The Trump administration thinks you are stupid enough to believe their propaganda:

Iran’s plan to exceed internationally agreed curbs on its stock of low-enriched uranium amount to “nuclear blackmail” and must be met with increased international pressure, a White House National Security Council spokesman said on Monday.

“Iran’s enrichment plans are only possible because the horrible nuclear deal left their capabilities intact,” NSC spokesman Garrett Marquis said. “President Trump has made it clear that he will never allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons. The regime’s nuclear blackmail must be met with increased international pressure.”

When a state doesn’t have nuclear weapons, it cannot possibly engage in “nuclear blackmail” as that phrase is commonly understood. Even when a state has nuclear weapons, there is not much evidence that “nuclear blackmail” has ever been tried, much less that it works. Iran’s modest announcement that it is going to exceed the limits on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium in response to the relentless economic war being waged against them is not blackmail, nuclear or otherwise. It is a predictable, understandable reaction to the Trump administration’s destructive Iran policy, which has been inflicting intense economic pain on Iran despite ongoing Iranian compliance with the JCPOA.

By depriving Iran of almost all of the benefits of adhering to the JCPOA, the Trump administration has been trying to force Iran to give up on an agreement that they had been willing to implement faithfully. Iran refrained from reducing its compliance for a year, and now their government is taking the smallest, least dangerous steps possible to convey their dissatisfaction with how they have been ripped off and betrayed by their negotiating partners. The correct response to this is not to apply “increased international pressure,” which would only provoke Iran more, but to push back against the “maximum pressure” campaign and deliver Iran at least some of the sanctions relief they were promised. Iran has been reducing its compliance because so far the other parties to the agreement have failed to deliver on their end of the bargain, and the best and easiest way to convince Iran to resume full compliance is to honor the bargain that the P5+1 originally made with them.

The “horrible nuclear deal” allowed Iran to retain the ability to enrich uranium to low levels, but also severely restricted virtually everything else about their nuclear program. In the absence of the “horrible” deal that the Trump administration has been working assiduously to destroy, Iran’s nuclear program would be much more advanced than it was four years ago, and its nuclear capability would be far greater. The administration has never cared that Iran was in total compliance with the deal for more than three years, and they have been trying to cause Iran to give up on the deal so they can have an excuse for escalation.

We can see how determined the administration is to create and escalate a crisis with Iran, and it is very important that we challenge every bogus and misleading administration claim. The same people that have been trying to kill the nuclear deal for years have absolutely no credibility to complain about reduced Iranian compliance. Their complaints shouldn’t be taken seriously when this is the outcome that their policy was bound to create and that they have been seeking from the start.

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