US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has warned allies that time is running out to squash Iran while it’s weakened by an arms embargo, urging them to halt Tehran’s “destabilizing behavior” before it regains the ability to fight back.
Tweeting a countdown clock purporting to show the “time remaining before the UN arms embargo on Iran expires and Qasim Soleimani’s travel ban ends,” Pompeo urged “allies and partners” to step up their pressure on the bogeyman du jour before the embargo expires and the playing field levels somewhat.
The clock is ticking. Time remaining before the UN arms embargo on Iran expires and Qasem Soleimani’s travel ban ends. We urge our allies and partners to increase the pressure on the Iranian regime until it stops its destabilizing behavior. https://t.co/oxsXNiJ4Q3 pic.twitter.com/o4HpES3GKs
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) August 12, 2019
The post received approving nods from “Iranian-American” accounts retweeting hashtags like “#PahlaviMadeIranGreat” and “#IranRegimeChange” (and, interestingly enough, a lot of Hong Kong protesters), but others pointed out that had the US not withdrawn from the JCPOA nuclear agreement, “there would be no problem.” Still others noted that the US was clearly worried about Iran being able to arm itself and push back against American aggression, and that the “threat” was entirely imaginary.
"countries like Russia and China will be able to sell the Iranian government tanks, missiles, and air defense equipment."
So in other words, Iranians will be able to militarily defend themselves against any foreign aggression. Got it. Sounds good to me.
— Bearded Scholar (@gwr_patriot) August 12, 2019
“Clock is ticking on your failed policy,” one user snarked. “Maybe they will be swayed by this very clever gif,” another suggested.
Pompeo has been at the forefront of US efforts to rope a multinational coalition into “policing” the Strait of Hormuz for months, first blaming Iran for a series of minor but mysterious attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf and last month pointing to Tehran’s seizure of a British-owned tanker as proof that international trade needs “protection” from Iran’s “unprovoked attacks.” While Iran accused the British ship of violating maritime law, and London had previously seized an Iranian tanker off Gibraltar, the act was framed as validation of Washington’s ongoing rhetoric portraying Iran as a destabilizing force in the region. The Pentagon has flooded the Gulf with military assets, including a carrier strike group, bomber task force, missile batteries, and thousands of troops, all supposedly for defensive purposes.
The US pulled out of the JCPOA nuclear deal in 2018 and reimposed even harsher sanctions on Iran despite its compliance with the deal’s terms. The deal’s other participants have declined to follow suit in tearing up the agreement but have also dragged their feet standing up for Iran against US sanctions, triggering Iran to exceed uranium enrichment and stockpile limits last month in protest – a move the US and Israel have unsurprisingly depicted as a rush for the bomb.