OPINION

The threats of heightened tensions between Iran & U.S

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BY: Mudasir Wani

Over the past week, the relationship between the U.S and Iran has become even more strained. The Pentagon on Monday announced that U.S will send ten thousand additional troops and a dozen fighter jets to the Middle East. The pentagon says that this is in response to Iran’s plan to attack U.S and its interest in the region. The Trump administration on 20th of June approved strikes on Iran and then abruptly stopped the approval. This comes in response when U.S surveillance Drone was shot down by Iranian revolutionary guards. The deployment of additional troops comes after last week’s attack on two oil tankers in the gulf of Oman that U.S blamed on Iran. Following Tehran’s announcement that it will increase its stock of enriched uranium over the limit set by its 2015 nuclear deal .The U.S National security council said that this was nuclear blackmail that must be met with increased international pressure. It all started When U.S national security advisor John Boltan announced in last month the deployment of Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier (B-52) bomber alongwith troops & thousands ships to the Persian gulf in reaction to what he described as troubling threats from Iran without any specific evidence. Tehran is now threatening to reconsider it’s obligations under the joint comprehensive plan of action.

In Nov 2018, the United Nations nuclear watch dog reported that Iran was conducting research that could only be used to develop a nuclear trigger, later that month U.S imposed tough sanctions targeting Iran’s Oil & Petrochemical industry. In Dec 2018, stating that sanctions were a threat to its economic survival, Iran pledged to block the flow of regional oil through Hormuz, which is a trade route of U.S to rest of countries. U.S said that would be a redline in days later past sanctions targeting Iran’s central bank. Now the heated war of words between the U.S and Iran has taken on the front pace ,accusations over nuclear weapon programs , assassinations, spying and take of redlines have brought these two countries to brink of armed conflict, each side is strong to bluff the other one. Recently Iran announced that capture of an accused spy, a former U.S marine who has been sentenced to death and just before two weeks fourth Iranian nuclear scientist was murdered with a car bomb. Now Iran has blamed U.S and said retribution would be equal soon. The situation has lead Iran’s president to threaten to leave the nuclear deal if other signatory countries didn’t shield it from U.S, if Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China return to the negotiating table and help Iran to reach its benefits in the field of oil and banking, Iran will return to its commitment according to the nuclear deal

The International Monetary Fund announced in later April that Iranian economy could shrink by 6% in current year, unemployment rate which is already 12% could also increase especially among the youth population. The U.S move is to squeeze Tehran’s top export commodity and bring its oil market to zero, seen as an escalation of Trump’s administrations “maximum pressure” on Iran. The decision applies to eight countries including India that had been given a temporary waiver of 180 days last year. As a result of this decision, all eight countries would have to bring down its import of oil from Iran while U.S president Donald Trump has decided to end exemptions from sanctions for countries who are buying oil from Iran, while Greece, Italy, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan have already heavily reduced their oil imports from Iran. India was the second crude oil buyer from Iran after China. However Turkey and China still import crude oil from Iran despite Trump’s sanctions, neither European Union nor Russia is backing the U.S strategy towards Iran. U.s foreign secretary Mike Pompeo has been reassuring Russia and European Union that Washington is not heading towards conflict with Iran but Russia seems to be backing Iran.

Israel is integral character in this plot and seems to be key conspirator for escalation between U.S and Iran. Saudi Arabia also seems to be a close ally of U.S and Israel and is extremely provoking U.S to attack Iran. The U.S and Saudi Arabia see eye to eye when it comes to Iran and what they consider Tehran’s aggressive and destabilising behaviour in the region. Sunni powerhouse of Saudi Arabia has always stood up against the shia,s of Iran which is paving the way for Arab-Iran war, however U.S and Israel are keeping close eyes to take the advantage and to lead Iran-Arab war. As Saudi and Iranian relations have bifurcated, Israel has been capitalising on shared hostility towards Tehran and behind the scenes, Saudi Arabia and Israel have improved their ties in recent years. The Saudis and Iranians have never actually declared war on each other instead they fight indirectly by supporting opposing sides in other countries and inciting conflict of proxy war. However Israel seems to take advantage of the spark to lead Iran-Saudi war. The Saudi-Iranian rivalry has become a battlefield that will have a devastating effect on the region, countries especially poor ones can’t function if there are larger countries pulling strings within their borders.

The Trump administrations tone keeps changing over past few weeks but at the same time Pentagon has been provoking a military confrontation with Iran. The head of Iranian revolutionary guards dismissed the build up as “nothing but psychological warfare” he also said that U.S lacks power and doesn’t dare to start a war against Iran. The foreign secretary of Israel recently announced that Israel could indeed be caught in the crossfire of U.S-Iran conflict either by a direct rocket attack or through one of the Iran’s proxies. However China and Turkey in last week warned that The U.S decision to impose sanctions on buyers of Iranian crude oil will intensify turmoil in the Middle East and in the international energy market. China firmly opposed the U.S decisions to impose sanctions on buyers and it’s so-called long armed jurisdiction.

“US president Donald Trump thought that Iran would face a kind of internal disarray and would eventually negotiate with the U.S but it didn’t happen, in response the Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Al Khamnei said “ as long as America continues its wickedness ,the Iranian nation will not abandon “death to America”

The writer is a Socio-political Activist and can be emailed at rahimudasir075@gmail.com

 

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