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5 things to know about Iran

News & Commentary  |  By Tori Bateman, Jul 2, 2019
Photo: AFSC

It seems unfathomable that the U.S. would fan the flames of further wars in the Middle East, but right now the Trump administration is rapidly escalating tensions with Iran.

Here’s what you need to know and how can you call for lasting peace. 

1. U.S. aggression toward Iran is reaching a fever pitch. 

Last month, President Trump ordered strikes on Iran, only calling them off at the last minute. That morning, Iran had shot down an unmanned surveillance drone it says crossed into Iranian airspace. 

U.S. leadership continues to push us toward strikes against Iran. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo has been heard using the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to justify potential U.S. military action against Iran, and Sen. Tom Cotton called for immediate retaliatory attacks. National Security Advisor John Bolton has a long history of calling for pre-emptive strikes against aspiring nuclear powers. 

2. These recent developments are just the latest in a long line of provocations between Iran and the U.S. 

The United States has accused Iran of using naval mines to attack two tankers near the Strait of Hormuz. Earlier this week, it was announced that Iran had breached the limit for enriched uranium imposed by the 2015 Iran nuclear deal – a reaction to sanctions reinstated after the U.S. withdraw from the deal in 2018.

What’s happening now follows a long line of provocations, including the incorporation of Iranians in the Trump administration’s Muslim ban and economic sanctions imposed by each nation on the other. Tensions reach back to the CIA’s involvement in the 1953 coup that deposed Iran’s democratically elected leader to establish a dictatorship friendlier to U.S. and U.K. oil interests.     

3. The calls for war with Iran echo the misguided calls for war with Iraq. 

The accusations of Iranian guilt in the tanker mining incident are based on the intelligence community’s assessment of limited evidence – an assessment that a Japanese official called “speculation.” In addition, military action against Iran would likely be based on the AUMF and shaky claims that Iran has collaborated with al Qaeda. If there is one thing we learned from U.S. military intervention in Iraq, it’s that war does not make people safer and only further entrenches and expands conflicts.

4. The military-industrial-complex has already benefited from the rhetoric.

The Trump administration used tensions with Iran to justify circumventing the congressional approval process for an $8 billion dollar arms sale to Saudi Arabia. 

5.  War with Iran – or any country – is never the answer.

AFSC stands against any military action against Iran. We reject the idea that national security is a zero-sum game and seek a model of security that recognizes the interconnectedness of all people. 

Join AFSC and people across the country in calling on Congress to do everything in their power to stop the Trump administration from bringing us closer to war with Iran! Contact your elected officials today. 

About the Author

Tori Bateman is policy advocacy coordinator in AFSC's Office of Public Policy and Advocacy. She advocates for U.S. policy that aligns with AFSC's vision of shared security.

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