Category: Iran
Iran fulfills all nuclear deal commitments, subject to world’s most robust verification – IAEA
| October 13, 2017 | 9:09 pm | China, Donald Trump, France, Germany, IAEA, Iran, JCPOA, Russia, UK | No comments

https://www.rt.com/newsline/406636-iran-nuclear-deal-iaea/

Iran fulfills all nuclear deal commitments, subject to world’s most robust verification – IAEA

The international atomic watchdog has confirmed that Iran is fully implementing all of its obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). “As I have reported to the Board of Governors, the nuclear-related commitments undertaken by Iran under the JCPOA are being implemented,” the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Yukiya Amano, said Friday. The head of the agency also stressed that Iran is subject to the “world’s most robust nuclear verification regime” and that so far the IAEA has “had access to all locations it needed to visit.” Earlier, US President Donald Trump announced that his administration will not re-certify Iran’s compliance with the 2015 JCPOA nuclear agreement. Signed in July 2015 between Tehran and the P5+1 ( China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany) the deal was designed to gradually lift sanctions against Tehran in exchange for limiting Iran’s nuclear program.

Why Trump’s Foreign Policy May Result in 25 ‘Chernobyls’ in Asia-Pacific
| September 22, 2017 | 7:25 pm | Cuba, Donald Trump, DPRK, Iran, Venezuela | No comments
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Why Trump’s Foreign Policy May Result in 25 ‘Chernobyls’ in Asia-Pacific

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The US’ foreign policy may lead to a nuclear nightmare in Asia Pacific, compared to which the Fukushima disaster is a “firecracker,” an expert told Sputnik, adding that in his UN speech Donald Trump had repeatedly contradicted himself by calling upon nations to maintain their sovereignty while at the same time threatening to destroy North Korea.

US President Donald Trump’s threat to “totally destroy” North Korea in case the US is “forced to defend itself or its allies” means a potential atomic Armageddon for the Korean Peninsula, Konstantin Sivkov, a Russian military analyst and president of the Academy for Geopolitical Problems, told Sputnik China.

“We must keep in mind what a strike on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) may result in,” Sivkov said. “If the US decides to begin an all-out war against North Korea it will mean only one thing: 25 nuclear reactors in South Korea will be destroyed by a retaliatory attack from the DPRK. This equates to 25 Chernobyl disasters on the Korean Peninsula.”

It’s easy to guess what the consequences would be, the expert noted: the Korean Peninsula, considerable parts of China and Russia, let alone most of the territory of Japan will turn into a “dead zone.”

“In comparison with this, the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe would look like a firecracker,” Sivkov pointed out. “In fact, Trump is pushing [the peninsula] toward a nuclear collision, and it must be realized that if a nuclear strike is launched against North Korea, it is unlikely that China and Russia will stand idly by.”

In this context the US president’s call for tackling threats to national sovereignty sounds rather hypocritical, the expert said, referring to Trump saying: “We must reject threats to sovereignty from Ukraine to the South China Sea.”However, Trump didn’t specify who exactly poses a threat to the sovereignty of Ukraine and waters of the South China Sea, leaving the question open. In the eyes of Beijing the threat to its sovereign rights in the maritime region comes from the US. Therefore Trump’s comment could be interpreted as a call to protect China’s sovereignty from the US itself, the expert remarked.

According to Sivkov, while delivering his speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, Trump contradicted himself.

The expert drew attention to the fact that Washington doesn’t have a clear position on its foreign policy: On the one hand, Trump proclaims the inviolability of sovereignty, while on the other hand he declares his determination to interfere in the internal affairs of other nations.

Sivkov noted that the US president’s tough stance toward China has only accelerated further Sino-Russian rapprochement and military-strategic cooperation. According to the expert, the decision of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) to focus more on the issues of military-political cooperation and fight against terrorism has come as a response to Washington’s “political games.”The expert stressed that the fight against “hybrid wars” also remains high on the agenda of the SCO and with good reason: “A hybrid war is the US’ main way of conducting operations against other countries.”

The Astana declaration of the Heads of State of the SCO signed on June 9, 2017, calls upon its members to team up in order “to counter common security challenges and threats, deepen dialogue and cooperation to ensure comprehensive security,  primarily  in  fighting  terrorism,  including  cyber-terrorism,  separatism, extremism, cross-border organized crime, illicit drug trafficking.”

According to Sivkov, the adoption of the declaration indicates that SCO member-states have united against potential aggression from the West and the US in particular.

Speaking to Sputnik, Zhou Yongsheng, a research fellow with the Center for International Relations Studies of the Diplomatic Academy of China, shared Sivkov’s stance that Trump’s speech was contradictory from the very beginning until the end.On the one hand, the US president called on the international community to respect the principle of state sovereignty, and on the other he threatened some countries with decisive actions, including total destruction, the Chinese academic noted referring to Trump’s threat to destroy North Korea.

According to Zhou, “Trump’s speech… demonstrates a lack of political culture.”

On Tuesday US President Trump delivered his first ever speech at the United Nations General Assembly issuing threats to a number of countries, including North Korea, Iran, Venezuela and Cuba and called upon UN member states to “confront together those who threat us with chaos, turmoil and terror.”

The delegation from North Korea left the conference room before Trump addressed the meeting and didn’t hear him calling the DPRK leader a “Rocket Man.” However, afterwards DPRK Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho compared the US president’s speech to “dog barking.”

For his part, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Alberto Arreaza stated that Trump is by no means the president of the world, adding that each country has its sovereign right to maintain the system it chooses.

“This is return to the cold world, for a moment, we didn’t know if we were listening to President Reagan in 1982 or to President Trump in 2017,” Arreaza noted.

China stood up for Caracas: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi signaled to his Venezuelan counterpart that Beijing believes that the Venezuelan government and people will manage to resolve their problems within a legal framework, Reuters reported.

Commenting on Trump’s first speech at the UN General Assembly, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called it “ignorant, absurd and hateful rhetoric.”

“By violating its international commitments, the new US administration only destroys its own credibility and undermines international confidence in negotiating with it or accepting its word or promise,” Rouhani emphasized addressing the UN General Assembly.

Trump is Threatening More than Just the Iran Deal
| September 21, 2017 | 9:15 pm | Donald Trump, Iran | No comments

Trump’s New Plan: CIA May Be Mulling Over ‘Regime Change Strategy’ Against Iran
| September 14, 2017 | 7:56 pm | Analysis, Donald Trump, Iran | No comments
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani arrives for a news conference in Tehran, Iran, May 22, 2017.

Trump’s New Plan: CIA May Be Mulling Over ‘Regime Change Strategy’ Against Iran

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Washington is apparently mulling over regime change in Iran, political Darius Shahtahmasebi told Radio Sputnik, adding that the US has a long record of targeting geopolitically weak countries. The analyst explained that given Tehran’s rich natural resources and influential allies, the US’s new anti-Iran strategy is likely to fail.

US President Donald Trump is considering a tougher strategy against Iran prepared by US top officials including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and national security adviser H.R. McMaster. Speaking to Radio Sputnik, Darius Shahtahmasebi, an Iranian political analyst, author and lawyer, has not excluded that Washington has a regime change option on the table.

The new plan sounds like a set of “provocative measures” against Iran, Shahtahmasebi told Radio Sputnik, referring to “interceptions of Iranian arms” allegedly going into Yemen and more “aggressive” US Navy responses to potential confrontations with armed vessels of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

“Those are some of the measures you may look at, but I also know that the US has basically set up a CIA office to implement regime change in Iran,” Shahtahmasebi emphasized.

The Iranian political analyst called attention to the fact that the US has a long record of targeting “militarily weak countries” that “don’t have significant backers.”

However, while Libya fell prey to Washington’s geopolitical ambitions, Russia’s intervention in Syria curtailed “the US’s ability to target Syria and Iran directly,” according to the analyst.

The assertive US foreign policy in Iran is nothing new, he said pointing out that Iran has been in Washington’s crossfires for decades.

“The only difference under Trump is that he is so much more open about it,” Shahtahmasebi said.

According to the analyst, Iran has become a sort of “scapegoat” for the US, which blames its own failures in the Middle East on Tehran — a “country with vast resources that plays by its own rules.”As for Trump’s stepping up of anti-Iranian sanctions, implemented to bring Tehran’s missile program to a halt, this strategy has already proven ineffective, the political analyst remarked, wondering if Washington’s efforts are actually aimed at creating “an Islamic version of North Korea” in the region.

In mid-August the Iranian Parliament voted for bolstering its missile program by increasing its funding from $300 million to $520 million. The decision came as a response to Trump signing the expanded package of sanctions against Iran, Russia and North Korea into law on August 2.

Given Iran’s rich natural reserves, and the international support it currently enjoys, it is unlikely that the new strategy proposed by top US officials will work, the political analyst believes.

He pointed out that many European countries and corporations have signaled their willingness to develop ties with Tehran and with good reason: Iran shares a lucrative gas field with Qatar. The latter used to be an American ally, but has recently been victimized by Persian Gulf monarchies, he noted, referring to the Qatar diplomatic crisis championed by Saudi Arabia.”Iran is also working closely with Turkey and strengthening its ties with Russia and might end up joining the so-called Shanghai bloc,” Shahtahmasebi stressed, citing Tehran’s bid to enter the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) jointly led by Moscow and Beijing.

It was reported in June 2017 that Russia and China back Iran’s full membership in the Eurasian security bloc.

“So the US could continue this demonization strategy and expand its proxy army… but it probably has to face the facts that Iran is emerging as a significant player in the region and it is actually developing some close friendships with some other important players,” the political analyst underscored.

According to Shahtahmasebi, the US and its allies, which “strongly [oppose] the expansion of Iran’s influence” in the region should actually blame themselves: The US invasion of Iraq in 2003 resulted in the toppling of the “most anti-Iranian regime” — the government of Saddam Hussein — and replaced it with the Shia-dominated government in the country.

Likewise, efforts to oust the Syrian government, as part of a plan to diminish Tehran’s influence in the region, have proven futile, the analyst stressed, adding that Iran has only scored new political points with the Syrians due to its support to Damascus.

“If the US wants to counter Iran it should, honestly, look for different strategies because so far Iran has been emerging as the victor,” Shahtahmasebi told Radio Sputnik.

On Tuesday, Reuters reported, citing sources familiar with the draft, that Defense Secretary Mattis, Secretary of State Tillerson, national security adviser H.R. McMaster and other top officials offered the US president a new Iran strategy at a National Security Council meeting on September 8.According to the report, the new strategy envisages increasing pressure on Tehran’s ballistic program and tackling Iran’s “malign activities” in Syria and Iraq and Yemen. The draft also urges tougher economic restrictions be imposed on Iran in case it violates the 2015 nuclear agreement struck by Tehran and the P5+1 group of countries, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The draft strategy proposes that UN Navy forces “could react more forcefully” if “harassed” by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ armed speed boats: US commanders are now permitted to open fire at Iranian vessels in case they believe that the latter pose a threat to the lives of US crews.

Over the last few months US Navy forces have repeatedly come under heavy criticism from Tehran for “provocations” in the Persian Gulf. On September 10, the Iranian Navy reported that an Iranian missile boat sent a warning signal to a US Navy ship that closed in on a fishing boat in the region.

On July 29, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said in a statement that a day earlier US aircraft carrier Nimitz and an accompanying warship approached Iranian military vessels firing warning flares. A week earlier the USS Thunderbolt patrol ship fired several warning shots at an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps ship in the Gulf. The incidents were just a few in a series of episodes when US and Iranian maritime forces have come dangerously near conflict.

The Iranian-US relationship has been strained for decades. The US involvement in Iran’s domestic affairs started with a CIA-orchestrated coup d’etat in Tehran in 1953. The Islamic Revolution of 1979 marked the separation between Tehran and Washington and was followed by a series of restrictions Washington has imposed on the country since 1979. The Iranian nuclear deal concluded under Barack Obama eased US sanctions against Iran, which was reconsidered under the Trump administration.

Trump Warns DPRK with ‘Fire and Fury’
| August 8, 2017 | 8:35 pm | Donald Trump, DPRK, Iran, political struggle, Russia | No comments

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Trump-Warns-DPRK-with-Fire-and-Fury-20170808-0035.html

Trump Warns DPRK with ‘Fire and Fury’

  • Trump cautioned "North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States" during his 17-day "working vacation."

    Trump cautioned “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States” during his 17-day “working vacation.” | Photo: Reuters

Published 8 August 2017 (2 hours 58 minutes ago)

Trump cautioned “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States.”

U.S. President Donald Trump has warned the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, DPRK, with “fire and fury” if the country continues to threaten the United States.

RELATED:
DPRK Calls New UN Sanctions ‘Infringement on Sovereignty’

Trump cautioned “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States” during his 17-day “working vacation” at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J.

Trump said the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has “been very threatening beyond a normal state” and “will be met with fire and fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.”

The comment follows a Washington Post’s report that stated that DPRK has successfully created a miniaturized nuclear war head, “crossing a key threshold on the path to becoming a full-fledged nuclear power.”

Trump’s threatening comments, however, have been rebuffed by Republicans. Senator McCain said Tump’s posture could accelerate a “serious confrontation” with DPRK.

“I take exceptions to the president’s comments because you got to be sure that you do what you say you’re going to do. In other words, the old walk softly but carry a stick, Teddy Roosevelt’s saying, which I think is something that should’ve applied because all it’s going to do is bring us closer to a serious confrontation. I think this is very, very, very serious,” he told a local Arizona radio.

RELATED:
DPRK Responds to Travel Ban: Invites US Citizens to ‘See Reality with their own Eyes’

The intimidated DPRK’s neighbors, in the meanwhile, are preparing their own line of defense.

Itsunori Onodera, Japan’s new defense minister, said Friday,”North Korea’s missile launches have escalated tensions, both in terms of quality and quantity.”

“I would like to study if our current missile defense is sufficient,” Onodera added.

According to New York Times, a military policy review published by the Japanese government on Tuesday is also focussing on the threat from North Korea. Some of the over 12 missile tests by the DPRK this year splashed into waters close to Japan.

“North Korea’s development of ballistic missiles and its nuclear program are becoming increasingly real and imminent problems for the Asia-Pacific region including Japan, as well as the rest of the world,” the government in Tokyo said in its annual defense white paper, the New York Times reported.

South Korea too is working to build its monitoring and striking abilities, along with the radars and remote-controlled reconnaissance planes to track and neutralize North Korean missiles in pre-emptive attacks.

The U.S. has over 37,500 troops on the imposed border between north and south Korea, which was one country before the U.S. war on the peninsula from 1950-1954 that left the people of Korea divided. The U.S. and South Korean armed forces also conduct war games off the coast of the region on a regular basis.

A Pentagon study released in May bemoaned the “fraying” and “collapsing” U.S. Empire, recounting how competing powers Russia and China, along with others like Iran and North Korea, have played a major role in removing the U.S. from its position of global “pre-eminence” and that the U.S. “can no longer count on the unassailable position of dominance, supremacy, or pre-eminence it enjoyed for the 20-plus years after the fall of the Soviet Union.”

When is the World Going to Impose Sanctions on America?
| July 31, 2017 | 7:13 pm | Analysis, Cuba, DPRK, Fidel Castro, Imperialism, Iran, Russia | No comments

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When is the World Going to Impose Sanctions on America?

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Only when we are living in a world in which sanctions are imposed ‘on’ the United States rather than ‘by’ the United States will we know justice reigns.

The decision taken by the US Congress to “punish Russia” for alleged meddling in the US elections with the maintenance of existing sanctions has been followed by a bill to weaken the ability of President Trump to “weaken sanctions on Russia,” thus presenting a direct challenge to the President’s authority. The bill was passed in the House of Representatives by an overwhelming majority and at time of writing awaits a hearing in the Senate, which along with the House makes up the US Congress. The legislation also includes new sanctions against not only Russia but also Iran and North Korea, thus maintaining the pattern of waging economic war against states which refuse to accept that Washington’s writ should run wherever it decides whenever it decides.

Economic sanctions are not the benign instrument that some might assume. On the contrary, they are tantamount to an act of war, a means by which economic might is wielded as club to bludgeon ‘recalcitrant’ nations and states into submission. And though sanctions may not evoke the same sense of potency of cruise missiles, they kill just the same. The experience of the Iraqi people leaves no doubt of it.

Between 1990 and 2003 sanctions on Iraq, imposed by the UN, are estimated to have been directly responsible for the deaths of 2 million people, half a million of them children according to Unicef. Multilateral sanctions were imposed on the country in response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in August 1990. Under UN Security Council Resolution 661 it was mandated that UN-member states should prevent all imports originating in Iraq and Iraqi-occupied Kuwait, business activity between nationals of member states and Iraq, and should undertake an embargo of funds or “economic resources” to Iraq or Iraqi-occupied Kuwait, except for medical or humanitarian purposes.

As journalist John Pilger wrote in a March 2000 article:

“Under economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council almost 10 years ago, Iraq is denied equipment and expertise to clean up its contaminated battlefields, as Kuwait was cleaned up. At the same time, the Sanctions Committee in New York, dominated by the Americans and British, has blocked or delayed a range of vital equipment, chemotherapy drugs and even painkillers. ‘For us doctors,’ said Dr Al-Ali, ‘it is like torture. We see children die from the kind of cancers from which, given the right treatment, there is a good recovery rate.’ Three children died while I was there.”

The sanctions imposed on Iraq were so draconian and sustained that two UN Humanitarian Coordinators in Iraq, Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck, resigned in protest. Yet even with the evidence of the role of the sanctions in killing half a million Iraqi children, Washington remained unrepentant. The by now infamous words of former UN Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in 1996, when in response to a question during an interview about the infanticide that was taking place as a result of the sanctions she said “the price is worth it,” exposed the barbarity that lies behind the mask of Western civilization.

The fact the sanctions were only lifted from Iraq after the devastating war unleashed on the country by the US and its UK ally in 2003 had killed countless more children tells its own story.

Cuba has suffered under the iron heel of US economic sanctions and embargo longer than any other country on the planet. A raft of economic sanctions were originally imposed on the island in 1960 by the Eisenhower administration after the Cuban revolution of the previous year succeeded in toppling the US-supported dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, after which US corporations and businesses that had been operating without restraint in Cuba were expropriated and nationalized.

Miniature flags representing Cuba and the United States are displayed on the dash of an American classic car in Havana, Cuba.
© AP Photo/ Franklin Reyes, File
Miniature flags representing Cuba and the United States are displayed on the dash of an American classic car in Havana, Cuba.

Relations between Havana and Washington turned even more sour two years later when Fidel Castro defied Washington in forging close ties with the Soviet Union. In response, the Kennedy administration imposed complete economic sanctions, which have remained more or less in place over succeeding decades.

As French journalist Salim Lamrani pointed out in a 2016 interview on the history of US sanctions against Cuba:

“The sanctions are anachronistic because they date back to the Cold War. They are cruel because they affect the most vulnerable categories of the Cuban people, not the leaders. Finally, they are ineffective to the extent that the initial goal of overthrowing the Cuban Revolution has clearly failed.”

Most cogently, Lamrani makes the point that “Rather than isolating Cuba internationally, these sanctions have instead isolated the United States.”

The sanctions imposed by the US and its European allies/vassals on Russia, meanwhile, have been justified as a response to ‘Russian aggression’ in eastern Ukraine, along with reunification of of Crimea with Russia in 2014. As I have written previously, this is a false and tendentious rendering of what has occurred in Ukraine and why.

But regardless of the whys and wherefores, the idea that the largest country in Europe with the second most powerful military in the world, whose economy is stable and built on solid foundations, could ever be brought to its knees by economic sanctions is so preposterous it is laughable.

However the mendacity and arrogance behind Washington’s history of imposing economic sanctions against other states is certainly no laughing matter, not when we consider the ineffable human suffering they have caused and continue to cause.

Moreover, a history of subverting, destabilizing, and destroying one country after another is all the evidence needed to label the US a country so drunk with power and a corresponding sense of exceptionalism that the rest of the world would be more than justified in uniting to impose sanctions on it. In fact, given the brutal history of US imperialism the world needs to as a matter of necessity.

As Fidel Castro said, “The United States tyrannizes and pillages the globalized world with its political, economic, technological, and military might.”

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

US Lawmaker Opposes Russia Sanctions Citing Cooperation on Syria
| July 27, 2017 | 7:57 pm | DPRK, Iran, Russia, Syria | No comments

https://sputniknews.com/politics/201707271055914402-usa-lawmaker-opposes-sanctions/

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US Lawmaker Opposes Russia Sanctions Citing Cooperation on Syria

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Congressman John Duncan says that new US Sanctions against Russia should be rejected because Moscow is helping the United States battle Daesh.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — New US Sanctions against Russia should be rejected because Moscow is helping the United States battle the Islamic State terror group (Daesh or ISIS) in addition to assistance in maintaining a ceasefire in Syria, Congressman John Duncan told RIA Novosti.

“I recently voted against a bill to increase the sanctions already in place against Russia and Iran,” Duncan said on Wednesday. “The increased sanctions against Russia were based on alleged meddling in our presidential election. However, if they did, it was totally ineffective, and Russia has aided us recently in the fight against ISIS and reaching a cease fire in Syria.”

The congressman said he also thought it was unwise to expand sanctions on Iran after the US State Department twice verified that the Islamic Republic has complied with the terms of an international nuclear agreement.

“I just did not think we should slap them in the face when they are doing what we wanted them to do,” Duncan said.

Likewise, the lawmaker said he thought sanctions on North Korea would do nothing to hurt the ruling elite in Pyongyang, while the measures would almost certainly hurt impoverished North Koreans.

“Overall, though I think we should stop trying to rule the whole world. We are $20 trillion in debt, and we have enough problems at home,” Duncan said.

Duncan was one of just three lawmakers in the US House of Representatives who on Tuesday voted against a bill to sanction Russia, Iran and North Korea and limit President Donald Trump’s ability to lift restrictions on Moscow.

Another 419 lawmakers voted in favor of the legislation, which will now be passed onto the Senate for a vote before being sent to Trump for final approval.