In his May 8 announcement formally pulling the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear agreement, Donald Trump claimed:
- “Israel published intelligence documents long concealed by Iran, conclusively showing the Iranian regime and its history of pursuing nuclear weapons.”
- “The deal’s inspection provisions lack adequate mechanisms to prevent, detect, and punish cheating.”
- “The deal fail(ed) to halt Iran’s nuclear ambitions”
These are not only lies, they are recycled lies – used to sell the invasion of Iraq fifteen years ago.
The article “Iran Hawks Are the New Iraq Hawks” by Peter Beinart in the Atlantic exposes how the same liars who sold the Iraq invasion based on concocted “evidence” of “weapons of mass destruction” – specifically Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and now Secretary of State John Bolton – are doing it again, this time to justify tearing up the Iran nuclear agreement and instead pursuing a radically more confrontational course that ratchets up the chances for war.
In the Atlantic, Beinart writes:
As with Iraq, Bolton and Netanyahu want the United States to meet this supposedly growing threat [from Iran] with a more confrontational policy. Key to that policy shift is withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal, which would leave the U.S. free to reimpose sanctions, and perhaps, as Bolton has suggested, even bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities.
And, as with Iraq, it’s easier for Bolton and Netanyahu to achieve that goal if they discredit the current system of international inspections. Bolton has called the inspection efforts established by the Iran nuclear deal “fatally inadequate” and declared that “the International Atomic Energy Agency” is “likely missing significant Iranian [nuclear] facilities.” In his 2015 speech to Congress attacking the Iran deal, Netanyahu insisted that “Iran not only defies inspectors, it also plays a pretty good game of hide-and-cheat with them….”
Netanyahu and Bolton’s problem, as with Iraq, is that the inspectors don’t think they’re being cheated…
And Beinart continues:
That’s the narrative that Netanyahu—like [U.S. Secretary of State at the time, Colin] Powell in 2003—went before the cameras last week to undermine. Like Powell, Netanyahu claimed the weapons inspectors had been duped. Israeli intelligence, he declared, had found “new and conclusive proof” that Iran “didn’t come clean to the IAEA, as required by the nuclear deal.” After Netanyahu’s presentation, [Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., Ron] Dermer—who can be seen sitting behind Netanyahu in 2002 as Netanyahu testified to Congress about the inadequacy of weapons inspections in Iraq—told CNN”s Erin Burnett that, “The inspections regime in Iran, Erin, is a joke.”
Netanyahu is likely right that Iran hasn’t “come clean” to the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] about its past nuclear activities. In 2002, [UN weapons inspector] Hans Blix said much the same about Iraq’s incomplete statements about its past WMD programs. But now, as then, inspectors deny that evasion about past nuclear activities equals evasion about current nuclear activities. In fact, international inspectors responded to Netanyahu’s presentation much as they had to Powell’s: By denying that the information constituted anything particularly new…
In his presentation last week, Netanyahu cited a secret Iranian nuclear program called Project Amad (which the IAEA had reported on in 2011). The project had been shuttered, he claimed, but “today, in 2018, this work is carried out by SPND, that’s an organization inside Iran’s Defense Ministry.” The implication is that Iran’s nuclear-weapons project continues; all that has changed is its name. But Netanyahu offered no evidence of that. And in the materials his aides distributed to journalists, the present tense was removed.
Similarly, Bolton has repeatedly declared—despite the IAEA findings and without proof—that Iran is still actively seeking nuclear weapons. Last September, he said, “Iran’s program continues unhindered.” This March, he spoke about Iran’s “continued effort to get deliverable nuclear weapons.” Which helps explain why the Trump administration keeps suggesting the same thing. After Netanyahu’s presentation, the White House issued a statement declaring that “Iran has a robust, clandestine nuclear-weapons program.” It later changed “has” to “had,” but Trump himself keeps using the present tense. Asked about Netanyahu’s presentation, he declared, “I’ve been saying it’s happening. They’re not sitting back idly.”
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The U.S. invasion of Iraq was a disaster for humanity. It resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, set in motion an explosion of violence, suffering, environmental devastation and death throughout the region, is a key source of the global refugee crisis, and continues to fuel the fires of religious wars. Now we are being fed almost the same lies by the same liars to justify moves that hold the potential for even greater death and destruction by a regime headed by a demented bully who threatens to “rain down fire and fury” on, and “totally destroy” a whole country, and who repeatedly asked: If we have nuclear weapons, why can’t we use them?
Speaking to the challenge posed by the dual possibilities of Trump moving to shut down investigations of his regime, and tearing up the Iran nuclear deal, Refuse Fascism co-initiator Andy Zee said: “The question is: WILL WE ACCEPT IT? OR, WILL WE UNITE – COMING FROM MANY DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS AND POINTS OF VIEW – TO STOP THIS THROUGH MASSIVE NON-VIOLENT PROTEST THAT DOESN’T STOP UNTIL THIS ILLEGIITMATE, ILLEGAL and IMMORAL FASCIST REGIME IS REMOVED FROM POWER? (“We Are At a Crossroads: The Stakes Are the Future of Humanity”).
That question is posed all the more sharply now.