Hostile US Sanctions Show Weakness and Desperation
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
Hostile US actions against nations not bending to its will are symptomatic of a nation in decline.
The US is incrementally going the same way of all other empires, its unchallenged power and influence heading for the dustbin of history because of its unacceptable actions against allies and adversaries alike — punishing them for asserting their sovereign independent rights.
Examples are numerous. They include attempting to marginalize, weaken, isolate and contain Russia and China because of their growing ability to challenge US rage for global dominance.
Most recently they include abandonment of the INF Treaty and JCPOA, both supported by the international community, angering allies, the unjustifiable moves based on Big Lies.
Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 air defense missiles showed it’s increasingly allying with Moscow away from Washington.
China, India, Turkey, Iraq, and other nations are defying US sanctions by buying Iranian oil and/or natural gas openly or quietly, a blow to the Trump regime’s unacceptable sanctions.
The inability of Pompeo and Bolton to achieve their goal of 20 Operation Sentinel coalition partners to patrol Hormuz Strait waters shows resistance to their anti-Iran agenda.
Notably German Foreign Minister Mass called for diplomacy to reduce Middle East tensions, stressing that the US strategy of ‘maximum pressure’ (on Iran) is ruled out for us.”
On Wednesday, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 20 – 2 in favor of passing the Orwellian-titled/anti-Russia “Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act.”
Nine of 10 Dems on the committee joined all but one of 12 Republicans in support of the unacceptable measure.
It calls for unilateral (illegal) sanctions on European companies involved in constructing Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
When completed in late 2019 or early 2020, it’ll deliver 55 billion cubic meters of low-cost Russian natural gas to Germany and other European countries.
The Trump regime and Congress want them buying much higher-cost, far distant US liquified natural gas (LNG), wanting Russia shut out from this market, angering Berlin and other EU allies.
Republican Rand Paul and Dem Tom Udall were the only senators against the measure, Paul accusing Congress of being “trigger happy (and) sanction happy.”
Udall said the following: “At a time when our most important alliances are fraying around the world thanks to the Trump administration’s go-it-alone approach to world affairs — including tearing up the Iran deal that our European allies are still party to — I am very concerned about alienating our allies with counterproductive measures that divide us.”
The House Foreign Affairs Committee earlier passed a companion measure, likely overwhelming congressional passage coming, Trump signing it into law, further angering EU allies.
A spokesperson for the Nord Stream 2 construction alliance said the project is being completed on schedule, 70% of pipeline laid, adding:
“We are aware of the ongoing political debates but do not speculate about potential US sanctions.”
Russia’s TurkStream pipeline completed in March will supply natural gas to Turkey, southeast Europe as well when construction of a planned extension is completed.
On Wednesday, Pompeo said “(t)oday the (Trump regime sanctioned) Iran(’s) Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.”
He false accused Zarif “of advancing…destabilizing policies” — a longstanding US, NATO, Israeli speciality, not how the nonbelligerent Islamic Republic operates.
Pompeo’s full statement included his typical litany of bald-faced Big Lies about Iran and its officials — including falsely claiming that the Trump regime seeks “diplomatic” resolution of issues with other countries.
Its hostile actions are polar opposite, incrementally over time driving a wedge between its agenda and other nations worldwide.
In response to Trump regime sanctions on Zarif, he tweeted the following on Thursday:
“The US’ reason for designating me is that I am Iran’s ‘primary spokesperson around the world.’
Is the truth really that painful?”
“It has no effect on me or my family, as I have no property or interests outside of Iran. Thank you for considering me such a huge threat to your agenda.”
A separate tweet said: “We know that calling for dialog & peace is an existential threat to (the Trump regime’s anti-Iran #B_Team.”
“And since reason for designating me is my words, would ‘US persons’ need (Treasury Department) OFAC license to ‘engage’ with me by reading my writings or listening to interviews?”
Zarif earlier identified B Team members as John Bolton, Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman, Abu Dhabi crown prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Israeli PM Netanyahu.
He also said: “You (Pompeo) continue to do the same thing at State,” responding to his remark when as CIA director, saying: “We lied. We cheated. We stole.”
On Wednesday, Zarif tweeted: “Instead of making empty and disingenuous offers…Pompeo can accept any of the many requests from Iranian reporters to interview US officials.”
“He has refused till now, as he knows he has to be accountable to rigorous questioning—the very same way I am by the US media.”
Pompeo “will then have to explain why he—& his boss:
Call Iran a terrorist nation;
Distort historical name of PERSIAN GULF to grovel to client regimes;
Distort even the BIBLE to kowtow to a #B_Team member;
Employ #EconomicTerrorism against entire Iranian people…”
On Thursday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Abba Mousavi tweeted:
“The peak of paradoxical and stupid behavior of the American leaders is that they have repeatedly deemed Dr. Zarif to be an uninfluential figure in Iran’s policy, but nonetheless they sanction him with sheer folly. The Americans are intensely afraid of Dr. Zarif’s logic and his negotiation skills.”
He’s a model of what diplomatic engagement is all about, polar opposite how Pompeo and other US hardliners operate.
Illegally sanctioning Zarif came after Tehran ridiculed the notion of engaging diplomatically with Pompeo, rejecting his so-called readiness to visit the Islamic Republic and address its people on national television — a typical US hollow outreach stunt.
Longstanding US plans call for returning Iran to US client state status. Heightened tensions show the threat of US war remains ominously possible despite the reluctance of Trump and other cool heads in Washington to go this far.
A Final Comment
On Thursday, Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei said if Pompeo is willing to speak directly to Iranian reporters, in a no holds barred exchange, Press TV’s correspondent/anchor Marzieh Hashemi will interview him live on air.
During a visit to the US last winter to film a documentary for Black Lives Matter and visit family members, she was illegally arrested, detained, and mistreated by the FBI, held for 10 days on the false pretext of being a material witness in a case she and her family members knew nothing about.
Following her release, she said: “There were no charges. I was never charged. That’s the whole point.”
“I was shackled and taken there as a material witness, and I answered the questions they asked.”
“As for…giving the evidence, there was nothing to give anything about. It was just a matter of trying to intimidate me.”
The US targets countless other Blacks, Muslims, and political activists like Marzieh for their race, religion, and ethnicity, not for any wrongdoing.
It’s highly unlikely that Pompeo would dare go one-on-one with her and/or other notable Iranian journalists live on air or in any other venue where his feet would be held to the fire.
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