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The Trump Administration’s Lies About Iran

Flynn’s dishonest claim [1] that a Houthi attack on a Saudi vessel was an “Iranian action” has morphed [2] into an even more provocative, false claim from the Press Secretary today:

The White House Press corps wanted to know what being put “on notice” entailed, and Spicer responded by claiming that Iran’s government took actions against a U.S. naval vessel, which would be an act of war. “I think General Flynn was really clear yesterday that Iran has violated the Joint Resolution that Iran’s additional hostile actions that it took against our navy vessel [bold mine-DL] are ones that we are very clear are not going to sit by and take,” he said.

Spicer has managed to combine Flynn’s nonsensical statement blaming Iran for the attack with the garbage analysis I mentioned [3] earlier in the week that the attack had been intended for a U.S. ship, and he has produced something even more divorced from reality. No U.S. ship was attacked or targeted by anyone, Iran wasn’t responsible for the attack that did happen, and yet according to the Trump White House Iran took “hostile actions” against one of our ships. This is as blatant a lie as any that Spicer has told over the last two weeks, and it is on a matter of the greatest importance. The Trump administration is conjuring up “hostile actions” against a U.S. vessel out of thin air, and they appear to be doing so for no other reason than to stoke tensions and make conflict with Iran more likely.

It would be easy to dismiss these statements from Flynn and Spicer as ignorant babbling were it not for the fact that they are coming from the top levels of our government. The administration is lying about Iranian “hostile actions,” and it seems to be trying to cook up an excuse for increasing tensions with and possibly military action against Iran. Hawks have repeated Saudi propaganda about Yemen uncritically for years, and their pervasive exaggeration of Iran’s involvement in Yemen has helped pave the way for the administration’s lies about Iranian “hostile actions” that never happened. The longer that the U.S. keeps backing the Saudi-led war on Yemen, the worse this is likely to get.

38 Comments (Open | Close)

38 Comments To "The Trump Administration’s Lies About Iran"

#1 Comment By Just Dropping By On February 2, 2017 @ 2:04 pm

Quick, what’s Farsi for “Gulf of Tonkin”?

#2 Comment By victory over eurasia On February 2, 2017 @ 2:49 pm

we are in uncharted territories of insanity and chaos, he is governing as he lives, narcissistic, ignorant, ill-informed, self-aggrandizing, insecure, but now the security of the US, and perhaps the globe, is at stake.

Is there any way the GOP could be more spineless….? We are heading over a cliff and they have their feet on the accelerator, eager for the tax cut nirvana that they hope they’ll find when they hit the bottom…….

#3 Comment By Too Bad. Really. On February 2, 2017 @ 3:03 pm

Since when is a Saudi navy vessel “ours”?

It’s starting to look like Trump is no different from Bush II and Obama. Listening to bad advisors who are lying him and us into war. Fooled again. I voted for the guy. My fault.

#4 Comment By DanJ On February 2, 2017 @ 3:05 pm

Perhaps Iran is what President Trump had in mind when he said that “we should have kept the oil, but, OK, maybe we’ll have another chance”?

#5 Comment By Chris Chuba On February 2, 2017 @ 3:43 pm

This is why Iran getting their frozen assets back as part of the JCPOA was necessary and Iran was wise to insist on it. It was the risk premium for having a nutjob becoming President after they gave up 98% of their uranium and put all of their centrifuges in one location. I wonder if Trump/Flynn/Mattis will use that knowledge to bomb them.

I am definitely going to move some of my 401k to cash. It looks like there is a good chance that we will go to war with either Iran or China. It’s hard to imagine that we can avoid it unless Putin talks some sense into him but that might trigger a trifecta.

#6 Comment By SaintRhon On February 2, 2017 @ 3:44 pm

Looks like we can expect new sanctions on Friday that won’t breach the JCPOA. And then I guess we’ll see if Iran agrees. Man, hardliners in Iran must be so happy.


#7 Comment By TC On February 2, 2017 @ 4:09 pm

This is what happens when a narcissistic POTUS obsessed with the appearance of strength surrounds himself with anti-Muslim advisors. This isn’t going to end well for anyone.

#8 Comment By Jeremy 2 On February 2, 2017 @ 4:40 pm


Putin is not going to take Trump’s side on Iran or China, that’s for sure.

#9 Comment By look homeward On February 2, 2017 @ 4:53 pm

What worries me is that half the stories I’m reading about Trump have to do with some foreign policy stuff.

What happened to “make America great again”? We won’t be “great” as long as we’re bogged down in foreign quagmires and meddling in other people’s countries, that’s for sure.

What about the wall? Finding and deporting the illegals? Jobs for Americans?

Sure he’s made a few noises about that, but he needs to focus. Foreign policy will benefit from a good long period of “benign neglect”, as D. P. Moynihan (I think) once put it. Same with immigration – a complete halt for the length of his tenure.

Voters will cheer.

#10 Comment By Donna On February 2, 2017 @ 5:05 pm

Look Homeward – you just got conned. He is the ultimate conman.

#11 Comment By John Mann On February 2, 2017 @ 5:14 pm

This dishonesty at high levels in D.C. raises an interesting question: why should be believe that any of the people killed in the Yakla raid had anything to do with al-Qaeda?

#12 Comment By liberal On February 2, 2017 @ 6:20 pm

look homeward wrote,

What about the wall?

The wall was just red meat for the masses.

There’s exactly one effective means to cut down on illegal immigration: draconian sanctions (involving jail time and hefty fees) for people who employ them.

#13 Comment By shecky On February 2, 2017 @ 6:42 pm

“What about the wall? Finding and deporting the illegals? Jobs for Americans?”

Unemployment rate is already low. Illegal immigration is already down. And the wall will have see-through areas. The multi pronged approach to lashing out at every issue that doesn’t need to be addressed dictates that he make a show stirring a foreign policy pot that’s been getting too close to settling down.

#14 Comment By JEinCA On February 2, 2017 @ 8:58 pm

Great! Another war for Israel and for our loyal, democratic, human rights loving friends in Saudi Arabia. Yes, America First indeed. Yes, I voted for Trump because I feared Clinton would trigger WWIII with Russia. I didn’t sign up for war with Iran.

#15 Comment By cameyer On February 2, 2017 @ 9:29 pm

Cherba: important to track even minor differences within the Administration – that’s where the cracks will start. I don’t think Mattis should be lumped with Flynn and Trump. He and the other (not incidentally) uber-establishment general, John Allen, should be moderating influences. Mattis has said it would be a mistake to tear up the Iran deal and is strongly anti-torture. I see him more like the Israeli defense/intelligence chiefs who stopped Netanyahu from bombing Iran.

#16 Comment By flagship On February 2, 2017 @ 9:30 pm

Flynn’s going to do for Trump what the DoD’s Office of Special Plans did for George W. Bush.

Another presidency poised for ruin by the neocons and their stooges, in this case Flynn. This is what comes of letting them escape what should have been permanent, crippling disgrace coming out of the smoking timbers of the Bush II presidency.

#17 Comment By EliteCommInc. On February 2, 2017 @ 11:38 pm

I don’t feel conned. Nor do I think the con is on. I think that Pres. Trump has surrounded himself with some smart intelligent advisors, who have largely been incorrect.

And while I agree that the ballistic missile test is a violation. It does not pose a direct threat to the US. I have not heard the suggestion, yet, but I recall the arguments about going into Iraq for having violated UN protocols. None of those violations, not all of which were accurate, posed a threat to the US or even her neighbors.

In my view, Pres Trump could very easily derail his domestic agenda by getting overly involved in foreign issues leaning on force to achieve political end.

UN violations need to go through the UN. As noted, we can reinstate sanctions if Iran violates agreements, but war seems more than premature.

#18 Comment By Fred Bowman On February 3, 2017 @ 12:56 am

What’s that old song about the snake? The one with the line in it that says “shut up silly woman, you knew I was a snake before you took me in”. Seem to me that’s what we’re getting with Trump.

#19 Comment By CharleyCarp On February 3, 2017 @ 1:41 am

You know, you’d think that someone around Trump would think of maybe making a deal with Ali Abdullah Saleh. There’s surely a deal to make, inasmuch as he fought the Houthis for years before switching sides in a bid to regain power, it gets us out of bed with AQ, let’s Flynn think he’s brushed Iran back from the Bab el Mandeb, ends the worst war in the world. And if he’s going to alienate any allies, who better than Saudiya?

#20 Comment By CharleyCarp On February 3, 2017 @ 1:49 am

Cameyer, I think we all have some hope in Sec. Mattis. I’d sure like to know more about his thinking on the Yakla raid. He must have known — and certainly now knows — never to come to the President without a fully developed well constructed plan.

John Mann, it does seem that at least some of the adult men kiled in Yakla were AQ mid-level guys. They seem also to have been active allies of Hadi, so we’re sort of attacking our own side. (Why on earth would anyone be surprised that operational security would be breached by our UAE allies, whose primary interest is in restoring Hadi, not in fighting AQ. Or was it just the increased drone activity that tipped everyone off. I suppose we’ll find out.)

#21 Comment By a spencer On February 3, 2017 @ 1:56 am

Americans should not die in Yemen.

#22 Comment By MEexpert On February 3, 2017 @ 2:53 am

“I think General Flynn was really clear yesterday that Iran has violated the Joint Resolution that Iran’s additional hostile actions that it took against our navy vessel [bold mine-DL] are ones that we are very clear are not going to sit by and take,” he said.

What happened to our “ever vigilant press?” They were more interested in fact checking the size of the crowd but not a word about this whopper.

Israel must be laughing. These dumb America!

#23 Comment By stefan On February 3, 2017 @ 8:04 am

The goals of humanity create lasting fellowship among men. What are the clear, convincing, and inspiring aims of this presidency?

#24 Comment By the bare minimum On February 3, 2017 @ 8:55 am

“What are the clear, convincing, and inspiring aims of this presidency?”

Build the wall, deport the illegals, get us out of the Middle East. And then vamoose. After Clinton, Bush II, and Obama that’ll do for me.

#25 Comment By icarusr On February 3, 2017 @ 11:11 am

“Build the wall, deport the illegals, get us out of the Middle East. And then vamoose. After Clinton, Bush II, and Obama that’ll do for me.”

Quite evidently he is doing the exact opposite of “getting out” of the Middle East; all he’s done on immigration is to deport and harass legal visa and Greencard holders; and the wall remains a notion yearning to become a concept, let alone a reality.

Oh, and Wall Street – Dodd-Frank is being gutted. I guess that’ll do for ya 😉 …

#26 Comment By liberal On February 3, 2017 @ 1:16 pm

EliteCommInc. wrote, I think that Pres. Trump has surrounded himself with some smart intelligent advisors…

The number of his advisors who this description could reasonably be applied to is very close to zero. Mattis, maybe, but even he claimed, stupidly, that ISIS and Iran weren’t enemies.

#27 Comment By rayray On February 3, 2017 @ 3:40 pm

@the bare minimum
If the the only inspiring aims of this presidency that anyone can come up with are protectionism in an era of low unemployment and a decent economy with no plan to build employment opportunities for the communities that have been left behind; not to mention policies of useless disrespect to muslim nations and the building of a patently foolist “wall” during a time of net zero immigration from Mexico…

Then this presidency is exactly as stupid as it appeared.

#28 Comment By bare minimum On February 3, 2017 @ 6:04 pm

“If the the only inspiring aims of this presidency […]”

I don’t want inspiring aims from presidents. I can provide my own inspiration.

I want the wall built, the illegals deported, and out of the Middle East. And zero tolerance for DC or corporate criminality.

If Trump comes across on those very narrow demands, he’ll do. He made promises about those things, and we’ll hold him to them. If he doesn’t keep them, he’ll lose the Congress in 2018 and the presidency in 2020.

#29 Comment By D On February 3, 2017 @ 7:50 pm

If they want different policies, the Iranians will need to spend a lot more money buying our politicians. Like the Israelis and the Saudis do.

#30 Comment By J On February 4, 2017 @ 12:13 am

“Yes, I voted for Trump because I feared Clinton would trigger WWIII with Russia. I didn’t sign up for war with Iran.”

Don’t forget that Iran is an ally of Russia. Starting a war with Iran would result in a proxy war with Russia.

Conversely, we don’t want too good of a relationship with Russia. The closer we get with Russia, the weaker it makes our allies in Europe, destabilizing the region. That’s Putin’s motivation to improving relations with us.

Ideally we should be firm with Russia but maintain a mutual desire to not find ourselves in another Cold War. That is essentially what foreign policy with Russia has been and I don’t think we want to upset the status quo.

Foreign policy is a complex thing and Trump’s chaotic approach is definitely cause for concern.

#31 Comment By Jack On February 4, 2017 @ 5:42 am

The Trump administration wouldn’t lie. Just ask them. They call it alternative facts.

#32 Comment By rayray On February 4, 2017 @ 6:15 pm

The lies of this administration are breathtaking…obviously Trump is a known liar but he’s found himself some stellar liars to surround himself with as well. Kellyanne Conway is beyond belief…but I guess someone has to do it.

#33 Comment By Boomer Late On February 4, 2017 @ 9:46 pm

Please sign the White House petition to reduce the executive overreach via executive orders. [5]

#34 Comment By Anthony Gregory On February 4, 2017 @ 10:54 pm

I’m blown away by anyone thinking Trump would be less bellicose than Obama. Only the fear of Clinton literally starting World War III could possibly justify seeing him as the relative peace candidate. He was always clearly a belligerent nationalist, attacking Obama for withdrawing from Iraq and playing nice with Iran, calling for colonialist wars of aggression, torture, and targeting civilians—at least until radical Islam was destroyed everywhere. There was never a reasonable case he’d be better than Obama. We’ll be very lucky if he doesn’t start a war worse than Iraq, but his resentment-based nationalism thrives on conflict, false grievances, and muscular hard power with no regard for foreigners’ lives. Ideologically, he’s worse than the neocons.

#35 Comment By Anthony Gregory On February 4, 2017 @ 11:03 pm

‘What’s that old song about the snake? The one with the line in it that says “shut up silly woman, you knew I was a snake before you took me in”. Seem to me that’s what we’re getting with Trump.’

Precisely. He wanted to make America great again. Most people who look at the Obama years and yearn for mid-century America—when govt. planning was unrelenting, men were conscripted, women were subjugated, and foreigners were napalmed by the hundreds of thousands—strikes me as willing to embrace the warfare-welfare state so long as it scores culture war point against the left.

I say it to progressives and I say it to paleocons: You’re gonna miss neoliberalism. We’ll be very fortunate if we get through this administration and it’s only a little worse than Bush was.

The minute he won the election I felt as sick as when the U.S. invaded Iraq, and I fear many folks will see why sooner than I had expected.

#36 Comment By john On February 4, 2017 @ 11:54 pm

Don’t those ships fly flags? Our ships have a red white and blue one with stripes and stars. Saudi ships I think is green with swords (you know for chopping off the heads of apostates) So I don’t really understand how you would get those confused.

#37 Comment By richard vajs On February 5, 2017 @ 9:09 am

I feared this was going to happen -so I voted Green Party -for all the good it did me. I knew that Israel controlled the Clintons -looks like they own Trump too. The best thing that Trump could do is carpet bomb Tel Aviv, of course, he is too stupid for that, or too corrupt. If we attack Iran, Oh what, revolting development that will turn out to be (to quote old Chester Riley)!

#38 Comment By reid On February 6, 2017 @ 12:23 pm

It was pretty clear before the election that Trump was in the tank for Israel in a big way. Like any of this is surprising… sigh. People saw what they wanted in Trump and ignored the rest, I guess.