News Analysis |
A day after dishing-out the second certificate of Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal, the Trump administration announced new sanctions on individuals and entities related to Iran. “The United States remains deeply concerned about Iran’s malign activities across the Middle East which undermine regional stability, security, and prosperity,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement. The US is at loggerheads with Iran for its grandiose designs in the region which are manifested by its support for the Assad regime in Syria; Hezbollah, Hamas and the Houthi rebels in Yemen. The international fraternity including the US is also concerned about Iran’s grotesque human rights violations.
The administration is currently reviewing its overall policy towards Iran, and Trump has indicated he may still pull the US out of the JCPOA at a later date.
Nauert also criticized Iran for continuing to develop its ballistic missile program, which the United States and other countries consider a violation of UN Security Council resolutions. Last month a 100-member Senate approved sanctions over Iran’s ballistic missiles and its alleged continuation of support for terrorism. The bill which included sanctions on Moscow too (Iran’s ally) was passed with a resounding majority of 98-2.
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Hence, Trump has reluctantly ratified Iran’s commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), an agreement reached in 2015 between Iran, the US and five other world powers under which Iran agreed to roll back its nuclear program in exchange for some sanctions relief. However, the administration has delayed the formal approval. The administration is currently reviewing its overall policy towards Iran, and Trump has indicated he may still pull the US out of the JCPOA at a later date.
“I think people in Washington should get it through their minds that sanctions are a liability, not an asset,” Iran’s foreign minister Muhammad Javed Zarif said in his talk at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Ties between both countries are strained with both sides unwilling to mend fences. Despite fighting the same enemy in ISIS, both accuse each other of fostering terrorism in the region.
Zarif also said a separate set of sanctions under consideration by the US Congress would be a violation of the JCPOA. He said that the biggest casualty will be the prospects of reaching a thaw in ties which have been acrimonious since 1979. Iran’s Foreign Ministry called the new sanctions “contemptible and worthless” and promised to retaliate “soon” with reciprocal sanctions against American interests. Iranian government spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht said that no détente is possible unless the US comes back to senses.
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Ties between both countries are strained with both sides unwilling to mend fences. Despite fighting the same enemy in ISIS, both accuse each other of fostering terrorism in the region. The anti-Iran surge is well underway after its formalization by Trump in the Riyadh Summit in May.
Iranians protested to Trump’s tauntingly sarcastic condemnations to the attacks by ISIS in Tehran last month. As of now, regime change looks untenable in terms of its execution and also how it could affect the region.
Top US officials to include Defense Secretary Mattis and Secretary of State Tillerson have emphasized the need for regime change as a key to mending ties between the two countries. The US which overthrew the government of Mossadegh in 1953 may look toward elements within Iran which are against the repressive regime. Tillerson suggests that the Islamic Republic could be undone if the United States supports factions within Iran that want to bring about “peaceful transition.” National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which was known originally as the MKO not only lost its way against Khomenei but discredited itself in the eyes of Iranians by siding with Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. It has gained little traction in Iran since then. There is dissent and support for reform within Iran, but it is far from clear that it is necessarily commensurate with the sort of transition that would satisfy the Trump administration.
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Even otherwise the Iranian regime has shown resiliency and has averted many shocks. The people of Iran have reasons to pander to the regime’s hate West rhetoric especially given US aggression versus the country. Iranians protested to Trump’s tauntingly sarcastic condemnations to the attacks by ISIS in Tehran last month. As of now, regime change looks untenable in terms of its execution and also how it could affect the region.