By Mahmoud Hakamian
The Iran lobby continues its criticism of the Trump administration for de-certifying the Iran nuclear agreement and re-imposing economic sanctions. Perhaps they should instead blame Tehran, not the U.S.
The National Iranian American Council argues that the nuclear deal was, as they said, “working.” However, there are notable omissions in the agreement:
• Development of nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles designed to deliver payloads around the world was not restricted
• Iran’s ability to fund terrorist groups such as Hezbollah, or to buy weapons from Russia and China later used by terrorists in Yemen, Iraq and Syria was not addressed
• Human rights changes, including releasing political prisoners, halting crackdowns on journalists, students, bloggers, artists, ethnic and religious minorities, and repealing laws that oppress women were not required
• Most importantly, Iran’s role in the Syrian civil war that resulted in the slaughter of almost half a million men, women, and children, and created over four million refugees was allowed to continue
Many believe Iran caused the rise of ISIS, as well as a series of terrorist attacks that have occurred in such various places, such as London, Birmingham, Orlando, Brussels, Nice, Ottawa, Sydney, San Bernardino, and many others.
President Trump campaigned on his promise to pull out the nuclear deal, so his decision was no surprise to the Iran lobby, but the NIAC still condemn the president’s actions.
The sanctions deem that Iran will no longer be able to engage in trade using US dollars, and according to Trump administration officials, will be blocked from trade in gold and other precious metals, as well. The import of graphite, aluminum, steel, coal, and software used for industrial purposes, and participation in the automobile market, will not be allowed, according to BuzzFeed.
European countries have been called upon by the NIAC to commit to their business deals with Iran. Still, companies including Peugeot and Total are taking their business away from Iran.
Harsher sanctions come into effect in November, targeting Iran’s oil exports as well as transactions between foreign banks and the Central Bank of Iran. A senior administrative official reiterated that the US goal is to get imports of Iranian crude to zero and that the US is not looking to give exemptions or waivers when those sanctions hit.
The NIAC, in a briefing memo posted on its website, continues to describe the nuclear agreement as “successful”. Critics of the deal call it a “tool” that replenished the regime’s cash reserves, who then used it to fund their aspirations toward hegemony in the Middle East.
Over the past three years, conditions in both Washington and in the hundreds of villages, cities and towns throughout Iran have changed. Protests at home and economic pressure by the Trump administration are pushing the regime to decide whether to again crack down on its own people, or to finally entertain the notion that democracy must take root in Iran.
Several journalists, including Thomas Erdbrink in the New York Times chronicled the protests in Iran that are being fueled by the poor and middle classes. “Some demonstrations — about the weak economy, strict Islamic rules, water shortages, religious disputes, local grievances — have turned deadly. The protesters have shouted harsh slogans against clerical leaders and their policies. The events are broadly shared on social media and on the dozens of Persian language satellite channels beaming into the Islamic republic,” he writes, and adds, “Videos show that some protesters have gone well beyond strictly economic grievances to challenge Iran’s foreign policy and religious rules. Secular protest slogans aimed at Iran’s leadership also criticize its support for Syria and groups in the Palestinian territories and in Lebanon.”
His writing is known for its favorable leaning toward appeasing the Iranian leadership. However, Erdbrink reports that, predictably, in fighting among the ruling elites as to who is to blame is increasing, as the regime struggles to give the Iranian people solutions that do not involve slogans or a policeman wielding a baton.