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How much does Trump love Putin?

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Does USA love Russia or Russia love USA? Can an American President love a Russian counterpart any time in future? USA and Russia are strongest foes with largest terror arsenals and their missiles target each other. The only plus point for them is that both are UN veto members, strategically controlling the world.

American media is filled with unbelievable stories about US presidential hopeful Donald Trump’s reverence for Russian president Vladimir Putin – former KGB intelligence officer who later in his career worked for KGB in Germany before he was handpicked by the new and first post-Soviet Russian president Boris Yelstsin to succeed him. Russia, Americans say, is frequently at odds with American interests on the world stage.

Is Trump all that committed on his pronouncements on Russian policy? Is there any creditable evidence that he has received Russian money? Are Trump’s business interests in Russia really all that significant?

Basically, Trump is an American hawk while Putin is a Russian variety of this character. Trump may have business interests in Russia that Puitn may back. Apart from that, Trump may have liked the boldness, stubbornness and thoroughness of Russian president.

Recently Republican Donald Trump said he is not sure what kind of relationship he would have with Russian President Putin if he is elected US president.

Democrats have consistently mocked Trump’s past remarks in praise of the Russian strongman, the latest instance coming from vice presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine.

Donald Trump pushed back on Hillary Clinton’s accusation that he’s cozying up to Putin after the charge put Trump’s running mate on the defensive during the vice presidential debate. The billionaire Trump sought to take away an argument that Clinton and her running mate, Tim Kaine, have ramped up in the final weeks of the campaign as they work to portray Trump as dangerous for American interests overseas. While US-Russia relations nosedive over failed diplomacy in Syria, Trump has complimented Putin, calling him a strong leader and even encouraging him to track down Clinton’s missing emails, though Trump later said he was being sarcastic.

The celebrity businessman said his relationship with Russia’s leader would be determined by how Moscow responds to strong US leadership under a Trump administration. “They say Donald Trump loves Putin. I don’t love, I don’t hate. We’ll see how it works,” Trump told a rally outside Las Vegas. Speaking before an estimated crowd of 7,000 in Henderson, Nev., a Las Vegas suburb, Trump said he could not predict the type of relationship he would have with Putin.

Trump was on the campaign trail, making several stops across Nevada. Taking the stage in Henderson, Nev., Trump took his own victory lap for Pence’s performance, which he called “phenomenal.”

Clinton shrugged that off, saying Trump has weird fascination with dictators. “My opponent seems not to know the difference between an ally and adversary,” Clinton said at an evening fundraiser in Washington. “You guys love Russia,” Democratic VP candidate Kaine said in Tuesday’s debate. In a forceful rebuke, Pence described Putin as a “small and bullying leader” but blamed Clinton and President Barack Obama for a “weak and feckless” foreign policy that had awakened Moscow’s aggression in Ukraine and meddling in the Middle East. Pence’s cool demeanor contrasted with Trump’s bluster during his own, top-of-the-ticket showdown against Clinton. However strong Pence’s performance, Trump made clear he considers it a reflection of himself.

During the debate, Trump’s running mate Gov. Mike Pence, who has defended Trump’s praise of Putin, backed away from Trump’s previous praise for Putin, calling the Russian president a “small and bullying” leader.

Trump and Russia

Russia, by whatever yardstick is in vogue, prefers Trump if for no other reason than it hates Hillary Clinton because of her alleged foreign policy interventionist views. But Russian officials are also worried by the disruptive potential of a Trump presidency, specifically about his fulfillment of even some of his chaotic promises.

Vladimir Putin clearly is pleased with Trump’s praise of him, such as saying that Putin has been a better leader than Barack Obama. And the Kremlin is thrilled by Trump’s statements deriding NATO, applauding the British decision to leave the European Union and suggesting that America might not defend allies threatened by Russia.

Stylistically Trump is Putin’s type. Trump seems to Moscow at this point unlikely to put politically correct talk of “Western values” ahead of “our mutual and shared interests.” That he may well harm the Western alliance in the process is a most welcome bonus. Trump will smash America as the Russians currently perceive it. There is little doubt (at least as expressed on Radio Moscow) that Trump’s use of advisers who are sympathetic to Moscow is welcome.

Trump’s views on America’s role in the world completely align with the very fervent hopes Russia has. If reports on Radio Moscow are any guide, there is some understanding of Trump’s unpredictability — that is, just about everything is unknown. While Hillary Clinton is viewed as fiercely anti-Russian, she is nonetheless a familiar figure, and there is some grudging respect. She if elected would just pursue the Bush-Obama imperialist policies abroad.

Donald Trump shows himself to inhabit a fantastical realm where Barack Obama’s birth certificate was faked, the president founded ISIS, the Clintons are killers and the father of a former rival was with Lee Harvey Oswald before he assassinated John F. Kennedy in Dallas.

Americans feel depressed that their president Obama does not enjoy the benefits of hard power like Turkish or Russian presidents do. The deeper worry, therefore, is for Russia and Turkey, where “autocrats” use the techniques of post-truth to silence opposing opinions deemed unacceptable by some. In USA, the Congress itself is a hoax, behaves like a collective autocrat.

The USA and Russia back opposing sides in Syria’s civil war but both are fighting the Islamic State group there. The USA cut off talks with Russia about Syria this week after the latest cease-fire collapsed, blaming Russia for failing to fulfill its commitments under the deal. “I can say this: If we get along and Russia went out with us and knocked the hell out of ISIS, that’s OK with me folks,” Trump said, using an acronym for the extremist group.

Democrat Kaine acknowledged that even his wife gave him a hard time for his constant interruptions during the debate. But Kaine said he was effectively able to block Republican VP candidate Pence from attacking Clinton. “I’ve never played hockey but I think I’d be a good goalie, based on last night,” he said.

Vice-presidential debates don’t typically change the course of an election, but this one could be different if Trump heeds its lessons in his next debate. The Republican has slid in the polls since the first debate by getting lost in dead-end issues and self-indulgent Twitter bursts. Pence are a former radio talk show host, and it showed with his cool, articulate delivery. His earnest, low-key demeanor was a notable contrast to Tim Kaine, whose strategy seemed to be to interrupt Pence at every opportunity.

Foreign policy

Foreign policy remains the key area of US interests but it is strange foreign policy maters have not yet entered the debates of the presidential hopefuls. Only Trumps love for Russia has been debated in a vague manner without any perspectives.

Hillary and Trump have not discussed the rationale for the permanent war agenda of USA and NATO. Nor do they say anything in detail about the US aid to third world underdeveloped nations. Disarmament or denuclearization issues have not come up in debates and speeches even by mistake.

The most notable substantive exchanges occurred on foreign policy, with Republican VP candidate Pence offering a ¬detailed critique of Barack Obama’s record and growing global disorder. Democrat VP mate Kaine kept saying Clinton was part of the team that killed Osama bin Laden, but that is old anti-terror news. Pence replied that the main terror threat now was Islamic State, which he said grew out of “the vacuum” left when Obama withdrew all US troops from Iraq.

Notable was the debate on Russia, with Kaine claiming that Trump has business ties with “oligarchs” that cause him to apologize for Vladimir Putin. Trump’s admiration for Putin is mysterious and worrisome. But Pence pointed out Clinton’s hawkishness-come-lately on Russia follows years of weak ¬policy that invited Putin’s aggression. Pence reminded the audience what a classic Republican security policy sounds like — if only Trump would adopt it.

For the most part Pence dodged this trap, going back on offence against the Clinton-Obama record rather than ¬defend every Trump statement, many of which are indefensible. This is a useful lesson for Trump to take into the next debate, a town hall in which audience members will ask the questions. People want to like their presidents.

At least henceforth the presidential candidates must discuss the future war plans of USA and when they should end terror wars for fun and resources, declare a credible plan to withdraw all its terror troops from foreign soils.

Observation

The big moment for their running mates behind them, both Democratic Hillary and Republican Trump are shifting focus back to each other — and to Sunday’s debate, the second of three showdowns between the nominees. The debate is very critical for Trump. Since last week’s debate, Trump has faced a barrage of questions over a leaked tax return showing he lost more than $900 million in 1995. In turn, he’s sought to reframe his life story as a comeback tale he hopes to recreate on behalf of a faltering nation. “America needs a turnaround. American needs a comeback. America needs a change. And that’s why I’m running,” Trump said.

If Republican Trump could make the case for Donald Trump half as well as his ally Mike Pence makes the case for Donald Trump, the New Yorker would be well on his way to the White House.

Also, a latest opinion poll suggests that Republican Trump is ahead of Hillary by 2. 5 points and this trend is likely to go up as poll date approaches. These days, possibly in order to help shoot up the rating of Obama and Clinton Hillary, many TV channels relays Hollywood movies where Black Americans play lead hero role or positive rules to help the White American heroes, among others and naturally the rating of Obama is sound.

Russia gives every appearance of hoping that the presidential run by Republican Donald Trump will prove successful and there is every indication that the Kremlin wants to give him a boost. Russia has made a lukewarm confession of hacking the emails from the Democratic National Committee that appeared on WikiLeaks. Surely this must be a covert Russian operation designed specifically to sow distrust in our elections. Put another way, Trump may well have become an agent of the Russian Federation.

Being cast adrift in ever expanding ocean of American lies spread and “democratize” in order to invade Muslim nations, the American people may well end up with nothing to cling to. This in itself may well end up in old-fashioned oppression in USA. Ukraine’s ex-president Vicktor Yanukovych, a Kremlin ally, recently made a speech in which he denounced America’s hypocritical focus on democratization in all its forms.

The point Democrats are busy driving to the public is to remind Americans that Trump can be crude, nasty and untutored. This fits the Clinton strategy to delegitimize Trump personally as a ¬potential president. His affirmative case for Clinton and her agenda were ¬almost afterthoughts.

Regardless of who takes the White House come November, Russia’s very presence at the center of American electoral politics is celebrated in Moscow. here is wholesale denying of meddling in Moscow; the accusations nonetheless reinforce the sense of Putin’s power. The focus in Russia on the presidential campaign in America is construed to be a true and lasting acknowledgement that Russia has returned to the international arena. That surely must be what Putin really craves.

All said and done, if Trump is elected US president the limping US-Russian relations would develop smoothly. Putin and Trump could find a common language.

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Americas

‘Guns Don’t Kill People, People Kill People’: Time to retire

Mohammad Ghaderi

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Again, another mass shooting, again a school, again a troubled teen, a racist, a white supremacist, a Bloods or Crips gangster, a refugee, a war veteran, a mad policeman, a terrorist from al-Qaeda, al-Nusra Front or from the ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant/Daesh) terrorist outfits … what difference does it make and again dead bodies lying on the ground in their blood. Who believes they were alive seconds ago. The story goes on and to my surprise it is having less effect than it used to have years ago. Why?

We are getting bad. We are not hurt anymore. Too much violence has made us numb.

What does the motto on the entrance of the United Nations building says? A poem by the Iranian influential poet Sa’adi, from the 13th century, the medieval period. The poem has many translations however one is this:

The sons of Adam are limbs of each other,
Having been created of one essence.
When the calamity of time affects one limb
The other limbs cannot remain at rest.
If you have no sympathy for the troubles of others,
You are unworthy to be called by the name of a Human.

Give it a thought, try to put it in practice, politician and statesmen in the United Nations, New York, United States. It is ludicrous that almost all of them call for end of wars, urge foe peace and tranquil but at the same time produce and sell arms.

War, violence and killing is simply unacceptable, nasty and painful in any kind and form, whether it occurs in a house, street, city, countries like Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Palestine or the United States of America.

U.S. teen confesses to mass shooting at Florida Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

A troubled teen with alleged ties to a white supremacist group confessed on Thursday to murdering 17 people at his former high school in Florida, as the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) admitted it had received a tip-off about the 19-year-old gunman yet failed to stop him.

As Americans reeled from the country’s worst school massacre since the horror at Sandy Hook six years ago, the U.S. President Donald Trump suggested the root cause of the violence was a crisis of mental health — and defied calls to address gun control.

Terrified students hid in closets and under desks on Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, texting for help as the gunman, Nikolas Cruz, stalked the school with a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle.

Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder, appearing on Thursday afternoon before a judge who ordered him held without bond.

After being read his legal rights, “Cruz stated that he was the gunman who entered the school campus armed with a AR-15 and began shooting students that he saw in the hallways and on the school grounds,” court documents showed.

Cruz also admitted he discarded his rifle — which he bought legally in Florida — and tactical gear in order to blend in with the crowd to flee the campus, the documents showed.

The recent mass shooting at a school in Florida is the latest reminder that the United States is a “very violent country,” a journalist in Detroit says.

After the shooting, he stopped at a Wal-Mart store and then McDonald’s, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel told reporters. He was detained 40 minutes later, after police identified him using school security camera footage.

Expelled from school for disciplinary reasons, Cruz was known to be fixated on firearms — and had reportedly been identified as a potential threat to his classmates.

In a somber televised address to the nation in response to the 18th school shooting so far this year, Trump vowed to make mental health a priority — after tweeting about the “many signs” the gunman was “mentally disturbed” — while avoiding any talk of gun curbs.

Earlier in the day, Trump had asserted that “neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!”

But U.S. authorities themselves were under scrutiny, after the FBI confirmed it was alerted last September to a message posted on YouTube, in which a user named Nikolas Cruz vowed: “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.”

In a statement, the FBI said it had carried out “database reviews and other checks” but was unable to identify the person who made the post.

Trump cites mental health, not guns, in speech on shooting

Declaring the nation united and grieving with “one heavy heart,” Trump promised on Thursday to tackle school safety and “the difficult issue of mental health” in response to the deadly shooting in Florida. He made no mention of the scourge of gun violence.

Not always a natural in the role of national comforter, Trump spoke deliberately, at one point directly addressing children who may feel “lost, alone, confused or even scared.”

“I want you to know that you are never alone and you never will be,” Trump said. “You have people who care about you, who love you, and who will do anything at all to protect you.”

However, the ones killed were alone when they were shot in cold blood in fear and hope. The ones who lost their precious lives had many hopes and ambitions.

Now they are dead, and it could be every and each one of us, at a school, stadium, concert hall, cinema, home, Middle East, Americas… anywhere, it could be.

Such incidents are cause of sorrow and pain, I cannot explain how I felt when I saw the horrible pictures of the Florida High School shooting, just like how I felt when I saw the massacre committed by the ISIL terrorists killing cadets in Camp Speicher in Tikrit, Iraq. At the time of the attack there were between 4,000 and 11,000 unarmed cadets in the camp. ISIL terrorists singled out Shia and non-Muslim cadets from Sunni ones and murdered them.

Who arms and supports terrorist groups like ISIL? No one can be so naeive to believe that they have just popped out. I recall the U.S. President Trump as saying on his election campaign to Hillary Clinton that the U.S. created ISIL. Well done!

While Trump stressed the importance of mental health and school safety improvements, his latest budget request would slash Medicaid, the major source of federal funding for treating mental health problems, and cut school safety programs by more than a third. Last year, he signed a resolution blocking an Obama-era rule designed to keep guns out of the hands of certain mentally disabled people.

Trump’s silence on guns was noted with displeasure by many who are seeking tougher firearm restrictions. But the White House said the president wanted to keep his remarks focused on the victims.

Before he was a candidate, Trump at one point favored some tighter gun regulations. But he embraced gun rights as a candidate, and the National Rifle Association spent $30 million in support of his campaign.

During his brief, televised statement, Trump said he wanted to work to “create a culture in our country that embraces the dignity of life,” a phrase likely to resonate with his conservative base.

In contrast, former President Barack Obama tweeted out a call for “long overdue, common-sense gun safety laws.” Obama wrote: “We are grieving with Parkland. But we are not powerless. Caring for our kids is our first job.”

In reacting to previous mass shootings, Trump has largely focused on mental health as a cause, dismissing questions about gun control. After a shooting at a Texas church in November left more than two dozen dead, the president said, “This isn’t a guns situation.”
The US has averaged one school shooting every 60 hours since the beginning of 2018, data shows.

Trump was criticized in early August for saying that both white nationalists and counter-protesters were responsible for the violent clashes at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

While Trump has offered somber responses to some tragedies, he has also drawn criticism for other reactions.

After the Orlando shootings at a gay nightclub that left 49 dead in June 2016, then-candidate Trump tweeted, “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism.” In the wake of a deadly terror attack in London last June, he went after Mayor Sadiq Khan on Twitter.

Sadiq Khan compares the US president’s rhetoric against Islam to tactics used by ISIL to inspire terror attacks in Western cities.

First published in our partner Tehran Times

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On Jettisoning Failed Leaders and Mass Shootings in the U.S.

Dr. Arshad M. Khan

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The scene is the House of Commons; the date May 7, 1940.  A simple motion to adjourn for the ten-day Whitsun recess is of little concern to Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain who has a comfortable 213 seat majority.  Then things take a turn.  A plan approved by the first Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill to land troops in Norway and engage the Germans directly has been a disaster with huge losses, and the eventual naval evacuation of the expeditionary force — an Arctic Dardanelles planned by the same man.

Chamberlain rises to defend Churchill and the conduct of the war in what has now come to be known as the “Norway Debate”.  In the most unlikely of scenarios and with no evidence of Winston trying to put his name forward — in fact the opposite — when the tide turns against Chamberlain, within three days as more favored candidates are shed, he has become prime minister.  Such is the parliamentary system.  Margaret Thatcher is another example, toppled shortly after success at the polls.

The American system, however, puts the president beyond such reach other than through a laborious impeachment.  Analogous to the third Roman Emperor Caligula, Donald Trump, too, has no military or political experience.  Caligula made his horse a senator or some say consul; Trump has the equivalent running government departments and agencies.  Caligula declared himself a god; Trump tweeted he is a ‘stable genius.’  If Caligula’s reign ended with assassination, Trump’s will be more prosaic — just disaffected voters.

Another mass shooting this time at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  Seventeen are dead and  many more injured.  The gunman, identified as Nikolas Cruz, used an AR-15 assault type rifle, a weapon far deadlier than a pistol — perhaps he watched the coverage of the Las Vegas shooting.  He was a former pupil who had been suspended from the school, and who students recalled as disturbed and scary.

President Trump in his remarks following the incident did not bring up the obvious question of why an AR-15 was so easily available for purchase.  Gun owners and the gun lobby are part of his constituency.

Following a mass shooting in April 1996 when a man armed with two semi-automatic rifles killed 35 people in Port Arthur, Tasmania, the Australian government put together strict gun laws.  They were supplemented with a mandatory gun-buyback program through which 650,000 firearms were destroyed.  Did the program work?  The data tells the story more vividly:  From 1979 to 1996, Australia suffered 13 mass shootings; since 1997 it has had none.

Under his usual theme of ‘guns don’t kill people, people kill people’, President Trump continues to talk about finding ways to deal better with disturbed people.  The sure Australian way is to stop them acquiring guns.

Lost in the Florida school story was another shooting the same day when trigger-happy guards let loose at a National Security Agency entrance.  The forested area is a confused mass of entries and exits.  It has happened before that somebody inadvertently makes a wrong turn and panics when faced with shouting armed guards.  In this incident, bullet holes can be seen in the windshield and the three men in the car were injured.

Introducing the Gates Foundation’s annual philanthropic letter a few days ago, Bill and Melinda Gates appealed to Donald Trump to not cut foreign aid — “even a 10 percent cut could lead to 5 million deaths in the next decade”, Bill Gates warned.  Will President Trump listen?

Despite the many wonderful aspects the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, when it comes to jettisoning incompetent leaders, it is difficult to best the parliamentary system for immediacy.

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Trump’s new nuclear doctrine just rhetoric

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Recently the US President Donald Trump unveiled his new nuclear doctrine which had remained unchanged since 2010. Many experts consider Trump’s new doctrine which enjoys many ambiguities as just campaign rhetoric. To shed more light on the issue we reached out to Prof. Filip Kovacevic, University of San Francisco geopolitics.

The US new nuclear doctrine was published several days ago. This document had remained unchanged since 2010. What are the reasons for new changes?

According to the US military establishment, the most important reason for changes is that the world has been a more dangerous and geopolitically unstable place. What the generals are not saying, though, is that it was their own actions which are responsible for this state of affairs. The hegemonic US foreign policy, the attempt to force a neo-liberal Pax Americana on the diversity and richness of the world’s cultures and traditions, is the cause of the present world problems.

Of course, you won’t find this stated openly in the doctrine. What you will find there, in a typical manipulative fashion, are the accusations of others for the problems that the US foreign policy has caused itself. In fact, this hypocritical pattern of behavior, where you take the legitimate reactions of others to your own provocations and aggressive moves as the main cause of tensions and conflicts, goes back many decades into the past.

What is the most significant difference between the new doctrine and the previous one?

In my opinion, the most significant difference is that a lot more money will be poured into the development of nuclear weapons. This will inevitably lead to a nuclear arms race with other states and to the proliferation of nuclear weapons as more and more countries will want to acquire them. But it will bring tremendous profits to the US military-industrial complex. In fact, the Trump administration is completely under the control of this section of the US corporate oligarchy. Trump is essentially breaking down all the institutional checks and balances in the US political system and paving a way for a military dictatorship. I have no doubt that the next US president will be a military officer. This means that we are about to see more wars and more deaths around the world, including in the Middle East. Many old, frozen conflicts will be re-opened across Asia and, apparently, the US is also setting a stage for the first-time use of a low yield nuclear weapon. Let’s not forget, though, that the bombs with depleted uranium have already been extensively used in the US /NATO conflicts, starting with the attack on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999, causing horrific public health and environmental problems for generations to come.

In new doctrine, the use of nuclear weapons is allowed in extraordinary situation. There are some ambiguities around this. What are those extraordinary situations exactly?

The fact that the US reserves the right to respond with a nuclear weapon to a non-nuclear attack is nothing new. In fact, the US dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki even though there was no nuclear threat from the Imperial Japan. However, what is new in this doctrine is that now the US considers the potential use of a nuclear weapon against a large-scale cyber-attack. This is extremely worrying, because, as is well known, it is very difficult to correctly attribute the source of a cyber-attack. This could make a false-flag attack by some rogue terrorist faction or by the inside provocateurs misinterpreted as an attack by another nuclear power and lead to the nuclear annihilation of all life on Earth.

As the US considers the first strike on Russia acceptable, it means the spirit of the cold war is governing this new doctrine. Why has the US taken this approach?

Provoked by the rapid and aggressive expansion of the US political, economic, and cultural influence in Central and Eastern Europe under the umbrella of NATO, Russia has embarked on the campaign of re-arming and strengthening its defense and security apparatus in recent years. It appears that the US thought that Russia would cave in under its demands and accept to be a third-rate power in Eurasia. However, this was a serious misunderstanding of the Russian history and tradition. Now that Russia pushes back, the US establishment does not know what else to do but to make threats. However, these are empty threats because any kind of use of nuclear weapons against Russia or against its allies within the Collective Security Treaty Organization would quickly lead to mutual destruction. The spirit of the old Cold War has returned, and it will be with us for a long time to come. Accordingly, we will see the flare-up of proxy conflicts and covert actions across the world.

How do you assess the US new doctrine toward Iran? What are the new points?

Iran is one of only four states separately mentioned in the doctrine. The others are Russia, China, and North Korea. Iran is given the least coverage because it is not seen as an immediate nuclear danger to the US .The main emphasis is on what will happen after the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) ends in 2031. It is stated that after this period, Iran will be able to produce a nuclear weapon within a year. Interestingly, there is no mention of the US getting out of the JCPOA before that time, which is in contradiction to what the US president Donald Trump has been saying recently. It appears that Trump’s statements are just campaign rhetoric intended to please some important and wealthy interest groups, but that, in reality, it will be difficult for the US to get out of the JCPOA, considering that all other signatories are still backing it. However, this is not to say that the US will not use all other means at its disposal, including its vast media and intelligence resources, to sow discord within the Iranian political elite and create an economic and political crisis in the country.

First published in our partner Mehr News Agency

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