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Trump’s ‘Iran Action Group’

Then-Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-KS, speaking at a rally in 2013. He faces a senate grilling for his secretary of state nomination today.Mark Taylor/Creative Commons

Earlier today, Mike Pompeo announced the creation of the Iran Action Group in the State Department dedicated to advancing the administration’s destructive and cruel Iran policy. In keeping with the administration’s previous statements about its policy and the nuclear deal, the Secretary’s statement was riddled with lies and misleading comments:

In May of this year, President Trump withdrew from the flawed Iran nuclear deal, which failed to restrain Iran’s nuclear progress or its campaigns of violence abroad. In its place President Trump has instituted a campaign of pressure, deterrence, and solidarity with the long-suffering Iranian people.

As anyone with the slightest familiarity with the nuclear deal knows, Pompeo’s first claim about the nuclear deal is a ridiculous, easily refuted lie and the second claim is irrelevant. The one thing that the JCPOA definitely did was restrain Iran’s nuclear program by putting it under significant restrictions and the most intrusive inspections regime ever. The nuclear deal was never going to change Iran’s other behavior, and there was never any chance that negotiations on the nuclear issue could have been successful if the U.S. and the other members of the P5+1 had tried to include other issues in the talks. The Trump administration has certainly started a campaign of pressure, but for that very reason its professions of solidarity with the Iranian people are empty and insulting. The administration’s pressure campaign seeks to strangle Iran’s economy, and that means strangling the population along with it.

The creation of the Iran Action Group formalizes an Iran policy that inflicts cruel collective punishment on the Iranian people while pretending to care about their welfare. Pompeo’s announcement happened to fall on the 65th anniversary of the 1953 U.S.-backed coup. The administration’s Iran policy reflects the same contempt for Iran and its people that our government showed then.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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