Trump Admin Ramping up Tension, Hurtling Toward War with Iran

AlterNet's Ben Norton joins The Real News to discuss how President Trump appears to be reviving a neoconservative dream: war with Iran.

Photo Credit: White House / Public Domain

The administration of President Donald Trump appears to be reviving a neoconservative dream: war with Iran.

On Friday, February 3, the Trump administration announced new economic sanctions against Iran — the latest in a string of aggressive punitive measures taken against the country. This came just one day after White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer falsely accused Iran of attacking a U.S. Navy vessel (it was actually Yemeni Houthi rebels who attacked a Saudi warship).

This false accusation, which if true would have amounted to an act of war, in turn came a day after National Security Adviser Michael Flynn trenchantly said the U.S. was "officially putting Iran on notice," in response to a ballistic missile test by the country. Greg Thielmann, a former top intelligence official at the State Department, noted that Iran's missile test was not prohibited by the nuclear deal it reached with the U.S. He added that "much of the commentary in the United States about Iran's activity is both belligerent and inaccurate."

The Trump administration's aggressive posturing comes at the same time that it is reaching out to Saudi Arabia and building even closer ties with the extremist absolute monarchy. President Trump himself already had an extended phone call with Saudi King Salman, in which the two reportedly agreed on everything they discussed. And Defense Secretary James Mattis, who is notorious for his decades-long anti-Iran animus, had his own amicable call this week with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Iran has long been a target for U.S. regime change. U.S. General Wesley Clark, who served as supreme allied commander of NATO, infamously exposed that the Bush administration had formulated plans to topple the governments of seven countries in five years, and Iran was the cherry on top of the list. The Trump administration, which is chock-full of anti-Iran hawks, continues to ramp up the tension.

AlterNet's Ben Norton joined The Real News to discuss these developments. You can watch the interview here, or on The Real News website.

Ben Norton is a journalist and writer. He was a reporter for AlterNet's Grayzone Project. You can follow Ben on Twitter at @BenjaminNorton, and his personal website is