RNA - During a joint press conference on Feb. 15 with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House, Trump said, “I will do more to prevent Iran from ever developing, I mean ever, a nuclear weapon.” He also called Iran's nuclear energy program a threat to Israel, which possesses the only nuclear arsenal in the Middle East, and added, “The security challenges faced by Israel are enormous, including the threat of Iran's nuclear ambitions, which I've talked a lot about.”
Trump's anti-Iran rhetoric should not be ignored by Tehran, but it should not be dealt in the way like Trump administration is doing now. All the current measures which have been taken by his administration are counterproductive:
1- The US and other world powers took years to find a common ground with Iran, which settled the nuclear dispute in return for removal of sanctions. The deal, called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), allowed Iran to mend ties with European countries, boost its oil production and trade with other countries, thereby minimizing the pain its people had suffered due to the illegal sanctions. Trump calls the landmark nuclear agreement as “one of the worst deals I've ever seen,” saying that his administration has already introduced fresh sanctions against Tehran over its missile tests. It’s not that hard to see which side is doing provocations and/or poses a real danger to the world.
2- UN Security Council Resolution 2231 has endorsed the nuclear deal. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has also confirmed Iran's commitment to the terms of the nuclear agreement. The message is clear: Iran is implementing the JCPOA along with France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany. It is the United States which is yet to get on board. Quite the contrary, earlier this month, Trump undermined the multilateral deal by introducing a new round of sanctions against Iran following a conventional missile test. Washington claims the test was a breach of the JCPOA. The UN rejects the US claim, saying it had nothing to do with the nuclear deal. Even White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has confirmed that Iran’s missile test was “not a direct violation of the country’s nuclear deal with six major powers.”
3- All this fuss and intense wrangling is about protecting Israel, as the new sanctions are irrevocably colored by politics, short of rational, ethical, scientific, technical, legal and justified virtues, and hence illegal. To substantiate, Netanyahu thanked Trump for imposing the new sanctions, calling on the US and its allies to form a “united front” against Iran to ensure Israel’s security. Underscoring Washington and Tel Aviv’s “unbreakable” bond, Trump promised Netanyahu that his country was committed to Israel’s security. If there’s a single consistent aspect to Trump’s strategic vision, it’s this: US foreign policy should always be governed by the simple principle of “Israel First,” with this regime’s vital interests placed above those of all others, including the US.
4- Trump’s current hard line on Iran would bring about failure in the US diplomacy, as Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively dedicated for peaceful use and it has never attacked any country for centuries. Despite the US sanctions and stonewalling, Tehran, having faith in its legitimate right, has continued its close, steady, transparent and extensive cooperation with Europe and the IAEA. It has allowed round-the-clock inspections of its nuclear facilities by the UN nuclear watchdog inspectors. Consequently, Washington, Tel Aviv and Riyadh will get blamed for torpedoing the nuclear deal. They are challenging a world achievement as well as the IAEA, pushing their fairness, truthfulness and diplomacy to the limit.
5- Far less enamored of Netanyahu and the Israel lobby than they used to be, London, Paris, Berlin, Moscow and Beijing have voiced opposition to sabotaging the prevailing diplomacy, saying sanctions and threats are counter-productive, and that rather than being excluded Tehran should be engaged. It is an unprecedented snub to the US, Israel and its lobby in Washington, provoked by Netanyahu’s desperate effort to thwart a key Iran policy in the Middle East: Helping Iraq and Syria in the fight against terrorism.
Let’s face it: The Trump administration is totally mistaken if it believes that a ratcheting up of pressures, sanctions and threats, coupled with closer policy alignment with Israel and Saudi Arabia, will force an Iranian retreat in the region. The Islamic Republic is too deeply entrenched in the ongoing War on Terror, and it will be impossible to impose any retreat from Iraq and Syria. By all credible accounts, Iran firmly stands its ground even if it risks a major crisis in US-Iranian relations. Iran is a hardened adversary for ISIL and Al-Qaeda, despite animosities by Washington and associates; it is very much required to eradicate the foreign-backed terrorist groups from the region.
In this looking-glass world, many countries including Europeans – as they find themselves packed into more or less the same unfriendly basket of deplorables - look for opportunities to expand bilateral ties, and to identify areas for cooperation with Tehran. For them, no country in the Middle East has Iran’s combination of geographic size, strategic location, large and educated population. Iran has been the most effective player in fighting the ongoing disorder across the region. It has done this by providing substantial political, military and financial backing to Iraq and Syria in the ongoing war against terrorism. Iran now stands first in the War on Terror. It is in nobody’s interest to lose such a trustworthy and dependable ally which is engaged at various levels to promote and strengthen stability and security across the region.