Wrong On Iran

For the United States to sit and talk and come to an agreement with a nation it has been antagonizing and demonizing since the dictator it installed in 1953 was overthrown in 1979 is historic and, I hope, precedent setting. Let’s seal this deal!

Four months ago the Washington Post published an op-ed headlined ‘War With Iran Is Probably Our Best Option.’ It wasn’t. Defenders of war present war as a last resort, but when other options are tried the result is never war. We should carry this lesson over to several other parts of the world.

The time has come to remove the “missile defense” weaponry from Europe that was put there under the false pretense of protecting Europe from Iran. With that justification gone, U.S. aggression toward Russia will become damagingly apparent if this step is not taken. And the time has come for the nations that actually have nuclear weapons to join and/or comply with the nonproliferation treaty, which Iran was never actually in violation of.

In addition to the prevention of a massive bombing campaign in Syria that was prevented in 2013, a major recent success in war-lie-preparedness is the holding off, thus far, of a U.S. war on Iran — about which we’ve been told lies for decades now. The longer this debate goes on, the more it should become clear that there is no urgent emergency that might help justify mass killing. But the longer it goes on, the more some people may accept the idea that whether or not to gratuitously bomb a foreign nation is a perfectly legitimate policy question.

And the argument may also advance in the direction of favoring war for another reason: both sides of the debate promote most of the war lies. Yes, some peace groups are talking perfect sense on this issue as on most, but the debate between Democratic and Republican party loyalists and those in power is as follows. One side argues, quite illegally and barbarically, that because Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon, Iran should be bombed. The other side argues, counterproductively if in a seemingly civilized manner, that because Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon, a diplomatic agreement should be reached to put a stop to it. The trouble with both arguments is that they reinforce the false idea that Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon. As Gareth Porter makes clear in his book Manufactured Crisisthere is no evidence for that.

Both arguments also reinforce the idea that there is something about Iranians that makes them unqualified to have the sort of weapon that it’s alright to voluntarily spread to other nations. Of course, I don’t actually think it’s alright for anyone to have nuclear weapons or nuclear energy, but my point is the bias implicit in these arguments. It feeds the idea that Iranians are not civilized enough to speak with, even as one-half of the debate pushes for just that: speaking with the Iranians.

On the plus side, much of the push for a war on Iran was devoted for years to demonizing Iran’s president until Iran, for its own reasons, elected a different president, which threw a real monkey wrench into the gears of that old standby. Perhaps nations will learn the lesson that changing rulers can help fend off an attack as well as building weapons can. Also on the plus side, the ludicrous idea that Iran is a threat to the United States is very similar to the idea that Iraq was such a threat in 2002-2003. But on the negative side, memory of the Iraq war lies is already fading. Keeping past war lies well-remembered can be our best protection against new wars. Also on the negative side, even if people oppose a war on Iran, several billionaire funders of election campaigns favor one.

Will Congressman Robert Hurt who claims to represent me, and who got Syria right in 2013, commit to taking no funding from those warmongers? Here’s what Hurt had to say on Tuesday:

“The Threat of a Nuclear Iran Persists

“Dear Friend,

“The long-running nuclear negotiations with Iran and the United States, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United Kingdom finally reached a head early this morning.  Even with the deal reached, I am skeptical that Iran will keep their word, act in good faith, and abide by the terms of the deal.”

The deal is an INSPECTION arrangement, not based in any way on anybody trusting anyone.

“I remain committed to the goal of eliminating Iran’s nuclear capabilities because the prospect of Iran attaining the ability to produce a nuclear weapon is a grave threat to the world, and it is a very real possibility that this deal may only fuel Iran’s ability to expand its nuclear ambitions and facilitate its efforts to spread terror in the Middle East.”

What nuclear ambitions? What terror? This from a Congressman who voted for pulling out U.S. forces on June 17th but has taken no further action and has funded the U.S. operation that is currently killing people in the Middle East?

“Iranian leaders clearly remain focused on expanding their nuclear capabilities. They only want to do the bare minimum necessary to lift damaging international economic sanctions that have crippled their economy.”

What mindreading feat is this based on? Where’s evidence? Haven’t we learned to demand it yet?

“Iran is the world’s largest state sponsor of terror.”

Not according to any world source, but rather the U.S. government which defines terrorism to suit its ends. The world disagrees.

“The regime makes no secret of its longstanding commitment to see the demise of the United States and Israel, our greatest ally in the Middle East.”

Then why don’t you point to a single scrap of evidence?

“On Saturday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei spoke about the need to continue to fight against the “arrogant” U.S. regardless of the outcome of these talks. Allowing Iran to achieve the nuclear capabilities it seeks would pose an existential threat to Israel and the world.”

There’s nothing there about the demise of the United States or Israel or the slightest evidence of Iran pursuing or threatening to use any weapon. Expecting people to believe otherwise seems a bit — if you’ll excuse me — arrogant.

“Given Iran’s nuclear ambitions and history, I remain unconvinced that Iran will act in good faith and adhere to any of the terms of a deal. Iran has been unwilling to make necessary compromises to meaningfully limit their nuclear program, and there is little reason to believe this will change. Reaching a deal just for the sake of doing so is not worth putting the safety and security of our allies and our country at risk; no deal is better than a dangerous deal.”

Again, what ambitions? What history? Why the steady avoidance of documenting any claims? Iran is complying with restrictions not imposed on any other nation. How is that a refusal to compromise?

“If this deal is in fact a bad one, the American people have a role to play in this process. In May, the President signed into law the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which would require congressional review of any final nuclear agreement with Iran before the President can waive or suspend sanctions previously imposed by Congress. Now that an agreement has been reached, Congress has 60 days to review the agreement and pass a joint resolution to approve or disapprove of the deal. Should Congress disapprove the deal, the President would likely veto that measure, but Congress can override the veto with a two-thirds vote.”

The American people, in case you hadn’t noticed, favor the deal, including a majority of Democrats and a plurality of Republicans.

“It is my hope that Congress will carefully consider the consequences of a deal with Iran and maintain its focus on the ultimate goal of eliminating the threat of a nuclear Iran. I remain committed to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to enhance the necessary sanctions against the Iranian regime. We must do everything within our power to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear capabilities.”

Is that a proposal for war?

“If you need any additional information or if we may be of assistance to you, please visit my website at hurt.house.gov or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office:(434) 395-0120.”

Anyone can tell their rep and senators to support the deal here.


David Swanson is the author of War Is A Lie.

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  1. ilsm commented on Jul 15

    How many Iranians were on the passenger planes flown as missiles on 9/11?

    Anticipating Iranian perfidy is putting the US’ mind into the Mullah’s heads.

    Sponsor of Terror…. Decided by the country that has executed 130000 bombing sorties, and embargoes that actually harmed masses of civilians. I put Iran far behind: the Emirate and how they suppress their Shiites and the Saudis who sponsor Sunni radicals from AQ to ISIL all over the Middle East which US has mucked around militarilysince 1980.

    The Iran deal is bad for the war profiteers. Their unwarranted influence machine is in gear.

    The Iran deal may be like allowing the vote in Vietnam in 1954.

    CIA estimates always support the war profiteer marketing plan.

  2. catman commented on Jul 15

    Peace is boring. Get over it.

  3. NoKidding commented on Jul 15

    Big government and toadies wearing both color neckties push hard to incite war. When NBC martyrized Christians trapped by rabid ISIS muslims, I said wait a minute! In every facet of programming, these guys ridicule Christianity.

    A giant conspiracy can’t be a conspiracy. I see an odd mix of entrenched interests making no effort to hide its agenda from an electorate that cares mostly for compelling television, affordable cars and state funded babysitting from ages 5 to 18.

  4. Low Budget Dave commented on Jul 15

    The surest way to destroy the economy of any country is to engage in a series of costly wars. But in the last 50 years, war profiteers have grown so powerful that a large section of the economy produces implements of war, and nothing else.

    So when politicians are presented with two different options, they are under enormous (financial) pressure to choose the option that involves the production of fighter aircraft, military technology, and bombs.

    Hardly any thought is given to: “which option is most likely to succeed?” Instead, the real debate occurs out of the public forum, and centers on: “Which option will help us justify all of these war preparations (that are currently being mothballed in our deserts?)”

    Both options ahead of us are complex, and neither is likely to secure a permanent peace with Iran. Iran’s interests are opposed to ours in many ways, and neither option will change that. The best case scenarios are similar; the Iran deal allows Iran to resume sponsorship of some nefarious activities, but prevents them from using nuclear weapons to do so.

    But the “worst-case” scenarios are very different. Even in the worst case scenario, the Iran deal will preserve the economic and political prestige of the United States (for at least a few years), while the other option will squander both almost immediately.

    Even in the worst case scenario, if Iran violates the deal, the U.S. will be able to return to sanctions (and all other current tools) as needed. We will have had to fight Iranian influence slightly more in places like Syria, but that is almost a silly distinction: The Shia disagree with the Sunni so frequently that they almost always degrade each-other’s strongholds more than the U.S. does.

    The largest downside of not signing the Iran deal is another war, that will almost certainly destroy the U.S. economy as we know it. Iran is not “broken” in the same way that Iraq was. The thousands of American lives lost, (and the trillions of dollars wasted) pale in comparison to what a war with Iran would cost.

    Considering the vast difference in worst-case scenarios, only a very duplicitous person would vote against the Iran deal.

  5. DeDude commented on Jul 15

    For all of those morons who think we should give the international community the middle finger I have 2 questions:

    1. What is your realistic alternative to accepting this? Not some pie in the sky “if we just look angry enough at them then they will go away in a magic pufffff” but a real alternative strategy that could obtain our objectives?

    2. Do you really think that the rest of the world would support continued sanctions if America refuse to negotiate?

  6. willid3 commented on Jul 15

    makes one wonder if they were really pushing for them to have them. cause without the agreement, there is nothing stopping them from doing so. and the sanctions are wearing thin on our allies in the negotiations. if they decided we werent serious they will pull out of them.

  7. theexpertisin commented on Jul 15

    Would anyone above enter into a business relationship with the Iranian government based upon the general parameters of this treaty?

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