World

War with Iran would be as illegal as it is idiotic


The Trump administration is seemingly gearing up for a war on Iran. First President Trump unilaterally reneged on the nuclear deal with that country — despite the fact that Iran was holding to its side of the bargain, and indeed has continued to do so despite the American betrayal. Now the Trump regime is ratcheting up tensions some more, in what is pretty clearly a ham-fisted attempt to gin up casus belli for invasion.

The New York Times reports that administration officials, led by national security adviser and slavering warmonger John Bolton — have drawn up plans to deploy a force of 120,000 troops “should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons[.]” That comes on the heels of the U.S. sending a carrier strike group and long-range bombers to the area in early May, and the administration blaming recent minor attacks on Saudi tankers and other oil infrastructure on Iran without any evidence. One anonymous official confirmed to the Times that the “ultimate goal of the yearlong economic sanctions campaign … was to draw Iran into an armed conflict with the U.S.”

War with Iran is a monstrous and illegal idea, which could very well turn out disastrously for the U.S. itself. Trump cannot be allowed to start another war of aggression.

The important context here is that France, the U.K., Germany, China, and the European Union itself are still party to the nuclear deal with Iran. Since Trump’s abrogation of the deal and re-imposition of sanctions was utterly unjustified, Iran wants the remaining partners to hold up their end of the deal and find a way around U.S. sanctions. If they don’t, the Iranian government is threatening (with perfect justice) to break the deal and start holding on to its enriched uranium.

How might this work? As Henry Farrell and Abraham Newman write, the major vector of sanctions against Iran happen through the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT), a Belgian cooperative that facilitates most international bank transactions. SWIFT is located in Europe, but because most such transactions are denominated in dollars, the U.S. has enormous leverage over it. Cutting Iran out of the system, as happened in 2012, badly damaged the Iranian banking system and economy.

However, that round of sanctions happened with the agreement of Europe. By contrast, the E.U. legally forbade European countries from complying with Trump’s new sanctions. The law had no teeth and SWIFT complied with Trump, but the E.U. has since developed a “Special Purpose Vehicle” which allows for transactions between Iran and Europe. So far it has only been used for humanitarian trade, but it could easily be used for normal trade as well. Indeed, it could well be the first step in Europe (perhaps along with China) developing an alternative financial infrastructure which would break U.S. control over international transactions. So all this belligerent aggression may well break the sanctions infrastructure Trump loves so much (though that would probably be …read more

Source:: The Week – World

      

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