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September 24 2019

mr-absentia

The attacks on Saudi Arabia merit a firm response - Abqaiq the powder keg

«Consider the cost of recent Western restraint. In May Iran hit four tankers in the United Arab Emirates; in June it struck two more tankers in the Strait of Hormuz; later it took down an American drone. Mr Trump was prepared to retaliate only after that last aggression—and even then he pulled back at the last minute. The attack on September 14th was vastly more consequential. The president has said that America is “locked and loaded”. In Tehran they are watching to see whether he is all talk, as they are in Beijing, Moscow, Pyongyang, and in countries whose security depends on the idea that America will turn up.

If any nuclear negotiations are to succeed, Iran must pay a price for Abqaiq. America wants a more sweeping agreement than the original one, but only the pragmatic faction in Tehran, weakened by America’s approach, will make such a deal. While Iran can hit out again, the hardliners will have a veto over any talks. If America is seen as a paper tiger, they will be able to argue that Iran need not give much ground. On the contrary, they will say that their country should pile pressure on America by accelerating its nuclear programme. America and its allies therefore need to convince Iran that it cannot use violence to get its way.

The first stage of a response is to establish precisely where Saturday’s attack originated and who planned it. America must share this publicly, partly because Mr Trump’s word alone does not carry weight, but also to build a coalition and help stifle the objections of Iran’s apologists. Evidence against Iran could pave the way for new sanctions. Mr Trump has promised more—though America is already doing pretty much all it can. He should be backed by the Europeans, who need to understand that peace depends on deterring Iran, and China, which imports over 9m b/d of oil, much of it from the Middle East.

That is not all. If the Abqaiq attack is the work of Iran’s revolutionary guards, they should face direct consequences. That involves covert operations, by cyber-units that can disrupt their communications and finances; and air strikes on guard units outside Iran in Syria. Ideally, these would be carried out by a coalition, but if need be, America and Saudi Arabia should act alone. The risk of escalation should not be ignored, but Iran does not want all-out war any more than Saudi Arabia and America do. Israel frequently launches air strikes against Iranian targets in Syria and Iraq without provoking an Iranian escalation.»

mr-absentia

Abandon illusion that Iran can be defeated by pressure: Zarif to US

«Trump’s goal has been to get another deal as he has already described the JCPOA as "the worst deal ever negotiated.” The White House position has been that maximum pressure will continue until Iranian officials accept to sit at the negotiating table.

Iranian officials, however, say it was Washington that left the JCPOA last year although the international and multilateral deal was endorsed by the UN Security Council in the form of a resolution. Tehran says talks with Washington are impossible as the latter is pressing ahead with its hostile policy and refuses to lift sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

In an interview with Malaysia's official news agency Bernama in August, the Iranian foreign minister said the country will not renegotiate its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, but is open to talks on finding ways to implement the existing accord.

"We are ready to talk and consult with others on how to best implement this deal. We are talking about Europe coming to comply with its own obligations under the deal," Zarif said.

Elsewhere in his interview with the NPR, Iran's foreign minister said, “The United States can have a much better deal with Iran if they started talking to us based on respect, based on mutual respect and based on moving forward.”

Referring to a forthcoming meeting between Iran and the four remaining members of the P5+1 group – the UK, France, Russia, and China plus Germany – next Wednesday, Zarif said, “Four of the five permanent members [of the UN Security Council] plus Germany will be seated around the table along with me and the High Representative of the European Union.”

He added, “There is an empty chair there for the United States, but there is a ticket for that chair and that is to be law abiding.”»

September 21 2017

mr-absentia

“Dr. Paul said that Trump has been consistent in his animosity toward Iran and especially the Iran deal.

He said that the neocons hated the 2015 nuclear agreement, known as the Iran Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) ‘and they wanted to undo it, which seems to be pretty impractical.’

The nuclear deal was reached between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries — the US, Russia, China, France, and Britain plus Germany — in July 2015 and took effect in January 2016. Under the deal, Iran undertook to put limitations on its nuclear program in exchange for the termination of all nuclear-related sanctions against Tehran.

‘Quite frankly, I think, it was a significant event, and positive event and history will show that was very positive just as the history has shown that Nixon at least talking to the Chinese was a lot better than the continuation of killing each other,’ Dr. Paul said.

‘So I think this whole plan was well-motivated. And I think when people deserve credit they are ought to get it. But you know the control of a lot of information is done by neoconservatives, so they certainly wouldn’t want to give Obama any credit for this agreement,’ he stated.”

— PressTV: Neocon case against Iran nuclear deal one big lie: Ron Paul (Sep 16, 2017)

Iranian president: No one will trust US if Trump nixes JCPOA

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