999 DELETE

11 December 2020
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{\pgdsc0\pgdscuse451\pgwsxn12240\pghsxn15840\marglsxn1008\margrsxn1008\margtsxn1008\margbsxn1440\pgdscnxt0 Default Style;}} \formshade{\*\pgdscno0}\paperh15840\paperw12240\margl1008\margr1008\margt1008\margb1440\sectd\sbknone\sectunlocked1\pgndec\pgwsxn12240\pghsxn15840\marglsxn1008\margrsxn1008\margtsxn1008\margbsxn1440\ftnbj\ftnstart1\ftnrstcont\ftnnar\aenddoc\aftnrstcont\aftnstart1\aftnnrlc {\*\ftnsep\chftnsep}\pgndec\pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar{\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 [headline]US B-52 bombers threaten Iran for second time in three weeks[/headline] } \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar{\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 [author]Bill Van Auken[/author]} \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar{\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 [date]11/12/2020[/date] } \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar{\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 [description]These massive warplanes used to devastate Vietnam half a century ago have been deployed amid mounting US and Israeli war threats and provocations against Iran.[/description]} \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar{\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 [keywords]Iran, B-52s, }{\cf1\dbch\af12\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f6\hich\af6 Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Israel, Iraq}{\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 [/keywords]} \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar{\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 [filename]iran[/filename] } \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar{\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 For the second time in three weeks, Washington has sent a pair of B-52 heavy bombers to the Persian Gulf in a provocative threat of military aggression against Iran.} \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar{\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 The two B-52H Stratofortress bombers carried out a 36-hour round-trip flight from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. The previous deployment of the bombers, which are capable of carrying both nuclear and conventional weapons, was from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, meaning that both B-52 wings of the US Air Force Global Strike Command have conducted rehearsals for airstrikes against Iran.} \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar{\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 The deployments of the same massive warplanes that were used to devastate Vietnam half a century ago have been conducted in the context of mounting war threats and provocations against Iran from both the Trump administration in Washington and its closest ally in the region, the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.} \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar{\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 On November 12, Trump convened a White House meeting of his national security cabinet to discuss a proposal for bombing Natanz, Iran\u8217\'92s main nuclear facility. Top aides, including Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, reportedly talked the president out of an act that would represent a world historic war crime, potentially killing thousands, while sickening many more.} \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar{\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 This was followed by Pompeo\u8217\'92s extraordinary tour of the Middle East, which he preceded by telling a State Department press conference that he was committed to a \u8220\'93smooth transition\u8221\'94 to a second Trump administration, making it clear that his foreign policy operations are directed at furthering the US president\u8217\'92s bid to overturn the results of the November elections.} \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar{\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 Pompeo\u8217\'92s trip, which included extensive talks with Netanyahu and a semi-secret flight by himself and the Israeli prime minister to Saudi Arabia for talks with de facto Saudi ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was directed entirely against what he repeatedly described as the \u8220\'93malign influence\u8221\'94 of Iran.} \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar{\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 Within four days of this meeting, on November 27, Israel\u8217\'92s spy agency, Mossad, carried out the assassination of Iran\u8217\'92s top scientist, nuclear physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. This criminal provocation rivaled that of the US at the beginning of this year with the drone missile murder of top Iranian leader Qassem Suleimani after he had arrived at Baghdad }{\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 I}{\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 nternational }{\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 A}{\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 irport for an official state visit. It is inconceivable that such an assassination would be ordered without the full support of Washington and preparations for an overwhelming military response to any Iranian retaliation.} \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar{\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 Indeed, within hours of the murder of Fakhrizadeh, the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier strike group sailed into the Persian Gulf in a highly unusual back-to-back deployment in the region by warships that had been scheduled to return to their US homeport. The US Navy has announced that the length of the latest deployment is indefinite.} \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar{\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 The Navy\u8217\'92s top commander in the region, Vice Adm}{\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 iral}{\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 Sam Paparo, told a press conference last week that an \u8220\'93uneasy deterrence\u8221\'94 supposedly created by US forces in the Gulf has been \u8220\'93exacerbated by world events and by events along the way.\u8221\'94 Summing up the Navy\u8217\'92s operations against Iran, Paparo quoted former US Defense Secretary Gen. Jim Mattis: \u8220\'93Be polite, be professional and have a plan to kill everyone in the room. That\u8217\'92s how we conduct ourselves at sea.\u8221\'94} \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar{\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 Amid the steady drumbeat of military provocations, the Trump administration is rolling out a continuous series of new anti-Iranian sanctions as part of its \u8220\'93maximum pressure\u8221\'94 campaign, an economic blockade tantamount to a state of war.} \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar{\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 Among the cruelest of these are blanket financial sanctions against the entire Iranian banking system, which has been used deliberately to block Tehran\u8217\'92s buying medicines and medical supplies, which are supposedly exempted from sanctions on humanitarian grounds. The Iranian government had accused Washington of committing \u8220\'93medical terrorism\u8221\'94 even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, as thousands of Iranians were left to die because of their inability to obtain imported medicines.} \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar{\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 The pandemic has hit Iran the hardest of any country in the Middle East, with over a million cases and nearly 52,000 recorded deaths. The daily death toll is once again on the rise, now averaging 325. Health officials readily acknowledge that the real toll is probably twice these figures. The country is bracing for a \u8220\'93winter wave\u8221\'94 of the pandemic that could bring its cash-strapped healthcare system to its knees.} \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar{\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 The }{\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 g}{\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 overnor of Iran\u8217\'92s Central Bank charged Thursday that Washington is blocking Tehran\u8217\'92s efforts to secure vaccines to combat the pandemic. \u8220\'93The }{\cf1\dbch\af12\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f6\hich\af6 US pretends that food and medicine are not subject to sanctions but in practice (it) is stonewalling (the payments),\u8221\'94 he said.} \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar\cf1\dbch\af12\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f6\hich\af6 \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar{\cf1\dbch\af12\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f6\hich\af6 Kianoush Jahanpour, the spokesman for Iran\u8217\'92s Food and Drug Administration, said that announced plans to purchase 21 million coronavirus vaccine doses from four countries had been blocked by US sanctions. \u8220\'93While deals have been made for pre-orders, sanctions are casting a shadow over the banking transactions,\u8221\'94 Jahanpour said.} \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar{\cf1\dbch\af12\rtlch \ltrch\loch\f6\hich\af6 } \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar{\cf1\dbch\af12\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f6\hich\af6 At the outset of the pandemic in March, Iran applied for a $5 billion emergency loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to combat the virus. Intense US pressure blocked the body\u8217\'92s executive board from even considering the request.} \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar\cf1\dbch\af12\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f6\hich\af6 \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar{\cf1\dbch\af12\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f6\hich\af6 Far from dampening US imperialist aggression, the pandemic has only served as a trigger for its escalation, while being utilized as a weapon for regime change by inflicting death and suffering upon the Iranian population. Underlying this murderous policy is the drive by US imperialism to counter the decline of its global hegemony by military means, particularly in the Middle East, where Washington\u8217\'92s principal rival, China, is securing energy supplies, including from Iran.} \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar\cf1\dbch\af12\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f6\hich\af6 \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar{\cf1\dbch\af12\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f6\hich\af6 The danger that the Trump administration will launch a war against Iran in the final weeks of its four-year term has by no means receded. The potential pretexts for such an attack include Iran\u8217\'92s exceeding the limitations on its civilian nuclear program imposed under the international accord, known as the JCPOA, that the White House reneged on two years ago.} \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar\cf1\dbch\af12\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f6\hich\af6 \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar{\cf1\dbch\af12\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f6\hich\af6 Washington has also threatened to retaliate against Iran for attacks by predominantly Shia militias in Iraq. While at Tehran\u8217\'92s insistence, these militias had ordered a ceasefire, there have been sporadic attacks claimed by previously unknown groups, including a rocket attack last month on the sprawling US Embassy compound in Baghdad that did little damage.} \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar\cf1\dbch\af12\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f6\hich\af6 \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar{\cf1\dbch\af12\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f6\hich\af6 On Thursday, US sources reported roadside bomb attacks on two convoys transporting supplies for US forces in Iraq, one near the border with Kuwait and another on the outskirts of Baghdad.} \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar\cf1\dbch\af12\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f6\hich\af6 \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar{\cf1\dbch\af12\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f6\hich\af6 Pompeo has stated that the death of an American in such an attack would be a \u8220\'93red line\u8221\'94 triggering a US military response against Iran. Washington has recalled much of the staff of the US embassy in preparation for such a conflict.} \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar\cf1\dbch\af12\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f6\hich\af6 \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar{\cf1\dbch\af12\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f6\hich\af6 Meanwhile, Israel continues to bomb Iranian-linked targets in Syria, while the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have been placed on a state of high alert, reportedly because of a possible US attack on Iran. Netanyahu, who faces the collapse of his government and criminal prosecution, has his own reasons for welcoming a war crisis and could stage a provocation to bring one about.} \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar\cf1\dbch\af12\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f6\hich\af6 \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar{\cf1\dbch\af12\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f6\hich\af6 The conventional wisdom within the corporate media and Democratic Party circles is that Trump\u8217\'92s aggression against Iran is designed to create new facts on the ground that would block an incoming Biden administration}{\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 from fulfilling its pledge to rejoin the Iran nuclear accord. For his part, Biden\u8217\'92s commitment to this agreement is highly conditional, with likely demands that Iran make even further concessions, including on its missile program} \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar{\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 There is, however, a more sinister explanation for the launching of war provocations in the supposed \u8220\'93lame duck\u8221\'94 period of an outgoing administration. With Trump\u8217\'92s multiple pseudo-legal challenges to the presidential election failing, a war in the Persian Gulf, and with it the potential for mass casualties among the tens of thousands of US troops deployed in the region, would provide Trump a pretext for realizing his threats to impose martial law and upend the transfer of power. } \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 \par \pard\plain \s0\ql\widctlpar\faauto\ltrpar\hyphpar0\dbch\af8\langfe1033\dbch\af11\afs24\alang1025\cf0\kerning1\loch\f5\fs24\lang1033\nowidctlpar\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\li0\ri188\lin0\rin188\fi0\ltrpar{\kerning1\dbch\af8\rtlch \ltrch\loch\loch\f0\hich\af0 In the face of this clear and present danger, Biden and the Democrats have worked to conceal the gravity of the situation, fearing an eruption of resistance by the working class far more than the prospect of war and dictatorship.} \par }

 

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