The tussle has become more than apparent!
As expected, Iran has warned of ‘counter-measures’ against the US for quitting the ‘Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action’ (JCPOA), unofficially known as the ‘Iran Nuclear Deal’.
On May 8, US President Donald Trump pulled out of the deal, vowing to restore economic sanctions on Tehran. Almost immediately, the top Iranian political leadership condemned the move, saying that the new American strategy on the West Asian nation was designed to be rejected. Other signatories of the accord, too, strongly criticised the move, with French President Emmanuel Macron trying hard to salvage the deal. Later on May 22, the White House hinted that it might strike a new deal with Tehran, if Iran agreed to accept 12 new ‘conditions’. Soon after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an announcement in this regard, the Islamic Republic issued a strongly-worded statement.
Speaking at a media conference in Tehran, President Hassan Rouhani made it clear that Iran would not accept any new condition. The ‘moderate’ president also dismissed threats made by Pompeo, saying that the rest of the world no longer accepts Washington making decisions on their behalf. In a pointed response to Pompeo’s announcement, President Rouhani stressed: “Who are you to decide for Iran and the world? The world today does not accept that the US decides for the world. Countries have their independence. The era of such statements has evolved and the Iranian people have heard these statements hundreds of times, and no longer pay attention.”
The five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany – popularly known as P5 – had signed the nuclear deal with Iran in 2015. However, President Trump was not happy with the deal signed by his predecessor Barack Obama and described Tehran as one of the biggest sponsors of terrorism. The US president appointed Pompeo as the Secretary of State in April and sent him to different Asian nations on a diplomatic tour. The senior US official strongly criticised Iran during his tour of Asia, indicating that the US-Iran ties touched a new low. The fear has proved true, as the US quit the JCPOA in May.
The US has also prepared a ‘Plan B’ for Iran. According to sources close to the White House, President Trump plans to strike a new deal with Iran, instead of imposing tougher sanctions. According to the Secretary of State, the Islamic Republic will have to ‘accept’ 12 conditions, which include: i) Iran will have to withdraw troops from Syria, ii) to stop uranium enrichment and building missiles, iii) to inform the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about its nuclear programme and iv) to stop helping terror outfits, like Hezbollah and Hamas.
Pompeo further announced that Iran would have to face tougher sanctions, if it refused to sign the new accord. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has reacted sharply, saying: “The US diplomacy sham is merely a regression to old habits: imprisoned by delusions & failed policies – dictated by corrupt Special Interest – it repeats the same wrong choices and will thus reap the same ill rewards. Iran, meanwhile, is working with partners for post-US JCPOA solutions.”
Meanwhile, the foreign policy experts have expressed serious concern over the ongoing diplomatic war between the US and Iran. They are of the opinion that although President Rouhani is a ‘moderate’ leader who was eager to ‘normalise’ ties with the US and its Western allies, President Trump’s Iran nuclear deal pullout may prompt the former to adopt a ‘hard-line’ stance. According to experts, a ‘hard-liner’ Rouhani can make it difficult for Washington to ‘safeguard’ the American interests in West Asia. The axis between Iran, Russia, Syria, Palestine and the Lebanese ‘opposition’ group Hezbollah could throw a strong challenge to the US in the coming days. In that case, the political situation in West Asia would deteriorate further. Experts believe that Washington cannot afford a fresh tension in the region ahead of President Trump’s crucial summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in June.
Now, it’s up to President Trump to decide how he will tackle Iran – through sanctions, through friendship or through other mean……..
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