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U.S. clearly spelling out a Plan B on the Iran nuclear deal and listing out nations

Discussion in 'Greater Asia & Middle East' started by Hindustani78, May 29, 2018.

  1. Hindustani78

    Hindustani78 Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

    Nov 20, 2017
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    File photo: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani with Prime Minister Narendra Modi prior to delegation level talks at Hyderabad House, in New Delhi on February 17, 2018. | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

    With the U.S. clearly spelling out a Plan B on the Iran nuclear deal and listing out nations from which it expects support, Indian diplomacy will be put to test.

    It is official. In his speech on May 21 to the Heritage Foundation, an ultra conservative think tank in Washington, the American Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, said almost in as many words that the goal that the U.S. administration is seeking in Iran is regime change.

    He outlined in detail the factors that might incentivise the Iranian people to revolt against the regime, including a struggling economy, workers not getting paid, daily strikes across the country, plummeting Rial, massive youth unemployment and women taking to streets against moral policing.

    In reply to a question, he stated: “At the end of the day, the Iranian people will get to make a choice about their leadership. If they make their choice quickly, it would be wonderful. If they choose not to do so, we will stay hard at this.”

    In order to strengthen their resistance, Mr. Pompeo has assured the Iranian people that the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, will not live forever.

    The U.S. is not asking for a new, revised or reformed nuclear deal. It wants to conclude a treaty that would override the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and would cover all aspects of Iran’s nuclear programme as well as its missile programme. Mr. Pompeo has been gracious enough to recognise Iran’s right to defend its people, but “not its actions which jeopardise world’s citizens

    America’s demands

    Mr. Pompeo calls “the strongest sanctions”He has a short list of 12 demands..

    1 .Iran must: fully disclose to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) the past military dimensions of its nuclear programme and abandon such work in perpetuity.

    2 . Stop enrichment and close its heavy water reactor.

    3 . Provide to the IAEA access to all the sites in the country.

    4 . End its ballistic missiles programme.

    5 . Release U.S. and other citizens detained on spurious charges.

    6 . End support to terror groups.

    7 . Respect the sovereignty of the Iraqi government.

    8 . End support to the Houthis in Yemen.

    9 . Withdraw its forces from Syria.

    10. End sending militants in Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

    11. End support to terrorists around the world.

    12. End threatening behavior against neighbours, many of whom are U.S. allies.

    Should Iran not only agree to but actually carry out all these demands to the America’s satisfaction, the latter will be prepared at that stage to end “principal components” of its sanctions, reestablish diplomatic relations, and permit access to advanced technology.

    Mr. Pompeo has admitted that the U.S. could not persuade its European allies to change their attitude towards the nuclear deal: “They may decide to keep the old nuclear deal going with Tehran. That is their decision to make. They know where we stand.” Sanctions may cause financial and economic difficulties for them, he said, but “we will hold those doing prohibited business in Iran to account.”

    U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to walk away from the JCPOA without putting forward a Plan B. Now, there is Plan B and Mr. Pompeo has spelt it out clearly for the whole world.

    Responses to the speech
    The Iranian President’s response to Mr. Pompeo was swift and sharp: “Who are you to decide for Iran and the world?” The European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini reacted saying there is “no alternative” to the deal.

    But the Foreign Minister of Iran was more pragmatic. Before Mr. Pompeo’s speech, he said in Brussels that political support was not enough; Iran needed Europeans to continue economic cooperation and increase investments in Iran. The German reaction has been cautious. Germany’s Foreign Minister went to to Washington on May 23 for talks with his American counterpart.

    At the same time, it is good to remind ourselves that the nuclear deal became possible because Iran was desperate to obtain relief from sanctions. The sanctions had made life for ordinary people extremely difficult. All the brave talk about the people standing up to American threats and sanctions and being ready to suffer any hardships was true only up to a point. Another round of severe sanctions will truly inflict almost unacceptable hardships for the people. For how long will they be ready to put up with such sanctions? Is their patience limitless?

    It is not at all certain that the Europeans will leave the U.S. all alone; sooner or later, they will find ways to “cooperate” with the U.S.

    The French energy giant Total has already declared that it will not abandon a major natural gas project in Iran unless the sanctions are waived by November 4, the date on which they will take effect. On the other hand, a London-based company Pergas has agreed to produce 655 million barrels of oil from Keranj oil field, but this was signed on May 17, before Mr. Pompeo speech.

    Going beyond European partners, Mr. Pompeo has singled out a dozen countries who he wants to cooperate with the U.S.’s Plan B: Indonesia, Bahrain, Egypt, India, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, the UAE and many others such as Malaysia, Sudan, Somalia, Morrocco,South Africa, Phillipines, Ethopia etc. It is significant that he has pointedly omitted from the list Russia and China. He has not mentioned a single country from Southeast Asia — was there a reason for that omission? The U.S. will soon be sending out teams of specialists to these and other countries to explain the administration’s policy, discuss the implications of sanctions, and to listen. The experts will descend on New Delhi soon.

    Safeguarding interests

    The American specialist team will in all probability explain to Pakistan that if Pakistan wants to avoid being sanctioned, it must steadily and significantly reduce oil imports from Iran over the next five and a half months. What about other economic transactions? If the Europeans come up with a reasonable and workable plan to avoid sanctions and to facilitate payment of imports from Iran in Euro, not only for themselves but for others as well, including India, then perhaps trade with Iran can go on. However, economic transactions are not the only consideration. New Delhi has built close relations with Washington over the past decade and a half. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be averse to putting these relations in any form of jeopardy. India will no doubt consult with other countries, including European countries. There is no mention of the Iran situation in the press release issued after the Modi-Vladimir Putin informal summit in Sochi on May 21; in fact, the press statement has no reference to any of the current contentious issues, perhaps because the meeting was meant to deal mostly with bilateral strategic and economic matters. Indian diplomacy will be on test, but one can expect that India will find a way to safeguard its interests without alienating its friends, old and new.

    Chinmaya R. Gharekhan, a former Indian Ambassador to the United Nations, was Special Envoy for West Asia in the Manmohan Singh government


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