The long-overdue exit of Tillerson isn’t going to have any positive effect on US policy towards Iran which is, quite simply, to destroy it. He declared, apparently seriously and with irony, that “Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism and is responsible for intensifying multiple conflicts,” ignoring the fact that over the past seventeen years the United States has been responsible for beginning and intensifying conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya to the point that these unfortunate countries are catastrophic remnants of their former selves. (Incidentally, it should be borne in mind that defence secretary, General James Mattis, declared on January 22 that “We don’t invade other countries . . . we settle things by international rule of law,” an intriguing example of his widely-praised knowledge of history.)
Tillerson’s nominated successor, CIA Director and Koch-Boy Mike Pompeo, supports waterboarding as an interrogation tool, saying it isn’t torture. He declared that the men and women who subjected blindfolded, shackled, helpless, terrified captives to quasi-drowning “are not torturers, they are patriots.” Just the man to direct US foreign policy, such as it remains after the year’s Trump-Tillerson pantomime.
Look out, World, because when Pompeo was a Congressman in 2016 and hopping on the Trump bandwagon, he tweeted about the Iran nuclear agreement that “I look forward to rolling back this disastrous deal with the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism.”
He’s in good company of course, along with Israel’s neo-Trump, Benjamin Netanyahu, who announced on February 18 that Iran “is trying to establish this continuous empire surrounding the Middle East from the south in Yemen but also trying to create a land bridge from Iran to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Gaza. This is a very dangerous development for our region.” Netanyahu’s presentation was dismissed by the Iranian foreign minister as “a cartoonish circus,” but it was nonetheless a reflection of the policy of the United States, which is Israel’s mentor and unconditional ally.
President Obama tried to get US-Iran relations on an even keel, and managed to temporarily overcome the Washington warmongers to some extent and push forward the sensible tension-reducing and trade-improving, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) concerning Iran’s nuclear program, described by the BBC as “the signature foreign policy achievement of Barack Obama’s presidency.” It was agreed by China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK and the US in a most welcome example of international solidarity and common sense, and removed sanctions on Iran in exchange for Teheran’s agreement to limit its nuclear research and development.
Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign affairs representative, wrote last year that the arrangement was achieving its main purpose of “ensuring the purely peaceful, civilian nature of Iran’s nuclear program. The International Atomic Energy Agency – the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog – has issued four reports on the matter and has regularly verified that Iran is complying with its nuclear-related obligations . . . The joint commission – which I coordinate – oversees constantly the implementation of the agreement, meeting regularly, which allows us to detect even minor possible deviations and to take necessary corrective measures if the need arises. The deal is also working for Iran. Major companies are investing in the country: the oil sector, the automotive industry, commercial aircraft, just to give a few examples, are areas where significant contracts have been concluded.”
But this is not at all what Trump Washington wants.
The JCPOA was a marked diplomatic success on the part of Obama. So Donald Trump is intent on destroying it. On February 3 Trump enforced new sanctions on Iran and it’s been steeper downhill since then. The sanctions that had been imposed and then withdrawn had been aimed at limiting Iran’s nuclear program and the EU quite rightly wanted to confine them to nuclear-related agencies — those individuals and organizations directly associated with nuclear matters — but the United States, even in the Obama-guided era, wouldn’t confine itself to the agreement. It introduced sanctions of its own, intended to make it difficult for other nations to trade with Iran, which is consistent with its longtime spiteful attitude to Tehran’s government.
The United States is determined to destroy Iran. For almost forty years, since the overthrow of the corrupt CIA-backed monarch, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, Washington has been on the warpath against the mullahs in Tehran. There wasn’t much to choose, comfort-wise, between the Shah and his successor, the intensely religious Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, but morally there was a chasm.
What really vexes the extremists in Washington is the memory of humiliation when the US embassy in Tehran was attacked by a mob in November 1979, only ten months after Khomeini took over. There is little doubt that the attackers were students, but there is equally little doubt that they had the Ayatollah’s blessing (as it were) to storm the embassy and take the staff hostage. They demanded the return of the Shah to stand trial in Tehran — a ridiculous condition for cessation of their demented antics — but 52 US citizens were held hostage in Iran from November 1979 to January 1981, which was not just discomfort for Washington : it was an ineradicable blot, and the unsuccessful rescue mission was an international embarrassment that could never be forgotten.
In 2002 President George W Bush conjured up the phrase the axis of evil, and put the world on notice that America would overcome any country that opposed it. His speech was dramatic and he declared that “Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror. The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax and nerve gas and nuclear weapons for over a decade.” A few months later he invaded Iraq to destroy the weapons of mass destruction which didn’t exist and set back stability on the Middle East by about a century.
Then Bush announced that “Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people’s hope for freedom” which was clear warning to Iran that it was next on the target list, because “States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.”
Since the start of the Bush wars, the world has known no peace. Washington’s Military Industrial Complex has flourished while its soldiers have died in their thousands for nothing but profit in billions.
The present US crusade against Iran is aimed at shattering the country economically and thus encouraging a violent revolution. Pompeii looms, and Pompeo, in an intriguingly close echo of the Netanyahu line has declared that Iran is “a pernicious empire that is expanding its power and influence across the Middle East.”
Iran is fighting for its life and the Trump administration is following George W Bush in his determination to destroy it. In January Trump tweeted that “The people of Iran are finally acting against the brutal and corrupt Iranian regime. All of the money that President Obama so foolishly gave them went into terrorism and into their “pockets.” The people have little food, big inflation and no human rights. The U.S. is watching!”
The contents of that tweet could hardly be better reason for supporting Tehran in its struggle against the growing menace from the Trump-supported military-industrial complex. The elevation of Pompeo to the highest levels of tweetery is a disaster for the world. He’s given notice of his conviction that “Iran is a powerful nation-state that remains the world’s largest state-sponsor of terrorism” and he’ll do his best to support his manic president in their joint ambition to destroy Iran. We’re in for a rocky ride.