Trump and Iran: It’s all about the bottom line

Words by Lawrence Hull

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The beginning of August saw Donald Trump re-impose sanctions against Iran. These sanctions came just three months after Trump withdrew from the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), colloquially known as the Iran nuclear deal.

The difference between the sanctions under Trump and previous sanctions is that the U.S. doesn’t have support from its allies and those with whom it has diplomatic relations. The U.S. is essentially going it alone.

The EU is putting forward measures to maintain the previous deal as much as possible. China has refused requests from the U.S. to stop purchasing oil from Iran, and Turkey has insisted that it too will continue trading with Iran.

The U.S. is following a tough-talking line with Iran as it did with North Korea. It seems that the strategy of the White House is to push these nations’ leaders into a corner and then hope that they will come to the table and negotiate.

While the tough-talking rhetoric may have worked in bringing about a meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un, Iran seems much more defiant.

Iran isn’t interested in meeting with the U.S. president, nor is it prepared to renegotiate the nuclear deal. At this point who can blame them? The Trump administration has proven itself to be belligerent, untrustworthy, and unstable.

Trump has claimed several times that the deal is bad, but has failed to demonstrate why exactly. While the Republicans and the like often criticise Iran and the nuclear deal, no one has put forward a better alternative.

It has been widely reported that withdrawing from the deal was done out of spite, to unravel what was deemed to be a great foreign policy achievement by Barack Obama.

Some in the U.S. suggested that Iran has used the wealth obtained as a result of the nuclear deal to pursue regional dominance and support terrorism.

John Bolton, the U.S. National Security Adviser has recently claimed that the sanctions aren’t aimed at regime change, rather they are designed at curbing Iran’s ‘support for terror’.

Republicans love to use the words ‘supporting terror’ to rally their followers into blindly believing all that they claim. But what really is terror? And what really is a terrorist organisation?

What’s also left out of this discussion is the effect the sanctions have on the Iranian people. The White House giving lip service purporting to support the Iranian people shows how gullible they think Iranians are.

Let’s be clear — the withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal is solely about the control of resources with a blatant disregard for the human cost. This is a narrative all too familiar to the United States.

The U.S. fears that Iran may become more of a regional power in the Middle East. The Shia-led regime of Iran has a presence in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq.

The more powerful Iran becomes, the more chance they have of influencing other governments in the Middle East, and the harder it will be for the U.S. to control them.

As it stands, the U.S. does not have influence in Iran, nor does it control its natural resources. The U.S. has a long history of attempting to control the natural resources of the Middle East. As Noam Chomsky has mentioned several times — control of natural resources leads to control over the world.

While the U.S. claims not to want regime change in Iran, this statement should be taken with a grain of salt. A puppet regime in Iran would serve the U.S. agenda perfectly, potentially allowing them to control Iran’s foreign policy and natural resources.

The US may be hoping that sanctions will bring about the overthrow of the Iranian regime but it underestimates the anti-American sentiment and resolve of Iranian people.

Judging by its recent erratic policy decisions, the White House can not be taken seriously as a stable and honest broker.

Its obsession with global dominance and economic hegemony is of course fuelled by the greedy capitalist system, and Iran is too aware of the real intentions of the U.S., no matter how their justifications are decorated with false narratives.

Iran is left with three choices; capitulate to U.S. demands and basically surrender their sovereignty; take retaliatory measures, such as blocking the transportation of oil through the Strait of Hormuz; or try to hold out for as long as they can in the hope that when a new U.S. President is elected he/she will return to the deal.

The first two are highly unlikely to occur. Blocking the Strait of Hormuz may provide the pretext the U.S. is looking for to initiate military action.

The third option is more likely. But it will depend on how Iran can weather the storm.

The Iranian regime is well known for its abysmal human rights record, but punishing the entire country with sanctions when the government was compliant with the nuclear deal is just lunacy.

The world is all too familiar with the human consequences of U.S. greed. Diplomacy is always a better option, and bullying other countries into coming to the negotiating table will only add to global instability.

Written by

Adelaide University student magazine since 1932. Edited by Nicholas Birchall, Felix Eldridge, Taylor Fernandez and Larisa Forgac. Email us at onditmag@gmail.com

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