John Bolton, America’s former ambassador to the UN, says the US must now withdraw from the disastrous Iran deal, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that was brokered in 2015 by President Obama and the other permanent members on the UN Security Council plus Germany.
The US State Department has just certified, for the second time during the Trump administration, that Iran is complying with the deal. I’m told this provoked absolute fury by President Trump. He felt he had no option, though, but to sign off on it against his own instincts. This was a mistake.
As Bolton has written, considerable information detailing Tehran’s violations of the deal have become known including: exceeding limits on uranium enrichment and production of heavy water; illicit efforts at international procurement of dual-use nuclear and missile technology; and obstructing international inspection efforts (which were insufficient to begin with).
“Since international verification is fatally inadequate and our own intelligence far from perfect,” writes Bolton, “these violations undoubtedly only scratch the surface of the ayatollahs’ inexhaustible mendaciousness.”
Almost certainly the State Department, along with the rest of the west’s flailing foreign-policy fainthearts, believes that withdrawal would cast into doubt America’s good faith in signing up to any agreements.
This is a fatuous argument. First, if a party to an agreement breaks that agreement the other party ceases to be bound by it. And second, even if it didn’t break it, the overriding duty of any government is, as Bolton observes, to keep its citizens safe.
If an Iranian nuclear-armed ICBM or miniaturised nuclear device were to be deployed against an American city, does anyone imagine the US would be congratulating itself that at least it had honoured its agreement?
The real problem is that the west seems inexhaustibly able to persuade itself that the Iranian regime is not what it actually is: the world’s principal state sponsor of terrorism having declared war against the west since it took power in 1979, genocidally-intentioned towards Israel and in thrall to the fanatic Shia Islamic “Twelver” cult which believes that only through an apocalypse will the Muslim messiah descend to earth.
In recent months, attention has been deflected away from Iran by the fight to destroy Isis. One of the perils of that particular battle is that the US and its allies may thereby inadvertently further empower Iran which will step into the vacuum that Isis will leave.
An article by former CIA head James Woolsey and Peter Vincent Pry is therefore a timely reminder that Isis is not the principal threat to America and the world. That honour remains with the Islamic Republic of Iran and the world’s biggest terrorist machine, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
As the authors say, the IRGC dwarfs Isis by any measure.
“ISIS never had more than about 30,000 fighters, equipped mostly with small arms, with very little access to high-tech weaponry. In contrast, the IRGC has about 125,000 fighters. It is the only terror organization in the world with an army, navy, and special forces.
“The IRGC Army has 100,000 troops in 20 infantry divisions. The IRGC Navy has 20,000 sailors, including 5,000 Marines. IRGC Special Forces, called the “Quds” (“Jersusalem”) Force numbers 5,000. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps also has reservists called the Basij Militia, paramilitary volunteers numbering 90,000 normally — but potentially capable of mobilizing an estimated 300,000 to 1 million fighters.
“The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps is the instrument by which Iran is the world’s leading sponsor of international terrorism — including against its own people. The IRGC’s purpose is also to advance the Islamic Revolution in the Middle East and the world.
“The IRGC has killed and wounded thousands of Americans, far more than ISIS, in Iraq and Afghanistan. The IRGC has killed more U.S. allies too through their terror operations. For example, Hezbollah and Hamas, the twin terror plagues of Israel, are subsidized by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
‘While ISIS has sometimes been described as the first terrorist state because of their occupation of lands in Syria and Iraq — from which ISIS is now on the verge of being expelled — many analysts believe the IRGC is the dominant power in Iran, even more powerful than the mullahs.
“Most worrisome about the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is that it is in charge of Iran’s missile forces and nuclear, chemical, and biological weapon programs”.
Now Iran, buoyed by the ineffable US State Department, is tweaking America’s tail by claiming the US has violated the JCPOA while Iran itself, it says, has complied with the deal. The western media has accepted the State Department certification as fact without bothering to look behind it. Of course. So anyone who does look and warns that Iran is in fact in breach is treated as an extremist. Of course. As opposed to those moderate, civilised, rational people in Tehran.
And so the west drifts towards disaster.