Punishing the World With Sanctions

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Philip Giraldi
August 15, 2019

Sanctions are economic warfare, pure and simple. As an alternative to a direct military attack on a country that is deemed to be misbehaving they are certainly preferable, but no one should be under any illusions regarding what they actually represent. They are war by other means and they are also illegal unless authorized by a supra-national authority like the United Nations Security Council, which was set up after World War II to create a framework that inter alia would enable putting pressure on a rogue regime without going to war. At least that was the idea, but the sanctions regimes recently put in place unilaterally and without any international authority by the United States have had a remarkable tendency to escalate several conflicts rather than providing the type of pressure that would lead to some kind of agreement.

The most dangerous bit of theater involving sanctions initiated by the Trump administration continues to focus on Iran. Last week, the White House elevated its extreme pressure on the Iranians by engaging in a completely irrational sanctioning of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. The sanctions will have no effect whatsoever and they completely contradict Donald Trump’s repeated assertion that he is seeking diplomacy to resolving the conflict with Iran. One doesn’t accomplish that by sanctioning the opposition’s Foreign Minister. Also, the Iranians have received the message loud and clear that the threats coming from Washington have nothing to do with nuclear programs. The White House began its sanctions regime over a year ago when it withdrew from the JCPOA and they have been steadily increasing since that time even though Iran has continued to be fully compliant with the agreement. Recently, the US took the unprecedented step of sanctioning the entire Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is part of the nation’s military.

American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has made clear that the sanctions on Iran are intended to cause real pain, which, in fact, they have succeeded in doing. Pompeo and his accomplice in crime National Security Advisor John Bolton believe that enough pressure will motivate the starving people to rise up in the streets and overthrow the government, an unlikely prospect as the American hostility has in fact increased popular support for the regime.

To be sure, ordinary people in Iran have found that they cannot obtain medicine and some types of food are in short supply but they are not about to rebel. The sanctioning in May of Iranian oil exports has only been partially effective but it has made the economy shrink, with workers losing jobs. The sanctions have also led to tit-for-tat seizures of oil and gas tankers, starting with the British interception of a ship carrying Iranian oil to Syria in early July.

Another bizarre escalation in sanctions that has taken place lately relates to the Skripal case in Britain. On August 2nd, Donald Trump signed an executive order imposing a package of new sanctions against Moscow over the alleged poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England in March 2018. The order “prohibit[s] any United States bank from making any loan or providing any credit… except for loans or credits for the purpose of purchasing food or other agricultural commodities or products.” The ban also includes “the extension of any loan or financial or technical assistance… by international financial institutions,” meaning that international lenders will also be punished if they fail to follow Washington’s lead.

The sanctions were imposed under the authority provided by the US Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act adopted in 1991, which imposes penalties for use of chemical weapons. Novichok, which was reportedly used on the Skripals, is a chemical weapon developed in the labs of the Soviet Union, though a number of states are believed to currently have supplies of the agent in their arsenals. Russia can appeal the sanctions with 90 days by providing “reliable assurance” that it will not again use chemical weapons.

Russia has strenuously denied any role in the attack on the Skripals and the evidence that has so far been produced to substantiate the Kremlin’s involvement has been less than convincing. An initial package of US-imposed sanctions against Russia that includes the export of sensitive technologies and some financial services was implemented in August 2018.

Venezuela is also under the sanctions gun and is a perfect example how sanctions can escalate into something more punitive, leading incrementally to an actual state of war. Last week Washington expanded its sanctions regime, which is already causing starvation in parts of Venezuela, to include what amounts to a complete economic embargo directed against the Maduro regime that is being enforced by a naval blockade.

The Venezuelan government announced last Wednesday that the United States Navy had seized a cargo ship bound for Venezuela while it was transiting the Panama Canal. According to a government spokesman, the ship’s cargo was soy cakes intended for the production of food. As one of Washington’s raisons d’etre for imposing sanctions on Caracas was that government incompetence was starving the Venezuelan people, the move to aggravate that starvation would appear to be somewhat capricious and revealing of the fact that the White House could care less about what happens to the Venezuelan civilians who are caught up in the conflict.

Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez condemned the move as “serious aggression,” and accused the Trump Administration of trying to impede Venezuela’s basic right to import food to feed its people.

One of the most pernicious aspects of the sanctions regimes that the United States is imposing is that they are global. When Washington puts someone on its sanctions list, other countries that do not comply with the demands being made are also subject to punishment, referred to as secondary sanctions. The sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, for example, are being globally enforced with some few exceptions, and any country that buys Iranian oil will be punished by being denied access to the US financial and banking system. That is a serious penalty as most international trade and business transactions go through the dollar denominated SWIFT banking network.

Finally, nothing illustrates the absurdity of the sanctions mania as a recent report that President Trump had sent his official hostage negotiator Robert O’Brien to Stockholm to obtain freedom for an American rap musician ASAP Rocky who was in jail after having gotten into a fight with some local boys. The Trumpster did not actually know the lad, but he was vouched for by the likes of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, both of whom have had nice things to say about the president. The negotiator was instructed to tell Sweden that if they did not release Rocky there would be “negative consequences.” Who can doubt that the consequences would undoubtedly have included sanctions?

It has reached the point where the only country that likes the United States is Israel, which is locked into a similar cycle of incessant aggression. To be sure Donald Trump’s rhetoric is part of the problem, but the indiscriminate, illegal and immoral use of sanctions, which punish whole nations for the presumed sins of those nations’ leaders, is a major contributing factor. And the real irony is that even though sanctions cause pain, they are ineffective. Cuba has been under sanctions, technically and embargo, since 1960 and its ruling regime has not collapsed, and there is no chance that Venezuela, Iran or Russia’s government will go away at any time soon either. In fact, real change would be more likely if Washington were to sit down at a negotiating table with countries that it considers enemies and work to find solutions to common concerns. But that is not likely to happen with the current White House line-up, and equally distant with a Democratic Party obsessed with the “Russian threat” and other fables employed to explain its own failings.

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China Just Went Nuclear in the Trade War, and There Is No Turning Back Now

Global Research, August 07, 2019

When will Americans start to wake up and realize what is happening?  At the end of last week, President Trump announced that the U.S. would be imposing a 10 percent tariff on 300 billion dollars worth of Chinese imports, and that marked a dramatic escalation in our trade war with China.  This move by Trump came as a total shock to Chinese officials, and global financial markets were thrown into a state of turmoil.  Since that announcement, we have been waiting for the other shoe to drop, because we knew that the Chinese would retaliate.  But honestly, very few of the experts expected something like this.  On Monday, China announced that it is going to completely stop buying U.S. agricultural products

China confirmed reports that it was pulling out of U.S. agriculture as a weapon in the ongoing trade war.

A spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said Chinese companies have stopped purchasing U.S. agricultural products in response to President Trump’s new 10% tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese goods.

This is essentially a trade war equivalent of a nuclear bomb.

If the Chinese would have slapped U.S. agricultural products with tariffs, that would have been a proportional response.  But to quit buying them entirely is an unprecedented escalation in a trade war that is really starting to spiral out of control.

And it is also clearly a political attack on President Trump.  The Chinese know that Trump is highly popular in rural areas, and this ban on U.S. agricultural products is going to severely hurt farmers in rural areas all across the United States.

U.S. voters tend to be more influenced by their bank accounts than by anything else, and so this is a smart strategic move by the Chinese if they would like to see a Democrat get elected in 2020.

In 2017, the Chinese bought 19.5 billion dollars worth of U.S. agricultural products, and that number dropped to just 9.1 billion dollars in 2018.

Now that number is going to zero, and according to Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvallthis latest move by China is going to be “a body blow to thousands of farmers and ranchers who are already struggling to get by.”

Please say a prayer for our farmers, because they really need it.

In addition to ending purchases of U.S. agricultural products, the Chinese also allowed the value of the yuan to decline dramatically on Monday.  This really rattled global financial markets, and shortly thereafter U.S. Treasury officials formally designated China as a “currency manipulator”.  The following comes directly from the official website of the Treasury Department

The Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 requires the Secretary of the Treasury to analyze the exchange rate policies of other countries. Under Section 3004 of the Act, the Secretary must “consider whether countries manipulate the rate of exchange between their currency and the United States dollar for purposes of preventing effective balance of payments adjustments or gaining unfair competitive advantage in international trade.” Secretary Mnuchin, under the auspices of President Trump, has today determined that China is a Currency Manipulator.

As a result of this determination, Secretary Mnuchin will engage with the International Monetary Fund to eliminate the unfair competitive advantage created by China’s latest actions.

This is the first time since the 1990s that the Treasury Department has used this designation on any of our trading partners, and it is the kind of move that would not be made unless all hopes for a trade deal were completely gone.

Of course the Chinese wouldn’t have made the moves that they made either if they were still holding out hope for a negotiated solution.  According to one market analyst that was quoted by CNBC, the Chinese are “signalling that they have lost confidence that they can reach an agreement with Trump.”

So what this means is that in the short-term things are going to get bad for the global economy.

Really bad.

In the longer term, the structure of the entire global economic system could change dramatically, and this will especially be true if Donald Trump emerges triumphant in 2020.  According to economist Neil Shearing, we could literally be looking at “the end of the world as we know it”…

Among the implications for more deterioration in the global picture that Shearing cites are the “disintegration of the rules-based system” that has governed international commerce since the end of the World War II, and a potential “Balkanization” of the world economy as the U.S. and China develop their own standards, tech platforms and payment systems.

“It’s too soon to say exactly how events will pan out, but this casts the escalation in the US-China trade war over the past year in an altogether more ominous light. We may be witnessing the end of the world as we know it,” he wrote.

It is difficult to imagine a world in which there is no trade between the United States and China, and many would argue that we would be far better off today if we had never gone down that road in the first place.

But now that our two economies are so deeply integrated, trying to decouple is going to be an exceedingly painful process.

If you are familiar with my work, than you already know that I am not a fan of the Chinese government at all.  Something needed to be done about China, because they have been brazenly taking advantage of us and flouting the rules for decades.

Having said that, it is imperative that the American people understand that a messy breakup with China is going to cause an extraordinary amount of pain for us, for them and for the whole world.

It looks like this trade war could be the spark that plunges the global economy into utter chaos, and right now very few Americans seem to understand the true scope of the economic nightmare that appears to be headed our way.

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Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared NowThe Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News.

Featured image is from Foreign Policy

Venezuela and Iran in the Crosshairs of Murderers Inc – Who is Next?

Venezuela and Iran in the Crosshairs of Murderers Inc – Who is Next?August 09, 2019

by Peter Koenig for The Saker blog

Imagine just for a moment, the World would stand up in unison, sick and tired of the aggressive killer arrogance of the United States and her vassals – and their joint war-force called NATO – and this World, our World, what’s left of it when you deduct Washington and its Brussels allies, would at once block every shipment of everything destined for the ports of the United States of America; every sea port, airport and road port. Hermetically. Nothing would enter. Nothing, no food, no medicine, no electronics, no cars – no nothing. And nothing could leave. No exports, no petrol, no grains, no meat, no pharmaceuticals and foremost, no weapons. Nothing.

And now, take your mind a step further – and imagine the same – exactly the same, a total and full blockage of Israel – nothing would enter, no food, no fuel, no medication, no machinery and especially no weapons – and nothing would leave; a full and total blockage.

This would of course be totally illegal; illegal and unacceptable, by any international law, by the standards of the UN Charter, by the Human Rights Laws and Directives – by any ethical values of human morals. Wouldn’t it? – Yet, this is exactly what these countries are doing, have been doing for decades, sanctioning to strangle and murder entire populations into death or submission. The US with Cuba; Israel with Palestine. And the coercion and strangulation go on, unabated.

The longest embargo – illegal, inhuman and outright criminal – Washington imposed on Cuba – 60 years. Because Cuba has chosen socialism as her form of state and government. Cuba survived and will never give in to the tyrant of the north.

Now the US is expanding her palette of killing by impunity to dominate and subjugate nation after nation which they do not consider bending sufficiently to the dictate of their masters. Venezuela has been targeted for two decades, ever since former President Hugo Chavez was democratically elected in 1998; and Iran, ever since the US-imposed Shah was deposed in 1979 – exactly 40 years ago – by Iran’s Islamic Revolution. Both Venezuela and Iran are rich in natural resources, especially hydrocarbons but also in gold, rare earths and other precious metals and stones.

Contrary to what one would like to imagine, international world bodies, like the United Nations and her sister and associated organizations remain just about silent. When a high-level official utters some benign criticism of the US or Israel – it flairs up for a moment in the ‘news’, then it disappears again, as if it never happened. And indeed, nothing happens. They – the US and Israel – go on with their crimes in impunity.

The latest is an open declaration of economic warfare by Washington, a total embargo on Venezuela; the embargo is now being turned into a naval blockade. Similar steps are to be taken for Iran. That literally means that no merchandise – no matter how vital for survival, like food and medication, is allowed into Venezuela. Three days ago, the US seized, totally illegally, a cargo ship attempting to deliver food and medication to Venezuela – in the Panama Canal, territory which the US does not own or control anymore.

The ship was carrying soy cakes, from which Venezuela was to produce food. Never mind, that the cargoes are fully paid for by Venezuela. And this seems to be just the beginning. Vessels leaving Venezuela with petrol deliveries to client countries are also targeted for blockage, thus confiscating, or rather stealing, Venezuela’s main source of income on which she intends to survive and feed and provide health care for her people. This, in addition to the more than 130 billion dollars total Venezuelan assets confiscated – stolen – by the US worldwide .

And nobody says beep. Almost. Yes, there are some collective protests by countries in solidarity – like key members of the Sao Paulo Forum, as well as more than 60 members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM – total 120 members) that have become especially active in recent years in defense of Venezuela within the United Nations. Protests and protest declarations also take place by ALBA members, a Latin American trade alliance (ALBA – Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, 11 members [Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Dominica, Ecuador, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Grenada and the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis]).

But most interesting are the hypocrites, those who write and scream that Venezuelans are starving to death, that the Maduro government neglects its people – yet these accusers-in-falsehood – let the US and her vassals strangle Venezuela and steal her foreign assets, including foreign reserves and gold, food and medical imports – they are saying zilch, nada, nothing. Just watching.

To top it all off, the Human Rights Commissioner, Madame Michelle Bachelet, Hypocrite-in-chief, who recently visited Venezuela, at the invitation of President Nicolas Maduro, on a Human Rights mission, and who delivered a devastating report about Venezuela’s HR, full of lies, half-truths and outright omissions, not mentioning with one word the US inspired coup attempts, the US-funded opposition and its bloody atrocities on the Chavista population, and the strangulating and starving by the US and US-dictated European sanctions – Madame Bachelet now came forward condemning the naval blockade. Great. But she did not stand up against the deadly embargo by the US and the European Union. – What credibility remains for the Human Rights Commission? – The world can see it – it’s all bought, coerced into submission, like so many other UN agencies by the Murderers Inc.

If we are not careful, they are soon going to rule the globe. Thanks god, for Russia and China – which are also subjects of US-EU sanctioning and targeted for take-over. But they are a tiny little bit too big and too strong for this sort of games by the decaying US empire and her obedient rats on the sinking ship.

Similarly, the European Union – despots as they have been for hundreds of years as colonialists in Africa, Asia and Latin America – and continue in a modern colonial role through economic control of much of Africa – this very EU, has been sanctioning Venezuela for years on the orders of Washington, naturally, who else? – Now they condemn the naval blockade, but continue their routine sanctions regime.

According to a study carried out by the Washington DC based Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), under guidance of Mark Weisbrot, CEPR co-director and Jeffrey Sachs, economics professor, Director, Center for Sustainable Development, Columbia University, New York, US and EU sanctions have cost some 40,000 Venezuelan lives. This mainly since August 2017, when Washington escalated its unilateral coercive measures against Venezuela and her state oil company, PDVSA, cutting them off international financial markets.

Yes, the world would have plenty of reasons to stand up and dish out similar naval and air blockades against the US and Israel. Just as a teaser to begin with, and if that doesn’t send a strong enough wake-up message, perhaps such embargoes should be considered on a longer-term indefinite scale. It’s illegal. But we are living in a world where international laws don’t count – where laws are made, as we go, by the self-declared hegemon, the US of A, and her symbiotic Middle East ally, Israel. – So, why not nudging the legal, moral and ethical order back into balance?

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization around the world in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research; ICH; RT; Sputnik; PressTV; The 21st Century; TeleSUR; The Saker Blog, the New Eastern Outlook (NEO); and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.  Peter Koenig is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

Food Shipment Destined For Venezuela Seized Due to US Blockade

By teleSUR

Aerial view of the new Panama Canal expansion project on the outskirt of Colon City.

Aerial view of the new Panama Canal expansion project on the outskirt of Colon City. | Photo: Reuters

The ship was seized in the Panama canal according to the Venezuela government.

Venezuela’s Vicepresident Delcy Rodriguez denounced Wednesday that a ship containing 25 thousand tons of soy-made products has been seized in the Panama Canal due to the U.S. blockade while calling on the United Nations to take action against the “serious aggression” that impede Venezuela “right to food”.

“Venezuela denounces before the world that a boat that holds 25 thousand tons of tons of soy, for food production in our country, has been seized in the Panama Canal, due to the criminal blockade imposed by Donald Trump,” the vice president said in a tweet.

“Venezuela calls on the UN to stop this serious aggression by DonaldTrump’s govt against our country, which constitutes a massive violation of the human rights of the entire Venezuelan people, by attempting to impede their right to food.”

In a subsequent tweet, the Venezuelan senior official explained that the owner of the vessel carrying the merchandise of food was informed by the insurance company that it was prevented from moving that cargo to Venezuela.

The shipment seizure comes just days after Trump signed an executive order Monday that imposes a near-total blockade on government assets in that country, which includes an embargo against food suppliers, among other basic inputs. This is the first time in 30 years that Washington has taken such an action against a sovereign country.

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Iran or the fight for the strategic initiative

Iran or the fight for the strategic initiative

by Paul Schmutz Schaller for The Saker Blog

In the actual strategic situation, we can observe a dynamic equilibrium between the two main forces. On the one hand, we have the USA with its allies, on the other side, there are China, Russia and some important other countries.

The side of the USA is the descending power, which has dominated the planet for a long period. It has a considerable economic and military strength and its culture has still a dominating position. However, around the beginning of 2019, the side of the USA has lost its status of being in the phase of the strategic offensive, which has lasted at least 75 years. This marks a huge change of the situation in the world. Some reasons for this change are the following: the ascension of China during the last 40 years; the renaissance of a reasonable politics, based on the defence of the national interests, in Russia; the election of Trump in 2016 which has provoked a deep crisis in the USA and in the West in general. The most important element however, in my eyes, is the awakening of the Middle East, which is of course a region of critical importance. This awakening started with the Iranian revolution in 1979. Some further decisive steps were the successful striking back of the Iraqi aggression war 1980-1988, the foundation of Hezbollah in Lebanon and its victory against Israel in 2006, the success of Syria and Assad in the fight against the terrorists and their helpers, as well as the disaster of the USA wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

My proposal for the date of the end of the phase of the strategic offensive is based on some events in the beginning of this year. On the one hand, there was the failure of the absurd putsch in Venezuela, which was in some sense the last offensive card in the hands of Trump. On the other hand, it was the reaction in the West to the breakout of a military conflict between India and Pakistan in February. Nobody in the West made visible efforts in order to neutralise this dangerous situation. Only the countries of the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) – both India and Pakistan are members – worked in this direction.

One should not underestimate the USA in this new phase. It is quite possible that Trump is rather tough as a “defender”. Anyway, I was surprised about his actions during the recent G20 Summit in Osaka. First, Trump found a quite elegant way to play down the conflict with Turkey about the S-400 systems by blaming Obama for this problem. Second, there was the meeting with Kim (North Korea), which could correct, in some sense, the missed meeting from Hanoi (February 2019) between Kim and Trump.

The other side, that is China, Russia and some other important countries, has very much solidified its inner cohesion during the last months. This side has clarified its vision of the future world, demanding mutual respect and collective efforts for a peaceful international development. It shows a clear alternative to the hegemonic Western domination of the past.

The actual situation of a dynamic equilibrium may last for some time. Both sides will fight for gaining the initiative. The first big test is the crisis around Iran. At first, the USA had the initiative by the politics of “maximal pressure”. However, Iran has reacted in an active manner so that this initiative is almost evaporated. Now, we have a war of nerves. Both sides seem to be aware that this conflict is a real issue for obtaining the initiative. It is therefore not very probable that the conflict will be resolved quickly or that one side will obtain a big victory.

But let us analyse a little bit the two sides with respect to this crisis around Iran. The side of Iran is the just side since the politics of “maximal pressure” is illegal by all international standards. The Iranian political direction is solid and their natural inner differences are obviously discussed in a reasonable, democratic manner. The Iranians know their military strengths and weaknesses. They have a clear strategy: active defence, no negotiations with the USA as long as the latter keep their anti-Iranian sanctions, few confidence in the role of the bigger European countries, strengthen the ties with the regional countries and with Russia and China, confidence in the determination of the Iranian people. As for China and Russia, they remain – for the moment – rather in the background. However, they are certainly prepared to play a much more active role. This means that Iran disposes of a big strategic reserve.

The side of the USA is unjust. Their behaviour is brutal and they are quite isolated. Economically and militarily, they are stronger than Iran, globally speaking. However, the USA cannot concentrate only on Iran since they intend to defend their worldwide hegemony. And, for the USA, this conflict is not a matter of life or death. On the whole, the side of the USA has not the determination of the Iranian side. Therefore, if the Iranians keep their nerves, – and I have no doubt about this – one cannot see a way for the side of the USA to win this conflict. But the latter is probably able to harass Iran and the Iranian people for quite a while.

In the actual situation, the war in Syria can again get an enormous signification. It is quite possible that Syria will be a crucial element in order to gain the strategic initiative. Since some weeks, the Syrian army, with the firm support of Russia, attacks the remaining terrorists in Idlib and the neighboring provinces. As we have learned during the last years, these Syrian offensives usually start rather slowly. They first intend to weaken the defence of the terrorists and to better know their military positions. But then, the advances of the Syrian army can be rapid. There are strong signs that the Syrian government has decided to make clear progresses now and that Russia fully agrees. Therefore, I am confident that important results will be obtained.

Living in a Western oriented country, which happens to be Switzerland, I came to the conclusion, some time ago, that Western societies have become too sclerotic and have lost the capacity to positively contribute to the development in the world. This is just a fact, it does not bother me. Nevertheless, as persons (or groups or movements), we can do our contributions for a post-western world as well as possible, being aware that the main burden is carried by other nations.

Pompeo ‘Happy’ to Pontificate in Tehran, Revealing US Tyranny of Arrogance

Finian Cunningham
August 3, 2019
Image result for Pompeo ‘Happy’ to Pontificate in Tehran, Revealing US Tyranny of Arrogance

Imagine the spectacle. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sitting in Tehran and telling the Iranian people via a state media interview how “evil” their government is. No wonder tensions with Iran are reaching a flashpoint when Washington is so arrogant and delusional.

Last week, Pompeo told US media he was willing to go to Iran despite the Americans having no diplomatic relations with Tehran. Pompeo was not intending to suddenly meet with Iranian officials. Instead he wants a putative visit to Tehran to be an occasion to get on state media and address the Iranian people “directly”.

In response to a question about whether he was prepared to go to Tehran, the American top diplomat said:

“Sure. If that’s the call, I’d happily go there… I would welcome the chance to speak directly to the Iranian people.”

“I’d like a chance to go [to Tehran], not do propaganda but speak the truth to the Iranian people about what it is their leadership has done and how it has harmed Iran,” he added.

That’s not diplomatic outreach. It is simply about seeking the chance to pontificate in Tehran. Despite claiming he would “not do propaganda”, the talking points that Pompeo would regurgitate on Iranian media would be the usual baseless slander that has become Washington’s standard depiction of Iran. A depiction that Pompeo as well as President Donald Trump have personally propagated.

Iran, according to Washington dogma, is an evil terrorist-sponsoring regime that ruthlessly represses its 80 million people, fueling conflict all over the Middle East, and secretly building nuclear weapons. Typically, the Americans never provide any evidence to substantiate their caricature of Iran. It’s merely a “truth” solidified by relentless repetition of hollow allegations. In short, propaganda.

And Pompeo wants to insult the intelligence of Iranians by being given a pulpit on Iranian state media.

By saying he wants to “speak directly” to the Iranian people, Pompeo is adverting to the real US agenda of fomenting regime change.

America’s official arrogance and hypocrisy are boundless. Every malign activity that Washington accuses Iran of can be thrown straight back at the US with manifold more accuracy of facts. The US has destroyed the Middle East with numerous criminal wars and covert regime-change operations, has sponsored terrorists as its proxies, and has fueled the danger of nuclear war by illegally arming Israel with hundreds of weapons of mass destruction.

President Trump has sinisterly alluded to potentially using WMD against Iran in recent weeks, threatening to deploy overwhelming force “to end the regime”.

Admittedly, the American president has at times said he is open to talks with the Iranian government. His “offer” is unconvincing of an intention for genuine dialogue. Trump expects Iran to come to the negotiating table in an act of surrender and self-debasement to accept his terms of “disarmament”. All the while using the threat of annihilation as a bargaining tool.

Moreover, Pompeo expressed his entitlement to lecture the Iranians and urge them to liberate themselves from a “theocratic tyranny

” because, he said, the Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javid Zarif is allowed “the freedoms of the United States to come here and spread malign propaganda”.

Pompeo was referring to an official visit to the US earlier this month by Zarif who was attending the United Nations in New York City for a diplomatic conference. All foreign diplomats have a sovereign right to attend the UN. Pompeo’s remarks indicate a presumption that the US government has dominion over the UN and international law.

The alleged “malign propaganda” that Pompeo accused Zarif of spreading was an interview he conducted with the NBC news channel at the Iranian ambassador’s residence. During that interview, Zarif did not unload on the litany of factually verifiable war crimes that the US is culpable of.

What Zarif said was a model of restraint and diplomacy. He said that if the US lifted crippling sanctions off Iran, then the “door is wide open” for future negotiations.

Calling for the avoidance of war, the Iranian diplomat pointed out that it was the United States, not Iran, that had undermined diplomacy by walking away from the 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers, reported NBC.

“It is the United States that left the bargaining table. And they’re always welcome to return,” Zarif added.

What Pompeo calls “malign propaganda” many other people would view as an accurate, if restrained, telling by the Iranian diplomat of how it really is.

Given the unlawful aggression that the Trump administration is wielding against Iran in terms of economic warfare on the country’s vital oil trade and in terms of military force buildup in the Persian Gulf, including nuclear-capable B-52 bombers, what Iran is demonstrating is an immense discipline to maintain regional and world peace.

Iran’s conditions for possible negotiations are eminently reasonable. They include being respected as a sovereign nation and entering into dialogue as a mutual party where discussions can be held on the basis of facts and international law.

Pompeo’s supreme arrogance about America’s presumed exceptional entitlements and superiority are, unfortunately, a sign that Washington is incapable of being a normal state. The real “theocratic tyranny” is in Washington where it has the perverse belief that it has divine right to destroy other nations if they don’t grovel sufficiently at its feet. But those feet are made of the proverbial clay signifying a doomed power, as Iran’s dignity and defiance is revealing.

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Rouhani: War on Iran is The Mother of All Wars, Iran to Emerge Victorious Sooner or Later

By Staff

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned that a possible war against Iran is “a mother of all wars”, while peace with Tehran is “the mother of all peace”.

In a speech broadcast live on state-run TV on Tuesday, Rouhani also reiterated Tehran’s readiness to sit down with Washington if it scraps all the sanctions against Iran.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran favors talks and negotiations and, if the US really wants to talk, before anything else it should lift all sanctions”, he underscored.

The Iranian President further highlighted: “We are always ready for negotiation. I tell you this hour and this moment to abandon bullying and lift the sanctions and return to logic and wisdom. We are ready.”

He added that Iran had shifted its approach from “strategic patience” to “reciprocal action” and would respond in kind to any of Washington’s steps related to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

According to Rouhani: “Certain parties in the nuclear deal have violated commitments to deprive Iran of economic benefits.”

“Zionists, reactionary states, and US hardliners sought to destroy JCPOA from the beginning,” Rouhani stated, noting that “Only certain US cronies support [US President Donald] Trump’s decision to withdraw from The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA].”

In parallel, he underscored that Iran took calculated step to scale back certain commitments under JCPOA. “Our reduction to nuclear commitments is not a burden on us.”

“All US sanctions against Iran have proved to be its own detriment,” Rouhani stressed, pointing out that “The Americans have proved that their words are far from truth.”

In a clear message to the US and regional rivals, the Iranian President warned: “No one can target our security and seeks peace for himself.”

“Iran to emerge victorious from US restrictions sooner or later,” he concluded.

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