February 10th, 2017
First published on Werewolf
Just in case war breaks out over the weekend… for the past 10 days or so, the court rulings on President Trump’s travel ban have dominated the news out of the United States. At the same time, a more serious threat has been gathering in intensity.
Iran and the Trump administration are on a collision course over Iran’s testing of ballistic missiles, which Iran maintains are a valid part of its domestic defence planning. The US, via Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn, has put Iran “on notice” and imposed fresh sanctions. Undaunted, Iran has continued to test more missiles. As the world nervously awaits the next American response, the international deal via which Iran agreed to halt its nuclear expansion (in return for the lifting of economic sanctions) is now threatening to unravel.
Already, the hardliners in the Iranian government – who was always sceptical that the US would keep its side of the bargain – have used the threats from the Trump White House to justify their opposition to the original deal. The immediate casualties of the Trump policy have been the liberals within the Iranian government of Prime Minister Hassan Rouhani, who have been further undermined by the fact that the economic benefits of lifting the sanctions have been very slow to materialise. With presidential elections due in Iran in May 2017, the current round of bickering with the US over the nuclear ban could hardly have come at a worse time for Rouhani and his liberal allies.
So….not only have the Trump/Flynn threats played right into the hands of the Teheran hardliners. At home in the US, a confrontation with Iran would a useful and diverting flexing of muscle by Trump and his own band of extremists. Read the rest of this entry »