Keith Preston: US Extension of ISA to Serve Israel’s Regional Interests: American Analyst Reply

Tasnim News Agency

پرتسون

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – An American political analyst said the US Senate vote to extend the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) is “clearly a violation” of the JCPOA, the July 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, adding that the move aims to serve Israel’s interests in the region.

“The vote by the US Senate to grant the President the authority to renew the sanctions against Iran for another 10 year period is clearly a violation of the original nuclear agreement, in which the United States promised to begin lifting the sanctions pending Iran’s compliance with the terms of the agreement,” Keith Preston, the chief editor and director of attackthesystem.com, from Virginia told the Tasnim News Agency in an interview.

He added, “The ambition of US policy makers is not merely the control of Iran’s nuclear capabilities, but to oppose Iran as an autonomous Middle Eastern nation that refuses to be incorporated into the Washington Consensus. It must also be recognized that the political class in the United States is enthralled to the domestic Israel Lobby, which is in turn closely aligned with Israel’s Likud Party and the Netanyahu regime. The ambition of the Israel Lobby is the elimination of Iran as a regional competitor to Israel. The sanctions are a means towards that particular end.”

Following is the full text of the Tasnim’s interview with Preston:

Tasnim: As you know, the US Senate on Thursday passed a 10-year extension of sanctions against Iran, sending the measure to the White House for President Barack Obama to sign into law. Members of Congress and administration officials have said the renewal of the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) would not violate the nuclear agreement with Iran reached last year. Do you think so? What might the future hold as the move by the GOP-controlled House came after Republican Donald Trump won the election last month?

Preston: The vote by the US Senate to grant the President the authority to renew the sanctions against Iran for another 10 year period is clearly a violation of the original nuclear agreement, in which the United States promised to begin lifting the sanctions pending Iran’s compliance with the terms of the agreement. This is an act of bad faith on the part of the US Congress, and indicates that a substantial sector of the American political class has no intention of either honoring the terms of the original agreement, or working to achieve peace or normalized relations between the United States and Iran on a wider level. The ambition of US policy makers is not merely the control of Iran’s nuclear capabilities, but to oppose Iran as an autonomous Middle Eastern nation that refuses to be incorporated into the Washington Consensus. It must also be recognized that the political class in the United States is enthralled to the domestic Israel Lobby, which is in turn closely aligned with Israel’s Likud Party and the Netanyahu regime. The ambition of the Israel Lobby is the elimination of Iran as a regional competitor to Israel. The sanctions are a means towards that particular end. President-elect Donald Trump has spoken critically of the agreement with Iran, and those in the US government and foreign policy circles with a hard line position on Iran are likely hoping that his incoming administration will abrogate the Iran agreement.
Tasnim: Last week, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khamenei said extension of expired sanctions is a breach of the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) commitments, stressing that Iran will definitely respond. “‘Starting a sanction (from the scratch)’ is no different from ‘renewing it after its expiration’, and the latter is (also an example of imposing) sanctions and a violation of the previous commitments undertaken by the opposite side,” he said. Do you believe that the US is going back on its promises?
Preston: Yes, it would appear that the US is backtracking in the sense of attempting to obstruct the process of achieving a mutual agreement between both nations. In particular, the US Republican Party and its neoconservative leadership have been vocally opposed to the agreement with Iran, and the entire spectrum of the political class is under enormous pressure from the Israel Lobby to exercise the power of the United States against Iran. The Obama administration has actually been relatively restrained in its dealings with Iran, when compared with the attitudes and objectives of the foreign policy establishment and policy makers generally. The administration has been subjected to pervasive criticism for its approach to Iran, and there are clearly influential elements among the US elite that wish to abrogate the agreement that has been made with Iran.
Tasnim: As you know, under the deal, all nuclear-related sanctions imposed on Iran by the European Union, the Security Council and the US should be lifted. Iran has, in return, put some limitations on its nuclear activities. So far JCPOA obligations have not been fulfilled. What repercussions will this move have?  What should Iran and other parties involved in the deal do?

Preston: It should be remembered that the supposed reason for Washington’s stance against Iran is based on a falsehood, which is the claim that Iran is developing a nuclear weapons program or possesses the capabilities to develop such a program. This claim has been refuted by both the American and Israeli intelligence services. Instead, the claims that Washington and Tel Aviv have made against Iran involve smokescreen arguments that are being used to advance an ulterior motive, which is to foment regime change in Iran eventually, and eliminate a government in the Middle East which resists US imperialism and Israeli expansionism. Recall that the United States invaded Iraq in 2003 even after it was evident that Iraq’s weapons programs had been dismantled. As was the case with Iraq, the claims made by Washington concerning Iran’s nuclear program are based on deception that is being used to advance a geopolitical objective. At this point, Iran’s best strategy would be to strive to win the favor of world opinion in its dispute with the United States, and to strengthen its ties to the major Asian powers, such as those of the BRICS nations, that provide a counter balance to US influence in the Middle East. The political leadership of the Iranian government should also reach out directly to President Trump when he assumes office, and present the evidence of Iran’s compliance with the terms of the agreement and lack of nuclear weapons capabilities or ambitions, along with the evidence that neoconservative elements within previous administrations and the foreign policy establishment have advanced fraudulent claims concerning Iran’s nuclear program.

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