Serious, Unforced Error

6 August 2018


Cogito Ergo Non Serviam

Trump Administration Reimposing Iran Sanctions


The Trump administration has decided that unhelpful words aimed at Iran were not doing enough damage to the stability of the international system. To truly make a mess of things, counter-productive actions had to occur. So, effective at the stroke of midnight, the sanctions against Iran that the Obama administration lifted as part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action will return. If these sanctions do make a comeback, Iran would be within its rights to start up a nuclear weapons program. And Iran will. It's a serious error by the administration and completely avoidable.

The Washington Post notes that when the sanctions come back into force, "Iran will be prohibited from using U.S. dollars, the primary currency used for international financial transactions and oil purchases. Trade in metals and sales of Iranian-made cars will be banned. Permits allowing the import of Iranian carpets and food, such as pistachios, will be revoked. So will licenses that have allowed Tehran to buy U.S. and European aircraft and parts --  a restriction that comes just days after Iran completed the acquisition of five new commercial planes from Europe."

The president tweeted, :The JCPOA, a horrible, one-sided deal, failed to achieve the fundamental objective of blocking all paths to an Iranian nuclear bomb, and it threw a lifeline of cash to a murderous dictatorship that has continued to spread bloodshed, violence, and chaos." Mr Trump, who may or may not have earned a degree in business at Wharton, clearly knows nothing of nuclear deterrence. The agreement possessed the most intrusive and airtight inspection system ever created. Iran effectively abandoned its nuclear bomb program for more than a decade. Instead, the president decided to let the perfect be the enemy of the good and adopt a bad plan.

"The United States continues to stand with the long-suffering Iranian people, who are the rightful heirs to Iran's rich heritage and the real victims of the regime’s policies," Mr, Trump said. "We look forward to the day when the people of Iran, and all people across the region, can prosper together in safety and peace." He did not use the term regime change, but that is the ambition in Trumpistan.

This journal is second to none in opposing theocracy, in Iran and in Indiana. Mr. Trump and his people are right in saying the mullahs must go. Punishing the Iranian people with economic sanctions because the government is pursuing nuclear weapons is not the most effective way to manage things. The poor and hungry do not rise up to overthrow their oppressors when the oppressors can blame the Americans for the plight of the nation. Ask the Cuban government how long that can go on.

At the same time, the other signatories to the JCPOA have no intention of reimposing their sanctions. Russia and China certainly have no interest in tearing up the deal. Britain, France and Germany might be persuaded as America's NATO allies, but it will take time and should have been coordinated in advance. But as it turns out, the western European parties will ensure their companies are not harmed by the US actions. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and the foreign ministers of France, Germany and the UK issued a statement that read in part, "We are determined to protect European economic operators engaged in legitimate business with Iran, in accordance with EU law and with UN Security Council resolution 2231. This is why the European Union's updated Blocking Statute enters into force on 7 August to protect EU companies doing legitimate business with Iran from the impact of US extra-territorial sanctions."

So Iran is in the drivers' seat, which is exactly what the US doesn't want. It's a serious, unforced error.

© Copyright 2018 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.

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