Foreign Policy Foreign Policy with Robert Inlakesh Government Politics Robert Inlakesh Top News World

Instead Of Reviving The Iran Nuclear Deal, Washington Uses More Sanctions

US President Joe Biden has imposed additional sanctions against Iran, making a revival of the Iran Nuclear Deal even more difficult and bringing Tehran and Moscow even closer.

This Wednesday the US state department announced new sanctions against an individual and a number of companies, allegedly associated with aiding Iran’s ballistic missile program. The move comes following an apparent breakdown in the Vienna talks that were initiated last April, aimed at reviving the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran Nuclear Deal.

The Eighth rounds of talks seemed to be heading in a more positive direction back in February, as the US and Iranian negotiating teams insinuated that a deal could be within reach in as little as weeks, even days. US refusal to give in to Iranian demands to remove all sanctions, introduced after former US President Donald Trump withdrew from the JCPOA, along with Russian demands that it would be able to continue to trade with Tehran, were said to have sidelined the prospect of a deal however.

The latest round of sanctions also follow a deadly exchange between Israel and Iran in the Middle East. In early March, unprovoked Israeli airstrikes on the outskirts of Syria’s capital city, Damascus, killed two members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which Tehran claimed were operating in Syria as advisors. In response to the Israeli airstrikes, the IRGC then launched an unprecedented strike using 12 Fatah 110 ballistic missiles against Mossad bases in Erbil, Iraq. The Iraqi Kurdish forces, who belong to the Kurdish Regional Government, claimed that no such Israeli bases exist in Iraq, however the New York Times later released an article citing US officials that stated that Israeli facilities were indeed hit.

The strong message that Iran was sending to the American regime and its allies, is that it will not tolerate being pushed around. The US Biden administration is seemingly raising tensions, and instead of seeking peace with Tehran during a time of crisis, Washington is actively pushing Iran closer to both Russia and China.

This Wednesday, in a meeting with his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was said to have discussed the current state of JCPOA negotiations, in a meeting held in China. Moscow vowed to work with Iran, as an important partner, in order to circumvent US imposed sanctions and forge a stronger relationship.

Iran’s place inside the Middle East is one of dominance, it plays a crucial role in Syria, Palestine, Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq and beyond. The network of allies Tehran has developed, coordinates with and arms, makes it dominant regionally. For instance, Saudi Arabia seemed to be heading towards rapprochement with Iran, but its execution of 81 people seemed to have put a stop to the talks, which Tehran withdrew from. Last week, the Ansarallah movement (the Houthis) launched their largest known attack, in terms of its effectiveness, against Saudi Aramco oil facilities. Washington’s response to the attack was lackluster in the eyes of Riyadh and the Saudi Kingdom quickly jumped to accept a ceasefire agreement, which it claims it will hold to during Ramadan.

Saudi Arabia was in a strong position with Washington, due to the US requests to increase the amount of crude oil production to bring prices down. Riyadh was in the process of negotiating with the United States over this issue when missile and drone strikes from Yemen pounded its oil infrastructure, causing a hike in Brent crude. In the case of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), back in January the Ansarallah movement launched three separate attacks against Abu Dhabi and Dubai, placing fear in the hearts of tourists and locals alike. Although Washington scrambled to condemn the attack and send weapons to the UAE, it disappointed Abu Dhabi by not bowing to all of their demands. To make a major statement, the Ansarallah launched strikes against the UAE when Israel’s President visited the Gulf nation, proving that neither Tel Aviv nor Washington could protect Emirati security interests.

The case of Iran’s allies in Yemen and their power to prove the usefulness of Tehran regionally, as a go between in order to protect security interests in the Persian Gulf, is just one of many examples where Iran is of significant importance.

The US government is continually shooting itself in the foot when it comes to its foreign policy approach; it is hard to imagine a worse plan of action at this point. During perhaps the biggest test to the US since the Cold War, the American government is all over the place. At this time it is strategically smart to ensure a JCPOA revival, yet working against it, with aggressive tactics like these new sanctions, is akin to shooting themselves in the foot. If Washington is hoping to succeed over Russia, they need to turn the world on Moscow, yet they seem to be doing the opposite. The Europeans are very much interested in a revival of the JCPOA, yet they cannot move an inch without the United States telling them to do so. The US seeking peace with Iran, whilst taking on Russia through its proxy, Ukraine, would be a political layup and represent a positive move for both sides [Iran and the US-EU]. However, it looks like the Biden administration is seeking escalation in the Middle East, and this will not end well for the US government’s position regionally.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *