By Martin Love

Who does Pompeo think he is kidding?

May 23, 2018 - 11:50

Mike Pompeo, the new U.S. Secretary of State in the Trump administration, has this week made radical demands upon the sovereign and significant and thousands of year old state of Iran (or Persia, as you will) and its 90 or so million people that, in effect, can either make a sane and reasonable person do one of two things, or both: Be rolled with uncontrollable laughter and/or curled up into a ball of lachrymose despair. And I alone, as a U.S. citizen, am not alone in thinking so inside the U.S.

What Pompeo’s recent speech literally reflects is just about every dangerous ailment of disposition and judgment that has infected U.S. policy since perhaps the Vietnam War and as well led to untold and tragic military aggressions outside the U.S. upon other peoples and countries. There are many adjectives to characterize the essential nature of Pompeo’s pronouncement on May 21, but the one that comes most readily to mind literally fits Pompeo’s name: Pompous. And even if the Islamic Republic fulfilled all the weird demands, some of which are completely uninformed and senseless, what does it get in return? Not much: A new agreement or treaty or something like JCPOA Iteration Two around any and all development of nuclear expertise in Iran. Pompeo offered nothing else such as, for examples, bilateral diplomatic relations with the U.S., respect and friendship, a complete evisceration of sanctions, economic aid and trade. Let’s take a look at the various demands.

  •   Declare to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) a full account of the prior military dimensions of its nuclear program and permanently and verifiably abandon such work in perpetuity.
  •     Stop enrichment and never pursue plutonium reprocessing, including closing its heavy water reactor.
  •   Provide the IAEA with unqualified access to all sites throughout the entire country.
  •    End its proliferation of ballistic missiles and halt further launching or development of nuclear-capable missile systems.
  •   Release all U.S. citizens as well as citizens of U.S. partners and allies.
  •     End support to Middle East "terrorist" groups, including Hizballah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
  •     Respect the sovereignty of the Iraqi government and permit the disarming, demobilization and reintegration of Shia militias.
  •    End its military support for the Houthi rebels and work towards a peaceful, political settlement in Yemen.
  •    Withdraw all forces under Iran's command throughout the entirety of Syria.
  •     End support for the Taliban and other "terrorists" in Afghanistan and the region and cease harboring senior al-Qaeda leaders.
  •     End the Islamic Revolutionary Guard corps-linked Quds Force's support for "terrorists" and "militant" partners around the world.
  •     End threats against its neighbors, many of whom are U.S. allies, including its threats to destroy Israel and its firing of missiles at Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and threats to international shipping and destructive cyberattacks.

Comments in no particular order of importance.

It’s never been actually and conclusively verified that Iran ever really had a “military dimension” to its nuclear research activities, unless one simply believes that any expertise at all in nuclear technology is by definition inclusive of a “military dimension”.  That, in essence, any country that simply has learned and mastered the various potentials and applications of nuclear technology “must” also be ineluctably and invariably involved in hostile military machinations. This makes no sense whatsoever.

Stopping uranium enrichment completely by Iran, even if it applies to some peaceful use of such in practice now or eventually, is unfair UNLESS the same demand in made of every other country on the planet, including the U.S. and Israel, to name just two. Reciprocity is critical IF the U.S., as it should, seriously desires to eliminate the threat of nuclear war across the globe. In my view, yes, Iran ought to agree to this stoppage but only if other countries, some of which like Israel have extant nuclear WMD, also verifiably dismantle their own centrifuges. No exceptions, including no exceptions for the country, the U.S., that has deemed itself “exceptional”. IAEA inspections must similarly be applied across the board to those countries in possession of the expertise to make nuclear weapons.

Regarding the demand about Iran’s ballistic missiles, such that they exist, it’s obvious that to whatever extent they have been developed at all, they comprise, or literally can only comprise, little but a purely defensive capability that every country is entitled to, particularly when any country has been so threatened by military attack as Iran has been. I am sure Iran would eliminate its missiles if the U.S. and Israel, and any other hostile country, did so, too.

Pompeo is flatly mistaken, also, to suggest that a “heavy water reactor” is currently operable in Iran. Who did his prior research in preparation for his speech? Suggesting that Iran did not effectively destroy its alleged reactor, given reports by outsiders that it had, is nothing but propaganda designed to smear Iran.

Iran has long been the sworn enemy of al-Qaeda (and ISIS and an-Nusra and many other terrorists organizations, and was completely appalled and empathetic to the U.S. when al-Qaeda was alleged to have been behind the 9/11 attack in New York. So I have no idea what to make of Pompeo’s claim that Iran is harboring any al-Qaeda leader(s). Yes, Iran has been assisting Hizballah, which is a deep part of Lebanon’s government, so is Pompeo also set to declare that Lebanon is a “terrorist” state? I think not if Americans want to maintain any presence in Lebanon at all.

As for Iranian presence in Iraq, and particularly in Syria, nothing needs be said but that the governments of both countries apparently invited the Iranian presence to assist in the eradication of truly terrorist entities such as ISIS. Also, I know of no instance where Iran has actually fired missiles at Saudi Arabia or the UAE. This claim by Pompeo seems to be another bit of misleading propaganda and indeed, if Iran had so fired missiles directly across the Persian Gulf, I daresay that Iran and these Arab countries would already have been engaged in full-scale war with Iran. Javad Zarif has, however, fired unqualified appeals for dialogue with the Saudis and the UAE.

It’s difficult to imagine whom Pompeo thinks he is kidding. His address and demands are so bizarre, based on inaccurate information, and so completely Israeli-centric that you have to wonder that Netanyahu wrote the address, along with John Bolton. It is simply hoped by many that the other signatories to the JCPOA sees these demands for what they are, a clear attack on Iran’s sovereignty and underneath, an attempt to foment chaos and “regime change” within Iran. Above all, the Iranian people must stand tall, stay cool and work with those countries who also don’t buy Pompeo’s, or Israel’s, BS.

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