St Louis protesters hold mass ‘die-in’ over 2011 police shooting, 80 arrested afterwards

Police reported 80 arrests after demonstrators held a mass “die-in” to protest an officer’s acquittal in a first-degree murder case. Prosecutors argued that he had planted a gun after killing a young black man.

Watch video00:38

Third day of protests in St. Louis

The US city of St Louis saw its third consecutive night of protest on Sunday as crowds demonstrated against the acquittal of a former policeman in a first-degree murder case relating to the 2011 shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith.

Demonstrators lay down in front of police headquarters, simulating death in a “die-in” as police watched on from the windows of the building. They then resumed large-scale marching through the streets, similar to previous days, chanting “stop killing us.”

Read more: St. Louis: Protests after white officer acquitted in fatal shooting of black man

But more chaotic scenes happened after organizers announced the end of the protest, which had gone on peacefully for hours.

Protesters smashed windows and tried to block an interstate highway ramp, police and witnesses said.

“Once again, a group of criminals set out to break windows and destroy property,” St Louis police’s Larry O’Toole told reporters late on Sunday local time. “Tonight, those criminals are in jail. Tonight we made more than 80 arrests. We confiscated at least five weapons; none of them were used. Some criminals insulted law enforcement officers or threw chemicals or rocks at them. All the officers’ injuries were minor or moderate; they will return to duty soon.”

People run as demonstrators march in response to a not guilty verdict in the trial of former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley (picture-alliance/AP Photo/J. Roberson)Once darkness fell, a group of about 100 people ran through the city

“Today we saw again that the vast majority of protesters are non-violent, but, for a third day in a row, the days have been calm and the nights have been destructive,” Mayor Lyda Krewsen said at the same press briefing. “After the demonstrations, organizers announced that the daytime protest was over, but a group of agitators stayed behind, apparently intent on breaking windows and destroying property. This is not acceptable.”

Police in the city in the central state of Missouri donned riot gear as they ordered protesters to disperse and detained several people including news photographers.

“This is no longer a peaceful protest,” St. Louis police said on Twitter, adding that one officer was injured.

“Police continue to make arrests after property damage in Downtown #STL,” another tweet said.

The scenes were reminiscent of the more serious clashes that broke out in 2014 in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson after the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a white police officer, who was not indicted over the shooting.

Read more: Donald Trump lifts ban on military gear for police

A few troublemakers

Organizers said they were frustrated that a few troublemakers could tarnish their non-violent message.

Protesters were angered by the not-guilty verdict against Jason Stockley, who shot Smith after being led on a high-speed chase as he and his partner tried to arrest him for a suspected drug deal.

Stockley told the court that he felt he was in danger because he saw Smith holding a silver revolver.

But prosecutors accused Stockley of planting the gun, given the officer’s DNA was on the weapon but Smith’s wasn’t. Dashcam video recorded Stockley saying he was “going to kill this (expletive).” Less than a minute later, he shot Smith five times.

aw/msh (AP, Reuters)

Watch video00:38

Police and protesters clash in St. Louis

DW RECOMMENDS

AUDIOS AND VIDEOS ON THE TOPIC

Courtesy, DW

Juggalos march in Washington to protest FBI gang classification (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

Juggalos march in Washington to protest FBI gang classification (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)
Juggalos are holding a mass march in Washington, D.C. to protest their designation by the FBI as a gang.

‘Juggalos’ is the the collective term for fans of Detroit hip-hop duo the Insane Clown Posse. Juggalos can be easily identified by their distinctive black and white face paint and numerous tattoos.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Most of the signs at the  stick to their rallying call: FBI de-list them as a criminal gang

However in 2011 fans of the group were designated a “loosely organized hybrid gang” in the FBI’s 2011 Gang Task Force report. Juggalos claim that since then they have been “subjected to various forms of discrimination, harassment, and profiling simply for identifying as a Juggalo.”

Thousands of Juggalos are expected to travel from all over the country for Saturday’s march, meeting outside the Lincoln Memorial from 1pm. Scheduled until 2am, the event will feature guest speeches and musical performances, most notably by Insane Clown Posse’s Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope themselves.

READ MORE: Insane Clown Posse takes on FBI and loses: Juggalos classified as gang

The organizers have laid down a series of strict rules for ‘Juggalo Family’ members to abide by on Saturday, including, no littering, no vandalism, no weapons (or anything that could be construed as a weapon), no alcohol, marijuana or drugs, no vehicles of any kind and no signs or flags that promote violence or threats.

Caribbean recovers slowly as more storms threaten

Recovery in the Caribbean following Hurricane Irma is slow and more storms are on the way. Cuba was badly hit and a UN program has been launched to help feed those affected. Housing renewal is a priority.

Damage from Hurricane Irma in Havana

The United Nations’ World Food Program (WFP) said on Saturday it was launching a $5.7-million (5.2-million euro) operation in Cuba to help feed 700,000 people in areas most affected by Hurricane Irma, which hit the northern coastline of the Caribbean’s largest island last weekend.

“This hurricane just went down the entire coastline, the volume of impact is just unprecedented,” WFP Executive Director David Beasley said during a visit to Havana, after meeting with Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel.

Hitting the northern coastline of the Caribbean’s largest island, Irma’s winds removed roofs, wrecked the power grid and damaged crops.

Irma was one of the most powerful Atlantic storms in a century and the first Category 5 hurricane to make landfall in Cuba since 1932.

Sandbags holding back flood water in HavanaSandbags holding back flood water in Havana

 

Housing replacements

In a rare media briefing, city authorities said they were prioritizing Havana’s longstanding housing needs. Euclides Santos, in charge of Havana housing, said that about 50,000 families in total were in need of new housing.

Santos said a plan had been put in place in 2012 to repair and renew housing. “We have delivered 10,000 or so homes so far to people in shelters which means the program is achieving results,” he said. People have been living in communal shelters for many years as the state was unable to fund housing due to financial problems caused by an economic crisis in Cuba after the fall of the Soviet Union and consequences of the US trade embargo.

“There is a strategy to reduce the time families have to spend in these places,” Santos said, adding that around 7,000 people were living in Havana’s 109 shelters. About 25 percent of buildings were in “bad or regular” shape due to the effects of climate, lack of maintenance and the passage of time.

Watch video01:09

Cuba copes with the aftermath of Irma

More bad weather on the way

There were severe weather forecasts from storms which had already hit the Caribbean and some new ones on the way.

Baja California Sur state was readying shelters on Saturday, canceling classes and a military parade and a tropical storm warning was given out for Los Cabos due to Hurricane Norma.

Hurricane Jose was moving north out at sea but threatening heavy surf along the US East Coast.

Tropical storm Maria was expected to strengthen into a hurricane and move towards Caribbean islands already hit by Hurricane Irma, including  Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis, and Montserrat. It has been forecast to approach the Leeward Islands on Tuesday.

Relief efforts

The French-Dutch island of St Martin was facing problems as fresh running water supplies had still to be restored.

The French minister for overseas affairs, Annick Girardin, said on Saturday “There is an existing problem on the issue of contaminated water, the issue of trash, basically the issue of hygiene.”  In poorer neighbourhoods where many families were not able to evacuate, residents fear the spread of mosquitoes which can carry diseases such as Zika and dengue fever.

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

What the world famous Maho Beach at St Martin looks like after hurricane Irma

For the Dutch side of the island, the Dutch Red Cross said Saturday that it had collected 13.3 million euros following a weeklong donation drive.

Watch video01:24

Stunned by the destruction wrought by Hurricane Irma

jbh/jm (AP, AFP, Reuters)

DW RECOMMENDS

AUDIOS AND VIDEOS ON THE TOPIC

Courtesy, DW

North Korea seeks to establish ‘equilibrium of force’ with US – Kim Jong-un

North Korea seeks to establish ‘equilibrium of force’ with US – Kim Jong-un
Pyongyang must strive for parity of “real force” with Washington on the Korean peninsula so that US leaders “dare not talk about military options,” North Korean leader Kim Jong-un told defense officials during the latest test of IRBM.

“Our final goal is to establish the equilibrium of real force with the US and make the US rulers dare not talk about military option for the DPRK,” Kim said Friday, according to state news agency KCNA.

60% of Americans back military response to , only 38% believe  will attack on US – poll https://on.rt.com/8nce 

Photo published for Most Americans back military response to North Korea, poll shows — RT America

Most Americans back military response to North Korea, poll shows — RT America

Almost 60 percent of Americans would support military action if diplomatic efforts fail to dissuade North Korea from its nuclear ambitions, a Gallup poll has found. But far fewer think the aggression…

rt.com

The North Korean leader also “stressed the need to run at full speed and straight, continuing to qualitatively consolidate the military attack capacity for [a] nuclear counterattack the US cannot cope with.”

“We should clearly show the big power chauvinists how our state attain the goal of completing its nuclear force despite their limitless sanctions and blockade,” he added, KCNA reports.

On Friday morning, North Korea fired another missile which flew over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. The UN Security Council unanimously condemned the “highly provocative” missile test.

Washington has meanwhile stepped up its rhetoric, emphasizing that it was running out of patience and that a military option to resolve the crisis remains on the table.

“For those who have said and have been commenting about the lack of a military option, there is a military option,”said White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster. “Now, it’s not what we would prefer to do, so what we have to do is call on all nations, call on everyone to do everything we can to address this global problem short of war.”

“We’ve been kicking the can down the road, and we’re out of road,” he added.

China’s ambassador to the US has meanwhile urged Washington to stop threatening North Korea and do something constructive “so that there’s real effective international cooperation on this issue.”

“They should refrain from issuing more threats. They should do more to find effective ways to resume dialogue and negotiation,” Ambassador Cui Tiankai said.

The launch came mere days after the UN Security Council, including China and Russia, agreed on a new round of sanctions which fixed an annual cap of 2 million barrels worth of oil imports into North Korea as well as a ban on the country’s textile exports.

Tensions have been steadily rising on the Korean peninsula over the past few months, with Pyongyang conducting several missile and nuclear tests in defiance of rulings by the UN Security Council, while the United States has continued to carry out joint exercises with South Korea and Japan while amplifying its rhetoric against Pyongyang.

“North Korea best not make any more threats to the US. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” President Donald Trump said in August. In response, North Korea said it was “carefully examining” a plan for a missile strike near the US territory of Guam, a Pacific island some 3,400km away from the Korean peninsula.

Russia and China have proposed a “double-freeze” solution to the crisis, wherein the United States cease its drills with South Korea in exchange for the North suspending its weapons programs. However, the US has rejected these proposals, saying it has every right to carry out exercises with its allies.

Courtesy, RT

St. Louis: Protests erupt after white officer acquitted in fatal shooting of black man

Demonstrators have clashed with police in St. Louis following the acquittal of ex-officer Jason Stockley in the fatal shooting Anthony Lamar Smith. Two officers have been hospitalized after being hit with bricks.

Watch video00:38

Police and protesters clash in St. Louis

Several officers were wounded and dozens of protestors were arrested in St. Louis, Missouri, Friday night in scenes reminiscent of the racially charged unrest that erupted in nearby Ferguson in 2014.

Read morePolice reform in Ferguson

What started as peaceful protests over the acquittal of white ex-police officer Jason Stockley in the fatal shooting of Anthony Lamar Smith, a black man, quickly escalated when demonstrators broke a window and splattered paint over St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson’s house. That prompted riot police to respond by dispersing the crowd with tear gas and armored vehicles.

Two officers were hospitalized after protestors hurled bricks at them, the St. Louis police department said on Twitter.

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

At least 2 police officers hurt after chemical agents used near Waterman and Kingshighway after  verdict.

Meanwhile, video footage posted online showed police dousing at least five protestors with pepper spray outside the courthouse where Stockley was acquitted.

Ahead of the ruling, activists had threatened civil obedience, including possible efforts to shut down highways, if Stockley were not convicted. One group of protesters tried to climb onto one of the highways but were blocked by police. Another group cut off an intersection by sitting down silently in the middle of the street.

Ex-cop Stockley acquitted of first-degree murder

Stockley was found not guilty of first-degree murder after he fatally shot and killed Smith back in 2011. The court on Friday found that the State had failed to prove “every element of murder beyond a reasonable doubt” or had not “proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense.”

According to Stockley, Smith had attempted to run over him and his partner after they encountered what appeared to be a drug deal in a fast-food restaurant parking lot. After chasing the Smith by car, Stockely opened fire through the driver’s window after Smith allegedly tried to reach over to the passenger seat to grab a revolver.

Watch video26:03

Divided Nation – Is Race Killing America?

Police dashcam footage showed Stockley saying that he was “going to kill this (expletive), don’t you know it,” before shooting Smith five times, which, according to the prosecution, proved the officer had intended to kill Smith. Stockley’s lawyer dismissed the remarks, saying they were “human emotions” uttered during a high-risk police pursuit.

Footage also showed Stockley reaching into a bag in the back of the police SUV before returning to Smith’s car. The revolver Smith is alleged to have reached for did not have his DNA on it, although it had Stockley’s.

However, Judge Timothy Wilson said he doubted the prosecution’s claim that the gun was planted, writing in his ruling: “The court observes, based on its nearly 30 years on the bench, that an urban heroin dealer not in possession of a firearm would be an anomaly.”

Following the ruling, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner acknowledged the difficulty of winning police shooting cases, but maintained that the prosecution had “offered sufficient evidence that proved beyond a reasonable doubt” that Stockley had intended to kill Smith.

Remnants of Ferguson

Friday’s violent protests played out not far from the Missouri suburb of Ferguson, where Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black man, was shot dead by a white policeman in 2014. The officer, Darren Wilson, was never charged, prompting weeks of civil unrest and giving rise to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Since then, several officers have also been acquitted in police shooting trials in Minnesota, Oklahoma and Wisconsin, while a case in Ohio twice ended in a hung jury with the prosecution decided not to seek a third trial.

dm/rg (AP, Reuters)

Watch video01:34

Spotlight on US gun debate

DW RECOMMENDS

AUDIOS AND VIDEOS ON THE TOPIC

  • Courtesy, DW

Why China won’t help US against North Korea

Even after multiple rounds of sanctions, Pyongyang is continuing to provoke the international community with weapons testing. China and the US face bad options, and each other, in creating a united front.

Chinese and North Korean flags (Getty Images/K. Frayer)

After North Korea detonated what is suspected to be a hydrogen bomb on September 3, the US spearheaded the toughest sanctions levied to date against Pyongyang by the UN Security Council. But after the second round of “historic” sanctions within a month, the detrimental effect of partially cutting off fossil fuel supplies, freezing individual assets and preventing textile trade are seen by many observers as being just another incremental response to a belligerent regime clearly determined at all costs to continue developing nuclear weapons.

Friday’s ballistic missile launch over Japan, the second over Japanese territory in two weeks, also indicates that sanctions have yet to deter Pyongyang’s provocations. The launch also presents a direct challenge to the US and China to somehow create a united front against the North.

The US had originally pushed for a tougher sanctions regime – including a full oil embargo and travel ban for North Korean officials – but had to soften its demands to ensure full cooperation from China.

Read more: ‘Ultimate sanction’ – Will cutting off oil bring North Korea to its knees?

Aside from the self-congratulation earlier this week in Washington over another unanimous UN vote, the rift between Chinese and US interests moving forward on North Korea is clear, as it is apparent that Beijing is continuing to stop short of taking action that would topple the Kim Jong Un regime.

US China Trade (picture-alliance/AP Photo/S. Loeb)The US is dubious of China’s commitment to enforcing sanctions

This, combined with North Korea’s constant weapons testing and rapid advancements in capability, is exacerbating the already tense relationship between the US and China.

Read more: What is China’s role in the North Korean crisis?

Dialogue – made in China

Following the UN Security Council resolution on September 11, China’s official Xinhua news agency released a commentary stating that the Trump administration was making a mistake by pursuing deeper sanctions rather than seeking diplomatic engagement with North Korea.

“The US needs to switch from isolation to communication in order to end an ‘endless loop’ on the Korean peninsula where nuclear and missile tests trigger tougher sanctions and tougher sanctions invite further tests,” Xinhua said.

China has been advocating a so-called “freeze for freeze” strategy, where the Kim regime agrees to cease all weapons testing and missile launches in exchange for the US diminishing its military footprint on the peninsula and ceasing all joint military exercises with the South.

The US has roundly rejected any new forms of “freeze” agreements that it considers would weaken its strategic posture on the Korean peninsula. Two similar deals struck between the US and North Korea during the Clinton and Bush administrations fell through after they were not honored by Pyongyang.

– Donald Trump rejects diplomacy with North Korea

– How North Korea survives on an oil-drip from Russia

Watch video01:04

China was North Korea’s last major trading partner.

US dollars for Chinese compliance

The US is dubious of China’s commitment to enforcing sanctions, as Chinese individuals and companies have been found in the past to be in violation of UN sanctions for not cutting ties with North Korea.

After the last round of UN sanctions against Pyongyang in August, the US issued an additional set of sanctions against Chinese individuals and companies for allegedly aiding the North Korean weapons program.

A commentary in the Chinese state-run newspaper Global Times responded by accusing the US of “severely violating” international law by sanctioning Chinese companies and individuals, while maintaining that China “strictly implements” UN Security Council resolutions.

“Who grants Washington the right to make judgments on which companies violate UN Security Council resolutions?” said the commentary.

The new round of sanctions on Monday makes it illegal for foreign firms to form commercial joint ventures with North Korean entities.

On Tuesday, the US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told media that if China didn’t follow the UN sanctions on North Korea, the Trump administration would pursue additional sanctions on Beijing to cut off access to the US financial system.

“If China doesn’t follow these sanctions, we will put additional sanctions on them and prevent them from accessing the US and international dollar system, and that’s quite meaningful,” Mnuchin said.

Ely Ratner, a former national security advisor with the Obama administration and a China expert at the US Council on Foreign Relations, told DW that the Trump administration would likely impose additional secondary sanctions on Chinese firms, banks, and individuals that continue doing business with North Korea illegally in violation of UN sanctions.

“The Chinese government won’t like this, but it only has itself to blame for not enforcing UN Security Council resolutions that it voted for,” said Ratner.

A Trump administration official told Reuters news agency that any such “secondary sanctions” on Chinese banks and other companies were on hold for now to give China time to show it was prepared to fully enforce the latest and previous rounds of sanctions.

Read more: North Korea sanctions: EU targets main exports with an expanded blacklist

Infografik Timeline Nordkoreas Raketentests 05.07.2017 ENG

China won’t back down

But even if China complies with what the US considers are watered-down sanctions, the bottom line is that it is not in China’s national interest to eliminate the Kim regime in Pyongyang. Observers agree that Beijing is less concerned about the North’s weapons program than it is about a US-sponsored, re-united Korean peninsula.

“China doesn’t want the DPRK to collapse because that would leave many uncertainties regarding its weapons, refugees and a US base at its doorstep,” Eduardo Araral, Vice Dean of research at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore, told DW.

Araral added that the US would not be able to handle North Korea without cooperation from China. “US-China ties are so intertwined that the US cannot continue hurting China, for example on trade, without hurting itself,” he said.

A post- Kim peninsula?

One of the major hurdles in preventing a united front from the US and China in dealing with the Kim regime, is the uncertainty of the geopolitical outcome on the Korean Peninsula if the North were to collapse and be folded into the South.

US and Chinese interests do merge, however, in that both do not want a nuclear-ready North Korean military machine, and China especially does not want nuclear war in its backyard. It should be noted that China does not necessarily have friendly relations with North Korea. Chinese President Xi Jinping has never met with Kim Jong Un and there are signals that China is willing to take a tougher stance on the regime. Nevertheless, these considerations are outweighed by a tangle of Chinese geopolitical interests.

For China to accept a united Korean peninsula, they would need to be assured that the US would demilitarize in the region and that a new regional security architecture could be created with Beijing’s interests at the helm. This scenario presents a problem, not only for US interests, but also for Japan and South Korea.

Noah Feldman, author of “Cool War: The United States, China, and the Future of Global Competition” and professor at Harvard Law School, told a debate organized and broadcast online by Intelligence Squared on September 13, that China presented a “structural problem” for a unified Korea. US security guarantees on the Korean peninsula would be essential for South Korea and Japan to agree to a new geopolitical structure in Northeast Asia, which is something that China won’t agree to.

“Countries are living under the Chinese economic sphere of influence, while depending on the US as a security guarantor. They are playing both ends against the middle and that has worked for those countries,” said Feldman during the debate.

It is worthwhile noting that the only time the US and China have engaged in direct conflict was on the Korean peninsula in 1950, after the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army entered the Korean War to fight on behalf of North Korea against a US-led coalition defending the South. And more than 65 years later, it seems that again decisive action from the Chinese is necessary to tip the balance in Northeast Asia.

Watch video01:53

US has stark warning for North Korean leader

DW RECOMMENDS

AUDIOS AND VIDEOS ON THE TOPIC

Courtesy, DW

Donald Trump and the Iran nuclear deal – a crisis in the making

As the world grapples with a nuclear-armed North Korea, the Trump administration is working to terminate the Iran nuclear deal. The catch is, it works and prevents a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

The roadmap for Iran is exchanged

US President Donald Trump has exactly one month, namely until October 15, to confirm to Congress that Iran is complying with the nuclear agreement. He has to do so every 90 days, as stipulated by the so-called Corker-Cardin law. It was passed by a largely Iran-critical Congress in 2015 to ensure lawmakers had a permanent say in US dealings with Iran. If the president fails to certify that Iran is in compliance with the nuclear agreement, Congress has 60 days to reinstitute sanctions against the country. This would equate to the US de facto leaving the nuclear treaty, which could possibly spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

Thus far, Trump has certified twice that Iran is adhering to the nuclear deal, albeit reluctantly. Now, growing evidence suggests he does not intend to recertify the deal in mid-October. Not only did he tell the Wall Street Journal on July 25 that he would be “surprised if they were in compliance.” Trump also added that he would, if necessary, ignore his aides’ recommendations and even those expressed by the State Department. Trump has meanwhile tasked his own White House working group with producing arguments that Iran is not complying with deal.

Watch video02:05

In 2016 US and EU lifted sanctions on Iran (17.01.2016)

Opposition to nuclear deal

That the Trump administration is intent on canceling the Iran nuclear deal also became evident recently at the conservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI) think tank, which played an important role in drumming up support in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq War. On September 5, Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, held a speech at the AEI on Iran and the nuclear deal, dismissing the nuclear treaty and Iran as an untrustworthy partner. Haley erroneously claimed that “Iran has been caught in multiple violations over the past year and a half.”

Indeed, Iran did slightly exceed the agreed limits for heavy water, twice. Heavy water is used to moderate certain types of nuclear reactors. After talks with its treaty partners, Iran agreed to immediately export excess heavy water. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is tasked with monitoring the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), has consequently certified again and again that Iran is adhering to the conditions of the nuclear deal. The IAEA last did so on August 31, just five days prior to Haley’s speech. Haley herself had visited the IAEA in Vienna in late August, insisting on tougher inspections that include military facilities.

Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran's nuclear authority, visits a nuclear power academyAli Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s nuclear authority, visits a nuclear power academy

Most closely monitored non-nuclear state

The JCPOA does not, however, allow for inspections “everywhere and at all times,” as Haley demands. The IAEA may inspect previously agreed sites and can undertake inspections “where and when” evidence points to a treaty breach. So far, Iran has rejected not a single inspection request. In a study published in July, the Berlin-based German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) thus declared Iran the world’s “most closely monitored non-nuclear state.” And IAEA director Yukiya Amano recently attested that “Iran is subject to the world’s most robust nuclear verification regime. Our inspectors are on the ground 24/7. We monitor nuclear facilities, using permanently installed cameras and other equipment.”

Haley’s talk at the AEI deliberately mixed up JCPOA stipulations with Iranian rocket tests, regional conflicts and human rights issues. Yet the Iran nuclear deal was never intended to pertain to anything other than Iran’s nuclear ambitions. It was solely designed to compel Iran to abandon its nuclear arms program, which it has succeeded in doing. Furthermore, the deal could allow Iran to return to the international community. This has only been a partial success. And so Iran has been able to improve its strategic position markedly in the previous two years, to the frustration of the US and some of its allies.

But a paper published on September 6 by the Soufan Group, a private strategic security intelligence consultant, draws a surprising conclusion: Easing JCPOA sanctions is not to blame. Instead, Iran’s regional clout can be mainly explained by the strategic mistakes of its enemies. Chiefly, Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen and its conflict with Qatar.

Watch video00:36

Trump: Iran must never be allowed to possess a nuclear weapon

Misinterpreted German intelligence

This does not hinder Iran’s enemies from also utilizing reports by Germany’s domestic intelligence service to attack the nuclear deal. In early July, the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) referred to Hamburg’s domestic intelligence service to claim that Iran was planning to purchase nuclear material in Germany. The claim was soon cited in other US media. These Iranian attempts to acquire nuclear material, however, dated back to 2009 – long before the nuclear deal was agreed.

German authorities had tried to clarify the timing of these Iranian plans, according to Mark Fitzpatrick. The director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) urged the German authorities to “further clarify this context.” Fitzpatrick is optimistic that the JCPOA will endure, despite the Trump administration’s stance and a largely critical Congress. That, he told DW, is because Iran has declared it will honor the nuclear agreement even if the US leaves, provided the other treaty partners – the European Union, Great Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia – don’t abandon the treaty. This affords the EU a significant role, says Fitzpatrick.

Europeans have reiterated their support for the Iranian nuclear deal. One day after Haley’s talk, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le-Drian expressed concern that the Trump administration was putting the nuclear deal in question. And EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has stressed that “the nuclear deal doesn’t belong to one country; it belongs to the international community.”

DW RECOMMENDS

AUDIOS AND VIDEOS ON THE TOPIC

Courtesy, DW