Donald Trump’s determined animosity toward Iran lacks historical perspective

Since Donald Trump has been U.S. president, we’ve watched the development of what can only be seen as his determined animosity toward Iran. If you’ll remember, in May 2018 Trump broke dramatically with America’s EU allies when he pulled the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by President Barack Obama. That was despite every expert assessment that Iran was abiding by its terms. And with Israel and Saudi Arabia egging him on, Trump has made frequent suggestions that a U.S. war with Iran was imminent.

Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence set out together for a series of meetings across Europe to garner support from EU and Middle Eastern countries for Trump’s anti-Iran agenda. When it didn’t work so well, Pence’s tone became insistent, aggressive and demanding — in short, unstatesmanlike. European leaders pushed back hard.

On February 16th, the Editorial Board of the Washington Post had harsh words for what they saw as a “bumbling tour of Europe” by the Trump Administration, saying that they’ve “failed to articulate a coherent alternative strategy for Iran other than seeking what amounts to regime change — a goal the United States already pursued for decades without success.”

As Donald Trump’s negative obsession with Iran gathers steam, the obstacles he encounters seem to multiply:  

  • In October 2018, The UN International Court of Justice ruled that the US must lift its sanctions against Iran that have impeded the flow of humanitarian goods into the country.
  • And in a recent February 13 ruling, the UN court ruled that Iran is entitled to reclaim the $2 billion in assets the U.S. had previously frozen.
  • Then earlier this month, Germany, France and Britain announced that they had developed a financial system that will allow their companies to continue trading with Iran without incurring the penalties that would come from violating U.S. sanctions.
  • And finally, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei commented that Iran’s infamous “Death to America” chant referred only to the “malicious” U.S. leaders Trump, Pompeo and national security advisor Bolton. “.. we have nothing against the American people,” Khamenei said.

Such isolated developments, however, are likely little comfort to the people of Iran, who recently marked the 65 year anniversary of the U.S. and British oil-driven coup against their democratic government. After Britain’s decades-long control of Iran’s oil, Iran’s elected and much-beloved Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh decided in the early 1950s to nationalize his country’s oil industry. In response, the CIA organized his overthrow in 1953, which paved the way for the next 25 years of Iran’s rule by the Shah — until the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

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