Monday, August 5, 2019

Iran’s Zarif drives Trump to insanity

By Melkulangara Bhadrakumar - August 05, 2019 at 09:27AM

undefined

At a time when the Trump administration has no problem negotiating with the secretary of the Russian national security council Nikolai Patrushev, who is technically under US sanctions since April 2018, the cut and thrust of Washington’s move to sanction Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif needs to be understood properly. 

How did US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo try to explain the dispatch of Zarif to perdition? Pompeo’s statement on Wednesdayattributed to Zarif a singular sin: a) Zarif “acted on behalf of the Supreme Leader”; b) Zarif took “direction from the Supreme Leader and his office”; c) Zarif was “a key enabler of Ayatollah Khamenei’s policies throughout the region and around the world”; d) and, Zarif has been “a senior regime official and apologist” of Iranian government and has “for years now been complicit in these (Iran’s) malign activities”. 

Basically, Pompeo’s grouse narrows down to this: Zarif is a disciplined dutiful, loyal Iranian public servant who abided by the Iranian system of government founded in the concept of velāyat-e faqīh (‘guardianship of the Islamic jurist’.) 

Does that become a sin? Any foreign minister has his job cut out for him — even Pompeo himself. Pompeo has no pretensions that he is holding the job entirely at the pleasure and discretion of his supreme leader President Trump. Trump, in fact, is an unforgiving stickler for loyalty. Ask James Mattis or Rex Tillerson. 

The US establishment knows very well how the concept velāyat-e faqīh operates, how the alchemy of political power is formed in Iran, and how the decision-making process is reached. Even Trump would know it. Which is why he even tried to get through to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (and was duly snubbed.) So, where is the beef? 

Simply put, Zarif per se is the problem. The Trump administration is desperately keen to put an end to Zarif’s contacts with the American elite. Zarif lived and worked for several years in America from the age of 17 — as a high school student, university student, and career diplomat, ending up as Iran’s representative at the UN from 2002 to 2007. He also kept closely in touch with the US academia and intellectual circles in his capacity as a professor and editor of scholarly journals in Tehran who has written copiously on disarmament, human rights, international law, and regional conflicts. 

Indeed, what rankles the Trump administration is that Zarif has extensively networked with American intellectuals, politicians, think tankers and media persons — figures as diverse as Joseph Biden, John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Hagel, Nicholas Kristof, Thomas Pickering, James Dobbins and Christian Amanpour. 

Zarif took his job seriously and being a fluent English speaker, he could tweet and debate and spar with any American with delectable ease. Zarif outclassed the mediocre American foreign and security policy team. 

Zarif’s periodical visits to New York (ostensibly to attend the UN events) increasingly became a nightmare for the Trump administration as he cast his net wide and ably put across Iran’s narrative. Trump singled out more than once that Zarif had meetings with Kerry, former secretary of state who negotiated the 2015 Iran deal. 

This is the crux of the matter. By imposing sanctions on Zarif, US can deny visa to him and render unlawful (and liable to prosecution under law) any contact between him and any American national. Effectively, Trump instructed Pompeo to make sure that Zarif doesn’t come to New York between now and the 2020 November election so that his detractors and critics cannot hear from the horse’s mouth the Iranian narrative. 

Trump feels exasperated that Iran is winning the information war. And he is worried that between now and November 2020, his re-election campaign may get booby-trapped. For any longtime observer of the US-Iran standoff, it is obvious that a sea change has appeared in the American discourses on Iran. There is an influential and ever growing body of opinion in the US today, which disagrees with Trump’s ‘maximum pressure’ strategy. This constituency rationally argues that Trump shouldn’t have dumped the 2015 deal. 

Equally, there is a far better understanding today in the informed American opinion regarding Iran and its policies, and the zen of dealing with Persian nationalism beneath the veneer of Islamism. The surprising part is that such an awakening has happened despite the Herculean efforts by the Israeli Lobby to demonise Iran and to stymie all contrarian views in the media, think tanks and campuses — and the Hill. 

Will Trump’s ploy work? Unlikely. The point is, Zarif is irrepressible. He will continue to tease, taunt, disparage, humiliate and expose and run down Trump’s Iran policies. Worse still, Zarif has driven a knife into the heart of the ‘B Team’ driving the US administration’s Iran policies currently. 

Trump’s sanctions against Zarif will not set an example for any other country which has diplomatic relations with Iran. In the final analysis, Trump will have to deal with Zarif, whether he likes him or not. 

The best way to counter Zarif would have been to handpick an intellectually resourceful, dynamic secretary of state. A mediocrity like Pompeo stands no chance with Zarif. This is a dumb thing Trump has done. He should have known better.

In 2001, Zarif was Iran’s main representative at the Bonn Conference, which brought together regional players in the aftermath of the US invasion of Afghanistan and the ousting of the Taliban. His American counterpart at the event, James Dobbins — who was later named as the Obama Administration’s special envoy to Afghanistan — wrote a memorable essay titled Negotiating with Iran: Reflections from Personal Experience in the Washington Quarterly about Zarif’s Erudition, wit and charm — and his pragmatism, which helped the two gifted diplomats to thrash out “over morning coffee and cakes” a deal that led to the replacement of the Northern Alliance government in Kabul with a US-backed interim set-up under Hamid Karzai. (Burhanuddin Rabbani remarked bitterly at that time he hoped that would be the last time a foreign power ever dictated to Afghans.) 

Washington has now sanctioned the man who played a pivotal role in that fateful transition in Kabul leading to the installation of the US’ client regime in the Hindu Kush. Some gratitude!  

Reprinted with permission from Indian Punchline.

undefined


from Ron Paul Institute Featured Articles

via IFTTT

No comments:

Post a Comment

Merchandise



See other gifts available on Zazzle.

Ron Paul America Cloud

Site Credits

Ron Paul America

is voluntarily affiliated with

Liberty Operations Group

______________________________

Site created, maintained and hosted by

Liberty Web Services

Tags

#TurnOnTheTruth 2008 2012 4th amendment 911 ACTION Afghanistan war Agency Aggression Principle al-Qaeda Alan Colmes Alert America America's Fault Americans antigun AR 15 assault weapon Audit Authoritarian bailouts Believe Big Brother big government bill of rights Blame blowback bubbles Bush Campaign for Liberty Career Politician Eric Cantor Central Bank Charity China churches collapse Collectivism Commission committee Compassion Congress Conservative constitution Crash dangerous person Democrat Democrats Donald Trump Donald Trump. Planned Parenthood drones economic Economy Edward Snowden End the Fed European Union Federal Reserve Floyd Bayne floyd bayne for congress force foreign interventionism free market free markets GOP Nominee GOP Presidential Debates Government Great Depression gun control House of Representatives housing bubble HR 1745 I like Ron Paul except on foreign policy If ye love wealth better than liberty IFTTT Individual Individualism Institute Irag Iran Iraq war ISIL ISIS Judge Andrew Napalitano libertarian Liberty Liberty Letters Liberty Report Lost mass Media meltdown metadata Micheal Moore Middle East Mitt Romney nap National Neocons New Ron Paul Ad New York Times Newsletters Newt Gingrich No Non non-interventionism NSA NSA Snooping Obama Overreach overthrow Patriot Act peace politicians Pope Francis President Presidential Presidential Race programs prosperity Race Racist Racist Newsletters Rand Paul Read the Bills Act recessions redistribution of wealth refugee crisis Repeal Obamacare Report Republican Republican Nomination Republican Nominee Republicans Revolution Rick Santorum Rick Santorum Exposed Ron Ron Paul Ron Paul Institute Ron Paul Institute Featured Articles Ron Paul Institute for Peace And Prosperity Ron Paul Institute Peace and Prosperity Articles Ron Paul Next Chapter Media Channel Ron Paul Racist Newsletters ron paul's foreign policy Ronald Reagan ronpaulchannel.com ronpaulinstitute.org Rosa DeLauro russia Samuel Adams Saudi Arabia Second Amendment Security Senate Senator September 11th attacks Show Soviet Spying stimulate Stock Market surveillance Syria tech bubble terrorist The the Fed the poor US US foreign policy Us troops USA Freedom Act Virginia Virginia Republican Primary voluntarism. Liberty Voluntary Warner Warning warrantless wiretaps YouTube