[dropcap]I[/dropcap]ran is an ancient culture and civilization that experienced a U.S. overthrow of its elected government in 1953, twenty-five years of autocratic rule, and an Islamic Revolution in 1979 that overthrew the pro-U.S. regime. The U.S. and Iran have had hostile relations since the seizure of U.S. Embassy hostages in 1979, but since then changes in both countries, and in the world, necessitate a new approach and recognition of common interests.
The Trump administration seems bent on regime change and war with Iran. Using harsh and hyperbolic rhetoric, the Trump, Bolton, and Pompeo trio continue to tighten sanctions, deploy additional military forces, and threaten War.
The build-up to war has gained steam during Trump’s presidency. First, Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the carefully negotiated Iran nuclear agreement, despite Iran’s repeatedly verified compliance and the continued adherence of other signatories including Russia, China, and European countries. Under the deal, Iran’s total enrichment capacity was paralyzed until 2028, due to restrictions on their enhancement and centrifuge deployment capabilities. Other important restrictions would have lasted even longer, such as the limit on the level of uranium enrichment which was restricted to 3.67%, which is way below the 90% which is needed for a weapon. Now the deal and the new diplomatic relationship with Iran that it created have been carelessly and dangerously cast aside.
Then, Trump re-imposed the full set of US sanctions which had been lifted under the agreement but now are being used once again to cripple Iran’s economy. Those sanctions are hurting ordinary Iranian citizens, causing a decline in the currency’s value and shortages of many essential goods, including life-saving medications to treat serious diseases. But they will not bring down the regime; on the contrary, they strengthen the hand of the hardliners in the Iranian state.
In April 2019, over the strong objection of top Pentagon and CIA officials, the administration designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a branch of Iran’s military, as a foreign terrorist organization. Iran reciprocated by designating US Central Command as a terrorist organization, and the US as a state sponsor of terror.
In June 2019, Trump and his advisors blamed attacks on shipping tankers from Japan and Norway on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard with scarce, superficial evidence in support. Soon after, Iran shot down an unmanned drone that they claim was flying over their airspace. In response to these heightened tensions, Trump ordered an airstrike on Iran on June 20 , which would likely have killed over 100 people had he not changed his mind and called off the attack minutes before it would have been executed.
The Trump administration is building its case for war with Iran with the same dubious narratives of nuclear threats and ties to al Qaeda that brought usthe Iraq war, and the intelligence emerging from Washington to support the aggression towards Iran is just as frail and unfounded as the assurances by the Bush administration used to coax the country into supporting the catastrophic invasion of Iraq.
We call for the President and the administration to stop instigating and carelessly fanning the flames of conflict with Iran. We call on Congress to immediately pass legislation making it clear that a war in Iran without congressional approval would be illegal for the President to start. We call for a return to negotiations and an attempt to return to the Iran nuclear agreement and to build with Iran on to of that, to ensure a safer and more peaceful world.
Trump’s escalation of tensions with Iran
Shipping tanker attacks – Al Monitor, June 14 2019
Barreling Towards Another Catastrophic War – Common Dreams, June 18 2019, by Jake Johnson
War on Iran is not a feasible strategy – The Guardian, June 18 2019, by Michael Fuchs
Call on congress to prevent war – The Nation, June 21 2019, by John Nichols