Today a manned U.S. reconnaissance plane entered Iranian airspace in a clear attempt to provoke Iran into shooting it down. Such an incident would have created an occasion for Trump to give the American people a special 4th of July fireworks.
On July 3 1988 the guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes shot down the civil Iranian Flight 655 with 290 people on board. The U.S. claimed that the plane’s transponder was signaling an Iranian military identification code, that it was seemingly attacking the Vincennes, that the ship warned the plane 12 times, and that the ship was in international waters when the incident happened.
The crew of the Vincennes received medals for killing the Iranian civilians.
Investigations showed (pdf) that all the above claims were false. The shoot down was intentional. Iran sued the US in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over it. The case was settled in 1996 when the U.S. agreed to apologize and to pay $61.8 million to the families of the victims.
On June 20 a large U.S. reconnaissance drone, accompanied by a manned U.S. military airplane, flew into Iranian air space east of the Strait of Hormuz. Iran shot the drone down. The U.S. threatened to strike Iran over the incident but Trump did not follow through.
There were reports that some people in the White House doubted that the U.S. Central Command, the U.S. military command for the Middle East, told it the full truth about the incident. Two days before the drone incident happened Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the former CIA director, had unusual talks with the U.S. Central Command. This led to speculations that the incident was designed to provoke Iran into a shoot down and to push Trump into a war on Iran.
The case today is not in doubt. The U.S. military definitely tried to provoke Iran into shooting down another one of its planes.
Manu Gómez @GDarkconrad – 9:17 UTC – 3 Jul 2019USAF Rivet Joint tracking over The #PersianGulf, spoof Hex Cod 730000 C/S IRI00061
The US Airforce RC-135V Rivet Joint are signal intelligence planes that snoop on other countries.
Do People Comment Too Much?
No, Iran Is Not Rushing To Build A Nuclear Weapon
John Mearsheimer is a political science scholar who adheres to the realist school of thought. He developed a theory of offensive realism that at times produces valid predictions of the behavior of some states. But his theory does not account for cultural factors and its predictions fail when these predominate in a state’s decisions.
His ridiculous op-ed in today’s New York Times is proof for that.
For the record: No, Iran is not rushing to build a nuclear weapon. And if it would do such Trump could stop it.
President Trump says he wants to make sure Iran never acquires nuclear weapons. His policy, however, is having the opposite effect: It is giving Tehran a powerful incentive to go nuclear, while at the same time making it increasingly difficult for the United States to prevent that. On Monday the official Iranian news agency announced that the country had breached the limits for enriched uranium imposed on it by the 2015 international agreements.Indeed, American policy toward Iran over the past year makes it clear that Iranian leaders were foolish not to develop a nuclear deterrent in the early 2000s.
The Iranians had good reason to acquire nuclear weapons long before the present crisis, and there is substantial evidence they were doing just that in the early 2000s. The case for going nuclear is much more compelling today. After all, Iran now faces an existential threat from the United States, and a nuclear arsenal will go a long way toward eliminating it.
The current “existential threat” against Iran, says Mearsheimer, is the economic war and blockade the U.S. wages against it.
But where is the evidence that nuclear weapons would prevent the economic war and blockade? North Korea, which has nuclear weapons and even the ability to strike the United States with them, is under similar measures. In sight of that how does this make the case to go nuclear more compelling for Iran?
No, Iran Does Not Break The Nuclear Deal (Updated)
Here is some fakenews from the Guardian which falsely claims that Iran breaks the nuclear deal.
But Iran does that within the frame of the JCPOA. It is not breaching it. Article 26 of the joint plan states that the U.S. will refrain from reimposing sanctions and that Iran will react in case that happens:
The United States will make best efforts in good faith to sustain this JCPOA and to prevent interference with the realisation of the full benefit by Iran of the sanctions lifting specified in Annex II. The U.S. Administration, acting consistent with the respective roles of the President and the Congress, will refrain from re-introducing or re-imposing the sanctions specified in Annex II that it has ceased applying under this JCPOA, without prejudice to the dispute resolution process provided for under this JCPOA. The U.S. Administration, acting consistent with the respective roles of the President and the Congress, will refrain from imposing new nuclear-related sanctions. Iran has stated that it will treat such a re-introduction or re-imposition of the sanctions specified in Annex II, or such an imposition of new nuclear-related sanctions, as grounds to cease performing its commitments under this JCPOA in whole or in part.
On May 8 2018 the United States broke the JCPOA when it reimposed sanctions on Iran. Iran can not “break” a deal that the U.S. already broke.
Additionally on May 3 2019 the State Department removed sanction waivers that allowed Iran to export low enriched uranium in exchange for natural uranium:
In addition, any involvement in transferring enriched uranium out of Iran in exchange for natural uranium will now be exposed to sanctions. The United States has been clear that Iran must stop all proliferation-sensitive activities, including uranium enrichment, and we will not accept actions that support the continuation of such enrichment.We will also no longer permit the storage for Iran of heavy water it has produced in excess of current limits; any such heavy water must not be made available to Iran in any fashion.
This step by the Trump administration was obviously designed to bring Iran into a situation where it would have to either stop enrichment, or accumulate a stockpile larger than the 300 kilogram foreseen in the JCPOA.
Iran can no longer export low enriched Uranium. Iran does not want to give up its “inalienable right” to enrich uranium guaranteed under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Iran thus began to accumulate enriched uranium under the above clause of the JCPOA.
On June 17 Iran announced that it would exceed the stockpile limit by June 27. It took a few days longer but it now happened.
The JCPOA clearly states that Iran would take this step if and when the U.S. breaches the agreement by imposing new sanctions. That Iran is now exceeding one of the limits JCPOA sets out is not in breach of the agreement but in adherence to its letters.
A ‘diplomatic editor’ who does not understand that should seek a different profession.
Update 3:00PM EDT
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