the Kontinuing Killing of Iran

Will it reach a CKrescendo soon? Yes, we’re lookin’ at you, Bibi. Also: your wife wears combat boots (on her face), so there!

‘Washington escalates “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran’, 6 September 2019,, Bill Van Auken

“In abrogating US commitment to that deal [the JCPOA], in flagrant violation of international law, the Trump administration embarked upon a strategy of US aggression and regime change in Iran. This has involved the steady escalation of a “maximum pressure” campaign aimed at starving the Iranian people into submission, combined with a buildup of US military forces in the Persian Gulf in preparation for armed intervention.

The “maximum pressure” campaign’s stated aim is to drive Iran’s oil exports, which account for the overwhelming share of the country’s earnings, down to zero. According to most estimates, exports of Iranian crude oil have been slashed by roughly 80 percent.

Trump gloated over the effects of the sanctions during a White House press briefing Wednesday. “They’ve got a big problem,” he said. “They’re getting killed, financially. Their inflation is at a number that few people have ever seen inflation at. (sic)”

The measures taken by the United States amount to a criminal act of collective punishment against Iran’s 83 million people. In addition to slashing the country’s export income, the US sanctions regime has also frozen Iran out of the US-dominated world financial system, severely hindering the country’s ability to import vital necessities, including food and medicines that are technically exempt from the US blockade.

As a result, children on cancer wards are being denied the drugs needed to combat the disease and are dying in growing numbers. What imported drugs are available are in short supply, and their prices have skyrocketed. The financial sanctions have disrupted supply chains for Iran’s own extensive pharmaceutical industry, further reducing the availability of drugs and condemning many more to an early death. Among Iran’s working people, those not being killed outright by the sanctions are more and more being driven into poverty and hunger as the cost of food, housing and other basic necessities skyrocket.

There is no evidence, however, that the sanctions have destabilized the Iranian government, while its principal base, Iran’s capitalist ruling class, continues to reap profits, even as masses of workers are confronting increasingly desperate conditions.” [snip]

And while I suppose Iran’s ruling class continuing to reap profits, wsws does say the same about the Maduro government, Xi’s, and of course Putin’s oligarchs, I at least find myself hoping that it’s not quite so.

“Since then, Washington has been flailing about for a means of escalating its drive for regime change in Iran. On Wednesday, the Trump administration unveiled a new set of sweeping sanctions aimed at paralyzing the shipment of Iran’s oil exports. Claiming that the shipping network being used to evade Washington’s unilateral sanctions is run by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, it threatened to target any “non-U.S. persons who knowingly provide significant goods, services, or support” to Iran’s oil shipments with punishing sanctions. “Failure to take heed … bears grave consequences,” an administration official told the Washington Post.” [snip]

Trump himself swings wildly between offers of negotiations and threats of all-out war.

Remember we were told that FM Zarif had paid a ‘surprise visit’ to the G7 Summit, and wondered how that went?

“At the G7 summit last month, he seemed to embrace a proposal by French President Emmanuel Macron to extend a $15 billion line of credit to Iran to convince it to continue abiding by the terms of the JCPOA, which was supposed to trade a severe curtailment of Iran’s nuclear program for a lifting of the sanctions that have been re-imposed by Washington. Macron’s invitation to Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif to talks at the G7 were seen as a preparation for direct US-Iranian negotiations.

On Wednesday, however, Washington indicated it had no intention of allowing France to go through with the deal, while Trump told reporters that he didn’t need Macron to talk to Iran. Administration officials speaking to the media dismissed the “French scheme,” exposing the sharp conflicts between Europe and America over the Iranian question.”

Now this is both terrifyingly nutz and dangerous, but he offers no link to the Times piece, and I couldn’t kick it up externally, albeit paywalls and all that rot.  Were they all anonymous US and Israeli officials, as the NYSlimes often quotes in their war fervor?

“The threat that the escalating tensions produced by US imperialism’s “maximum pressure” campaign will erupt into a full-scale war was underscored by a lengthy article published by the New York Times Wednesday reviewing the protracted collaboration between Washington and Israel in relation to Iran.

Citing US and Israeli officials, the article made clear that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is actively considering the launching of a unilateral military strike against Iranian nuclear installations, an action that would receive a green light from the Trump White House. Confronting a growing political crisis and the threat of criminal prosecution, Netanyahu has in recent weeks ordered Israeli military strikes against targets allegedly linked to Iran in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.”

Related evidence?

“The article also underscored the bipartisan character of the protracted US campaign for regime change in Iran. Trump, the article states, “inherited a loaded gun: military plans for an Iran strike that had been meticulously refined during the Obama years.” The Times piece cites how, under the Obama administration, the Pentagon built a full-scale replica of Iran’s Fordow nuclear facility in a desert in the American southwest, destroying it with a 30,000-pound bunker-busting bomb designed by the US Air Force.”
Iran will give Europe two months to save nuclear deal – Rouhani’,  4 Sept. 4, 2019,

“Europe has two months to negotiate sanctions relief for Tehran, otherwise the country will initiate ‘phase three’ in its rollback of commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said.

“Europe has another two-month deadline for negotiations, agreement, and a return to its commitments,” Rouhani warned at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

Tehran has been calling on the EU to provide relief from the sweeping sanctions that were imposed by Washington after the US unilaterally left the 2015 deal, known as the JCPOA. Iranian officials have warned that they will gradually reduce their commitments under the agreement if this does not happen.

In early July, Iran activated the ‘first phase’ of this strategy by increasing its stockpile of enriched uranium beyond the 300kg limit imposed by the JCPOA. The ‘second phase’ – enriching uranium beyond 3.67 percent – was effected shortly afterwards.”

@IsraeliPM · 7h7 hours ago 'My meeting yesterday with @EsperDoD was one between two countries that greatly support each other. The alliance between the US and Israel has never been stronger. This finds expression in many concrete things and in cooperation in every field related to the security of Israel'

(cross-posted from Café Babylon)

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wendy davis's picture

Sept.5, 2019:

“Hook, who heads the state department’s Iran Action Group, has emailed or texted roughly a dozen captains in recent months in an effort to scare mariners into understanding that helping Iran evade sanctions comes at a heavy price.
In late August, The US Treasury Department blacklisted the Iranian oil tanker - recently freed from a month-long detention in Gibraltar - and sanctioned its captain after an attempt to confiscate the ship failed.

Iran had condemned the “illegal move” of London and described it as “tantamount to piracy”. Tehran accused the UK of doing Washington’s bidding and helping the US attempt to stifle the Islamic Republic’s oil exports, rejecting London's claim that the supertanker was carrying crude for Syria.

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei had slammed Britain’s illegal seizure of the oil tanker, warning London of a pending response to the seizure of the supertanker that he referred to as a case of "piracy".
Then a week later in mid-July, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) impounded the British tanker ship, 'Stena Impero', as it was passing through the Strait of Hormuz en route to Saudi Arabia "for failing to respect international maritime rules”. The Stena Impero is still in Iranian custody, while Tehran has stated that the fate of violator British oil tanker seized in the Iranian waters depends on a decision made by the judiciary.

The recent moves by foreign powers in the Middle East such as US sanctions on Tehran's oil, UK seizure of Iranian supertanker, as well as, "sabotage operations" on oil ships have intensified the turmoil in the region and the turmoil in the international energy market, affecting global crude prices in recent months."

@JZarif · 15h15 hours ago '#US #EconomicTerrorism against Cuba, China, Russia, Syria, Iran &... deliberately target civilians, trying to achieve illegitimate political objectives through intimidation of innocent people. US rouge [rogue, villainous], behavior now includes piracy, bribery & blackmail'

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Not Henry Kissinger's picture

Friend! All we require is a small deposit of your government's oil, and you will be rich!

Four days before the US imposed sanctions on an Iranian tanker suspected of shipping oil to Syria, the vessel’s Indian captain received an unusual email from the top Iran official at the Department of State.

“This is Brian Hook . . . I work for secretary of state Mike Pompeo and serve as the US Representative for Iran,” Mr Hook wrote to Akhilesh Kumar on August 26, according to several emails seen by the Financial Times. “I am writing with good news.”

The “good news” was that the Trump administration was offering Mr Kumar several million dollars to pilot the ship — until recently known as the Grace 1 — to a country that would impound the vessel on behalf of the US. To make sure Mr Kumar did not mistake the email for a scam, it included an official state department phone number.

The remarkable outreach by such a high-ranking official was not an isolated case. Mr Hook, who heads the state department’s Iran Action Group, has emailed or texted roughly a dozen captains in recent months in an effort to scare mariners into understanding that helping Iran evade sanctions comes at a heavy price.


With this money you can have any life you wish and be well-off in old age,” Mr Hook wrote in a second email to Mr Kumar that also included a warning. “If you choose not to take this easy path, life will be much harder for you.”

In the intervening two days, the US had watched as the Adrian Darya 1 made “doughnut” shape manoeuvres at sea that suggested Mr Kumar might have been deciding how to react. After the captain failed to respond, Mr Hook emailed him to say that the US Treasury had imposed sanctions on him. Mr Kumar did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Probably just got lost in the spam folder.....

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The current working assumption appears to be that our Shroedinger's Cat system is still alive. But what if we all suspect it's not, and the real problem is we just can't bring ourselves to open the box?

wendy davis's picture

@Not Henry Kissinger

FT is behind a paywall for me. speculative comment of the day (as thus far the only comment):

Probably just got lost in the spam folder.....

thanks, not henry kissinger.

Brian Hook:

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wendy davis's picture

and i'll end with this trenchant quote:

“There was no corner of the known world where some interest was not alleged to be in danger or under actual attack. If the interests were not Roman, they were those of Rome's allies; and if Rome had no allies, then allies would be invented. When it was utterly impossible to contrive such an interest—why, then it was the national honor that had been insulted. The fight was always invested with an aura of legality. Rome was always being attacked by evil-minded neighbors, always fighting for a breathing space. The whole world was pervaded by a host of enemies, and it was manifestly Rome's duty to guard against their indubitably aggressive designs. They were enemies who only waited to fall on the Roman people.”

~ Joseph Schumpeter, 1951

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Pluto's Republic's picture

...Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI. SPIRI is one of the most respected think tanks in the world, dedicated to conflict resolution, arms control, disarmament, and peace.

Dr. Zarif's topic was ‘International Law and Unilateralism’, and he spoke at length with references to facts and to the history of the region and the conflict, never once glancing at his manuscript. The reporter I was reading became indgnant when he saw the press was there to sabotage his address and make certain that what he had to say could never reach a western audience.

Could someone remind me again about "the terrible thing that Iran did" for which the West believes Iran must be terrorized and destroyed. I don't recall Iran attacking anyone in the past 400 years or so, but I may have missed class that day.

The reporter, Jan Oberg, is a prominent peace activist in Sweden. The Swedish Press was among the most disgusting of the foreign press in smearing the event. Oberg finally fashioned his own press report as a heated critique against members of the despicable Western News Publishing Cartel.

None [of the Press] have looked into the wider framework of the conflict between Iran and the US/West since 1953.

None have pointed out that the withdrawal from the nuclear deal, JCPOA, by the US is a violation of international law because the deal is embedded in UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

Neither has it been mentioned that Iran has accepted the most comprehensive and strict inspection regime ever and that numerous reports – also American – document that Iran has fulfilled its obligations according to the deal.

None have questioned whether it is acceptable that the Iranian people – some 80+ million – shall suffer the consequences of hard, suffocating sanctions.

None has taken up that the US applies extraterritorial sanctions on allies – i.e. that it insist on US laws being applied by others, or they will be punished.

And of course, none have mentioned that Israel – as the only country in the Middle East – is a nuclear weapons power with a comparatively much larger military budget than Iran, is not a member of the NPT (Non-Proliferation treaty) and accepts no inspections on its territory.

In summary, the media coverage of Mr. Zarif’s visit to Sweden was yet another illustration that free Western media today basically defines their freedom as a freedom to be as ignorant, selective and biased....

Consumers’ of Western media have little chance of understanding international affairs.

Jan Oberg is the co-founder of The Transnational, a library and foundation "for peace by peaceful means." It is a real treasure trove, the kind that is becoming rare on the Internet. This searchable collection began in 1986 and has links to even the forgotten Internet. You might want to grab a bookmark to this one. A one-stop shop for international answers from the politically sane.

The Transnational

• 7000+ peace research and policy articles and publications – one of the world’s largest reservoirs of its kind • Covering three decades of global affairs • 60 uniquely qualified & experienced Associates • A leading source to education, a platform for serious debate and action • Critique that lasts • Predictions that come true • Your trustworthy place for the necessary principle of making peace by peaceful means.

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Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
— Voltaire

wendy davis's picture

@Pluto's Republic

and i'm sorry i've been so under water in real life that i hadn't known you'd commented. good on jan oberg, for his challenge to and exposé those who'd mocked zarif for his 'charm offensive' and called him names. yes, i know the organization in part from this june 2019 diary: SIPRI: Israel has close to 100 nuclear warheads.

but apart from the CIA/MI6 overthrow of mossadegh in 1953, as to your trenchant Q and observation:

Could someone remind me again about "the terrible thing that Iran did" for which the West believes Iran must be terrorized and destroyed. I don't recall Iran attacking anyone in the past 400 years or so, but I may have missed class that day.

a new commenter at the café had asked a related Q, so i went thru the litany of pres. mahmoud amedinejad long ago having been quoted (some say mistranslated) that israel needed to be wiped of the map (or earth, depending). and that bibi had bragged that it was he who'd caused the Tweeter in Chief to pull the US out of the JCPOA.

as well, the divisions are also Wahabbi muslim (saudi arabia ruling class) v. shiite iran, and the proxy wars in syria, yemen, (wherever else) that drag in allies to each nation. but of course 'making the economy scream' (kissinger and the chicago boys, the evil putsch in chile against salvador allende) is useful for an insurgency that might grow into another color revolution regime change, yes? but so far, it hasn't worked. so is bibi posturing about bombing iran's nuclear facilities to deflect from his political nightmares at home?

and thank you for bringing the links to The Transnational, pluto's republic. i'll look in a bit, so many more miles of chores to go before i sleep... yes, i should email the link to myself, bless your heart.

(ah, a bit of a rain shower with the sun shining here; what a sweet, sweet scent...)

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