The newly-appointed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a speech “After the Deal: A New Iran Strategy” the other day, in which he made a series of demands to change the policy and threatened with “the strongest sanctions in history.” Among the 12 new demands of Washington to Tehran are: making a new, tougher, deal on the nuclear program, ceasing to support Shiite rebels in Yemen and the Hezbollah grouping in Lebanon, withdrawing troops from Syria, etc., DW reports. “This sting of sanctions will be painful if the regime does not change its course from the unacceptable and unproductive path it has chosen to one that rejoins the league of nations,” Reuters quotes Pompeo as saying. At the same time, the Secretary of State added: if Tehran agrees to the changes, the US will ease sanctions, reestablish full diplomatic and commercial relationships, and support reintegration of the Iranian economy into the international economic system. It will be recalled that this tough statement of the Department of State follows the US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal.
REACTION OF IRAN AND THE EU
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani gave a blunt answer to Pompeo’s ultimatum. “Who do you think you are to make decisions for Iran and the world? The world today does not accept that the United States decides for the world. Countries are independent… This era is over... We will continue our path with the support of our nation,” the head of state said. Brussels has also criticized Washington’s change of course towards Tehran. Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said that Pompeo had not explained how the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal would make the region safer from the threat of nuclear proliferation and stressed that IAEA had confirmed that Iran observed the document’s conditions.
ON THE CONSEQUENCES OF SANCTIONS
Reuters believes that “any new US sanctions will raise the cost of trade for Iran and are expected to further deter Western companies from investing there. Pompeo’s speech did not explicitly call for regime change, but he repeatedly urged the Iranian people not to put up with their leaders, specifically naming Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.”
“The reality is that the punitive measures to come could hurt Iranian officials more than previous ones, but the real victims again will be average Iranians. And let’s be honest, that’s the whole point,” a Washington Post article says.
Jonathan Cristol writes for CNN that “it is unclear how Pompeo expects this new strategy to succeed. The American sanctions will only be crippling if the rest of the world goes along with them, and while the US may risk the transatlantic relationship in an attempt to force European compliance, it’s hard to see the same tactic working on Russia and China.”
“IN THE U.S. OPINION, THIS CAN BEGIN TO STIR UP UNREST AND DISCONTENT IN IRAN”
Viacheslav SHVED, head, Department of the History of Asian and African Countries, Institute of World History, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine:
“US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s statement, in which he presented Washington’s new Iran doctrine and which he says contains the strongest in history measures against Iran, exposed a full picture of the strategy the White House is mapping out towards Iran. Withdrawal from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is one of the most effective levers for the US to fully apply the strategy.
“At first the US in the person of President Trump said that this deal did not resolve the problem of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Then emphasis was more and more put on the fact that the deal comprised no measures that would keep Iran from pursuing it current Middle East policy which the US and its closest allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia, consider expansionist and dangerous for them.
“Former US President Barack Obama thought that if he signed a deal with Iran, this would prompt reformation of that country and that the funds that would be made available owing to the lifting of Iran sanctions could be channeled for serious transformations. This was very naive, of course. Israel and Saudi Arabia were saying this deal allowed Iran to use the freed billions of dollars to intensify its aggressive foreign policy towards some of the Arab neighbors in the Middle East. This became a dominant theme of the Trump administration. The US has put forward 12 demands which include not only tougher monitoring of Iran’s nuclear program actions, but also a number of serious political demands – to radically change its foreign policy in the region, in particular, to withdraw its troops from Syria, discontinue direct aid to pro-Iranian groupings, such as Hezbollah, Hamas, and others. In the US opinion, this must begin to foment unrest and discontent in Iran. In other words, the Iranian people will see that this regime is not so strong: it staggers and gives in to the US and their allies – therefore, we can put the heat on and overthrow the Ayatollahs’ regime. I think it is the essence of the current US policy.
“However, the US Iranian course has come across quite a serious EU resistance. Brussels has revolted against Trump’s actions. Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, stressed that she saw no alternative to the current 2015 nuclear deal in Pompeo’s speech. There are several reasons why the EU decided to keep this deal intact. Firstly, Trump insulted Europe with his brazen manners. Mogherini said the EU, the US, and Iran had been making strenuous and subtle diplomatic efforts for more than 10 years to achieve an agreement which she thinks is a compromise for all the sides. Besides, this deal was ‘blessed’ by a UN Security Council decision. Therefore, from the viewpoint of the EU and Mogherini, US actions infringe international law. Secondly, it is EU economic interests. The current US attack on the deal and shameless pressure on the EU and even threats to impose sanctions on European companies if they continue to cooperate with Iran are seriously affecting EU economic interests. In 18 months – from July 2015 until 2017 – commodity turnover between the united Europe and Iran increased from 9 billion to 25 billion dollars. For the EU, Iran is only the 33rd largest trade partner, but the attack on Europe coincided with Trump’s demands to raise customs tariffs on European steel, aluminum, and cars, which is causing a substantial economic damage to the EU. This is why Brussels decided to repulse and show that it is worth something on the international arena and that such actions should be coordinated with it.”
CONSEQUENCES FOR UKRAINE
“All that is going on around Iran concerns the national security of Ukraine, for those involved in direct confrontation are Ukraine’s allies – the US, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, and Turkey, on which we rely in the struggle to restore territorial integrity, regain the occupied and annexed territories, resolve the Crimean Tatar problem, etc. This represents danger to out southern borders. As the Iran situation is developing at a rapid pace, the National Security and Defense Council and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should form a standing taskforce which would not only monitor this situation daily, but also make decisions on correcting our actions in the Middle East and the Mediterranean-Black Sea-Caspian region and on relations with the abovementioned countries. Ukraine needs caution, a balanced approach, and it must take no ill-considered steps.”