The only winners in the lousy international deal officially termed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), are those who profit from $ billions of sanctions relief flowing to Tehran’s military and Lebanese Hezbollah proxy forces and lucrative international trade windfalls.
Big losers are Iran’s economically-distressed citizens, along with all others — including Israeli — who seek peaceful, secure lives for their families.
Speaking on May 8 from the White House Rose Room, President Trump made good on a longstanding promise to withdraw the U.S. from what he accurately described as "a horrible, one-sided deal that should never, ever been made.” Referring to the non-congressionally-ratified accord as “defective at its core," he said, "It didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will."
Instead of exacting economic pressure when it could have been more effective, Trump said, "The deal lifted crippling economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for very weak limits on the regime’s nuclear activity, and no limits at all on its other maligned behavior, including its sinister activities in Syria, Yemen, and other places around the world."
The president continued, "In other words, at a point when the United States had maximum leverage, this disastrous deal gave this regime – and it’s a regime of great terror – many billions of dollars, some of it in actual cash." He added, "It was a great embarrassment to me as a citizen and all the citizens of the United States . . . a constructive deal could easily have been struck at the time."
In addition to granting Tehran with $100 billion in sanctions relief plus gifting them with another $1.7 billion in extortion rewards, JCPOA gave the regime a free pass to revive its nuclear weapons program after a 15 year waiting period. In the meantime, and with technical support from cash-starved North Korea, they can continue to develop advanced ICBM delivery systems, along with hundreds of thousands more missiles targeted on Israel from Syria.
A new presidential memorandum is intended to change all of this through severe consequences for malign acts that will be taken far more seriously. Trump announced that within the next 90 to 180 days, the U.S. will re-impose "the highest level of economic sanction" on Iran’s energy and automotive industries, ports, shipbuilding and other sectors.
The president also warned America’s allies — very much including politically-powerful Western European interest groups — that all those who continue to support Iran will face similar restrictions. The priority is to cut into Tehran’s global financial system at a time when the regime faces destabilizing labor strikes and political unrest amid a fragile economy.
Vast numbers of Iranian citizens who are impoverished by unemployment and inflation had hoped that JCPOA would have brought economic benefits. It didn’t. The money needed for international investment went to other countries to finance terrorism. Complaints that their government has been spending billions to prop up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and to wage proxy wars are now being voiced in protests across the country.
The current revolt is quite different from the 2008 protest that the Obama administration largely ignored which primarily sought a more moderate government. This one which goes so far as to challenge control by Iran’s Islamic regime, also has a large economic component.
According to Asa Fitch, reporting in The Wall Street Journal, the simmering anger voiced by protesters is being stoked by Tehran’s corrupt and politically-empowered elite who are siphoning off Iran’s wealth.
The financial situation is particularly painful for blue-collar workers whose monthly family incomes average only about $800, with a minimum wage of around $200 a month. Meanwhile, the prices of eggs, meat and bread have been rising more than 10 percent per year, with the value of the Iranian rial falling sharply against the dollar to raise prices on imported consumer items.
President Trump emphasized a willingness to renegotiate a new deal that will actually benefit the Iranian people. Cautioning that while their leaders say they will refuse to negotiate, "When they do, I am ready, willing, and able."
Observing that most of Iran’s 80 million current citizens "have sadly, never known an Iran that prospered in peace with its neighbors and commanded the admiration of the world," Trump forecast, "But the future of Iran belongs to its people." He said, "They are the rightful heirs to a rich culture and an ancient land. They deserve a nation that does justice to their dreams, honor to their history, and gives glory to God."
Concluding that "America stands with the long-suffering people of Iran," Trump added, "Great things can happen for Iran . . . Great things can happen for the peace and stability of the Middle East. There has been enough suffering, death and destruction — let it end now."
We can confidently bet that this timely message was also directed to long-suffering North Korean people.
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) and the graduate program in space architecture. He is the author of "Scared Witless: Prophets and Profits of Climate Doom" (2015) and "Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax" (2012). He is currently working on a new book with Buzz Aldrin, "Beyond Footprints and Flagpoles." Read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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