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Iran caught in the crosshairs of Trump’s policy

iranBy Elson Concepción Pérez

On July 14, 2015, the news emerged from Vienna that following 18 months of negotiations, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States, heading the so-called G5+1 group (the U.S., Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom and Germany), had reached a historic agreement which would limit Iran’s nuclear program, while Washington and European countries pledged to lift sanctions imposed on the country.

This agreement would hypothetically put an end to 35 years of confrontational policy backed by U.S. governments, following the triumph of the Islamic Revolution.

Then U.S. President Barack Obama congratulated himself on having “stopped the spread of nuclear weapons in this region,” while failing to mention Israel and its nuclear development, in defiance of the UN and the international community, as it refuses to allow its program to be monitored by the responsible international agency.

The mass media broadcast claims that the agreement meant Iran’s possibilities of creating an atomic bomb had been frustrated, without recognizing at any point that the country’s nuclear program always had peaceful purposes, in the service of human health and energy development for the progress of the Persian nation.

At the time, Iranian President Hasan Rohani noted that the deal demonstrated that “constructive engagement works. With this unnecessary crisis resolved, new horizons emerge with a focus on shared challenges.”

Meanwhile, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has confirmed that Iran has fulfilled all requirements for the unfreezing of its financial assets worth between 45 and 90 billion euros, as well as the export of its oil.

Now, two years after the signing of this historic agreement on such a sensitive issue, a new U.S. administration seems determined to act with as much flippancy as it has with regard to other issues such as climate change, immigration, the building of walls between countries, and others.

The Trump administration is proposing to abolish what has been agreed regarding the Iranian nuclear program, and is already taking steps to this end.

In a disjointed speech, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently described the deal with Iran as a “failed approach.” Yet just a few weeks earlier, the same Tillerson acknowledged to Congress that Iran has fully complied with the nuclear agreement signed.

Of course, these latest accusations against Iran have a lot to do with President Trump’s previous positions, when he returned to the fray branding Iran “a state sponsor of terrorism.”

It is no accident that the Iranian question has returned to U.S. foreign policy center stage. One need only recall that during Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia – his first trip abroad – he insisted on justifying the sale of arms produced by the U.S. military-industrial complex to countries of the region based on the alleged Iranian threat to Gulf nations.

Inventing an enemy, once again in the form of Iran, has obvious hegemonic, economic, and military purposes for Washington.

The Islamic Republic produces large quantities of oil and gas, and its nuclear energy program aims to make the country self-sufficient in terms of electricity needs, without resorting to the use of oil.

Likewise, Iran occupies a prominent place in the defense of Syria’s sovereignty and independence, supporting the country in its fight against terrorist groups.

Palestine has always received the solidarity and support of Iran, which is why Israel, Washington’s greatest ally in the region, is pointing its nuclear devices at this nation.

Meanwhile, the United States is the largest supplier of weapons of all kinds to the Middle East region, helping to keep its economy afloat through the support of its military-industrial complex, which is where the real power lies in the U.S., no matter whether a Republican or a Democrat occupies the White House.

According to analysis by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), arms imports by Middle East nations have increased by 86% in the last four years, with the U.S. being the largest exporter.

In addition to the huge agreement with Saudi Arabia to provide 110 billion USD worth of arms, the United States has agreed to sell combat aircraft for 2.7 billion dollars to Bahrain, a small Gulf nation which, in addition to a lot of oil, also has the Fifth Fleet of the United States Navy sitting in its waters.

Qatar is also a major importer of U.S. military equipment, according to the SIPRI report, which notes a 245% increase in recent years.

A few weeks ago, U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis signed a $12 billion dollar deal for the sale of 36 F-15 fighter jets to Qatar, according to BBC Mundo.

While encouraging the rest of the Gulf monarchies to cut ties with Qatar, Washington continues to sell the country arms in astonishing amounts.

In this sense, it is worth remembering what was expressed in relation to this emirate by Democrat Congressman Ted Lieu during a congressional hearing: “It’s very confusing to world leaders and members of Congress when the Trump administration does two exactly opposite things.”

Perhaps what Trump is really seeking with the situation created around Qatar and the other Gulf States, is precisely to exacerbate new divisions and create new conflicts that allow for the sales of more weapons by the U.S. military industry.

I coincide with other political analysts who ask whether Trump has a real strategy for the Middle East, beyond selling arms to the region?


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