Results for Tag: nuclear
Hence, nothing other than direct talks can offer a prospect whereby Iran may overcome its economic woes and the US can reach a more comprehensive agreement with Iran that includes issues not covered in the JCPOA. Although the current standoff between Iran and the US may deteriorate even further, both parties are acutely aware that ultimately, talks are unavoidable even in the aftermath of any escalation that might entail needless destruction and loss of life.
As things stand today, any Iranian move in the Strait of Hormuz that can be portrayed as a threat to the “free flow of commerce” (that is, the oil trade) represents the most likely trigger for direct U.S. military action. Yes, Tehran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and its support for radical Shiite movements throughout the Middle East will be cited as evidence of its leadership’s malevolence, but its true threat will be to American dominance of the oil lanes, a danger Washington will treat as the offense of all offenses to be overcome at any cost.
In the background, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps captured the British tanker Stena Impero and its 23 crew members in the Gulf on 19 July, provoked by the UK detaining an Iranian tanker off Gibraltar to stop it taking oil to Syria, which some reports indicate followed pressure from the US. The EU has remained fairly silent on the matter, and Britain is contending with a possible no-deal Brexit under newly appointed prime minister Boris Johnson. While these issues remain separate from INSTEX, the mechanism’s application, membership, scope and survival could prove to be a diplomatic minefield in the current geopolitical environment.
Iran’s main bet on defying U.S. pressure is whether it can find parties that can help circumvent U.S. sanctions, especially in its oil exports. China is one of Iran’s major importers and seems to eye a strategic interest in supporting Iran’s policy of resisting U.S. maximum pressure. But the question is: to what extend can China support Iran’s resistance?
In other words, the pain of sanctions will force people to rise up and overthrow their leaders. This is as naïve as it is cynical. It reflects the long-discredited theory that sanctioned populations will direct their frustrations and anger at national leaders and demand a change in policy or the regime. Sanctions have never worked for this purpose.
But to replace Iran’s exports to Iraq, the US and its allies need to have Iraq’s ruling elites on board, which is highly unlikely given that many of them are backed by Tehran; and provide real alternatives for Iraq’s need for Iran’s electricity and gas, which is also highly unlikely in the next two years at least. Therefore, it seems that the US anti-Iran policy in Iraq is facing a deadlock.
Forty years on, the Islamic Republic is sticking to its worldview and the dichotomy of its original religious ideological and republican dimensions. The ability to be independent from international influence is something many Iranian officials and military commanders brag about. Still, this independence comes at a price, a price that Iranians feel on a daily basis with sanctions depriving many of them of a normal life. Much progress and development has been made in post-1979 Iran that continues to win the regime support. At the same time, there are areas that remain underdeveloped and for which the republic attracts regular criticism.
This course of events can lead to further escalation. Iran sees no other choice but to stick to its current options for deterrence. The U.S. wants to deprive Tehran of this capability that can cause trouble for Washington and its regional policy. But the Iranians look at the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA as a betrayal and do not want to repeat the same mistake with regards to their BMP. That’s why some argue that U.S. nuclear deal withdrawal works against its disarmament policy.