Iran Should Never Trust a US Promise Again; nor should anybody else!
By David William Pear
"My name is wasi'chu. I know thee, I have found thee, & I will not let thee go."
The Lakota were the first people who lived on the northern plains of what today is the United States. Lakota means "human beings". Wasi'chu is their word for a human condition based on inhumanity, racism, exploitation, and greed. It is a sickness, a seemingly incurable, contagious and fatal disease, which begot the ever-advancing society of the West". ["The Continuing Indian Wars", by Bruce Johansen and Robert Maestas.]
"You know the cause of our making war. It is known to all white men. They ought to be ashamed of it."
It was the Nez Perce tribal chief "Thunder Rolling Down the Mountain", better known as Chief Joseph who is credited with coining the phrase ""white man speaks with forked tongue".
The US government has made more than 500 agreements, promises, and treaties with Native American tribes, all of which it breached, in one way or another.
During the 20th century the US has failed to honor its word on many agreements, such as the broken 1950's Geneva Agreements that led to the Korean War in 1950, and the Vietnam War that lasted for decades after World War Two. It is estimated that as many as 8 million people were killed in those two conflicts.
When it comes to nuclear weapons, the US has failed to join, breached or withdrawn from treaties, and recklessly been the cause of the Doomsday Clock sitting at 2 minutes until Armageddon. Obama lost 4 minutes during his watch.
The US withdrew from the historic Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). The US is in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and has been from almost the beginning in 1968.
The US aided Pakistan's development of nuclear weapons; for one thing by repeatedly waving the Symington Amendment. The US has turned a blind eye to Israel's nuclear weapons, estimated at 200. Under Obama, the US committed $1.7 trillion to upgrade the US nuclear arsenal.
The US broke the promise made by President George H.W. Bush to Mikhail Gorbachev that NATO would not move "one inch eastward" after German reunification. NATO is now on Russia's doorstep, and both the US and Russia have their nuclear arsenal on a hair-trigger. The US refuses to adopt a no first-strike nuclear policy. Who would believe it anyway?
In 1957 it was the US that first nuclearized the Korean Peninsula, in violation of the 1953 Korean War armistice agreement (section 13d). It was the Clinton administration that violated the 1994 Agreed Framework, under which North Korea suspended it nuclear energy program. The US failed to deliver on the two promised nuclear reactors and fuel oil until the reactors were operational. After George Bush declared North Korea one of the "Axis of Evil", and invaded Iraq, North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and developed nuclear bombs.
The Iran Nuclear Deal, officially the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was a terrible deal for Iran. It all depended on the US's good faith in keeping its word. The US has a bad record when it comes to good faith. It has broken nearly every treaty and promise it has ever made.
The JCPOA was badly flawed against Iran from the very beginning, because of the "snap-back" provisions. There are good reasons to suspect that the US never intended to honor the JCPOA, in the first place. By agreeing to the lifting of economic and financial sanctions the US gave the Iranian people the hope of economic recovery. "Snapping back" the sanctions was a severe blow to the Iranian people's expectations. It is psychological warfare 101.
Under the snap-back provisions the US had all the power to re-impose the old UN economic and financial sanctions on Iran. It was just a matter of procedure, which I will explain below, which would take 60 to 80 days. There were no penalties that would be imposed on the US if it violated the agreement. Who could enforce them anyway?
The JCPOA was an unsigned document. It was just a political agreement, and not binding under international law. Any party could withdraw for any reason, and at any time. Under US domestic law the president had the authority to withdraw from the JCPOA without Congressional approval.
However, the JCPOA was approve by the United Nations Security Council in Resolution 2231 (2015). Under the UN Charter, resolutions of the Security Council are binding on all member of the UN. The UN resolution gave Iran some confidence that the US would honor the agreement.
Whether or not Resolution 2231 (2015) is legally binding though, depends on the interpretation of "calls upon". The resolution language "calls upon" all UN member states to abide by the JCPOA. It is now argued by the US that "calls upon" is just a recommendation, and not a binding decision of the UNSC. Regardless, the US ignores the UN and international law at its pleasure.
By Trump withdrawing from the JCPOA, the US gave up its ability to spring the snap-back provisions. That is not a practical problem, because any remaining members of the JCPOA can initiate the process. All a member has to do is lodge a complaint against Iran. The complaint does not even have to be reasonable. According to paragraph 37 of the JCPOA, "Dispute Resolution Mechanism", a 60 to 80 days clock starts ticking to resolve a complaint.
Once the 60 to 80 days passes without a voluntary resolution of the complaint, then the matter goes to the UNSC. The US can then use its veto power in the UNSC to prevent a resolution of the dispute. Under paragraph 37, the UN Security Council would then automatically re-impose all of the old UN Security Council economic and financial sanctions. No vote needed.
After withdrawing from the JCPOA, the US's unilateraleconomic and financial sanctions on Iran were re-imposed. Trump called his economic, financial and political sanctions a "maximum pressure" campaign. Unilateral sanctions are against international law. Only the UN has the authority to impose a sanction regime.
Supposedly, Trump's motive for withdrawing from the agreement is that he wants to renegotiate his own "Iran nuclear deal". Iran should never trust any deal it makes with the US, nor should anyone else. Iran has already gambled on a US promise and lost. It is not alone. The US ignores promises, and as the saying goes the rest of the world can like it or lump it.
The US threatens a "limited surgical strike" against Iran. A limited strike is an illegal act of war. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and the attacks of September 11, 2001 were "limited surgical strikes". Limited surgical strikes against Iran would be no different.
The threat or use of forces is a violation of the UN Charter. The UN Charter is a treaty signed by President Harry Truman and ratified by the Senate. For a nuclear-weapons country to threaten a non-nuclear weapons country is a violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty.
Threats such as "all options are on the table", economic sanctions, seizing oil tankers on the high seas, and naval blockades are violations of international law. They are all acts of a war of aggression. The Nuremberg Tribunal defined wars of aggression to be the worst of war crimes, because it leads to all the other war crimes.
Iran announced on July 7ththat it was going to exceed the JCPOA limits of the enriched uranium and heavy water that it stockpiles. Iran also announced that it will increase the enrichment of its uranium. This was no surprise, since Trump's sanctions ban Iran from selling its enriched uranium and heavy water. Under the JCPOA, Iran is within its rights to exceed the limits, as explained below.
Along with the US unilateral maximum-pressure economic and financial sanctions on Iran, the US also imposed secondary sanctions. Any entity doing business with Iran that is not exempt from US sanctions would also be sanctioned by the US. This is a heavy burden, and it prevents corporations from doing even exempt business with Iran, least they fall into disfavor with the US.
Besides the US imposing sanctions on Iran from selling oil, it also placed sanctions on Iran selling metal, precious earth, enriched uranium and heavy water. Under the JCPOA, Iran was allowed to enrich uranium to 3.67%, and stockpile up to 660 pounds. It could then sell low enriched uranium, and purchase back highly enriched uranium. Iran needs 5% enriched uranium for its Bushehr nuclear power plant, and 20% enriched uranium for medical and research purposes.
Since the US has cutoff Iran's ability to trade in uranium, it has no practical choice, except to exceed the limits. Its only other choice is to shut down the enrichment process, turn off its nuclear power plant Bushehr, and let thousands of cancer patients go untreated. Iran cannot risk being at the mercy of the West for its needed highly-enriched uranium.
Since the US has breached the agreement Iran has the right to continue with the JCPOA in whole, or in part, or withdraw from the JCPOA entirely. For Iran to exceed the stockpiling and enrichment of uranium because of the US's actions is not a violation of the JCPOA. That did not stop Trump, the EU and the corporate mainstream media from screaming like bloody murder.
On Sunday morning July 8th the corporate mainstream media gave Trump the propaganda prize he wanted with the following headlines:
The New York Times : Iran Announces New Breach of Nuclear Deal Limits, and Threatens Further Violations.
The Washington Post: Iran set to breach limit on enriched uranium within 'hours'.
The Guardian: Iran nuclear deal in jeopardy after latest enrichment breach.
The corporate mainstream media has again turned pure fantasy into fact. It was the US that is in violation of the agreement, and not Iran. As George Orwell said, a lie told often enough goes unquestioned.
The US State Department had already telegraphed the mainstream media its headlines and talking points with the following July 1st news release:
"The Iranian regime has taken new steps to advance its nuclear ambitions. The world's leading state sponsor of terrorism continues to use its nuclear program to extort the international community and threaten regional security."
"No nuclear deal should ever allow the Iranian regime to enrich uranium at any level. Starting in 2006, the United Nations Security Council passed six resolutions requiring the regime to suspend all enrichment and reprocessing activity. It was the right standard then; it is the right standard now. The Trump Administration calls on the international community to restore the longstanding nonproliferation standard of no enrichment for Iran's nuclear program. Iran has the uncontested ability to pursue peaceful nuclear energy without domestic enrichment."
"The Iranian regime, armed with nuclear weapons, would pose an even greater danger to the region and to the world. The United States is committed to negotiating a new and comprehensive deal with the Iranian regime to resolve its threats to international peace and security. As long as Iran continues to reject diplomacy and expand its nuclear program, the economic pressure and diplomatic isolation will intensify."
The press release is untrue. Iran is not violating international law, has not threatened world peace, is not a terrorist state, and has not invaded another country in over 200 years. The corporate mainstream media is shameless in spreading such propaganda. Occasionally, the truth slips out from open sources:
For the past twenty years or so, the annual reports of the National Counterterrorism Center have attributed the vast majority of the Islamic terrorist attacks around the world since 2001 to "Sunni extremists"jihadists inspired by the anti-imperialist Wahhabism theology of Saudi Arabia".. The fanatics behind the attacks of 9/11, Madrid, London, Paris, and San Bernardino were all Sunni extremists. None of the terrorists involved in those bloody attacks was Iranian.
The corporate mainstream media has always been a propaganda organ for war. It has gotten much worse though in recent decades. By constant repetition of propaganda they do the bidding of the power elite. The power elite directs foreign policy and profits from war.
Gulf of Tonkin Incident, August 2, 1964
The media is part of the power elite and it lulls the public into one war after another. Now the US public is being frog walked into a very dangerous war with Iran. War is unpredictable, and it could lead to a world war and a nuclear holocaust.
The JCPOA was not about Iran producing a nuclear bomb. That has been a red herring for two decades. In the combined National Intelligence Estimate in 2007 it clearly stated that all US intelligence agencies agreed that Iran had not had a nuclear weapons program since 2003. In 2009 and thereafter the IAEA has confirmed that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program.
The JCPOA was about Iran enriching uranium for peaceful purposes on its own soil. Under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty every non-nuclear weapons country has the right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes. The NNPT also require the nuclear-weapons countries to aid the non-nuclear weapons countries with the peaceful use of the atom. The talk about "breakout time" for Iran to build a bomb is nonsense.
The US's real goal since 1979 has been to overthrow the Iranian government. It will be satisfied with nothing less. In 1979 the Iranian people overthrew the US puppet Shah of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. In 1953 the US had overthrown the democratically elected prime minister of Iran, Mohammad Mosaddegh in favor of Reza Pahlavi taking power. The Shah was a corrupt and brutal dictator that ruled Iran by terror for almost three decades.
To destabilize Iran, in 1980 the US instigated Iraq's Saddam Hussein into invading Iran. That started the Iran-Iraq war that lasted until 1988. Iran suffered an estimated 262,000 people killed. In 1988 the US shot down an Iranian civilian airliner Flight 655 killing all 290 people aboard.
The US has had a policy of demonizing Iran with propaganda and attacking it with economic sanctions, covert operations, and backing terrorist groups such as Mujahideen-e-Khalq; Iran has had 17,161 of its citizens killed by terrorists. The US has been threatening Iran with "all options on the table" for decades, while Israel and Saudi Arabia have been eagerly egging the US into a war with Iran. A US war with Iran will kill millions of people. The economic and financial sanctions are killing tens of thousands of Iranian civilians now. The US people will not benefit or be safer from a war with Iran. It will make them less safe.
The ones who determine and carry out US foreign policy and wars are the ones who profit from them. The power elite are rubbing their greedy hands together just thinking about all the profit they can make from a war with Iran, and from control of Iran's riches. The American people are the ones who pay with neglected public services, such as healthcare, education and infrastructure.
The JCOPA Explained
The JCPOA is an agreement that was reached on July 14, 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 nations. The P5+1 are the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, which are the USA, Great Britain, France, Russia and China, and "plus one" is the European Union represented by Germany. Just to confuse everybody the P5+1 is the same as the EU 3 + 3, or E3 + 3, or E3/EU + 3.
The process of negotiating was begun at the first meeting of Iran and the P5+1 on April 14, 2012 in Istanbul. On July 20, 2015, the UN Security Council unanimously passed resolution 2231 (2015) endorsing the final JCPOA agreement.
Under the United Nations Charter, article 25, resolutions of the Security Council are binding on all member countries. The United Nations Charter is itself a treaty, signed by US President Harry Truman, and ratified by the US Senate on July 28, 1945. The US Constitution Article 6 declares treaties to be the "supreme law of the land". Therefore, the US is bound by the US Constitution, as well as international law to honor resolutions of the UN Security Council, since it is a treaty.
UNSC resolution 2231 (2015) terminated all prior UN resolutions regarding Iran's nuclear program. In return, Iran agreed to give up some of its sovereignty. Iran agreed to dismantle its high-enrichment program. It even poured cement into its Arak heavy-water nuclear reactor. Iran also agreed to allow unprecedented inspection of its facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Resolution 2231 (2015) further stipulates that if any JCPOA state notifies the UNSC of an unresolved issue that "it believes" constitutes non-performance by Iran, then all of the old economic sanction will be reimpose on Iran, unless the UNSC takes steps otherwise.
In addition to the requirements of the JCPOA, the US Congress passed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA) legislation requiring the President to certify to the Congress every 90 days that Iran is in compliance with the JCPOA. The IAEA has consistently reported that Iran is in compliance with the JCPOA, but the INARA does not require the president to take the word of the IAEA.
In other words, the JCPOA depended on the goodwill of the US to honor its promise. On May 8, 2018 President Trump in "badwill" withdrew the US from the JCPOA. The JCPOA did not specified any penalty to the US for its breach of the JCPOA. Nor did the JCPOA prevent the US unilaterally from imposing economic and financial sanction on Iran. Unilateral sanctions are against international law, but the US does as it pleases.
It is a gross contortion of logic to claim that Iran is now in violation of the JCPOA. The US is the party that breached the agreement. The US then made it next to impossible for Iran to continue its commitment, though it made an honest effort to do so for over a year. Iran is still complying in part with the agreement, which is its right under the agreement.
The European Union members of the deal, Britain, Germany and France, by their actions have sided with the US. They are obeying the US imposed sanctions, including the sanctions against purchasing enriched uranium and other metals from Iran.
The EU members were only trading with Iran in non-US sanctioned imports and exports: medicine, medical devices and food, even after the EU established INSTEX (i.e. a barter arrangement to get around US financial sanctions). Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said: "For INSTEX to be useful for Iran, the Europeans need to buy oil or consider credit lines for this mechanism; otherwise INSTEX is not like they or us expect".
The July 1, 2019 State Department press release above repeats the talking points that the US has been repeating for decades: Iran has a secret nuclear weapons program, it is a threat its neighbors and world peace, Iran is the number one sponsor of terrorism, and it violates the human rights of its own people. When one examines each of these accusations and others they find little there there.
So the US must have other reasons for attacking Iran. The other reasons are that the US wants to bring down the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Iran is an Islamic socialist country. The US does not care that Iran does not fit into the West's definition of democracy. What it cares about is that Iran uses its natural, financial and human resources for the benefit of its people, instead of for the pockets of transnational corporations.
The US is attacking Iran for the same reason it is attacking Cuba, Nicaragua, North Korea, Venezuela, China and Russia. Their financial systems do not please US corporations. They want to maintain their sovereign rights. They will not mortgage their people's future to the neoliberal Washington Consensus.
The US has geopolitical reasons for attacking Iran too. The US wants to be the sole superpower and rule the world. It does not want any global or regional challengers. It wants full spectrum dominance.
The US has a disease. It is called wasi'chu. It is a human condition based on inhumanity, racism, exploitation, and greed. It is an incurable, contagious and fatal sickness.
Source: OpEd News