Iran hawks around Trump set to pursue max pressure policy: Jim Lobe

June 8, 2020 - 18:54

TEHRAN — Anti-Iran hawks around U.S. President Donald Trump are determined to pursue a policy of “maximum pressure” against Iran, said American journalist Jim Lobe in an interview with ILNA published on Monday.

“Anti-Iran hawks, such as Secretary of State Pompeo and National Security Adviser O’Brien, as well as Jared Kushner, Sheldon and Marian Adelson, to name just a few, around Trump are determined to pursue a policy of ‘maximum pressure’ leading to regime change or collapse or negotiation in which Iran is forced to surrender its entire nuclear program, as well as other policies that it has pursued in the past two decades or more,” said Lobe, the editorial director of Responsible Statecraft. 

Lobe said the justification offered by the Trump administration is that the more money Iran has to spend on citizens’ health, the less money will be available to its nuclear program and support for allied forces around the region.

“At the same time, the Trump administration insists that medical and humanitarian assistance are exempt from sanctions which is technically true, but, as a practical matter, is far from the truth due to the trouble that humanitarian agencies and medical and pharmaceutical companies have to go through in order to qualify for the exemption,” he stated.

There have been many articles, he continued, including peer-reviewed studies, that have found that sanctions of the kind the U.S. has applied to Iran (and previously Iraq) have a very negative impact on the health of the population that is targeted. 

“Various forces in and outside the United States are pursuing a policy of regime change or regime collapse which naturally makes the Iranian people victims,” he argued.

On the future of the Iran nuclear deal, officially named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), he said, “If there is a free and fair election in November, which is an increase in question, and the Democratic candidate wins, I would expect the U.S. to try to reenter the JCPOA, although whoever wins will probably be interested in seeking a broader agreement regarding regional security.”

“If there is no election or Trump is re-elected, my assumption is that the U.S. will continue efforts to destroy the JCPOA in which case much will depend, as it does now, on the EU’s will to preserve it at the cost of worsening trans-Atlantic relations,” Lobe added.

He also predicted that the current trajectory toward increased tensions and confrontation between Tehran and Washington will continue and very probably culminate in some kind of military conflict.

Trump walked away from the JCPOA on May 8, 2018 and introduced a “maximum pressure” policy against Iran in order to force Tehran to negotiate a new deal. 

Iran waited a year until it began to partially reduce its commitments to the agreement at bi-monthly intervals. Finally, on January 5 of this year, Iran issued a statement announcing suspension of all limits under the JCPOA.

Two years after the United States withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, the Trump administration is looking to extend a UN ban on conventional arms sales to and from Iran, a strategy designed to kill the deal for good.

In a May 9 statement marking the second anniversary of the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the JCPOA, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pledged to “exercise all diplomatic options” to extend the UN ban on conventional arms sales to and from Iran beyond its current expiry date on October 18.

MH/PA

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