If it’s America First, why is the Trump administration targeting Iran?

RASHMEE ROSHAN LALL February 7, 2017

iran-USHow many Shiites have perpetrated terrorist attacks in the US? From the 1980s? From any time?

How many Iranians have wreaked violence on Americans at home?

Zero. Nahda. None.

So why is Donald Trump’s administration targeting Iran? Why is he allowing his National Security Advisor, Mike Flynn, to “put Iran on notice”? Why now?

Israel wants America to talk – and act – tough on Iran. (So what’s new?)

Please note the Saudi readout of Mr Trump’s call with King Salman. It says that the two leaders agreed to counter “those who seek to undermine security and stability in the region and interfere in the affairs of other states.”

Obviously they meant Iran. The Gulf Arab states’ argument has long gone as follows: Iran is waging wars, directly and by proxy, around the Middle East. Hamas. Hezbollah. Houthis. The Iranians deny the allegations but they’re not fooling anyone.

Anyway, it suits the mainly Sunni Gulf Arab states very well to vilify Iran and it probably suits Mr Trump just as well to come off as strong and decisive by trash-talking to a big Muslim country. That said, Iran is Shiite Muslim and while it may play sectarian games in its region, it doesn’t feature as a violent threat to America at home.

As others, not least veteran journalist James Dorsey, have written, “singling out Iran exacerbates multiple conflicts that are ripping the Middle East and North Africa apart…If Mr Trump were smart, he would not only tackle Iran, but also Saudi Arabia.”

That would be the case for peace. And it really would serve America First.