Considering Iran has one of the lowest military expenditures in the Middle East — especially compared to arch rivals Saudi Arabia and Israel (both of whom may or may not be armed with nuclear weapons) — much of the public may be wondering why the Trump administration is so infatuated with highlighting the threat of the Iranian government.
In the early days of his election campaign, Donald J. Trump forcefully denounced the Iranian nuclear accord reached in 2015 and subsequently threatened to rip it up.
But what is the real problem with the Iranian nuclear deal? It averts a potential war, meaning neoconservatives don’t get to cross Iran off their never-ending list of Middle Eastern adversaries.
“The letter certified that Iran was complying with the agreement, negotiated by five world powers in addition to the United States and Iran. The International Atomic Energy Agency, which monitors the agreement with on-site inspectors and advanced technology, reached the same conclusion in its most recent report.” [emphasis added]
What is the effect of Iran’s compliance with this historic agreement? The Times added:
“One possible reason Mr. Trump has muted his criticism is that the deal has clearly curtailed Iran’s nuclear program. It sharply limits the amount of uranium Iran is permitted to enrich and imposes checks that will allow the international community to know if there is cheating. Further, if America reneges on the deal, it will rightly bear the blame for its collapse and other world powers will be furious.” [emphasis added]
It could be because of Iran’s compliance with this deal that little regard has been paid to the country’s alleged nuclear program in recent years. Instead, the U.S. has sought to demonize Iran through other modes of propaganda, labeling Iran the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism and accusing the Islamic Republic of destabilizing the region.
None of these claims are true, of course, signaling that the U.S. is grasping at straws trying to find reasons to vilify and isolate Iran on the world stage.
Iran is complying with its obligations under the 2015 nuclear deal; its involvement in Yemen is severely limited, and its so-called proxy army terror groups (such as Hezbollah) are some of the most heavily engaged entities fighting ISIS in Syria.
So why do we need to continue to treat Iran as the world’s greatest threat to peace?
Iran is far from a role model on the world stage, particularly where basic levels of human rights are concerned. However, if Iran’s questionable human rights record towards its own people is reason enough to isolate and attack the country, then the U.S. should ultimately cut its ties with most of the dictatorships in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia and Turkey. It should also seriously penalize its own domestic institutions, which regularly execute unarmed people in the streets and curtail their rights across the board.