Diplomatic Blackmail: Biden, Iran and the Nuclear Agreement

Hardly a day passes that this writer doesn’t see some news article about how the government of Iran is violating the JCPOA; how U.S. officials say that ‘time is running out’, and how Iran is generally being demonized by the U.S.

It is time, once again, for us all to take a deep breath, step back, and look at reality.

In 2015, the U.S., Iran and several other nations signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Iran curtailed its nuclear program, and the U.S. and other nations dropped sanctions against Iran.

This worked out just fine for all concerned until the election of the big orange blowhard, Donald Trump, to the presidency. How anyone, ANYONE, could have voted for him, despite the awfulness of his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, is a mystery this writer will go to his grave not understanding. But, they did, in sufficient numbers to throw the bizarre Electoral College in his favor.

Trump called the JCPOA ‘the worst deal ever’, probably because it was brokered by his archenemy, former President Barack Obama. Why there is such great animosity towards his predecessor is another conundrum that this writer will not live to understand. But once Trump appointed the outrageous and outlandish John Bolton as his National Security Advisor, the final nail in the coffin of the JCPOA was hammered in. Trump withdrew from the agreement, to the dismay of all the other signatories. He then threatened the European parties to the agreement with sanctions if they continued to trade with Iran. In their true cowardly fashion, they surrendered to U.S. blackmail.

How did Iran respond? Apparently recognizing that there was a man in the White House who had never matured past early adolescence, Iranian officials decided to give him, and the other signatories, sufficient time to come to their senses. They maintained their commitments to the agreement for a full year after it was breached.

It should be said here that Iran was under no obligation to do so. Once one party to an agreement violates it, the agreement is null and void. Let’s look at a practical example. Let’s assume that this writer hires someone to cut his grass once a week, and pays this person each time he finishes the job. After several weeks, the grass cutter cuts the grass, then knocks on the door for his pay. This writer answers, and advises that he is no longer going to pay the man for cutting his grass. But, he says, he expects the man to continue cutting his grass anyway.

If this makes sense to you, please stop reading immediately. However, if, as this writer suspects, it doesn’t, please continue.

This is what the U.S. is and has been demanding.

The government of Iran has long said that it is pursuing a nuclear program for peaceful purposes. Regardless of its reasons, the U.S. is not in a position to regulate what any other country can do. Yes, if an agreement is signed, the U.S., and all parties to that agreement are expected to respect the conditions contained within it. But no one country, least of all the only one that has ever used nuclear weapons, can mandate that another nation cannot have them.

Enter the 2020 presidential election. Despite Trump’s frantic cries to the contrary, he lost and Biden won. One of the new president’s campaign promises was to re-enter the JCPOA. This seemed like very good news to anyone naïve enough to believe him. Re-entering the agreement, however, may not be as simple as it might have appeared. Since it is now null and void, Iran could have demanded some concessions, such as compensation for the economic costs of the illegal sanctions. But, lo and behold, it was the U.S. that was demanding concessions! For one thing, the U.S. government said it would lift the sanctions, once Iran reduced its nuclear enrichment program to JCPOA-agreed levels.

This is most puzzling, even for the United States. Why, oh why, would the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran believe that the U.S. would, in fact, lift those sanctions? What evidence do the Iranian officials have of U.S. honesty, integrity, adherence to their word? For anyone who has not been paying close attention, this writer will answer that last question: None. They do, however, have considerable evidence to the contrary.

U.S. officials are now decrying an attack on an Israeli vessel, saying that they ‘know’ it was launched by Iran. We will not take the time here to list all of the things the U.S. government has ‘known’ over the years that were simply not true, but we will briefly mention a few: the U.S. government ‘knew’ that U.S. ships had been attacked in the Gulf of Tonkin (they hadn’t been); it ‘knew’ there were weapons of mass destruction hidden in Iraq (there weren’t), and it ‘knew’ the Syrian government attacked its own people with chemical weapons (it didn’t).  The first two of these examples caused devastating wars, the first which the U.S. lost, and the second which was hardly a success by any objective standard. The third caused the U.S. to bomb Syria. But learning from colossal and disastrous mistakes is not something the U.S. is good at.

The question regarding the U.S. and Iran now is: what’s next? While the Iranian government is minding its own business, assisting its allies and maintaining a strong defence, the U.S. is setting the stage for an invasion. During the Trump years, there was talk about one or two individuals working in the White House being the ‘adult’ in the room; where is such a person now? Where is the person who will tell Biden that a war against Iran would be a catastrophe for the Middle East and for the U.S? Where is the person who will point out that Iran is not Iraq; it has three times the population which is very proud of their revolution? Who will advise Biden and the anti-Iran neocons that, again unlike Iraq, Iran has powerful allies that will not hesitate to intervene?

Unfortunately, this writer cannot name that person, but he fervently hopes he or she exists.


Robert Fantina’s latest book is Propaganda, Lies and False Flags: How the U.S. Justifies its Wars.