By Syed Zafar Mehdi

'Disgraceful behavior will isolate U.S. in international arena and enhance Iran’s status'

July 8, 2018 - 12:10

TEHRA - Noam Chomsky is the leading American philosopher, linguist, political commentator and activist. He has authored more than 100 books and has spent most of his career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he is the Professor Emeritus currently.

Celebrated as ‘world's top public intellectual’, Chomsky is the leading critic of the U.S. foreign policy, state capitalism and mainstream media. In an exclusive interview with Tehran Times, he talks about U.S.-Iran standoff over JCPOA, Iran’s nuclear program and U.S. foreign policy.

Q. U.S. pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal despite Iran fulfilling all commitments made under the historic accord. What are its possible repercussions?

A. Unfortunately, Europe is unlikely to be willing to confront the U.S. on this matter in any significant way.  I hope that others will be less intimidated.
The fervent hope of Trump, Bolton, and Netanyahu is that Iran will react by violating the JCPOA, for the first time. That would be a pretext to actions that I need not outline, which would be disastrous. A statesman-like approach in response to this disgraceful behavior is not easy, but it is the right way, and might serve as a step towards isolating the U.S. in the international arena, as is already happening for many reasons, and enhancing Iran’s international status.

Q. President Trump has asked all countries to stop importing oil from Iran in a bid to strangle the Iranian economy. Among three largest buyers of Iranian oil, China and Turkey have refused to pay heed but India has reportedly agreed to cut oil imports from Iran. Do you think the U.S. is behaving like a bully?

A. Of course, the U.S. is behaving like a bully. And unfortunately, it is not the first time.

Q. U.S. has decided to re-impose sanctions against Iran, which as the signatory of NPT claims right to pursue peaceful nuclear program for energy purpose. While countries like Israel, India and Pakistan, which haven't signed the NPT and have clandestinely produced nuclear weapons, are considered 'responsible' nations. Are not these double standards?

A. These are worse than double standards. In each case (India, Pakistan, Israel), the U.S. has supported their nuclear weapons programs in one way or another. At the same time, it has stopped Iran from pursuing its peaceful nuclear program.  

Q. Do you think American foreign policy has touched a new low under President Donald Trump?

A. Not really. The invasion of Iraq was a far worse crime than anything Donald Trump has done.  The U.S. wars in Indochina were even more severe crimes.

Q. All countries in this region, especially Pakistan and Iran, have stakes in peaceful Afghanistan where the U.S.-imposed war has now entered its 17th year. Do you agree the international community has failed to achieve its objectives in Afghanistan?

A. The countries of the world – I hesitate to call them a community – do not speak with a single voice. The objectives of Pakistan and the United States differ, and Iran has still different ones. The countries of the world led by the U.S. have indeed failed in Afghanistan.

Q. The trade war between the U.S. and China is escalating, threatening to trigger global trade war. Do you think Trump got it wrong?

A. It depends on what he is trying to achieve.  If it is what he says, then it is the wrong way. But we do not assume that the objectives of political leaders are identical with what they say. If his goal is to mobilize his supporters by making it appear that he is the one person willing to stand up to foreign enemies and protect them, then it may work – for some time at least.

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