TFF PressInfo # 313 – Ignore the 47 irresponsible US senators

By Farhang Jahanpour and Jan Oberg

Jan Oberg

1. Despite the almost universal condemnation of PM Netanyahu’s speech, even by some of his supporters in the United States and Israel, it seems that Republican senators are not going to give up. One can only describe the letter by 47 Republican Senators to Iranian leaders as madness and even treason. Senator Tom Cotton who leads this initiative is deeply ignorant about the substance and about Iran.

2. They go against the wishes of President Obama and his negotiators and write to the supreme leader of Iran whom they have described as America’s worst enemy and worse than the ISIS with only one purpose: to torpedo the agreement. One should truly wonder at the honesty and sanity of such individuals.

3. Thankfully there are more moderate and thoughtful Americans who believe in the long-term interests of their country and the world, rather than being obsessed by the manufactured crisis by a foreign government or trying to score party points. (See links below).

4. It is time that all the people of goodwill put their support behind the move to reach a deal that will ensure peace and stability in the Middle East and will reduce international tension. Iran has already moved very far – further than other nuclear countries or NPT member with nuclear technology – in its efforts to accommodate the demands of what is basically an Israeli-US manufactured crisis aimed not so much at nuclear issues as at keeping Iran down.

5. It is also time for the friends of the US – EU and NATO governments – to distance themselves publicly from those who seem willing to do everything to kill any agreement with Iran. The US doesn’t have a monopoly on deciding this issue.

6. Without a deal there is a rapidly growing risk of war – most likely started by Israel. Such a war could drag in several countries in the Middle East, the US and probably some NATO countries. The West would try to blame and isolate Iran, not Israel, because the West refuses to treat the “exceptionalist” Israeli government the way it would treat other systematic offenders of international law.

7. However, in the eyes of the wider world, this would be one more disastrous, failed war and be considered deeply illegitimate and unjust. Iran would turn away from the West and join the BRICS countries (BRIICS). The US/NATO group would lose further from such hubris.

8. Iran’s extremely competent foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif – educated in the U.S. in international relations and with a PhD in international law – has already responded to the senators and told them that they don’t seem to understand their own constitution or international law.

9. It is therefore time that the other negotiating countries – China, Russia, France, the U.S. and Germany – declare that if they succeed in reaching a deal with Iran, they will respect that deal and apply heavy pressure on the U.S. if, in 2017 when President Obama steps down, these Republicans or others try to break out of the deal.

10. It must no longer be considered acceptable that decision-makers in Washington can continue, without paying diplomatically, to violate international law by threatening war and create such circumstances that war breaks out and threatens the lives of millions of people for not one good reason.

Recommended reading

Andrew Basevich, How to create a national insecurity state, Lobelog Foreign Policy

Gary Sick, The danger of a failed Iran deal, Politico Magazine

Daniel W. Drezner, Congress tries to go beyond trolling on foreign policy. It won’t work. Washington Post

Ryan Grim, Senator who organised letter to Iran has said he wants to sabotage negotiations, Huffington Post.

Jack Goldsmith, The error in the senators’ letter, Lawfare.

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