European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, left, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, right, make their way for a round of talks, in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, July 28, 2015. Iran’s foreign minister says “high-level” talks will soon be launched with the European Union following a nuclear agreement reached with world powers earlier this month. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
Today, President Trump signed a waiver of sanctions on Iran that keeps the Iran nuclear deal, the JCPOA, in operation. While he waived some sanctions, Treasury announced a wave of new sanctions targeting human right abuses associated with the current demonstrations. Even as Trump did so as he made it clear that this is the last time he will sign the waiver absent changes that Iran has said it will not agree to:
Today, I am waiving the application of certain nuclear sanctions, but only in order to secure our European allies’ agreement to fix the terrible flaws of the Iran nuclear deal. This is a last chance. In the absence of such an agreement, the United States will not again waive sanctions in order to stay in the Iran nuclear deal. And if at any time I judge that such an agreement is not within reach, I will withdraw from the deal immediately.
In the past month, the media has been as thick as treacle with stories about how withdrawing from the JCPOA will leave us isolated. This is an example of the pearl-clutching from the foreign policy establishment:
President Donald Trump is about to come face-to-face with his next quarterly brush with Armageddon. Should he, or shouldn’t he, scrap the Iran nuclear accord?
Any decision by him to “decertify” Iran’s compliance, will have only a cataclysmic impact on the key issues he has cited for ending the pact and snapping back a range of tough sanctions that would accompany any such action.
The President would not be helping American or Western security. He certainly would not be helping hundreds of thousands of demonstrators who have taken to the streets across Iran.
What such a decision will do is seriously compromise American relations with all its major European allies, as foreign ministers of most European countries suggested on Thursday morning in a tense Brussels meeting.
At the same time, withdrawal would give new strength to Russia and China in global affairs — united against the US in upholding what, to much of the world, appears to be the only real means of restraining Iran from developing nuclear arms. At the same time, America would be left even further isolated as a global pariah.
But such an action by Trump would have other consequences even closer to home. As I suggested here last fall, such a withdrawal by the United States would likely scuttle any number of contracts that could lead to more jobs in America.
One of the first lessons you should learn as you transition into adulthood is that you don’t go along just because everyone else is doing something. The arguments for staying in the JCPOA, as best I can tell, is that the other parties (Russia, China, Germany, France, the UK, and Iran) won’t like us if we leave and we’ll lose unspecified money in sales. So a) popularity and b) money. If you want to argue that a deal that is essentially unenforceable and unverifiable prevents Iran from developing nukes, have at it. I’m not going to argue with you because I don’t argue over imaginary happenings.
When it comes to this group, I’m very much in the “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member” category.
The Iranian regime is arguably not the locus of evil in the world, but it is the source of a lot of evil and a lot of destruction and not just in countries who probably can’t tell if they’ve been bombed. Iran was behind the bombing of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1999. It was behind the bombing of the Israeli embassy (1992) and a Jewish community center (1994) in Argentina. It was directly responsible for at least 1-in-9 of all U.S. deaths in Iraq. It is developing ballistic missiles. It has fomented a war in Yemen. It is trying to destabilize Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. It has turned Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon into veritable fiefdoms.
Right now, there are signs of genuine political upheaval in Iran. While a lot of the media have an interest in referring to it as economically related, the fact is that it is resentment against the ruling class in Iran. Right now, the JCPOA not only paves the way to a nuclear Iran, it strengthens the government’s ability to crush dissent. The other players in the JCPOA want us to stay in for two reasons. Russia and China are using Iran as a proxy or counterweight to U.S. influence and the rest are besotted with the idea of Iranian business deals. And they know the first thing that happens when sanctions resume is that German and Russian and Chinese banks and companies have to make a decision: do you want to do business in Iran or do you want to do business using the international financial system.
Then it comes down to popularity. We can ignore Russia and China but should we care about what the EU thinks? I don’t see why we should.
Germany, in particular, has not only refused to support the protest movement, it offered sanctuary to an Iranian mass murderer in order to provide him medical care, then spirited him out of the country when genocide charges were about to be filed against him.
Article in English: Charges pressed against Iranian former chief of justice, Mahmud Shahroudi, currently residing in German private clinic: https://t.co/c5Is0Bta6D
— Antje Schippmann (@antjeschippmann) January 8, 2018
— Gissou Nia/ گیسو نیا (@GissouNia) January 10, 2018
Germany permitted Shahroudi – an Ayatollah in service of the Iranian dictatorship – to flee the country. Absolutely outrageous & embarrassing! https://t.co/5IKVa8SqVs
— Saba Farzan (@SabaFarzan) January 11, 2018
And then various EU ministers, including the nimrod who is supposed to press for human rights, Federica Mogherini, palled around with the Iranians as demonstrators were being arrested, tortured and killed in Iran.
Zarif reps a country that is at this second mowing down protesters & torturing dissidents to death.
Big smiles everyone. pic.twitter.com/elhGtPVX7a
— Omri Ceren (@omriceren) January 12, 2018
We have a clear choice in Iran. We can either stand four-square in defense of liberty and Western Civilization, or we can, to paraphrase Lenin, sell the nukes they’ll use to vaporize us.
If going along with these amoral cretins is the price of avoiding isolation, then I think we are doing something very wrong.