Opinion: US renews sanctions on Iran – a case of déjà vu all over again
Updated 20:01, 10-Aug-2018
Harvey Dzodin
Editor's Note: Harvey Dzodin, Senior Research Fellow of the Center for China and Globalization, a former legal adviser in Carter administration. The article reflects the authors' opinion, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) negotiated by the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, namely China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States plus Germany (P5+1), together with the European Union, as well as Iran took years to achieve and involved hundreds of scientists and statesmen at the highest level.
Its aim was to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons for a period of time with sunset provisions starting to take effect in 2025 and beyond.
On May 8, US President Donald Trump withdrew from it, despite the fact that intrusive UN inspections and oversight found that Iran was fully compliant. Trump had campaigned against the JCPOA when running for president saying it was “a horrible one-sided deal that should have never ever been made.”
In at least two respects, what we see potentially unfolding, or perhaps unraveling, is as Yogi Berra, an American master of malapropism, once famously reputedly said is “that it’s déjà vu all over again.”
First, although Trump’s stated reasons for pulling out have included objections to the sunsets; lack of limitations on missile delivery systems; and Iran’s destabilizing activities in its already volatile region, I think those are mere excuses, fig leafs, and that the true reason for doing so and re-imposing severe and crippling sanctions on the Iranian government and people is to achieve regime change in the near term. The US has experience in such matters in Iran and it certainly is a case of déjà vu all over again.
US withdrew from Iran nuclear agreement. /VCG Photo

US withdrew from Iran nuclear agreement. /VCG Photo

In 1953 the Cold War was well under way. Iran was a strategic country as they had both abundant oil reserves, much more important in those days than today, and it was a politically-reliable geographic buffer blocking the Soviet Union’s access to the Persian Gulf.
The democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh, a moderate leftist wanted to nationalize Iran’s oil and this threatened US and British interests.
The prime minister was overthrown by a rogue CIA officer, Kermit Roosevelt, grandson of US President Teddy Roosevelt, who despite being given specific instructions to not stage another coup after an earlier one had failed, successfully did so. The autocratic Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, seized power and himself was overthrown by the current clerical regime in 1979.
It’s ironic that this regime is the very one in the crosshairs of Trump and his cronies, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton. Both of them have never specifically mentioned regime change as public officials, at least not very directly, but both were Iran hawks prior to assuming their current offices.
You don’t need to be a stable genius to posit that Trump’s statement on August 6 came close when he said that “we look forward to the day when the people of Iran, and all people across the region, can prosper together in safety and peace.”
May 21, 2018: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks on the topic of "After the Deal: A New Iran Strategy." /VCG Photo

May 21, 2018: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks on the topic of "After the Deal: A New Iran Strategy." /VCG Photo

As a member of Congress, Pompeo, publicly called for congressional action to “change Iranian behavior, and, ultimately, the Iranian regime.”
Before re-entering government service Bolton advocated Trump’s withdrawal from JCPOA, the bombing of Iran and for years has called for the overthrow of the Iranian regime. 
Last year he told members of the Mujahedeen Khalq, an Iranian exile group that had American blood on its hands, and also supported Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war that they were a viable alternative to Iran’s present regime and that they’d all be celebrating the regime’s overthrow in Tehran by its 40th anniversary, February 11, 2019, six months from now. There’s certainly zero-ambiguity as to where these guys stand.
And speaking of Iraq, it’s also a case of déjà vu all over again that 15 years ago neoconservatives were bleating like sheep that removing Saddam Hussein in Iraq and replacing him with democracy would lead to a golden age of peace and prosperity.
One of the loudest of them was John Bolton. As Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs for George W. Bush, he helped manipulate intelligence data to falsely suggest that Saddam was actively developing weapons of mass destruction. We are continuing to pay the price for his manipulation and for this debacle in Iraq and the region.
So don’t be surprised if the Iranian regime facing a collapsing economy and a restless population starts to wobble or worse. To me, it all seems part of the same plan of déjà vu all over again.