Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister went on his countries national television network whining about how unfair the US is being by extending the US specific sanctions against his country for another 10 years. His message one of his key points was that the extension “shows the lack of credibility of the U.S. government.” He does not acknowledge the fact that his country has been violating the sanctions for years which forced the United state’s hand.
Quoting from an Associated Press article posted by ABC News:
Ghasemi said, “The U.S. president has agreed within the framework of the nuclear deal that he would use his authority to prevent the legislation and enforcement of any measures in violation of the deal, such as the recent act by the Congress.”
The nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers lifted a variety of international sanctions in exchange for limitations on the Iranian nuclear program. However the U.S. still maintains its own separate set of sanctions, which are set to expire Dec. 31 if they are not extended.
Ali Akbar Salehi, chief of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, said on Friday that Iran will carefully consider how to respond. “We will definitely make no emotional decisions but will make a decision based on prudence, vigilance and wisdom,” he said.
In the same article Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is quoted as saying “Definitely, the Islamic Republic of Iran will react” if the U.S. sanctions were renewed.
Ghasemi’s and Salehi’s comments seem to almost contradict each other. One is calling for a cool and rational approach to the situation. While the other is having an uncontrolled religious outburst. This kind of schism in leadership can and will prove to be dangerous in the coming days.
I believe there was an under the table deal between the current presidential administration and Iran. It was assumed that Hillary would succeed Obama and the sanctions would be reduced or eliminated. Since that hasn’t happened and Trumps bold stance on foreign policy the Republican controlled Congress felt emboldened to put some pressure on various foreign powers.
This extension was done is in part to destabilize the recent OPEC deal to cut back on production. Many OPEC nations are starting to cooperate with this new output restriction to push up oil prices. However the US sanctions limit who Iran can sell oil to. This puts Iran into a diminished position of power. For now Iran is doing what it can: saber rattling to get support from sympathetic countries.
In the long term this single act between the US and Iran will mean very little. But if Trump continues his pressure on OPEC nations we are looking an oil war starting. Ultimately the Middle East will loose the war because of the US’s fraking technologies and off shore drilling. This destabilization will cause a series of civil wars. Ultimately the Middle East and eastern Asia may break back up into tribal communities. All of this depends on how Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia react. Within a decade the entire region’s map could be re-written.