There can now be little doubt—if there ever was any—that Washington’s intransigence is preventing the Iran nuclear deal’s restoration. Even in the face of an unending series of new U.S. sanctions, Israeli bombings in Syria, as well as Tel Aviv’s repeated covert operations, cyberattacks, drone strikes, and murders inside Iran itself, Tehran has remained steadfastly committed to diplomacy. Paying an immense political cost, the so-called hardliners in Tehran, led by President Ebrahim Raisi, even made the unprecedented decision to drop their demands for the elite military unit, the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), to be delisted from the State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) blacklist.
The Iranians called Biden’s bluff.
In yet another sign that they earnestly wish to conclude the essentially finalized deal, Tehran even purged their negotiating team of hardliners. Whereas the Americans went into last week’s Doha talks with “very low expectations,” and reportedly offered Iran no guarantees of economic benefits. After Doha, it looks as though Biden’s team will only continue to prove they were lying all along about rejoining the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). This permanently aggressive policy will surely kill the deal, increase regional tensions, stoke war, and once again soil America’s reputation for future diplomatic endeavors.
Since 2019, the IRGC has been the only state military organization on this FTO blacklist. Former president and ultra-Zionist Donald Trump made the provocative move precisely because it is what the neocons, Tel Aviv, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, and Manama wanted. The FTO issue is designed to keep the Democrats from ever returning to the JCPOA. The neocons’ “sanctions wall” plan is working well.
The State Department has cynically pretended it is Tehran that has irrevocably stalled talks, laughably suggesting they want to “bury” the deal because of their refusal to budge on this allegedly “extraneous” issue. Tellingly, the Biden team has yet to acknowledge the massive concession. In fact, it is rare to see any mention of this critical news even in the independent media, let alone the corporate press. Those interested would have to read Middle East Eye, Antiwar.com, or the Libertarian Institute to even know Tehran dropped this understandable demand.
They were certainly not obligated to concede either, for this sweeping sanction against all current and former IRGC members, including many men—including doctors and musicians—who were conscripted often into non-combat roles acts as a de facto travel ban, breaks up families, and causes numerous disruptions. The sanction is an indisputable ancillary of Trump’s “Maximum Pressure” campaign.
The European Union diplomats such as nuclear negotiator Enrique Mora and more recently foreign policy chief Josep Borrel have traveled to Tehran and desperately tried keep negotiations going in the face of Biden’s Maximum Pressure and Israel’s attacks. In May, Mora made the trip, broke a two months long deadlock, announced talks would resume soon, and announced a deal was within sight.
The Israelis answered this positive news with an assassination campaign that has probably killed six Iranians, including a drone strike on a military complex that killed an engineer. Assassination targets are namely IRGC members and scientists working in the aerospace industry, missile, and drone programs. While the Israelis have carried out drones strikes inside Iran for years, currently one of the main focuses in terms of their propaganda vis a vis Iran’s military is their so called “UAV terror.”
Late last year, this was apparently noted by Iran hawks in Congress who have sought the expansion of sanctions to target Tehran’s drone program. These lawmakers attempt to blame Iran for the Houthis’ retaliations against their Saudi enemies. Of course, the missing context is that the U.S.-backed Saudis and Emiratis have waged a seven year genocide against the Houthis and the helpless Yemeni civilian population, bombing virtually all critical civilian infrastructure, killing people by the hundreds of thousands, mostly children under five. During the war, the entire country, the region’s poorest nation, has been blockaded by the Americans and the Saudis, precluding the unproven Iranian drone transfers.
But despite America’s war in Yemen being the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, these legislators, echoing the Israelis, liberally peddle claims of an Iranian air, missile, and drone threat to justify further U.S. entrenchment in the Middle East as well as the main objective of forging an American led, anti-Iran, NATO style alliance. With Biden’s upcoming Middle East trip, he will reportedly may be offering security guarantees to Abu Dhabi and Riyadh.
Biden’s goal is to help Tel Aviv build this Middle East mini-NATO including Israel’s fellow Abraham Accords members who are collectively encircling Iran.
As Dave DeCamp, Antiwar.com news editor, reports,
Israel has increased military ties with regional countries as a result of the U.S.-brokered Abraham Accords, which saw Israel normalize relations with the UAE and Bahrain. Saudi Arabia has been hesitant to open up relations with Israel, but the two nations have quietly increased military cooperation.
“Part of the purpose is…is to deepen Israel’s integration in the region, which I think we’re going to be able to do and which is good—good for peace and good for Israeli security,” Biden told reporters at the NATO summit in Madrid. “And that’s why Israel leaders have come out so strongly for my going to Saudi,” he added.
Israel has been lobbying Biden to visit Saudi Arabia and reportedly wants the U.S.’s approval to send Riyadh a new laser missile defense system, known as the Iron Laser. The alliance that Israel is working to build in the region is focused on integrated air defense systems, according to Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
It is not difficult to see where this policy is leading us. The U.S. Empire is pivoting to Asia and Europe. This shift away from the Middle East is unacceptable for America’s client states. Seeing the writing on the wall, these states first turned to diplomacy to resolve long held issues among neighboring adversaries, including importantly a series of Baghdad brokered talks between Tehran and Riyadh which may resume soon.
However, Washington and Israel will not allow this rebalancing. Along with China and Russia becoming more involved in the region, these ostensibly positive developments pose a threat to Israel and America’s regional hegemony. Biden’s Maximum Pressure and this burgeoning alliance, are intended to reassure the restive satellites, the policy increases the chances of war with Iran beyond anything we have seen in decades.
America’s brutal myriad wars in the Middle East, Central Asia, and North Africa have claimed millions of lives, shredded our bill of rights, and—including interest—have cost more than ten trillion dollars. The Empire has wrecked our economy for generations. Fighting yet another war against not just one of Iran’s allies like Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but as Naftali Bennett says the “head of the octopus” itself, for apartheid Israel and its Gulf dictatorship partners is something Americans simply cannot afford.
The U.S. is broke, more than $30 trillion in debt, oil prices are soaring, inflation is skyrocketing, shortages have been normalized, civil unrest is boiling, and all the while the Blob is playing nuclear chicken with Russia and China.
Veterans still commit suicide at alarming rates over their experiences in prior, illegal, and unconstitutional wars.
As the Cato Institute’s Doug Bandow has written,
Alas for the US, it is not only foreigners who suffer, often in prodigious numbers, from Washington’s myriad military misadventures. Americans do too. More than 7000 US personnel and nearly 8000 contractors have died in combat since 9/11. Some 30,000 military personnel and veterans of the “terrorism” wars committed suicide over the last two decades. Another 52,000 were wounded in combat, but the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs contends that the number harmed by their service “is exponentially larger” since Pentagon accounting does not include other injuries in theater as well as conditions diagnosed after personnel return home.
Americans urgently need to thoroughly rebuke the Bush-Clinton foreign policy consensus that dragged us into this devastating and chaotic era.
Barack Obama and Trump promised to be different, respectively to end the mindset that led to the Iraq war and leave the Middle East where we should never have been in the first place. But they lied. Instead both doubled down on the wars in the Middle East and Africa, and picked unnecessary fights with Russia and China. Along with diplomacy eschewing Biden, they made global thermonuclear war a serious possibility.
Hopefully we have finally learned some hard lessons during these last 30 years of mass murder and destruction.
The JCPOA is key to taking war off the table, and hence why it has practically no support in Washington.