July 7, 2019

NO FAIR ACTING LIKE YOU'RE A SOVEREIGN NATION TOO!:

Iran didn't ask for this crisis, but it won't stand for Trump's bullying (Hossein Mousavian, 7 Jul 2019, The Guardian)

For one thing, cooperation requires dialogue between the countries' respective military establishments in the region. US Central Command (Centcom) and Iran's revolutionary guard corps' Quds force are both responsible for their countries' extraterritorial operations. The IRGC's designation as a terrorist organisation - and Iran's reciprocation against Centcom - has ended the possibility of negotiation between these two extremely influential state entities.

Next, in an unprecedentedly aggressive action, the Trump administration has imposed sanctions on Iran's ultimate source of authority according to its constitution, namely the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Just as in the US the president has the authority to determine the general trajectory of foreign policy, the supreme leader in Iran is the one who sets the foreign policy of that country. Let's not forget it was the supreme leader who allowed direct negotiation with the US over the nuclear issue in the first place. By sanctioning Ali Khamenei, Trump has effectively killed off any chance of diplomatic rapprochement so long as he is in office. And it is not only the political leadership of Ali Khamenei that is relevant here; he is also a religious scholar with millions of Shia Muslim followers - not just in Iran, but Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Bahrain and elsewhere.

In addition, last week, the treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin said the Trump administration was looking to levy penalties against Iran's foreign minister, Javad Zarif, who trained in the US and is one of the most distinguished career diplomats in Iran's recent history. Zarif has been compared to the popular prime minister Mohammad Mossadegh, who nationalised Iran's oil industry and was deposed in 1953 in a coup organised by Britain and the US. Sanctioning Zarif is a mistake if the US ever wants to reengage with Iran, because he is in charge of the diplomatic channels that would be necessary to resolve this crisis. As Wendy Sherman, who led the US negotiating team in the talks that led to the 2015 accord, put it: "I can't think of anything that makes less sense than sanctioning a key person who might actually be helpful if there is ever a dialogue with the US."

The Iran nuclear deal is the most comprehensive agreement in the history of non-proliferation. As part of it, Iran accepted the most intrusive transparency measures and stringent limits on a nuclear programme ever demanded of a non-proliferation treaty member. What is more, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recently judged that Iran was in full compliance with the terms and conditions of the JCPOA.

But where Iran has kept its end of the bargain, it has been rewarded with sanctions and additional pressure, and the benefits Iran was supposed to receive have been suddenly snatched away. The Trump administration made a decision to undermine the diplomatic legacy of Obama, but it may not have fully understood that in doing so it would also be obliterating any possibility of brokering its own diplomatic solution.

Posted by at July 7, 2019 1:38 PM

  

« THE WEB'S GREATEST TROLLING OPERATION: | Main | AMEN: »