In a recent turn of events that can only be described as one of the most aggressive ‘diplomatic’ moves of this century, the United States of America withdrew from the JCPOA (otherwise known as the Iran deal) and issued a list of twelve demands to the Islamic Republic of Iran that makes the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum to Serbia of July 1914 look acceptable and reasonable. That fateful ultimatum 104 years ago dragged humanity into a global war in which tens of millions of people perished, this year’s American ultimatum threatens to do the same.
The list of demands given are as follows:

  • Declare to IAEA [the International Atomic Energy Agency] full account of prior military dimensions of its nuclear program – and permanently abandon them.
  • Stop enrichment and never pursue plutonium reprocessing – this includes closing its heavy-water reactor.
  • Provide IAEA with unqualified access to all sites throughout the entire country.
  • End proliferation of ballistic missiles and cease further launching or development of nuclear-capable missile systems.
  • Release all US citizens as well as those of partners and allies.
  • End support of terrorist groups including Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
  • Respect the sovereignty of the Iraqi government – permit disarming and demobilization of Shia militia.
  • End support for Houthi militia and work toward a peaceful settlement in Yemen.
  • Withdraw all forces under Iranian command throughout the entirety of Syria.
  • End support for Taliban and cease harbouring senior al-Qaeda leaders.
  • End Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force support for terrorists.
  • End threatening behaviour against its neighbours including threats to destroy Israel.

To debunk a few briefly; Iran is in full compliance with the IAEA, there is no evidence that they are enriching uranium bar what is allowed, outside of NATO few consider Hezbollah to be terrorists, there’s nothing to suggest Iran doesn’t respect Iraq’s sovereignty (rich coming from the country that invaded and destroyed it), Syria is an Iranian ally and Iranian forces are there by Syria’s request, Iran has never supported Al-Qaeda (a group which hates Iran), the Quds Force is only thought to sponsor terrorism by four countries, and of course that Iran is by far one of the least threatening neighbours to have in the Middle East, given that they have not engaged in an aggressive war for over a century, unlike US allies Saudi Arabia and Israel.

One could spend an inordinate length of time doing an in-depth analysis of these demands and how unreasonable or unachievable each one is, but suffice to say that they are in principle unfulfillable. In fact they are so ridiculous that the United States is well aware Iran will refuse, and therefore provide them with a reason to sanction and perhaps eventually go to war. Exactly as Austria-Hungary intended in 1914. At this rate they may as well have demanded the Iranians convert to evangelical protestantism and fly an American flag over Tehran.

It is therefore very clear that this list of demands has nothing to do with diplomacy or international peace-building, it is a straight up prerequisite to conflict with Iran in order to depose the legitimate Iranian government and replace it with a US puppet, something they have been trying to achieve ever since the Iranian people ousted their last western marionette ruler in 1979.
Unfortunately hopes for Trump as a non-interventionist, as he promised on the campaign trail, have been severely dashed; if not by the multiple illegal strikes against Syria and threatening rhetoric towards Russia – now by the blatant aggression against Iran. The US public has long been against another major war, arguably since Vietnam and certainly since being tricked into war with Iraq in 2003. Unfortunately for the average American, who is the one to fight and die in faraway sands, the interests of military industry, the financial system and the Israeli lobby come first.

For the time being, the United States has only threatened crushing economic sanctions against Iran and penalties for those who do business with Iran. No doubt this is a probing measure to see if the Iranian people will overthrow their own government out of economic dissatisfaction, which would of course negate the need for blatantly illegal airstrikes or highly unpopular American boots on the ground.

Unfortunately for the perpetually warmongering US neoconservative establishment, Iran is a proud country with a four thousand year history and a nationalist zeal that would put most western patriots to shame. This was seen in the Iran-Iraq War, when they overcame the vastly superior military of Iraq despite the immense losses incurred. Since then they have dug in and prepared themselves against an American invasion for thirty years. If this does eventually come to war – and it very well could, the US will find itself mired in a conflict that could make the Vietnam War look like a cakewalk.

The other fear of course is that any potential war between the US with the support of its Middle Eastern allies against Iran could draw in other participants. Certainly Iranian allies such as Syria, but you can also be sure that the Russians and Chinese will indirectly support Iran with weapons, money and military technology against any US regime-change attempts. Like World War One a century before, will a geopolitical gamble spiral out of control resulting in the destruction of lives and nations alike?

Iran has long been maligned as a state-sponsor of terrorism and regional aggressor by the western media and their State Department patrons. In reality Iran, for all its flaws, has only ever attempted to act as a foil to American and Israeli imperialism in the region – such as intervening in Syria to stop the US sponsored overthrow of Bashar Al Assad.

This is certainly not an attempt to bring an oppressed people the marvels of democracy, in case you’re still wondering. The ‘democratic’ western powers – the US, Britain, France and so on – have always relied on medieval monarchs and dictators to control the Middle East while ignoring popular democratic movements that don’t suit their agenda. Iran, in spite of its many rigidities, failings and Islamist leadership, remains one of the region’s more democratic states. Ask the West’s Saudi or Qatari allies when was the last time they held a real election?

Iran’s crime is as simple as existing as a nation independent of US political and financial domination while opposing the interests of their golden child Israel. Will they pay for it with their lives like Iraq, Libya and Syria? Only time will tell.

Michael O'Dwyer Connolly

Posted by Michael O'Dwyer Connolly

Long-time geopolitics and history enthusiast.