Trump’s Sanctions Kill Iranian Reforms

Originally appeared on The American Conservative.

Rohollah Faghihi reports on the damage that Trump administration decisions have done to the political fortunes of Iranian moderates and reformists and their agenda. One of the practical effects of designating the IRGC as terrorists has been to reduce the chances that Iran will adopt international standards on money laundering and terrorism financing:

Another impact of the IRGC’s designation as a foreign terrorist organization is the deterioration of prospects for the passage of bills designed to counter money laundering and terrorism financing. This legislation was submitted by the government to parliament in order to permanently exit the blacklist of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental organization created in 1989 that combats money laundering and terrorism financing. Accession to the UN Palermo Convention against transnational organized crime as well as becoming part of what is termed Combating the Financing of Terrorism has been stalled for months, with the bills stuck in the Expediency Council, which mediates disputes between parliament and the Guardian Council. The dispute has pitted the Rouhani administration against mainly hard-liners.

“The US action will enhance and strengthen the position of Expediency Council members regarding the FATF [bills] and the likelihood of rejecting them has increased,” said Gholam-Reza Mesbahi Moghaddam, a member of the Expediency Council, on April 8.

Applying an overly broad and inappropriate designation to the IRGC has just made it more difficult for supporters of the anti-money laundering legislation to get their bills passed. The administration’s heavy-handed misuse of the foreign terrorist organization (FTO) list is actually harming efforts to combat the financing of terrorism. Instead of encouraging Iran to crack down on money laundering and terrorism financing, the Trump administration just handed the opponents of these measures a propaganda coup and most likely torpedoed the legislation by once again undermining its advocates.

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VIDEO: European Parliament Debates Assange Extradition

The European Parliament Tuesday held a fiery debate on Julian Assange’s fate. Some MEPs argued the matter had no place in their body, others said human rights & press freedom were fundamental European issues.

Watch the 27-minute debate on Assange here, captured from the plenary session by Cathy Vogan for Consortium News.

Imperial Presidency Wins Again: Trump’s Veto Continues Yemen War

President Trump has vetoed the second bill of his presidency. Both vetoes have strengthened the Executive Branch at the expense of the Legislative Branch (and the Constitution). Yesterday’s veto of S.J. Res. 7 means there will be no foreseeable end to US participation in the genocidal Saudi war on Yemen. On today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.

Trump’s Shameful Yemen Veto Defines His Presidency

Originally appeared on The American Conservative.

As expected, Trump used his veto tonight to reject S.J.Res. 7, the antiwar Yemen resolution passed by both houses of Congress earlier this year:

Trump has been a supporter of the war on Yemen for years, and since taking office he has increased U.S. involvement in the conflict and vehemently resisted every attempt by Congress to curtail or end U.S. support for the Saudi coalition. He inherited this indefensible policy from Obama, but unlike many other Obama policies that he couldn’t wait to undo he continued and expanded on this one. His embrace of the Saudis and their war has been a major part of his foreign policy, and with this veto he has defined his presidency with his abject subservience to Riyadh and his complete indifference to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Trump has spent the last two years covering up for the Saudi coalition and their war crimes, and today he has used his veto to shield them from the consequences of their action one more time.

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