FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran Caucus

Iran has its hardliners on the United States, and the United States has its hardliners on Iran. It’s understandable if you think they are working together to thwart detente between the two countries. Neither side wants its government to negotiate a nuclear deal and thaw the cold war that’s existed since 1979.

This week hardliners in the U.S. Senate took another step toward thwarting detente by writing to Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei that if he and President Obama negotiate a “mere executive agreement” on Iran’s (civilian) nuclear program that is not approved by Congress, it will bind neither Obama’s successor nor a future Congress. The letter comes on the heels of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bellicose speech about Iran before Congress. Like that speech, the senators’ letter is intended to sabotage the P5+1 talks now in progress.

The condescending letter, signed by 47 of 54 Republican senators, must have Iran’s Revolutionary Guard celebrating. With enemies like these who needs friends?

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), the lead senator on the letter, says he merely wants to teach the Iranian leader about America’s constitutional system by pointing out that unlike a treaty, which must be consented to by two-thirds of the Senate before it can be ratified, an executive agreement binds only the administration that signs it.

However, Cotton’s letter clearly is meant to be more than a helpful civics lesson. The senators hate that Obama is negotiating an agreement that reportedly would let Iran — under severe constraints and intrusive inspections — enrich uranium not for bombs but for electricity and medical treatments. Like Netanyahu, Cotton claims that a tougher U.S. position in the negotiations could fully deprive Iran of the means to produce a nuclear weapon. But this argument has been debunked. In the past, when the U.S. government derailed promising attempts at negotiations and imposed harsh economic sanctions, Iran did not cave; it expanded its (peaceful) nuclear infrastructure.

So the hawks and hardliners are demonstrably wrong about the alternative to the current talks, but that does not matter to them. Why not? Because they don’t really want a “better deal” with Iran. What they, like Netanyahu and other Israeli hawks, want is war and nothing less than regime change. (Remember when John McCain sang “Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran”?) Thus they’d be delighted if Iran stormed out of the negotiations and added centrifuges to its nuclear program. The hawks would have their casus belli at last.

What they overlook is that everyone else will know that Iran was not the party that scuttled the negotiations. The cruel sanctions regime will then crumble, leaving the United States and Israel as the only countries trying to throttle Iran. At that point, Israel may well attack the Islamic Republic, expecting the United States to finish the job that Israel would be unable to finish. Catastrophe would follow.

To fully appreciate the Senate Republicans’ perfidy, keep these things in mind:

First, Iran has not sought a nuclear weapon, as Gareth Porter documents overwhelmingly in Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare. As has been reported many times, the Israeli Mossad and the dozen and a half American intelligence agencies have detected no Iranian move to build a bomb. Iran has indeed enriched uranium — for energy and medical purposes — as it is free to do as a signer of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). As such, it is inspected by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which keeps track of the uranium stockpile. It especially is vicious for the American and Israeli hardliners to condemn Iran’s insistence on an enrichment capability, considering that when Iran agreed to forgo enrichment and swap uranium with Turkey and Brazil in 2010, Obama blocked the deal and pushed for more sanctions. Get it? Iran was demonized no matter what it did.

Second, Israel, which has not signed the NPT, is the only nuclear power in the Middle East and thus would face no threat even if Iran obtained the warhead it does not seek.

If anything can persuade Iran’s rulers to go for a nuke, it’s the hardliners’ lust for war. What does that tell you?

Sheldon Richman keeps the blog “Free Association” and chairs the board of trustees of the Center for a Stateless Society.

 

More articles by:

Sheldon Richman, author of America’s Counter-Revolution: The Constitution Revisited, keeps the blog Free Association and is a senior fellow and chair of the trustees of the Center for a Stateless Society, and a contributing editor at Antiwar.com.  He is also the Executive Editor of The Libertarian Institute.

January 16, 2019
Patrick Bond
Jim Yong Kim’s Mixed Messages to the World Bank and the World
John Grant
Joe Biden, Crime Fighter from Hell
Alvaro Huerta
Brief History Notes on Mexican Immigration to the U.S.
Kenneth Surin
A Great Speaker of the UK’s House of Commons
Elizabeth Henderson
Why Sustainable Agriculture Should Support a Green New Deal
Binoy Kampmark
Trump, Bolton and the Syrian Confusion
Jeff Mackler
Trump’s Syria Exit Tweet Provokes Washington Panic
Barbara Nimri Aziz
How Long Can Nepal Blame Others for Its Woes?
Cesar Chelala
Violence Against Women: A Pandemic No Longer Hidden
Kim C. Domenico
To Make a Vineyard of the Curse: Fate, Fatalism and Freedom
Dave Lindorff
Criminalizing BDS Trashes Free Speech & Association
Thomas Knapp
Now More Than Ever, It’s Clear the FBI Must Go
Binoy Kampmark
Dances of Disinformation: The Partisan Politics of the Integrity Initiative
Edward Curtin
A Gentrified Little Town Goes to Pot
January 15, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
Refugees Are in the English Channel Because of Western Interventions in the Middle East
Howard Lisnoff
The Faux Political System by the Numbers
Lawrence Davidson
Amos Oz and the Real Israel
John W. Whitehead
Beware the Emergency State
John Laforge
Loudmouths against Nuclear Lawlessness
Myles Hoenig
Labor in the Age of Trump
Jeff Cohen
Mainstream Media Bias on 2020 Democratic Race Already in High Gear
Dean Baker
Will Paying for Kidneys Reduce the Transplant Wait List?
George Ochenski
Trump’s Wall and the Montana Senate’s Theater of the Absurd
Binoy Kampmark
Dances of Disinformation: the Partisan Politics of the Integrity Initiative
Glenn Sacks
On the Picket Lines: Los Angeles Teachers Go On Strike for First Time in 30 Years
Jonah Raskin
Love in a Cold War Climate
Andrew Stewart
The Green New Deal Must be Centered on African American and Indigenous Workers to Differentiate Itself From the Democratic Party
January 14, 2019
Kenn Orphan
The Tears of Justin Trudeau
Julia Stein
California Needs a 10-Year Green New Deal
Dean Baker
Declining Birth Rates: Is the US in Danger of Running Out of People?
Robert Fisk
The US Media has Lost One of Its Sanest Voices on Military Matters
Vijay Prashad
5.5 Million Women Build Their Wall
Nicky Reid
Lessons From Rojava
Ted Rall
Here is the Progressive Agenda
Robert Koehler
A Green Future is One Without War
Gary Leupp
The Chickens Come Home to Roost….in Northern Syria
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: “The Country Is Watching”
Sam Gordon
Who Are Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionists?
Weekend Edition
January 11, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Richard Moser
Neoliberalism: Free Market Fundamentalism or Corporate Power?
Paul Street
Bordering on Fascism: Scholars Reflect on Dangerous Times
Joseph Majerle III – Matthew Stevenson
Who or What Brought Down Dag Hammarskjöld?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
How Tre Arrow Became America’s Most Wanted Environmental “Terrorist”
Andrew Levine
Dealbreakers: The Democrats, Trump and His Wall
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Que Syria, Syria
Dave Lindorff
A Potentially Tectonic Event Shakes up the Mumia Abu-Jamal Case
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail