US uses Iran nuclear deal as leverage - fmr Pentagon official

US uses Iran nuclear deal as leverage - fmr Pentagon official
The US is using Iran nuclear agreement as a stepping stone to get more cooperation from the Europeans, and Washington’s UN ambassador is trying to leverage US position against Iran for that purpose, says former Pentagon official Michael Maloof.

The US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley lashed out at Iran during the latest Security Council meeting on Wednesday.

“As a Council, we’ve adopted a dangerously short-sighted approach. Judging Iran by the narrow confines of the nuclear deal misses the true nature of the threat. Iran must be judged in the totality of its aggressive, destabilizing, and unlawful behavior. To do otherwise would be foolish,” she claimed.

Last week, US President Donald Trump announced he would decertify the nuclear agreement with Iran. Meanwhile, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged the international community to make a stand against the White House moves.

RT: What do you make of Nikki Haley calling Iran's behavior the main reason for all the unrest in the Middle East?

Michael Maloof: It is an overblown statement as usual. Iran is not the main culprit here. What she is trying to do is leverage the US position against Iran in order to get more cooperation, if you will, from the Europeans in a variety of areas... And they are using the nuclear agreement as a stepping stone for that purpose. The president, even though he announced the decertification, he really didn’t decertify, he bucked it to Congress, Congress may or may not act. And if the Congress doesn’t act, the president has the option of either terminating the US role, or he can just say what is going to be in the national interest, US security interest to continue on and still try to undertake the issues that are has, the myriad of issues. US policy toward Iran really mirrors what the Israelis are saying. Nikki Haley only speaks from the talking point she is handed by the State Department. She had no prior experience in international affairs. I think what has happened here is that Trump is trying to leverage. If you read his The Art of the Deal Chapter two: The elements of the deal, this is precisely the way he operates. He goes for bombastic ways and then he tries to leverage the opposition of the opponent. And this is precisely how he is operating in international affairs. And it can be very dangerous. And I think more and more people are understanding this, as are the Europeans.

RT: Washington's UN ambassador even compared Iran to North Korea. “The list of Iran’s dangerous and destructive behavior that I just outlined does not even include the regime’s most threatening act: Its repeated ballistic missile launches, including the launch this summer of an ICBM-enabling missile. That should be a clarion call to everyone in the United Nations. When a rogue regime starts down the path of ballistic missiles, it tells us that we will soon have another North Korea on our hands. If it is wrong for North Korea to do this, why doesn’t that same mentality apply to Iran?” she said. To what extent is that a fair comparison?

MM: Again, it is one in which she is trying to use the agreement to gain other concessions and try to get the UN to act on other UN resolutions that have to do with limiting Iran’s missiles. There is nothing in that agreement per se that addresses the missile issue. Leveraging – they use that agreement to get the UN to act in other areas such as limiting the missile capabilities of Iran. I think what Trump is trying to do also is to get the UN and the Europeans particularly to tighten up on the financial side, to stop alleged shipments of arms that might be going from here to there, to stop support of Hezbollah which the US has deemed to be a terrorist group. A lot of other countries do not regard it as such…

RT: Nikki Haley has called for the international community to stand up to Iran, while Iran has called on Europe to oppose US actions. Whose side will they come down on?

MM: The US at the end is not going to get what it wants. It is not going to get this kind of action, in fact, they may get a retrenchment on the part of the Europeans who have all agreed to this agreement. They are looking at the agreement, they have already opened up trade, they have opened up other avenues of rapprochement with the Iranians which is economically beneficial, but they also don’t want to have a fight with the Iranians ultimately...The whole idea of Obama and going along with this agreement was that during the tenure period it would be a time in which we could lessen tensions with Iran and open up further avenues of cooperation. Instead, under Trump we are doing just the opposite.