Information operations · Information Warfare · Iran

Iran Escalation (13)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

A few mesmerizing statements have been made by Iranian and associated leaders:

Add to this wildly conflicting agenda-driven statements by US Congressional members mucking up the perception of what the US is doing. These domestic politicians are hurting the United States’ foreign policy with flagrantly spurious statements.  Perhaps the worst: To avoid war with Iran, US needs to deal — starting with a concession | TheHill

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Lavrov’s deputy visiting Tehran. Statements by Tehran leadership following multiple, often contradictory narratives. Most notable is IRGC Commander Major General Hossein Salami who declares victory on the part of Iran given US statements that Operation Persian Freedom is not the US objective, and crediting this outcome to Iran’s  “absolute power” in the region, having “sapped U.S. capacity for war”. This may sound delusional to Western observers but it is entirely possible this is what the regime believes, given this has been a recurring theme in their statements. Öcal editorial may be misguided, but he has correctly chastised the Iranian leadership for their provocative and escalatory language.

Bavarian intel report on Iran’s pursuit of WMD tech is getting media attention. NATSECADV Bolton in the UAE, makes multiple statements on Iran. CJCS Dunford on intel interpretation. A handful of pro-administration media reports, and an immense chorus of reports echoing the Tehran narrative – the Tehran regime is exploiting a level of US domestic political toxicity so great, that domestic opponents of the Administration are quite happy to act as overt proxies for one of the most brutal and destructive dictatorships in existence today, a regime built on elements of Nazi ideology and propaganda. A sorry sight indeed.

Russia’s Ryabkov in Tehran to Discuss Nuclear Deal – Al-Manar TV Lebanon

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov arrived in Tehran on Wednesday morning to discuss the recent developments regarding the 2015 nuclear deal, signed between Iran and the world powers. During his one-day stay, Ryabkov is scheduled to meet with senior Iranian officials to confer on the matters regarding the deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), especially Tehran’s recent moves in the face of Washington’s unilateral actions, Mehr news agency reported. He told reporters earlier on Tuesday that “questions related to the JCPOA will be discussed” during the visit to Tehran. The Russian Foreign Ministry also said in a statement on Tuesday that it was closely following developments in the implementation of the deal, calling for holding a joint summit on the matter. Earlier this month, Iran reduced some of its commitments to the deal in the face of Washington’s ramped-up pressures. Tehran also gave the five remaining parties to the nuclear deal a 60-day ultimatum to comply with their commitments, particularly those regarding Iran’s economic interests in the banking and energy sectors before the country would start reducing portions of its own commitments to the agreement stage by stage.

Time for Iran’s generals to wake up – Hakkı Öcal – Daily Sabah

The opportunity the “neocons” were awaiting since Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait that would allow the Pentagon to start another surge of troops in the Middle East came on a golden platter from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). That President Donald Trump needs as much support as he can get from the “Deep State” (or the Shallow State) against the liberals who are inching toward the “I-word” (even though an impeachment as a final result is politically impossible for the next two years), he didn’t think twice when the Pentagon asked for an additional 1,500 troops, missiles and Patriot defense systems. This man was continuously resisting his defense and state secretaries who were against the idea of a pullout from Syria and Iraq. Finally, a few months ago he fired Rex Tillerson and James Mattis. He was willing “to bring all the boys home” and get rid of the PKK-extension, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), as the Pentagon’s “boots on the ground.” At the same time the Syrian opposition has got its act together and agreed on the composition of the constitutional commission to go to Geneva. But, no! The IRGC had to have a reason to exist and receive all those millions of dollars (not Iranian toman, of course); so, they had to sabotage everything. Hawks or doves, for any U.S. politician to endorse spending money on the military has always been a national duty since 1774; a pretext such as “against the Iranian threat” would simply make them stand up and start singing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” To save his budgetary face, Trump said shortly before departing for a trip to Japan this weekend that the purpose of this deployment is “mostly protective” and is meant to increase the security of forces already in the region. The military surge would include Patriot missiles, additional radar systems and 1,500 military personnel to maintain this equipment. Would this make the IRGC wake up and smell the coffee? Of course not! While Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, as if trying to put some sense into the generals’ minds, said that the U.S. decision to deploy more troops to the Middle East in response to the perceived threat from Iran was “extremely dangerous” for peace; Gen. Morteza Qorbani, an adviser to Iran’s military command, displayed yet another chest-thumping triumphalism! “Iran can sink U.S. warships with secret weapons” he said. These Iranian generals must have been paying too much attention to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s analysis of Iran’s military power. Gen. Morteza and those benefiting his advice should know that Netanyahu exaggerates Iranian weapons capabilities to scare Western public opinion. There are no real concerns about Iran’s missile program. Trump knows it. He said on his way to Japan that “Right now, I don’t think Iran wants to fight. And I certainly don’t think they want to fight with us.” But again, thanks to Gen. Morteza and his ilk, Trump is approving the sale of billions of dollars’ worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, using the magic words “Iranian threats.” Even those in Congress who hate Trump’s guts had no objection of his invoking a rarely used aspect of federal law to push through the $8 billion deal bypassing Congress. All he had to do was declare that ongoing tensions with Iran amounted to a national emergency. The U.S. Congress, which was opposing the sale of U.S. weapons to Saudi Arabia for the fear that the weapons would be used against civilians in Yemen by Saudi-led forces, did not utter a word. The harm that the uncalculated and childlike behavior of Iranian generals, especially those in the Revolutionary Guard, causes does not end there. The war-atmosphere in the region is helping the U.S.-Israeli so-called peace plan progress as planned with an international economic workshop in Bahrain in late June. All the invitees are rushing to what Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas calls the epitaph of the Palestinian State in Manama on June 25-26. In the face of the “Iranian threat” who would dare to stick his neck out?

Iran has sapped U.S. capacity for war: Revolutionary Guards chief – Reuters

GENEVA (Reuters) – Iran’s “absolute power” in its region has sapped the capacity of arch-enemy the United States to wage war against it, the commander of its elite Revolutionary Guards said on Tuesday, according to semi-official Mehr news agency. He was speaking a day after U.S. President Donald Trump said he was not seeking regime change in Iran following moves to beef up U.S. forces in the Middle East, and that a new deal on Iran’s nuclear program was possible. “We have been able to…empty the enemy’s capacity for war. You see the decline and crash of the enemies’ speech,” Major General Hossein Salami said, apparently alluding to Trump’s remarks during a visit to Japan. “Today, Iran is an absolute power of the region and because of this it is not afraid of the enemy’s threats. Today, America has been defeated in its political philosophy.” Trump appeared to soften his tone toward Iran, saying he believed it wanted to make a deal, crediting heavy U.S. economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic. “We aren’t looking for regime change – I just want to make that clear. We are looking for no nuclear weapons.” Tensions have risen between Iran and the United States after an attack earlier this month on oil tankers in the Gulf. Washington, a close ally of Iran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia, blamed the attacks on Tehran, which denied the accusations.

Tehran Dried Up Enemy’s Capacity for War, Revolutionary Guards Chief Says – Sputnik International

Over recent weeks, the US has been amassing military forces at Iran’s doorstep, accusing the Islamic Republic of plotting an attack on American interests. Washington claims that Tehran was behind recent attacks on commercial vessels in the Strait of Hormuz and Saudi oil facilities, something that Iran has vehemently denied.

Iran RIDICULES US military as ‘weakest in HISTORY’ as Trump moves troops to Middle East | World | News |

AN Iranian deputy commander has scoffed at the US military presence in the region by insisting it is at its “weakest in history”, Reuters reports.

‘No Credibility’: Bolton’s Scare Tactics Against Iran ‘Are Not Working’ – Sputnik International

US President Donald Trump and his national security adviser, John Bolton, appear to be divided on foreign policy, with the president trying to ease US tensions with Iran, while Bolton continues to march towards confrontation, Massoud Shadjareh, the founder of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, told Sputnik.

Russia Warns Potential US Military Surge in Mideast to Create New Risks – Sputnik International

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, commenting on US President Donald Trump’s intention to additionally send 1,500 troops to the Middle East, said Monday any increase in military potential would result in new risks.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei says Tehran will not negotiate with US – Al Arabiya English

Iran will not negotiate with the United States over its nuclear and missile programs, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali KhaSupreme Leader Ayatollah Ali

No negotiations with U.S., says Iran’s Supreme Leader By Reuters

No negotiations with U.S., says Iran’s Supreme Leader

No negotiations with U.S., says Iran’s Supreme Leader – Reuters

Iran will not negotiate with the United States, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday, after President Hassan Rouhani signaled talks with Washington might be possible if sanctions were lifted.

The Latest: Khamenei says Iran won’t negotiate on military

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The Latest on developments in the Persian Gulf region and elsewhere in the Mideast amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran (all times local):

Iran’s Rouhani Suggests US Talks Possible if Sanctions Lifted

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani signaled on Wednesday that talks with the United States might be possible if Washington lifted sanctions, days after U.S. President Donald Trump said a deal with Tehran on its nuclear programme was conceivable.

Iran president says open to talks with US if sanctions lifted – Daily Sabah

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the road is not closed if the U.S. wants negotiations with Iran and returns to the nuclear deal between Tehran and…

Rouhani signals openness to talks if ‘cruel’ US sanctions lifted | The Times of Israel

Iranian president says the ‘road is not closed’ and urges Washington to return to negotiation table over nuclear deal

US ‘warmongers’ pushing for conflict with Iran: official | USA News | Al Jazeera

Deputy foreign minister warns American ‘elements’ trying to instigate war and Iran ‘fully prepared for that scenario’.

Iran set for dialogue with Gulf neighbours as tensions soar | USA News | Al Jazeera

Comments by Iranian official in Qatar come as John Bolton arrives in UAE for talks on ‘important security matters’.

Iran to Modernise Arak Heavy Water Nuclear Reactor Outside JCPOA – Deputy FM – Sputnik International

DOHA (Sputnik) – Iran is going to modernise its heavy water reactor in Arak outside the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), given the current situation around the deal, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said in an interview with Sputnik.

German intel: Iran wants to expand to weapons of mass destruction – Middle East – Jerusalem Post

The Islamic Republic of Iran is committed to a program of weapons of mass destruction, the domestic intelligence agency for the southern German state of Bavaria said in its May 2019 intelligence report. The hair-raising section of the report reviewed by The Jerusalem Post states Iran’s regime is “making efforts to expand its conventional arsenal of weapons with weapons of mass destruction.” Iran was termed a “risk country” in the 335-page document outlining serious threats to the security and democracy of the state of Bavaria. The domestic intelligence agency’s formal name is the Bavarian Office for the Protection of the Constitution in its intelligence report. first reported on Tuesday that the Bavarian intelligence agency issued a report that “accuses the Islamic Republic of seeking to build weapons of mass destruction.” Although the report was published in May, it covers intelligence gathered in 2018. The intelligence report defines weapons of mass destruction as “the spread of atomic, biological, chemical weapons of mass destruction.” “We know the Iranian regime is on the hunt for money to fund their malign activities, and so it is imperative that the US and our European allies work together to deny this regime the capital they seek,” US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell told “They will use secretive schemes and dark money; we must be vigilant. They are strapped for cash.” US President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018 because he said the agreement failed to stop the Islamic republic’s regime from building an atomic weapon. Tehran has agreed to curtail its nuclear program as part of the agreement in exchange for the lifting of sanctions against its economy. The world powers and the UN imposed sanctions on Iran’s regime due to its nuclear program. “In order to obtain the necessary know-how and corresponding components, these states [Iran, North Korea and Pakistan] are trying to establish business contacts to companies in highly technological countries like Germany,” said the Bavarian intelligence report in its section on weapons of mass destruction.

Iran is Seeking Weapons of Mass Destruction, German Intelligence Report Reveals | The Tower

An explosive new intelligence report from Germany shows that Iran is seeking to build weapons of mass destruction.

Iran desperately trying to buy weapons of mass destruction in chilling escalation of row with the US, Germany claims

GERMAN spooks say Iran is furiously trying to expand its arsenal with weapons of mass destruction amid fears the United States is preparing to attack. The explosive claim was made in an intelligence report, which says Iranians have been trying to buy technology that could be used in chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.

Talking to Trump may be how Iran leaders attempt to relieve the pain – Washington Times

Defenders of the nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran predicted that President Trump’s sanctions would have little impact unless our European friends joined in. They were dead wrong.

Former Tehran mayor confesses to killing wife, hands himself into police | Fox News

Mohammad Ali Najafi, a confidant of President Hassan Rouhani, turned himself in to authorities on Tuesday, telling them that he killed his second of two wives, Mitra Najafi.

Top US Officer: Iran’s Threats Look Like a ‘Campaign’ – Defense One

The Joint Chiefs chairman says he saw ‘multiple threat streams that were all, perhaps coming together, in time.” Iran is engaged in a “campaign” against the United States unlike anything in the past 40 years, the top U.S. officer said, explaining why the Pentagon is dispatching some 900 troops and other assets to the Middle East. Speaking Wednesday at the Brookings Institution, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford recounted the events that led to his decision. On May 3, Dunford said, he was examining new intelligence on the threat posed by Iran to the United States in the region. He saw “multiple threat streams that were all, perhaps coming together, in time.” “We saw something that looked more like a campaign than an individual threat,” he said. “It was the geographic span, and the perception that that activity would be synchronized in time that caused us to look at that threat differently than 40 years, by the way, of malign activity by the Iranians. Malign activity and threats to our forces were not new, but a more widespread and almost campaign-like perspective from the Iranians was what we were dealing with.” Dunford said the new deployment is meant to deter Iranian aggression, echoing some of what Pentagon officials said last week. “This is not intended to reinforce our offensive capability in the region. This is designed to protect our people, much like the previous force elements we sent in were designed to enhance our deterrence. So that’s where we are today.” Last weekend, he said, U.S. officials placed a phone call to their Iranian counterparts. “We sent a message at that time to Iran just so they understood we would hold them accountable should something take place in the region, that there was not an opportunity for them to do things and then claim that it wasn’t attributable to Iran.”

Trump doesn’t want war with Iran: acting US Defense Secretary Shanahan

“When the president says he doesn’t want a war with Iran, I think that is pretty clear,” acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan told reporters traveling with him to Indonesia.

Trump says he is not looking for regime change in Iran

President Trump said the U.S. was not looking for regime change in Iran after weeks of escalating tension and the deployment of additional American troops to the region.

US President Trump says he is not looking for regime change in Iran – YouTube

CNA Published on May 27, 2019 US President Donald Trump has said he is not looking for a regime change in Iran. Tensions have been escalating between Washington and Tehran. Fears of a potential conflict mounted on May 24 when the US announced it will deploy an additional 1,500 troops to the Gulf region. Subscribe to our channel here:

Trump on Iran: ‘Nobody Wants to See Terrible Things Happen’ – Sputnik International

Earlier, the US announced the deployment of 1,500 additional troops to the Middle East to counter “credible threats” from Iran in a move denounced by Tehran on Saturday as “a threat to international peace”.

John Bolton on Twitter: “Just landed in the UAE. Looking forward to meeting with our Emirati allies tomorrow to discuss important and timely regional security matters.”


US national security adviser: Iran seeking nuclear arms | The Times of Israel

In region, Bolton says Tehran has only one reason to boost uranium enrichment — ‘to reduce the breakout time to produce nuclear weapons’

John Bolton Accuses Iran of Seeking Nuclear Weapons | Time

John Bolton said there was “no reason” for Iran to back out of its nuclear deal with world powers other than to seek atomic weapons

John Bolton says Iran is seeking nuclear arms

Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, said Iran backed out of its nuclear deal with world powers only to seek atomic weapons.

Bolton visiting United Arab Emirates – POLITICO

He tweeted he was there “to discuss important and timely regional security matters.”

U.S. National-Security Adviser Warns Iran Of ‘Very Strong Response’ Amid Escalating Tensions

U.S. national-security adviser John Bolton has warned Iran that any attacks on U.S. interests or allies in the Persian Gulf will draw a “very strong response” from Washington.

John Bolton says Iran faces ‘very strong response’ if it attacks in the Persian Gulf | Daily Mail Online

John Bolton’s (left) comments on Wednesday came as Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani (right), said his government would be open to talks with the U.S. if it returned to the nuclear agreement.

Iran ‘almost certainly’ sabotaged ships off UAE, Bolton says | Fox News

U.S. national security adviser Bolton said on Wednesday that ships sabotaged off the United Arab Emirates coast were attacked “almost certainly by Iran.”

Top U.S. Security Aide: Iranian Mines Likely Caused UAE Tanker Blasts

John Bolton said naval mines “almost certainly from Iran” were used to attack oil tankers off the United Arab Emirates this month.

Bolton blames Iran for damage to oil tankers, drone attack on Saudi oil pipeline – The Washington Post

The national security adviser will attend a security meeting in Jerusalem amid speculation about his tenure.

Tankers almost certainly damaged by Iranian naval mines, US says – BBC News

National Security Adviser John Bolton blames Iran for attacks off the UAE, but provides no evidence.

Bolton says Iran ‘almost certainly’ sabotaged ships off UAE | Fox News

U.S. national security adviser Bolton said on Wednesday that ships sabotaged off the United Arab Emirates coast were attacked “almost certainly by Iran.”

Bolton warns Tehran of ‘very strong response’ to any Gulf attack | The Times of Israel

US national security adviser, who will next month discuss Iran with Israeli, Russian counterparts in Jerusalem, takes tough line as Trump says US ‘not looking to hurt Iran at all’

John Bolton says mines ‘almost certainly from Iran’ behind oil tanker attacks

National security adviser John Bolton said the U.S. believes Iranian naval mines are the cause of recent attacks on tankers off the United Arab Emirates.

Bolton Accuses Iran in Ship Attacks – WSJ

John Bolton, President Trump’s national security adviser, accused Iran of directly carrying out attacks this month on four ships in the Persian Gulf, ratcheting up pressure on Tehran while administration officials said they hope to avoid war.

How Iran And Its Proxies Use Drone Warfare : NPR

Iran has been developing drones for both itself and its proxies. In recent months those drones have been used for targeted assassinations, military strikes and to sow chaos in the region.

Iran Lambasts Bolton’s Accusations of Involvement in Attacks on UAE Oil Tankers – Sputnik International

Earlier, US National Security Adviser John Bolton claimed that the oil tankers in the UAE were “almost certainly” damaged by Iranian naval mines.

U.S., Persian Gulf Allies Step Up Pressure On Iran

The United States and key Middle East allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates stepped up pressure on Iran, warning against any attacks and taking measures to bolster cooperation to counter…

Saudi Arabia makes rare invitation to Qatar for emergency Iran summit

Achieving a united plan of action against Iran among Gulf states will likely still prove challenging, experts say.

Fake social media accounts spread pro-Iran messages during U.S. midterms: FireEye – Reuters

A network of fake social media accounts impersonated political candidates and journalists to spread messages in support of Iran and against U.S. President Donald Trump around the 2018 congressional elections, cybersecurity firm FireEye said on Tuesday.

Facebook and Twitter remove Iran-linked fake accounts – Vox

Iran used fake accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to sway US politics. FireEye reported on it.

Skeptics wary as Trump appears to ease off Iran

The tense rhetoric between Tehran and Washington appears to be settling down after US President Donald Trump asserted that he is not pursuing regime change, but his latest remarks were received with skepticism in Iran.

Trump Knows What He Is Doing on Iran | The National Interest

Washington must stop worrying and stay the course.

Tommy Behnke: Trump’s troop surge won’t contain Iran; Trump’s deal-making will | Fox News

President Trump’s instincts are right: war with Iran is not in American interests.

Impeach John Bolton? | Cato @ Liberty

There’s another way Congress can use the threat of impeachment to deter an illegal and unnecessary war.

How the War Party Broke Trump | The American Conservative

From my distant vantage point in New England, tracking the daily fluctuations of the ongoing Iran war scare poses a challenge. It’s that old problem of distinguishing between signals and noise. These days there is noise aplenty emanating from Washington. That the prospect of yet another Gulf war competes for bandwidth with intensifying efforts to impeach President Trump makes it more difficult still to know what exactly is going on. My bet is that an actual shooting war involving the United States and the Islamic Republic will not occur. Granted, we cannot exclude the possibility of inadvertent hostilities caused by one side misreading the intentions or actions of the other side. Nor should we ignore the possibility of bellicose subordinates exceeding their briefs and stumbling into a fight that authorities at the top may not have authorized. Posturing invites misunderstanding and miscalculation—and there has been more than a little posturing coming from both Washington and Tehran.

A Deal Donald Trump and Ayatollah Khamenei Could Make – Bloomberg

Iran says it won’t negotiate with the U.S. under pressure. But it has done so in the past – and might again.

To avoid war with Iran, US needs to deal — starting with a concession | TheHill

Talks are desperately needed to halt the escalation underway over the last several weeks.

Trump administration, Bolton roles in Iran clash parallel Iraq war

The U.S. went to war in Iraq in 2003 based on flawed intelligence supported by hawkish policy makers. Is it doomed to repeat the error with Iran?

Mayor Buttigieg: Escalation Is Last Thing We Need With Iran |

Criticizing the Trump administration for sending 1,500 more troops to the Middle East, Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg told ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday that escalation is the last thing we need with Iran.

Punching Iran Over Its Foreign Policy Could Lead to a Faster Path to War – The New York Times

Wrestling with Iran’s diplomacy and military activity could prompt a confrontation between Washington and Tehran well before any showdown over a nuclear program.

🇺🇸 🇮🇷 Is the US media beating the drums of war on Iran? | The Listening Post (Lead) – YouTube

Al Jazeera English Published on May 27, 2019 Hyped-up headlines, “anonymous” sources and unspecified threats – Iran is back in the news in the United States. It wouldn’t be the first time the US media, wittingly or unwittingly, have made the case for war on the basis of vague, anonymously sourced intelligence. In 2003, it was Iraq. In 2019, it’s Iran. Much of American news reporting on US-Iran relations glosses over President Donald Trump’s role, how his policies have led to this standoff. There’s even less space given to reflect on the history of the US aggression against Iran. Which is not to say the Islamic Republic, ruled by authoritarians and involved in wars in Syria and Yemen, is an innocent player. However, inflammatory headlines, unnamed sources and decades of misinformation in the US media over Iran – don’t help. “All of a sudden, you have a news headline that takes over the world which comes from a rather dubious and questionable sourcing,” explains Ali Vaez, the director of Iran Project at International Crisis Group. “But by the time that people start asking questions, it’s already too late because the narrative has been framed.” The 2003 Iraq war is considered the greatest collective failure in the history of American journalism. And it’s far too soon to see those kinds of practices in use, once again. “The US media was not critical at all of the George W Bush administration in the lead-up to the Iraq war,” points out Narges Bajoghli, an assistant professor of Middle East Studies at Johns Hopkins University. “And in this instance, we are seeing the same sorts of attributions begin again when in US media they’re talking a lot about threats from Iran and yet they’re not providing much intel about that.” In the news business, context matters. And it’s largely missing in the US-Iran coverage. For most Americans, this conflict goes back to the 1979 Islamic revolution and the subsequent hostage-taking of 52 Americans in Tehran that were held captive in their embassy for 444 days. That is what led to the 1979 hostage crisis that Iranians remember. In 1953, the US-aided coup brought down the government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh and reinstalled the Shah of Iran, who would rule his people for a quarter century. But there is even more to US-Iran history. Such as the role the US played in the Iran-Iraq war, in the 1980s, when the Reagan administration helped Saddam Hussein’s forces and his army used chemical weapons. At least 100,000 Iranians were casualties of that. Despite that troubled backstory, in 2015, Iran came to an agreement with the US, the European Union and five other countries in which it agreed to limit its national nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. The Iranians stuck to their end of the deal. The Trump administration did not, pulling out of the pact last year, unilaterally. But US news outlets, that are usually not shy with their criticism of President Trump, provide him with much more leeway on foreign policy than on domestic issues. “Iran’s policies in the region are often described as “malign”, “nefarious”, “destabilising” as if everybody else’s actions in the region are benign and stabilising,” says Vaez. “I think this kind of demonising and portraying Iran as the source of all evil in the region is by definition a hype and by definition results in misguided policies that could produce another tragedy like the Iraq war.” Contributors Negar Mortazavi – Consultant editor, The Independent Ali Vaez – Iran Project director, International Crisis Group Narges Bajoghli – Middle East Studies, Johns Hopkins University Monalisa Freiha – Associate editor, An-Nahar newspaper

Beto O’Rourke: Trump Is ‘Provoking Yet Another War in the Middle East’ | Breitbart

Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) said President Donald Trump was “escalating | Clips

Trump’s incoherence on Iran is off the charts – The Washington Post

Why would Iran do anything Trump wants?

Encircling Iran | The Express Tribune

Any direct aggres­sion agains­t Tehran could lead to utter chaos in the whole belt from Iran to Lebano­n

POLITICO Playbook: Dianne Feinstein’s dinner with the foreign minister of Iran – POLITICO

And President Donald Trump has a no good, very bad day.

Dianne Feinstein dined with Iranian foreign minister as US feud with Tehran escalated

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a top member of the minority party in the upper chamber, met recently with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at a time of escalating tensions between Washington and Tehran.

Sanders rips Trump over escalating tensions with Iran, says war would be ‘disaster’ | Fox News

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday took aim at President Trump over the rising tensions between the United States and Iran, warning on Memorial Day that a military confrontation between the two countries would be more disastrous than the Iraq war.