The recent escalation of tensions in the Persian Gulf between Iran and the US have their origins in last year’s decision by US President Donald Trump to walk away from a multinational nuclear agreement and re-impose stringent economic sanctions against Iran.
The other signatories to the deal, Britain, France, Russia, Germany, China, the EU and Iran continued to abide by it until last month when a sanctions-crippled Iran announced that it intended to breach some of the nuclear enrichment limits contained in the agreement.
The series of events that followed, including the oil tanker attacks by forces unknown and the shooting down of a US drone by Iran, has brought the region to the brink of war. US planes were allegedly in the air on Friday morning (June 21st) and within ten minutes of striking Iranian targets when Trump changed his mind and called the raid off. This sort of reckless brinkmanship by Trump, who appears to be under the influence of two hawks in the form of his National Security Advisor, John Bolton and his Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, must be condemned by the international community.
At this time of rising tensions, the Dublin government needs to protect, and be guided by, the long-standing policy of neutrality. They must not provide political cover for US military strikes on Iran, but instead argue for a peaceful resolution to the current crisis. And most crucially they must not allow Shannon Airport to be used as part of the supply chain for any military attacks on Iran.
Shannon has played an important logistical role in the disastrous US military campaigns in the Middle East and Afghanistan since 2002. The Rendition Project and Reprieve have documented over 200 occasions over a five year period (2001-2006) when Irish airports were used to ferry kidnap victims to the US global network of secret prisons or “black sites”.
Since 2002 over 2,500,000 (2.5m) US troops have passed through Shannon. Over the same period permission has been granted on thousands of individual occasions for US military aircraft and munitions to transition through the Co. Clare airport. Should the US chose to attack Iran, that shameful record of logistical support for US warmongering must not be added to.