Iranian President Hassan Rouhani upped the rhetoric against the US, threatening a ‘crushing response’ if Washington goes ahead with its plans to extend the embargo on Iran’s trade of conventional arms. The United Nations is supposed to lift the embargo later this year. The removal of the embargo was part of the Iran nuclear deal. Given that it was the US which violated the agreement by walking away in 2018, logic would dictate that Washington should be the one facing sanctions, not Iran. Unfortunately, as we have seen, Washington never faces sanctions for anything.
Under US President Donald Trump, we have only seen that disregard for international law, diplomacy, and norms of society get worse. As Rouhani said, it was, at the bare minimum, a ‘stupid mistake’. This is because Trump claims he can get a better deal for the US, never mind that the previous agreement was made by some of the world’s top negotiators and not a reality TV show host. If anything the harshness of Rouhani’s language also reflects how outrageous the Trump administration’s Iran policy has been. Rouhani is widely regarded as being a pragmatic leader, but even he has a breaking point. Yet, apart from the hawkish language, Rouhani did flatly say what everyone has been trying to tell Trump. “If America wants to return to the deal, it should lift all the sanctions on Tehran and compensate for the reimposition of sanctions.”
The fact of the matter is that despite Iran’s gradual rollback of its own commitments under the nuclear accord, we cannot ignore that until the US stayed in, Iran was also in complete compliance. Any Iranian ‘violations’ are Trump’s fault, first and foremost. Secondly, they are on the European signatories that allowed the deal-breaking US to go unpunished while compliant Iran was made to suffer from fresh sanctions. Even the scale of Iran’s coronavirus problems would undeniably have been reduced if those unfair sanctions were not in place.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 8th, 2020.
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