and can’t accept the fact Syria and Iran have progressed on independent paths, putting their own national interests first.
The US is alarmed at the increasing influence Iran has in the region, urged on by Saudi Arabia and Israel to confront Tehran in order to destabilize and weaken the government in preparation for regime change. The existing sanctions and the move toward even more sanctions, which are an actual violation of the JCPOA, aim to undermine the Iranian economy and scare international investment away from Iran.
Iran stepped into the vacuum left by the US invasion of Iraq which tore a proud country apart. Stepping in to stabilize a country where sectarian divisions were deliberately sown by the US, simultaneously protecting its own national interests, Iran has helped to prevent the country falling into total collapse. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iranian backed militias continue to fight ISIS, playing crucial roles in campaigns such as the liberation of Mosul. This infuriates Washington which wants Iraq as another proxy state and is the motivation for the baseless allegations of Iran supporting terrorism and interfering in its neighbors’ internal affairs.
In Syria, Iran has consistently supported the secular state in its six years-long battle against US and Gulf State-sponsored terrorism. In 2013, when the US was gearing up for military action after the Ghouta chemical weapons attack was falsely blamed on the Syrian government, Iran warned the US not to take unilateral and illegal military action, stating any such attack risked igniting a wider war in the region. It also issued a warning that any attack on Syria would see an immediate retaliation against Israel. There would be no shortage of volunteers willing to enter the Golan Heights, illegally occupied by Israel since 1967. The forces of Hezbollah would also not be backward in coming forward, eager to deliver Israel another bloody nose after its fierce resistance offered in 2006 drove Israel out of Lebanon.
Iran forms a vital part of the axis of resistance to US hegemony and Israel/Saudi Arabia domination of the region. The devastation of Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, and now too Yemen, galvanized Syria, Iran and Hezbollah, joined by Iraq and with the powerful backing of Russia and the economic might of China. Iran was invited into Syria by President Bashar Al-Assad to fight the terrorists that threatened to overrun the country. Iran accepted, willing to back an ally and fully aware of the threat posed to it by a subsequent proxy war or even direct military attack by the US and Israel.
Iranian forces are well regarded on the battlefield in Syria and many lives have been lost driving back the jihadists from areas they occupied. Iranian commanders are held in high esteem in Syria, possessing great tactical skill and commanding vital campaigns.
Iranian IRGC forces waged battle alongside Hezbollah and Syrian government forces against the Al-Qaeda led jihadists in the Battle for Aleppo, a slow but steady campaign which eventually liberated the east of the city. The IRGC Quds Force Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani spent time directing his forces in the battle he understood was a key turning point in the war, the victory enabling campaigns to be intensified in the eastern parts of the country. Iranian forces took great care in protecting civilians, unlike the western, Turkish and Gulf State-backed jihadists who used people as human shields, denied them aid and killed and tortured those who attempted to flee or stand up to them.
Iranian forces and militias they support have featured heavily in the fighting in southern areas of Syria. Iran backed militias were a part of the pro-government forces which outflanked the US and its proxies located at Al-Tanf who attempted to stop them reaching the Syria/Iraq border. The US even launched airstrikes on the pro-government forces, claiming it was in defense of their allies under threat from the Syrian led forces. This was a Trump-style lie as it was conducted supposedly defending a deconfliction zone the US said it was not beholden to. It goes without saying the US has no legal right to impose anything on Syrian soil.
General Solemaini recently predicted the demise of ISIS in a couple of months as it has been reduced to controlling less than 10% of Syria and has lost its strongholds in Iraq. The town of Mayadin in Deir Ezzor was liberated quite quickly a few days ago, ISIS resistance less than was to be expected. They appear to have staged a retreat, fearful of being surrounded. They are drawing closer to staging a final battle for survival in Syria but can count on the continued assistance of the US, which would rather see ISIS prevail than the legitimate government of Syria. The US, alongside its HSD proxies, even negotiated another free passage deal for ISIS fighters to leave Raqqa and head toward the Syrian border. So expect to read soon in the western media reports of the heroic liberation of Raqqa by the US-backed Kurdish forces. Don’t expect however to read too much of the carpet bombing and use of white phosphorous by the US-led coalition. Syrian led forces, assisted by Iranian backed militias on both sides of the border, will be left to fight ISIS as they make a possible last stand in the Iraq/Syria border areas.
Iran is one of the guarantors of the Astana peace process, putting into operation four de-escalation zones across Syria in preparation for peace talks to finally end the war, separating rebels who are prepared to end fighting from the Islamist groups and allowing for the focus to switch to defeating terrorists in other areas, such as the current battle to liberate Deir Ezzor. Iran became a guarantor with the full approval of the Syrian government, confident it would act constructively to end the fighting and move toward a political solution, not something which can be said of Turkey, the Syrian government accusing it of violating the de-escalation zone agreement in Idlib and demanding immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all Turkish troops.
Donald Trump in his unhinged speech on Friday demonstrated he and his Israel adoring neocon war hawks cannot countenance the reality that Iran has become a regional power that acts to protect its self-interest. He, his generals and the deep state operators lurking in the shadows are bewildered by the brave and prolonged Syrian resistance which sees the country on the brink of victory against ISIS and other jihadist forces. If the deranged duo of Trump and Netanyahu believe they can destroy the nuclear deal and then target Iran with a military attack, they will be in for a rude shock. The response would be an Iranian/Hezbollah/Syrian attack against Israel. The result would be devastating for all sides, so let’s hope the US and Israel can be isolated in their flagrant disregard of the agreement, bitter but powerless to stop it.
— Paul Mansfield