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Trump agrees Iran is the major threat to Israel's existence, regional peace

Oct 03,2018 - Last updated at Oct 03,2018

US President Donald Trump branded Iran as the world's "leading sponsor of terrorism", which is sowing "chaos, death and destruction" across the globe during his address to a sceptical UN General Assembly. Trump rubbished the seven power deal dismantling Iran’s nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief and argued that Iran does not respect its neighbours or borders at a time the US is seen by many as world's chief disrespector of the sovereignty of other countries and peoples.

Meanwhile, his acolytes were cheered by a doting gathering at the United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) summit a short walk from UN headquarters in New York City. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo trashed the nuclear deal and castigated the European Union plan to circumvent punitive US sanctions. This regime is designed to wreck that country's economy and prompt Iranians to overthrow their government. Pompeo called the EU effort to maintain trade and investment with Iran "one of the most counterproductive measures imaginable for regional [and] global peace and security".

National Security Adviser John Bolton declared the US will be "aggressive and unwavering" on enforcement of US sanctions on Iran. "We do not intend for our sanctions to be evaded by Europe or anybody else."

This year's participants at the summit, the tenth to be held by this organisation, reveal that its claim to be a non-partisan, non-profit body is flagrantly false. UNAI targets firms engaged in business in Iran and advocates a blockade of food and medical supplies to Iran. Its chairman is former senator Joseph Lieberman, a strong supporter of Israel. Among its office holders are ex-US mediator in failed peace talks between Palestine and Israel, Dennis Ross, and Pompeo's policy adviser Brian Hook, who is hawkish on Iran. Another leading UANI figure is Michael Singh, managing director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), the research arm of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the powerful pro-Israel lobby, with which Ross is also associated.

According to Eli Clifton, writing on the respected blog Lobelog, the "top donors" to UANI are billionaire Thomas Kaplan and the family foundation of "Republican mega-donor” and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who combined accounted for most of the group's total revenue.

It is ironic that this group has used its muscle to press the Trump administration and Congress to pull out of the nuclear deal, which prevents Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons Tehran says it does not intend to develop and provides for strict monitoring by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of Iran's nuclear facilities.

Speaking to a Times Square gathering in New York City of the anti-regime Organisation of Iranian American Communities, Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani argued US sanctions on Iran could lead to the overthrow of the current Iranian government, but did not know when this would happen. "It could be in a few days, months, a couple of years. But's going to happen."

Israel and its US supporters have capitalised on enduring US hostility towards Iran created by the 1979 overthrow of Washington's Iranian ally, Shah Mohamed Reza Pahlavi. Placed on the throne in 1941, the shah supported Western oil interests in Iran and relied on the US to keep him in power. In 1953, the US and UK ousted Iran's democratically elected prime minister Mohammad Mossadegh, who had nationalised Iran's oil sector, and put the shah in charge of policy. Iranians still resent this coup, revere Mossadegh and argue if it had not been for that coup, Iran would have had a secular democratic system today.

The shah's intelligence service, SAVAK, was trained by US and Israeli experts, Iran hosted US military facilities and became a member of the Baghdad Pact — later the Central Treaty Organisation — established to fend off the Soviet Union. US influence became all pervasive in Iran, fuelling lingering resentment over the removal of Mossadegh and rampant corruption in the shah's court.

Upon returning to Tehran from exile in Paris, Iran's new leader Ayatollah Khomeini founded the anti-US "Islamic Republic". US-Iranian relations reached their lowest ebb when in November 1979 the US embassy in Tehran was taken over by activist students and 52 diplomats and citizens were held for 444 days. President Jimmy Carter dispatched a US military mission to rescue the captives. It failed, humiliating the US and costing Carter the 1980 election. In response to the embassy affair, the US introduced sanctions which were lifted and later reimposed by the US and UN.

When Tehran attempted to export its revolution to the region, starting by stirring up the Shiites in neighbouring Iraq, president Saddam Hussein went to war with Iran. The campaign was supported by Washington's regional allies, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and lasted eight long years, killing hundreds of thousands on both sides.

Following Khomeini's death in 1989, Iranian president Hashemi Rafsanjani tried and failed to reconcile with the West.  His successor Mohamed Khatami, seen as a genuine reformer, launched a public relations campaign with the aim of succeeding where Rafsanjani had failed. Khatami was also defeated by enduring US hostility.

Post-1979 Iran's enmity toward Washington's ally, Israel has been fully adopted by Congress and, to a lesser extent, by successive inhabitants of the White House. Palestine is the cause of this merging of hostilities. To demonstrate the new regime's break with the shah's pro-Israel stance, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was the first world figure to visit Tehran. Iran also backed Hamas and Islamic Jihad. While Israel occupied half of Lebanon in 1982-83, Iran fostered the creation of Hizbollah, which drove Israel out of south Lebanon in 2000 and countered Israel's 2006 invasion of Lebanon. The Trump administration, the most pro-Israel ever, has adopted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's long-term contention that Iran is the major threat to Israel's existence and to peace in this region.

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First it was Iraq (that was a threat to Israel) and that has been taken care of. Then it was Syria, and that has been taken care of and now it is Iran. Who next? Jordan?

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