The ingredients for a war with Iran are falling into place as the drumbeat gets louder

Tehran - Iran

In May the Trump administration backed out of the deal intended to curtail Iran’s development of nuclear weapons. That was followed by the administration’s termination of oil waivers and designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a branch of Iran’s state-run military, as a foreign terrorist organization.

Then on June 13th, two oil tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman, an action that the U.S. said was carried out by Iranian forces. Iran categorically denied any responsibility for the attacks and suggested the accusation is a deliberate effort to justify a war. The timing of the tanker attacks on June 13 with Japanese Prime minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Iran suggests they are a deliberate effort to maneuver the US into war with Iran.

U.S.-Iran relationship has reached its lowest point since the 1953 CIA-MI6 engineered coup – known as operation “AJAX” – against the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh and the subsequent ruthless rule of the despotic Shah for 25 years. The coup, supported by the U.S., ushered in a horrific period of torture and killings which many Iranians have not forgotten or forgiven.

Before the coup, the U.S. and the British blockaded Iran’s oil exports. To many in Iran, the Trump administration’s policies appear to be following the same path; a deliberate attempt to force Iran into a cycle of escalation that risks war.

Over the past two-plus years some in the Trump administration, such as National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have called for regime change. Bolton is reported to have requested warplanes from Pentagon to strike an Iranian military facility. Lobbyists, political pundits and military experts spew the rhetoric of hate, demonizing Iran to no end. Pompeo, Bolton, Nikki Hailey, the former U.S. ambassador to the UN, and others have openly declared their intention to overthrow the Iranian government. The Ayatollahs are branded as a nuclear-obsessed terrorist. If the U.S. goes to war with Iran, it will be a proxy war, just like Iraq and “WMD.”

Aggression against Iran is also supported by the despotic dynasties that rule Saudi Arabia and the Gulf sheikdoms. The Israeli government, especially under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is also known to be in favor of regime change in Iran.

The word “regime” implies that the government to which the label is applied is undemocratic, repressive, corrupt, or authoritarian or even tyrannical. So, why is the U.S. interested in regime change for Iran and Venezuela, but not concerned about the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other Arab authoritarian governments? The answer appears to lie in the hostile relationship the two countries have had since the 1979 revolution that overthrew the Shah and the taking of 52 American hostages for 444 days that followed.

Interestingly, the US itself meets many of the criteria for being a “regime”: whereby Dr. Martin Luther King described “the three evils” in his famous speech on Aug 31st. 1967 as the evil of racism, the evil of poverty, and the evil of war. The US can be seen as an oligarchy rather than a democracy which imprisons people at a higher rate than any other country has grotesque levels of inequality, racism and bombs another country every 10 minutes. President Jimmy Carter said, the “US is the most warlike nation in the history of the world” and Yet no media will describe the US state as a “regime” which need to CHANGE!

Iranians’ mistrust of America is rooted in long historical experience including the war with Iraq from 1980 to 1988 which cost Iran an estimated million casualties, including at least 300,000 soldiers killed and tens of thousands still suffering the effects of the chemical weapons used by the Iraqi army, which was backed by the United States. Iranians also accuse the U.S. of carrying out covert operations, including cyber-attacks, over the last three decades to destabilize the nation.

Iran is home to one of the world’s oldest civilizations, with many philosophers and scientists dating back to 4000 B.C., and it once was a major empire. Iran too has endured invasions, by Mongols, Turks, Arabs and Greeks. Iran does not need a nuclear bomb; it needs peace, not instability. To justify military aggression against Iran — a nation that has not attacked another country for almost 300 years — is ludicrous.

Is there still time to avert war?

Yes, war with Iran is not an option. To avoid a war with Iran, Trump could engage in direct talks with President Hassan Rouhani, but this requires Trump to rejoin the JCPOA and reject the calls by the Mohammed Bin Salman or Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu to seek conflict with Iran.

Trump’s own intelligence agency officials have confirmed that Iran has not violated the deal and our European allies are committed to the JCPOA, hence in the best interest of US and for the Iranian people, it’s time for US to rejoin the JCPOA. It is time for the US to support diplomacy and dialogue rather sanctions which only harms the Iranian people.

Rejoining the JCPOA will put to rest the animosity of more than four decades and build trust between two nations. Though rejoining the nuclear deal might be seen as weakness by the administration and geopolitical loss for Saudi Arabia and Israel, but I think it will avert a Third World War. In the shadows and the complexity of the conflict in the Middle East, Iran is certainly well-positioned to bring closure to conflicts in Yemen and Syria.

While it might be tempting for the U.S. to simply label the Iranians as “the bad guys” and continue down the path to war that would be forgetting the lessons of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is easy to start a conflict and very difficult to end it.

This is all “déjà vu” similar to the Weapons of mass destruction by former Secretary of State Colin Powel. This is lies and more lies to make a case for war. Let’s not be fooled into another war! Our elected officials need to push for diplomacy now to take us away from the brink of war.