Longstanding US Hostility Toward Iran

Longstanding US Hostility Toward Iran
Stephen Lendman 
Date: 05-16-2019
Subject: Iran

Longstanding US Hostility Toward Iran

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)

Longstanding US aims are all about wanting control over other nations, their resources and populations — what the scourge of imperialism is all about.

Hostile US actions toward Iran aim to return the country to client state status, ending its sovereign independence, gaining control over its vast oil and gas reserves, along with eliminating Israel's main rival.

Although US war on the Islamic Republic is unlikely in my judgment, hostile rhetoric and saber-rattling aside, hardline extremists in charge of Trump's geopolitical agenda make anything possible, even the unthinkable — risking global war by pushing things too far.

The US has been hostile toward Iran since its 1979 revolution, gaining freedom from US domination at the time.

For the past 40 years, Washington maintained the myth of an Iranian threat to the US and its partners.

Unlike Washington threatening everyone everywhere, the Islamic Republic poses no threat to regional or other countries, stressed by its UN envoy Alireza Miryousefi on Wednesday, saying:

"Iran is no threat to anybody in Iraq or elsewhere, and Iran is not preparing for any attacks anywhere," adding:

"Iran, as is evidenced by our history, only acts in self-defense, and has no offensive strategy against any nation. Iranians will never capitulate to (the Trump regime's) psychological war" and other unacceptable actions.

Last week, Mike Pompeo turned truth on its head, claiming the US has intelligence indicating that regional Pentagon facilities and personnel are at "substantial risk" because of Iran — a bald-faced Big Lie.

He lied saying Tehran "has engaged in an escalating series of threatening actions…" He lied claiming Iran has been "killing American soldiers, attacking American facilities (for the past) 40 years."

He threatened Tehran, saying "any attacks by (its forces or) proxies…against US interests or citizens will be answered with a swift and decisive US response."

Throughout the Islamic Republic's history, the US waged propaganda, economic, financial, and sanctions war on the country — short of attacking it militarily.

Washington's 1977 International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) lets presidents claim unusual and/or extraordinary foreign threats, declare a national emergency, and regulate commerce accordingly.

In November 1979, Washington illegally seized $12 billion in Iranian government bank deposits, securities, gold, and other properties, including $5.6 billion in overseas branches of US banks.

A full trade embargo followed. In January 1981, it was lifted under provisions of the Algiers Accords. Most Iranian assets were unblocked. Still, Iranian Assets Control Regulations remained in effect.

For decades, Washington targeted Iran and its people, today with unprecedented toughness. More on this below.

In the 1980s, unlawful US sanctions were imposed on Iran — on the phony pretext of claiming Tehran supports international terrorism, including against Persian Gulf shipping, how the US operates globally, not the Islamic Republic.

In the 1990s, the Clinton co-presidency prohibited US involvement with Iranian oil development. 

Its 1995 Executive Order 12959 imposed illegal sanctions on Iran. Its 1997 EO 13059 prohibited virtually all trade and investments with the country.

In 1996, the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA) was enacted, in 2006 renamed the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA).

It prohibited US and foreign oil development investments. Violators face stiff penalties, including denial of US Export-Import Bank help, rejection of export licenses, along with banning some or all imports from countries and enterprises not obeying US policy toward Iran. 

In 2008, US banks and other depository institutions were prohibited from processing transfers between Iranian and non-Iranian banks.

In 2010, the US Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act (CISADA) extended sanctions imposed by the 1996 Iran Sanctions Act. It punishes companies doing business with Tehran's oil sector and went further.

Section 103 prohibited importing certain Iranian foodstuffs and carpets. Other provisions banned other Iranian product and service imports directly or through third countries

Exporting goods, technology, or services to Iran are prohibited, including from offshore locations. Some humanitarian related exceptions were made, virtually everything excluded now.

US enterprises, other entities and individuals are prohibited from engaging in purchases, sales, transportation, swaps, financing, or brokering transactions related to goods or services of Iranian private or government origin.

Other sanctions punished financial institutions, insurers, and shippers involved in helping Iran sell oil, gas, petrochemicals and related products. 

Implementation of the JCPOA nuclear deal in January 2016 lifted nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, including the unfreezing of over $100 billion of Iranian assets.

Trump changed things, at first by illegally withdrawing from the JCPOA in May 2018. Last August, unlawful economic sanctions were reimposed.

Initially on Iran's automotive sector, trade in gold, and other key metals, they were followed by others on the country's energy sector, petroleum related products, and central bank transactions.

The Trump regime wants Iran isolated politically and economically, notably aiming to reduce its oil sales to zero, unattainable objectives.

Last October, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) unanimously ruled against US sanctions on Iran — based on a 1955 bilateral Friendship Treaty.

The Trump regime withdrew from two international agreements and ignored the ICJ ruling. Last November, it reimposed all sanctions on Iran lifted under terms of the JCPOA.

Last month, it threatened to impose sanctions on nations maintaining normal trade relations with Iran, especially related to buying its oil and gas.

The US weaponized sanctions against its political enemies, notably Iran, Syria, Russia, North Korea, Venezuela, and Cuba.

Unilaterally imposed US sanctions on other countries are flagrantly illegal. Most countries observe them anyway, fearing loss of access to the US market if not going along.

Are things headed for Trump regime war on Iran? World community opposition to going this far is the strongest deterrent against it.

Still, with hardline lunatics running the Washington asylum, anything is possible, even the unthinkable.

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My newest book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."