14.09.2019 Author: Viktor Mikhin

Iranian Noose Around Donald Trump’s Neck

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A number of American media outlets have stated that U.S. President Donald Trump’s standing is not as good as it could be at present. The latest opinion polls conducted in the United States show that his approval rating reached its lowest levels, and that he could be beaten by any of the four Democratic presidential candidates during the upcoming election in a year’s time. There is an opinion that analyses and plans for formulating a foreign policy were in many cases inadequate, which has caused greater concern among Republicans about the presidential election next year.

Donald Trump started his presidency with a visit to Saudi Arabia, where he signed contracts worth as much as $100 billion, and made Saudis promise to buy American arms for another $300 billion. Then, however, U.S. President’s policies failed on a number of occasions on the global arena.

Washington’s plans to crush the Russian economy with the aid of sanctions did not bear fruit, and, as a result, the whole world is currently laughing at them. Even Donald Trump himself has fully grasped the failure of such a policy and suggested inviting Russia back into the G7, which would transform this elite summit into a G8.

In addition, nothing worked with regards to China either although Donald Trump initiated a trade and economic war against this nation. Any financial gains apparently made by the United States were cancelled out by China’s increased tariffs on American goods.

And what of the DPRK, a country that the American President threatened to wipe off the face of the Earth? Currently, Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, is suddenly regarded as (based on the statements made by Donald Trump himself) a great leader who one could do business with.

Very little has gone right for Donald Trump with respect to the Islamic Republic of Iran after the United States pointedly and inexplicably withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement on Iran’s nuclear program while at the same time demanding (purely for sport) that Tehran fulfill all the obligations in accordance with this agreement. It is worth reminding our readers that the JCPOA delicately balances interests, obligations and compromises of many nations, which is why it cannot be subdivided into separate sections (for instance, with one binding and another nonbinding part).

Undoubtedly, Donald Trump is a fortunate business man, however, this is clearly not enough to run an enormous nation. The U.S. President did not even express any interest in whether or not sanctions (first imposed against Iran 40 years ago in 1979), which he places great hopes on, had borne any fruit before. At the time the USA first announced sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran, the world power seized all of Iran’s assets, including bank deposits, gold and other property in the amount of $12 billion.  In 1987, U.S. President Ronald Reagan imposed new sanctions against Iran. However, when they failed to yield desirable results in Washington’s eyes, in 1995, the sanctions were once again expanded to include foreign companies that collaborated with Iran.  After the United States withdrew from the agreement on the nuclear program on 8 May 2018, the unilateral sanctions against Iran yet again tightened.

Aside from unilateral, unlawful and inhumane sanctions the USA imposed against the Islamic Republic of Iran, Washington has pressured other world nations to put an embargo on Iranian exports. This in itself is a clear example of economic terrorism against the people of Iran.

However, despite the harsh sanctions, over this entire period, Iran has achieved a lot of success in all the spheres, including the military one (i.e. by creating its own weapons on par with their American counterparts).

It would be interesting to know how Washington intends to engage with Iran, with its history and diplomatic endeavors spanning thousands of years, and which was a Great Empire at the time when inhabitants of America walked around wearing animal hides. Does Donald Trump really think that all he needs to do is shake his finger at Iran and impose yet another set of barbaric sanctions against this nation for Iranians to simply cave?

It is quite obvious that Donald Trump is trying to use all the means at his disposal to make Tehran breach the non-proliferation treaty, and thereby undermine its collaboration with the IAEA (the International Atomic Energy Agency) in order to then have the motive to intervene by military means (something that is condemned in the strongest of terms by the international community and that will threaten the stability of the entire region). Many career diplomats have pointed out the resilience of their Iranian counterparts, and their strict adherence to international laws that govern the sphere of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Russian diplomats, just as many foreign experts and professionals, believe that Iran’s rational behavior would be duly appreciated by all the other signatories of the agreement.

President of Iran Hassan Rouhani clearly expressed his opinion on the possibility of renewing negotiations with Washington. Having highlighted that Iran’s strategy is grounded in resistance from within and effective diplomacy, Hassan Rouhani stated that Tehran had never aimed to engage in bilateral negotiations with the USA. He said that numerous proposals to this effect had been made, but Iran had thus far rejected them. Hassan Rouhani affirmed that without resistance from within and effective diplomacy Iran’s path would be hard.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Foreign Affairs Minister of Iran, stated that Iran would “further lower its commitments under the deal” if Europeans failed to protect Iran’s economy from barbaric sanctions imposed on the nation by the United States after the unceremonious withdrawal from the agreement by the Trump administration. After all, in accordance with the JCPOA, Iran agreed to limit its nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of financial and economic sanctions. The Iranian Minister stated “It is meaningless to continue unilateral commitments to the deal if we don’t enjoy its benefits as promised by the deal’s European parties”. He also ruled out the possibility of renegotiating the JCPOA, and noted that it was perfectly clear for Tehran that it would be impossible to open a Pandora’s box and then close it once again.

With the upcoming presidential election drawing near, Donald Trump really needs to at least achieve some success with regards to Iran. However, it is entirely up to Tehran to act at this point, thanks to Mohammad Javad Zarif’s “iron hand in a velvet glove”. And in the meantime, Iran’s Foreign Affairs Minister continues to give Donald Trump, the leader of the most powerful nation in the world, master classes in diplomacy.

It would be interesting to see what Donald Trump, who appears to have only the threat of force (which, by the way, the USA currently does not have and is unlikely to have in the future) left in his arsenal, does next with regards to Iran. But the election continues to draw near and something needs to be done. And even now, the Iranian noose around Donald Trump’s neck continues to tighten.

Viktor Mikhin, corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciencesexclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.


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