In an interview Rick Staggenborg, a political analyst and peace activist from Oregon, condemned a Zionist faction dominating his country’s foreign policy establishment, and said that a recent Senate bill against Iran has violated the spirit of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a nuclear agreement between Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany).
What follows are his responses to Tasnim:
Tasnim: As you know, the US Senate has overwhelmingly passed a bill to step up sanctions against Iran over its ballistic missile program and alleged support for terrorism. However, to become a law, the bill must still pass the US House of Representatives and be signed by President Donald Trump. Many have described the new bill as a breach of the spirit of the JCPOA, while some others believe the US move has even violated the text of the nuclear deal. What is your assessment of the Senate’s decision and in your opinion, what would it signal to the world’s public opinion on the US commitment to the international and multilateral agreements?
Staggenborg: The Senate vote is an indication of the power of the Israeli lobby in Washington. The neocon faction, which is Zionist, continues to dominate the foreign policy establishment. It views what the Israeli government wants as by definition in the interest of the US. This is also true of the House, which means that there is no chance that the new sanctions will not be approved.
Because of the power of the Israeli lobby, there is almost no resistance to the neocon agenda by either Congress or the President. In this respect, Trump is even more obsequious than President Obama was. At least Obama refrained from directly attacking Syria, spoke out against continued building and negotiated the nuclear treaty with Iran against strong opposition by both the Israeli and Saudi lobbies.
Not only has the US violated the spirit of the JCPOA in imposing new sanctions, but it has effectively destroyed the ability of President Rouhani to take any further chances for peace in the face of conservative opposition.
Iran has an absolute right to develop missile systems for self-defense. As with the US claims about Iran's nuclear program, presented as fact without evidence, it is just an excuse for pursuing Washington and Israel's goal of regime change in Iran. No rational world leader could view the actions of the US government as indicating trustworthiness, especially with an unstable figure such as Trump in the White House.
Tasnim: Do you think it was a purposeful move to introduce the new set of sanctions just weeks after the presidential election in Iran which saw a turnout of around 71 percent and was hailed by advocates of democracy?
Staggenborg: It's hard to say that the new sanctions were a direct response to the elections. The neocons might have wanted to see a more conservative President (who are called "hardliners" by the US media). That would make it easier to demonize him and Iran itself in the eyes of the public, which is necessary to manufacture consent and support for further US aggression. However, Americans are already so brainwashed by the one-sided view of Iran presented by US media that this hardly seems necessary. In the US, the presidential results were predictably and uniformly labeled not as evidence of democracy, but "suspicious."
Tasnim: How do you perceive the United States’ justification for hitting Iran with terrorism-related sanctions, while its major regional ally, Saudi Arabia, was involved in the 9/11 attacks and is believed to be the origin of radical ideologies?
Staggenborg: This inconsistency is typical of the hypocrisy of US foreign policy. How else can you explain President Trump talking about how the Saudis play a leading role in fighting terror, when they are the chief ally of the US and Israel in spreading it?
Iran has been made a target in order to eliminate the Axis of Resistance to US imperialism and Israeli hegemony in the Mideast. It is about dominance over fossil fuel supplies, plain and simple. No considerations of morality will stand in the way. Lying is the least of the evil committed in the name of "spreading democracy and freedom" in the Mideast. Until the peoples of Western nations see through these lies and demand a peaceful foreign policy, the countries not aligned with the Anglo-American/Israeli empire must consider themselves as likely targets of further aggression.