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The Iran Sanctions Game

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The Iran Sanctions Game


by Stephen Lendman


Iran threatens no one. It's nuclear program is peaceful. Multiple rounds of US-dictated sanctions are illegal.


They target millions of ordinary Iranians. They target Iran's economy. Neocons want stiffer sanctions imposed. 


Last July, House members passed more overwhelmingly. The Senate drafted a similar bill. Introducing it was postponed. 


So was a new House non-binding anti-Iranian resolution. It calls for stiffer sanctions. Later consideration is likely. Bashing Iran is official US policy. 


Softer Obama rhetoric masks it. Longstanding US policy calls for regime change. Washington tolerates no independent governments. Its global agenda wants ones it controls.


Anti-Iranian extremists want stiffer sanctions imposed. AIPAC wants them. It wants Iran's nonexistent "nuclear weapons capability" prevented.


So does Anti-Defamation League (ADL) head Abe Foxman. He wants "crippling" sanctions imposed. 


He was "unimpressed" by administration officials saying doing so could adversely affect implementing Geneva terms. 


On December 11, The Jewish Press headlined "Iran Sanctions Legislation: The Waiver's The Thing," saying:


More than stiffer sanctions are needed, it said. "Rather it is legislation without the presidential waiver provisions that presidents in general, and President Obama in particular, regularly exploit."


He said new sanctions may scuttle further nuclear talks. Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif imposing them means "the entire (interim) deal is dead."


"We do not like to negotiate under duress. If Congress adopts (new) sanctions, it shows lack of seriousness and lack of a desire to achieve a resolution on the part of the United States."


"We know the domestic complications and various issues inside the United States, but for me that is no justification." 


"I have a parliament. My parliament can also adopt various legislation that can go into effect if negotiations fail." 


"But if we start doing that, I don't think that we will be getting anywhere." Jewish Press editors responded saying:


"In our view, though, Iran is not in a position to demand anything, and the prospect of increased sanctions should be placed vividly before its leaders." 


Iran is a sovereign state. Its rights are as inviolable as all others. 


For decades, Israel, Washington and most other Western countries ignored them. Doing so warrants harsh condemnation.


Commentary magazine is unabashedly pro-Israeli. Senior editor Jonathan Tobin formerly served as executive editor for the Philadelphia-based Jewish Exponent. 


At the time, he was called its most right-wing voice. Things haven't changed. On December 12, he headlined "Is Congress Bailing on More Iran Sanctions?"


Prior to Geneva, "Congress seemed set to raise the pressure on Tehran with a new round of sanctions that will make it even tougher for the rogue regime to sell its oil."


It's less certain now, he added. "The administration's pleas to hold off on sanctions make no sense..."


"Making them stricter to create a genuine embargo on Iranian oil would be a perfect companion to talks," he claimed.


House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D. MD) opposes a non-binding resolution. It calls for stiffer sanctions on Iran.


Republicans support them. So do Democrats. Not at this time, said Hoyer. Senate Democrat leaders demurred. Later, not now, they said.


Tobin calls congressional inaction "troubling." The "argument for more sanctions is solid," he claims.


Iran bashing infested his article. It's long on unjustifiable anti-Iranian sentiment. It's void on factual grounding. It's ethically and morally reprehensible. It's typical pro-Israeli ranting.


Lies substitute for truth. Claiming Iran has "nuclear dreams" reflects similar disinformation from other anti-Iranian hardliners.


On December 12, neocon Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) contributors Patrick Christy and Evan Moore headlined "Conditional Iran Sanctions Can Strengthen Nuclear Deal."


"...US-led sanctions have put Iran's economy on the ropes," they said. Ordinary Iranians have been harmed most. Doing so is more than unconscionable. It's illegal.


Christy and Moore urged stiffer sanctions. "Congress should move forward with (them) despite the Executive Branch's disapproval, just as it has in the past," they said.


"US lawmakers and the wider public must insist (that Washington) and its international partners fully enforce standing sanctions on Iran's controversial nuclear program in the interim period."


It bears repeating. Iran's program is peaceful. Sanctions are more than "controversial." They're lawless.


In late November, right-wing Washington Times (WT) editors headlined "Surrender on Iranian sanctions," saying:


Geneva "relieve(d) the pressure of the sanctions that forced the radical Islamic regime to the brink of surrendering its pursuit of a nuclear bomb."


"Now (it) knows it will never have to." Iran conceded plenty in return for little. Not according to WT editors.


They agreed with Obama claiming Geneva "requires Iran to make only a modest down payment on the central problem."


They described terms agreed on as his "run-and-hide strategy for confronting crises..."


They accused Syria's Assad of "employ(ing) poison gas to kill hundreds of thousands of Syrian rebels."


They made other absurd comments throughout their editorial. Perhaps they think readers are stupid. Maybe they're preaching to the choir.


Historian Thomas Frank once called WT "a propaganda sheet whose distortions are so obvious and so alien that it puts one in mind of those official party organs one encounters when traveling in authoritarian countries."


Its editors called "(t)he world a more dangerous place than it was" before Geneva. The deal is bad news for everybody."


On December 12, Wall Street Journal editors headlined "Mood Music Diplomacy on Iran," saying:


"John Kerry returned to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to urge lawmakers not to enact legislation that would impose punitive sanctions on Iran if negotiations fail to stop the mullahs' march toward a bomb."


Obama officials oppose more economic pressure, they added. Kerry "hope to rely on the mood music theory of international relations, whereby Western concessions and indulgence are supposed to create an atmosphere conducive to a strong agreement."


Journal editors compared Iranian President Hassan Rohani with Yasser Arafat. They maliciously called former Palestinian leader "an unreconstructed terrorist."


..."Iranian hardliners" have power enough "to derail any deal that doesn't advance their goal to building nuclear weapons," they claimed.


Obama's "opposition to new sanctions with a delayed trigger feeds suspicions that it is eager to accept just about any agreement with Iran." 


"Members of Congress from both parties who want a good and credible deal can help by passing this sanctions bill," they stressed.


Capitol Hill hardliners want one. Some want much more. They want war. They want another country ravaged and destroyed. 


They want another vassal state replacing it. They're strongly against resolving Syria's conflict peacefully. So is Obama. He didn't wage war to quit.


Al Nusra and other extremist invaders represent Washington's shock troops. Western media turn a blind eye to their atrocities. Their chemical weapons use goes unmentioned. Assad gets blamed for their crimes.


Western funding, arming, training and direction are ignored. The road to Tehran runs through Damascus. If Syria falls, Iran is next. 


Obama's got three more years to achieve regime change in both countries. Expect him to take full advantage.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 


His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."


Visit his blog site at 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.


It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


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