Rex Tillerson on Iran:
“An unchecked Iran has the potential to travel the same path as North Korea and to take the world along with it,” Mr Tillerson said.
Well, perhaps. Take the region with it, maybe. The world? I’m not so sure. This is neither the time nor subject for hyperbole.
In a statement on Wednesday, Mr Tillerson said a review, which he had announced in a letter to Congress a day earlier, would look at the whole US policy towards Iran – taking in not only Tehran’s compliance with the nuclear deal but also its actions in the Middle East.
This is sensible. Obama’s deal with Iran stank to high-heaven and should have been torn up the day after Trump’s inauguration.
He accused the country of “alarming and ongoing provocations that export terror and violence, destabilising more than one country at a time”.
Which has been the case since 1979.
“Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism and is responsible for intensifying multiple conflicts and undermining US interests in countries such as Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and Lebanon, and continuing to support attacks against Israel.”
Okay, but perhaps the US would do well to re-evaluate some of those interests. Why is the US so preoccupied with what Iran is doing in Yemen, for example? Sure, it’s engaged in a proxy war with Saudi but why should America be dragged into it? And Syria? Well, I’ve said enough about that already.
As part of a long list of charges, he criticised Iran’s involvement in the Syrian conflict and its support for President Bashar al-Assad.
Look, I’m no fan of either but Iran has every right to support Bashar al-Assad. This is none of America’s business, they should concentrate on defending their clear interests, not engage in woolly moral judgements about who is supporting whom.
America has tried policing the Middle East and it has been an utter disaster, they really ought to quit. Iran is a threat to US interests for the reasons Tillerson has cited, but by including issues in which the US interests are unclear serves only to provide ammunition to those who think Trump’s administration has been captured by neo-cons baying for war.
Everyone knows what Iran is like, we don’t need any more accusations or statements of the obvious. Just state clearly where and how they are in direct conflict with American interests and take firm action in those areas, and leave the rest well alone.