If you blinked, you missed it. The White House, with as little fanfare as possible, sent a letter to Congress confirming that Iran is, in fact, complying with the terms of the infamous deal to quash their non-existent nuclear program.
Most presidents would take a moment to enjoy the removal of a potential nuclear power from the world stage but where's the fun in lowering international tensions when we're so close to kicking off World War III? Instead, Rex Tillerson made it clear that the United States would be taking steps to undermine the historic and successful treaty:
"President Donald J. Trump has directed a National Security Council-led interagency review of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that will evaluate whether suspension of sanctions related to Iran pursuant to the JCPOA is vital to the national security interests of the United States," Tillerson said in the statement."
It remains a leading state sponsor of terror, through many platforms and methods," Tillerson said.
Republicans and Trump have been rending their hair over the deal since before it was even finalized. Long before ISIS, Iran was the favorite Muslim boogeyman of the right and Republicans were just begging for us to carpet bomb them. But with a signed treaty in place, that gets exponentially harder to do. Even worse, without the specter of a nuclear-armed Iran, we can't even pretend they're just seconds away from destroying Israel. All that lovely war profit will be lost unless we can provoke them somehow. And, let's not forget, the treaty is one of Obama's crowning foreign policy achievements. That alone makes it worth sabotaging.
But there's a lot of moving parts here. Russia and Iran are fairly close and while Putin would be more than willing to throw Syria under the bus to make it seem like he's "angry" with his puppet in the White House, Iran is a much bigger deal. At the same time, there is no possible way Trump can moderate his tone towards Iran without paying a steep political price he can't afford. It's one thing to cozy up to Russia, at least they're the "right" color and religion, but Trump's base will not accept a show of weakness to Iran. Ever. Most Republicans won't accept it for the same reason (and, of course, there's still the matter of all hat lovely war profit).
To be fair, Iran is still sponsoring terrorism so it's not like they're an innocent victim of Trump's aggression. And, frankly, it's astonishing that Trump is considering economic sanctions instead of threatening to lob a few dozen missiles at them. But this could still be an end run around the nuclear treaty that Trump incessantly complained about during the campaign. And who knows? With a little luck, Iran will actually begin work on nuclear weapons after having abandoned the program well over a decade ago. We might just get the war Republicans so desperately want after all.
There are 565 days left to the 2018 elections.
- This article kills fascists
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