In May 2018, President Trump pulled the U.S. out of an international agreement, the Iranian nuclear deal, that the U.S. helped negotiate. Despite Trump’s claim to the contrary, Iran made far more concessions to reach this strong agreement than the other negotiating nations did. As a testament to the effective diplomacy, the deal was also approved by the U.N. Security Council. In the weird world in which we live, after the U.S. reneged on the agreement, the U.S. imposed tough unilateral economic sanctions on Iran, a nation that complied with the agreement. Making matters worse, the U.S. attempted to coerce the other agreement partners into joining the sanctions on Iran.

Unsurprisingly, the U.S. mainstream media hasn’t pointed out how bizarre this situation is. Instead, the influential media strongly supports the U.S. economic sanctions that are collective punishment and a form of illegal warfare against the Iranian people. The sanctions greatly limit Iran’s ability to sell its oil and weaken Iran’s ability to meet the economic needs of its people. This is the same form of warfare the U.S. is illegally using against Venezuela. The mainstream U.S. media’s biased coverage of both these situations clearly demonstrates that the media is an important partner in U.S. imperialism as its job is to convince the U.S. public that up is down and down is up.

The U.S. is desperate to overthrow the leadership of both Iran and Venezuela in order to get leaders who are more compliant and supportive of U.S. interests. John Bolton, Trump’s national security advisor, is an unrepentant war hawk who strongly favors U.S. unilateral action. He is actively working for regime change in both countries. Bolton also strongly supported the illegal U.S.-led attack on Iraq. That attack was sold to the public on the false claim of Iraq having weapons of mass destruction.

Bolton has also long pushed for military attacks on Iran. He has important partners — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman — in the campaign for an U.S. attack on Iran. Both these nations view Iran as a threat to their goals in the Middle East. They also exercise strong influence on the U.S. political process and can help build support in Congress for an attack on Iran by the U.S.

The U.S. recently moved ships and planes into the Persian Gulf, increasing the tension and the possibility for a misunderstanding that could lead to a military conflict. Bolton recently claimed without substantiation that U.S. intelligence has identified credible threats from Iranian forces in Syria and Iraq. A British general in Baghdad strongly disputed the claim, and others say the most aggressive moves have originated in Washington, not Tehran. It appears as if the U.S. is trying to provoke Iran while convincing the public that it is simply responding to Iranian acts.

For more on the media, please attend a panel discussion on “The Role of Media in a Democracy” at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 23, in Humanities 150 on the CU Boulder campus.

The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center’s “Peace Train” runs every Friday in the Colorado Daily.

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