Against Iran, the United States revives the anti-Saddam model

The recent visit by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to the G7 following a French invitation rekindled a dim hope of peace for Tehran.
It is still unclear whether Emmanuel Macron's move was taken unilaterally or whether it represents the result of a common Western reflection to attempt a last diplomatic route with the Islamic Republic of Iran. In any case, the path of dialogue seems anything but simple, particularly after the last few months of high tension between Washington and Tehran.

United States at the crossroads between war and diplomacy

The American decision to unilaterally withdraw from the nuclear agreement reached under the Obama presidency has added to the program of secondary sanctions aimed at bringing the Iranian economy to its knees. The first effects of this road are already visible and, as witnessed by Sole24Ore [1], the Iranian GDP has fallen by as much as nine percentage points in the last month.
However, the final objective of the American administration does not seem clear yet that, in spite of the media image, so far it has assumed an international conduct aimed at military disengagement. The fate of Iran will therefore perhaps depend on the balance of power between an American deep state well disposed towards the military solution against Tehran and a presidency that does not look favorably on a costly cross-border commitment.

American propaganda dusted off for the occasion

What is certain is that from a propagandistic point of view the so-called deep state seems to work full time, hammering public opinion on the danger that the ayatollahs' regime would represent for the western world. But the surprising fact is that the messages used to delegitimize Iran are perfectly superimposable with those used against Saddam Hussein's Iraq before the 2003 US intervention. According to the investigative newspaper The Intercept [2] the anti-Iran propaganda of the United States would be based in particular on five assumptions, actually easily deniable. Five accusations that should be well known to Western public opinion, given that they have already been used against Baathist Iraq.
Let's start with the first one: according to the American administration “Iran is building nuclear weapons”. As reported by The Intercept, it was George W. Bush himself who in 2007 asserted with certainty that Iran had arrested its military nuclear program, a thesis confirmed also last January by the Director of American Intelligence. Overlapping the current scenario with what happened previously, it should not be difficult to remember how between 2002 and 2003 the Bush administration had repeatedly stated with certainty the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, while in 2016 a British report it shed light on the complete inexistence of evidence showing the existence of such an arsenal.

The accusations against Iran and those against Saddam

As a second accusation against Iran, the United States claims that it has repeatedly violated the nuclear agreement signed in 2015. Again, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the highest international authority in the field, denied the American administration. More than twelve reports [3] published by the IAEA would confirm instead that Tehran has always complied with all the terms of the agreement. It is surprising in this case to recall that between 2002 and 2003, Saddam Hussein had accepted the arrival of the UN international inspectors to verify the presence of weapons of mass destruction. Inspections which, needless to say, did not produce any concrete results.
As a third and fourth accusation, the United States asserts that Iran is the main sponsor of international terrorism, as well as a host country of Al Qaeda training camps. Among the major terrorist groups in the world, namely ISIS, Boko Haram, Al Qaeda and Al Shabab, no connection can be found with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Al Qaeda in particular is even considered a great antagonist of the ayatollahs' regime, as confirmed by a report [4] by the 2012 Center for Combating Terrorism.

The war against Iran would be terrible

Also for this accusation we can find the exact parallel in the second Gulf war, when Saddam Hussein was accused of hosting Al Qaeda training camps in his own territory. The charges remained, but the evidence was never found. Finally, the last American sentence concerns the possible conflict with Iran: according to Senator Tom Cotton the war would be very short and easy [5].
A version that clashes with what was stated by Larry Wilkerson, former chief of staff of Colin Powell, according to whom the conflict with Iran would instead be “terrible”, would cost more than 2 trillion dollars and would require the use of half a million troops. It's hard to forget how the Bush administration had promised a flash war, rapid and painless also in Iraq. The current presence of US military in Iraq over sixteen years after the start of that war still testifies to the consistency of the American error.
[1] An Italian newspaper
[3] ibid.  
[4] ibid.
Translation by Costantino Ceoldo – Pravda freelance