Just as diplomacy between the United States and North Korea was moving forward rapidly, President Trump announced the withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the P5+1 agreement with Iran. The US pullout has put pressure on both Iran and Europe to either renegotiate aspects of the original agreement or proceed without US involvement. The White House has given European and other international corporations between 90 and 180 days to divest of their economic programs in Iran, which is a substantial window of time in which to initiate new negotiations.
The Veterans Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), a group of former high-level American intelligence veterans, addressed an open letter to President Donald Trump on Dec. 21 countering the claim of key members of the Trump Administration and others, that Iran is a leading state sponsor of international terrorism. That “dubious distinction”, according to the letter signed by the entire VIPS board and published in Consortium News, goes to “Iran’s accusers – first and foremost Saudi Arabia”.
Saudi Arabia appears to be preparing for confrontation with Iran, through flanks in both Lebanon and Yemen. This comes just as the Islamic State is about to be defeated in Syria and Iraq.
The sanctions bill targeting Russia, Iran and North Korea that the United States Congress passed almost unanimously in the last week of July is a flagrant violation not only of international law, in that it decrees that U.S. law must also apply to sovereign foreign countries, but also of the American Constitution, as it severely narrows the President’s power to define and carry out foreign policy. The intent of the bill is clearly to torpedo the Trump Administration’s efforts to improve relations with Russia. That, in turn, seriously heightens the danger of thermonuclear world war.
The sanctions just adopted by both houses of the U.S. Congress, which would punish any companies involved in building infrastructure to facilitate Russian energy exports, including the Nord Stream 2, would severely harm the entire European economy, in addition to promoting outright economic and trade war. The protests have been been widespread across the political spectrum, in particular in Germany and Austria, which need the pipeline projects to ensure energy security.