TEHRAN (Press Shia) – An Irish political commentator described the deployment of the USS Abraham Lincoln and a bomber task force to the Middle East as a violation of international law, adding that the carrier group had already been assigned to a routine naval patrol in the Persian Gulf weeks ago.

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“The deployment of such a large military force in such an aggressive manner towards Iran is in itself arguably a gross violation of international law and the United Nations’ Charter. There are indications that the USS Abraham Lincoln strike carrier group was already assigned to a routine naval patrol in the Persian Gulf from weeks ago when it left Norfolk, Virginia. Therefore, the comments by Bolton may be somewhat disingenuous and opportunistic. The deployment may not be specifically activated by US claims against Iran,” Cunningham told Press Shia.

Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Ireland, he is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, and Strategic Culture Foundation.

Following is the full text of the interview:

Press Shia: Last Sunday, the White House made an announcement that the USS Abraham Lincoln and a bomber task force were being deployed in response to unspecified “troubling and escalatory indications and warnings.” What is your take on the deployment?

Cunningham: The deployment of such a large military force in such an aggressive manner towards Iran is in itself arguably a gross violation of international law and the United Nations’ Charter. There are indications that the USS Abraham Lincoln strike carrier group was already assigned to a routine naval patrol in the Persian Gulf from weeks ago when it left Norfolk, Virginia. Therefore, the comments by Bolton may be somewhat disingenuous and opportunistic. The deployment may not be specifically activated by US claims against Iran.

Nevertheless, the rhetoric about directing the military force towards Iran now is reprehensible and could merit a prosecutable case for unlawful aggression by the United States. It is outrageous belligerence that should be condemned internationally by the UN, European Union, Arab League, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and various human rights groups – if they had any integrity. The fact that the aggression of the US is met with such international silence and acquiescence shows, regrettably and disturbingly, the inequity of this world where warmongering rogue conduct by Washington is granted impunity.

Bolton, Pompeo and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu are idiots and ignoramuses, who, despicably, have personal control over immense destructive power. Their hatred of Iran is unfathomably irrational and propagandized. Deplorably, these people are permitted to create policies of aggression which could lead to a catastrophic war. Bolton’s warmongering and his odious lying in the service of warmongering goes back decades to the US criminal, genocidal war on Iraq. In a sane and just world, Bolton should be in prison for life as a convicted war criminal. There is limited value in trying to understand this person’s logic. He is a psychopath, as no doubt are Pompeo and Netanyahu. Interestingly, there seems lately to be a divergence between Trump and Bolton with regard to US hostility towards Venezuela. Also Trump is talking at least superficially about perhaps holding negotiations in the future with the Iranian leadership. We shouldn’t base too much on this Trump overture. But the point is Trump does not seem to be as hellbent belligerent as Bolton or Pompeo are towards Iran (or Venezuela). In other words, Trump is being led towards war by idiots. If Trump had any semblance of rationality (a faint hope, admittedly), he should sack Bolton and Pompeo. It is abominable that such irresponsible psychopaths should have so much control over US policy and the fate of millions of lives.

Press Shia: The deployment of the warship was based on claims of a possible attack on US forces stationed in the region. So far, there is little detail from the Americans of the alleged Iranian actions that have prompted this warning nor of the specific US deployments underway. It seems that the Trump administration is looking for pretexts to wage war. How do you see this? What is the goal of the administration?

Cunningham: Definitely, the vagueness and subjectivity of the US intelligence claims against Iran seem to be a blank cheque for American militarism. The claims are ridiculous and contemptible, especially coming from a documented lying warmonger as Bolton. It seems incredible that the US warmongers could be so deluded as to actually contemplate starting a war with Iran, given Iran’s formidable military power. The ratcheting up of American rhetoric may, therefore, reflect reckless arrogance as to their belief in being able to intimidate other nations. Of course, Washington wants to instigate regime change in Tehran. But it is not clear if Washington would be willing to go to full war for this objective. It could be all bluster and over-reaching in the self-deluded sense of one’s power. Hubris before the eventual fall perhaps.

Press Shia: Many critics of the administration fear a developing drumbeat towards a conflict which, they fear, could erupt either by accident or by design. Iranian state and military officials have repeatedly stressed Iran will never start a war and it will only defend itself. What are your thoughts on this?

Cunningham: Iran’s principle of self-defense is admirable and disproves the slander by Washington claiming Iranian aggression. But the situation is on a despicable knife-edge, concerning economic warfare against Iran, and US threats of military attack. Iran’s principles of self-defense may be breached owing to the unrelenting and very real aggression already being inflicted by the US regime and its psychopathic policymakers. It is Washington that bears full responsibility and culpability for creating this appalling knife-edge situation. Iran is being tried with a torturous situation. If Iran unleashed military force now, it would be understandable and righteous given the unrelenting aggression it is being subjected to by the US regime. But for the sake of world peace, should Iran hold on to perseverance and stoically wait for the US regime to bury itself from its own collapsing empire of hubris and criminality?