President Trump pulls the plug on the Iran Nuclear Deal and threatens economic sanctions. But is it time for the US to acknowledge its own violent meddling in Iranian politics and try to build better diplomatic relations?
Trump challenges the Iran nuclear deal.
Claiming Iran’s government sponsors world terrorism.
But is it time for the US to mend fences, not go looking for more wars?
Hi, I’m Leon Hawthorne. The international community is standing firm behind the agreement struck with Iran not to become a nuclear power.
That’s despite President Trump de-certifying the deal, meaning the US Congress has sixty days to impose economic sanctions against Iran or simply ignore the president.
SOUNDBITE: PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP ‘In the event we are not able to reach a solution working with the Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated.’
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani told the UN he would not break the terms of the deal; and nobody credible believes he has. Trump has long asserted the deal was bad, because it gave too many economic concessions to Iran without getting enough in return.
In particular, Trump claims the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the I-R-G-C, is the biggest sponsor of terrorism in the world. It gives financial and military assistance to Shia militant groups that engage in insurgencies across the mideast, including support to:-
- the Assad regime in Syria.
- Shia groups in Iraq.
- Hezbollah in Lebanon.
- Islamic Jihad; the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine; and Hamas in Palestine.
- And the Houthis in Yemen.
In short, Iran is fighting numerous proxy wars, challenging western hegemony, sticking up two fingers to the US and its regional allies, Saudi Arabia and Israel… not coincidentally, the only countries to back Trump’s de-certification.
Look. Iran is no angel on the international stage. Its human rights record at home is appalling.
Currently, it’s holding Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian woman accused of spying.
The UK blames Iran for a June cyber attack on parliament, attempting to hack the email accounts of MPs and ministers.
All of this is bad, but my question is: what should we expect?
Trump’s recollection of history begins in 1979 when Iranian students stormed the US Embassy in Tehran and held over 50 diplomats hostage for more than a year. The story was retold in the 2012 Academy Award winning, Best Picture, Argo. Like the movie about Pearl Harbour, Hollywood managed to tell a story that was somehow a victory for America.
But why did those events in 1979 happen?
Because Britain and America had been undermining Iranian sovereignty for a hundred years.
Most notoriously in 1953, when Iran’s democratically elected Prime Minister, Mohammad Mosaddegh was overthrown in a coup orchestrated by the CIA and MI6. We replaced him with a puppet regime headed by the Shah, the one that was itself toppled in 1979.
The Iranian people have no reason to trust America or the west. In public, our governments assert a belief in democracy while - behind the scenes - they have rigged elections and taught friendly dictators the best methods of torturing and murdering nationalist rebels.
We owe the Iranian people an apology for a century of misdeeds. And then, we can start rectifying the reasons they feel a need to confront us.
It is not our place to dictate to any mideast country who its government should be. They can decide that for themselves. If we stop meddling in their regional politics, Iran will have no need to finance resistance to counter our influence.
The only issue in which the international community should be involved is brokering a peace deal between Israel and its neighbours. And for that, we need to engage with Iran, not follow Trump’s lead and try to bully and isolate it.
I’m Leon Hawthorne. Thanks for watching.