Is the US Trying to Goad Iran Into War?

Nearly a year ago, the United States, under President Donald Trump’s order, withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, one of former President Barack Obama’s crowning foreign policy achievements. Now, it appears that confrontation between the United States and Iran is creeping ever closer.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani recently announced his intent to partially withdraw from the nuclear deal, which — though chiefly negotiated by Obama — includes the United Nations Security Council nations and the European Union as signatories. There are indications that Rouhani’s declaration is set to open the door for Iran to develop a new nuclear reactor, which could put the future of the nuclear deal in doubt.

However, Iran’s leader is not acting entirely without reason. In recent weeks, the United States has been increasingly escalating its efforts to antagonize the Middle Eastern nation.

Last month, President Trump officially designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization. Although considered symbolic, this move raises concerns that Iranian forces operating near U.S. troops could be provoked to retaliate.

More recently, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a surprise visit to Iraq, where he claimed that the trip was a response to Iran “escalating their activity” because they were planning “imminent” attacks.

Perhaps most significant was the recent decision to deploy the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group, as well as a force of nuclear-capable bombers to the Middle East. National Security Adviser John Bolton explained that the deployment is intended as a warning to Iran, which has been displaying “a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings.” Like Pompeo, Bolton declined to give specific details.

Since joining the Trump White House last year, Bolton has been pushing the president to follow through on the Iran nuclear deal withdrawal — an agenda he clearly accomplished. Bolton’s aims, though, extend further.

Having served in several prior presidential administrations, including under George W. Bush, Bolton has earned a well-deserved reputation for his hawkishness. Since the 1990s, he has advocated for the removal of former Iraq leader Saddam Hussein. In fact, Bolton still firmly supports the decision to invade Iraq in 2003 — and has continually pushed for action against North Korea and Iran.

It’s more than likely that Bolton is the architect of the campaign to antagonize Iran. Why? When it comes to domestic and international support, it will be far easier to justify direct military action against Iran if they are coaxed into pulling the trigger first. What better way to do so than to shred past diplomatic agreements while parking heavy firepower on Iran’s doorstep?

Fortunately, in the short-term, it seems likely that cooler heads with prevail and undermine Bolton’s agenda. That isn’t to say, though, that there won’t be potentially troubling outcomes further down the road. By now, we should know that warfare in the Middle East is costly — not just in terms of taxpayer dollars, but also human lives — and that absolutely no good would come from baiting Iran into war.

Photo Credit: U.S. Navy/Flickr

67 comments

Annabel Bedini
Annabel Bedini29 minutes ago

Brian F
Yes, Bolton has been longing to bomb Iran for as long as I can remember.
Please someone remove this terrifying man from his position before it's too late.

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Annabel Bedini
Annabel Bedini33 minutes ago

David F
WHAT are you talking about? If American soldiers go to war American soldiers get killed. That's the way war works. And they have NOT been killed by the Revolutionary Guard. When? Where? precise facts please. And haven't Iranian soldiers (not Revolutionary Guardsmen) been killed by weapons serialized in America? So?

If you are suggesting that it's possible to hide uranium enrichment activity without leaving clear traces you don't know much about it frankly. The IAEA were not born yesterday.

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David F
David F3 hours ago

Brian, quote: "AEA, with decades of experience meticulously monitoring (Iranian) nuclear sites,
So meticulous a 24 day appointment (not hours) is required for inspections. What a deal.

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David F
David F4 hours ago

Annabel, yea right, you and Susanne knew that all along. quote: "It would be good if you could provide sources for your claim that 'The Iranian centrifuges continue to spin this day'. As Brian F rightly says, the IAEA, with decades of experience meticulously monitoring nuclear sites, confirmed that this is not the case."

What about the 600 American Soldiers killed traceable to the Iranian revolutionary guard and weapons serialized in Iran. Is one of them your neighbor?

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Brian F
Brian F9 hours ago

Annabel B Very true. I might add Israel's Netanyahu and Bolton have wanted a war with Iran for a long time and they are presuring Trump to go to war. Remember both Netanyahu and Bolton lied and said Iraq had WMD. So these people as well as the Republicans are war mongers and cannot be trusted. They have no credibility at all. The fact that the USA aligns itself with two horribly oppressive dictatorships, Israel and Saudi Arabia, really undermines it's credibility and makes it very hard to believe what they say. So we need to push back when Republicans like David F try to make false claims about Iran and push us into a war. The evidense does not support his claim as you pointed out.

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Annabel Bedini
Annabel Bedini10 hours ago

David F
Well you say it yourself. The Iranians are producing reactor grade uranium which is not forbidden in the Deal. The point is they are NOT producing weapons grade uranium. And just for the record, Obama was not so desperate for a deal that he'd sign anything, he and his European partners together worked extremely hard to come up with this Deal, which has been WORKING! Trump seems now to want to bully Iran into negotiating a similar deal, which of course they won't under pressure, nobody with any pride submits to bullying, And in the meantime, with the Deal broken why should they not get on with upping their uranium to weapons grade?
Please read carefully the quote from the NTI which Susanne R posted. It says it all.

Susanne R
Thanks as always for doing the research I never have time for. I am sure other C2 posters will agree with me when I say I don't know what we would do without you!

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Brian F
Brian F12 hours ago

David F GW Bush, a Republican like you was wrong about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction. What a horrible disaster the Iraq war was. Now your Republican Party is trying to push us into a disatorous war with Iran. The IAEA does not confirm what you say about Iran resuming their nuclear weapons program. So unless you have credible evidence, that conclusively proves what you say, we have to assume it is untrue, based on the false evidence Reuplicans produced in the past that led us the disatorous war in Iraq.

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David F
David F14 hours ago

It is so sad that so many Fake News victims are incredibly ignorant of very important events in the United States and abroad.

Where many of the enlightened liberals did not even know that Iran never stopped spinning centerifuges to supposedly enrich only reactor grade fuel.

https://www.armscontrol.org/ACT/2015_12/News/Iran-Dismantling-Centrifuges-IAEA-Says

The toughest part in the process of producing weapons grade uranium comes when you start with the raw uranium. By the time you've brought that to 4-5 percent, "reactor grade" "you’ve already done more than 2/3 of the work of going all the way to 90 percent U-235 for weapons".

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/187083

Obama was so desperate for a deal to enhance his legacy, he signed anything.

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Susanne R
Susanne R18 hours ago

Annabel B. - I found other resources that contradict what David is presenting as fact - such as the $150 billion cash signing bonus (false) and an analysis of trump's lies regarding a good deal that was working well and from which he pulled away.

https://www.factcheck.org/issue/iran-nuclear-deal/

And now we face the possibility of going to war with Iran. I hope that's not true. But if it is, is it mere "coincidence"?

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Susanne R
Susanne R18 hours ago

Annabel B. - If you want to know where David F. got his information, it's from a petition generated by Senator Bob Corker in 2015. Here's the link:

https://www.stopthebadirandeal.com/details_on_iran_deal/

"The Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization founded in 2001 by former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn and philanthropist Ted Turner in the United States, which works to prevent catastrophic attacks and accidents with weapons of mass destruction and disruption – nuclear, biological, radiological, chemical, and cyber. We work with presidents and prime ministers, scientists and technicians, educators and students, and people from around the world. We collaborate with partners worldwide. And we use our voice to raise awareness and advocate for creative solutions." Here's some information they provided on the Iran Nuclear Deal:

"The Iran nuclear deal is the most comprehensive and restrictive agreement in history - verifiably preventing Iran now and in the future from ever getting a nuclear bomb.

NTI offers key resources on the Iran nuclear agreement and Iran's nuclear program, including a new interactive website [hold for Parallax link] an op-ed by NTI CEO and Co-Chair and former Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, interactive maps of Iran's nuclear facilities, and more."

https://www.nti.org/about/iran-deal-working/

Please take a look at this site. It's very informative a

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