Increasing US-Iran tensions - a self-fulfilling prophecy, expert says
Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 24
By Kamila Aliyeva – Trend:
The increasing tensions between the US and Iran will possibly lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy, Dr. David Criekemans, an expert in foreign relations and Assistant Professor in International Politics at the University of Antwerp, told Trend.
“If the US would threaten even more sanctions than today, Iranian President Rouhani has stated that Tehran may reactivate its nuclear program. The pattern of the George W. Bush presidency would then be repeated whereby more radical figures and policies would over time again gain momentum in Iran,” he said.
One cannot see this separate from the new geopolitics in the Middle East, according to the expert.
“Obama promoted the JCPOA as an instrument to allow Iran back into the mainstream of international relations. This ‘corrected’ the geopolitical dominance of Saudi Arabia in the Middle East,” he said.
The expert noted that Trump has demolished this Obama policy and has returned to the old approach of George W. Bush.
“The bond with both Israel and Saudi Arabia was reconfirmed early in the Trump presidency. However, US foreign policy now risks becoming subservient to the foreign policy goals of Tel Aviv and Riyadh,” he added.
Moreover, Criekemans explained some reasons behind Trump’s recent remarks about possibility of declaring Iran non-compliant in September.
“He could for instance state there are ‘incremental’ violations, but then he would need to become much more specific,” he said.
Trump has labeled the JCPOA as ‘fatally flawed’ and perhaps wants to create an incident to be able to ‘renegotiate’ it ‘to close the loopholes’, according to the expert.
“If the US would take such a stand, it would quite probably create a rift between Washington and other international parties to the deal. Much, however, depends on Iran’s continuing commitment to the obligations enshrined into the JPOA,” he said.
Countries such as France and Germany now have direct economic interests, the expert believes.
“Renault is again becoming active in Iran. Airbus is also poised to sell 73 airliners to two Iranian airlines. There is a genuine European interest to further develop the relationship with Iran,” he said.
Also, Moscow and Beijing both support Iranian membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a security alliance with Russia and the Central Asian States, Criekemans noted.
“Chances are the US would isolate itself vis-à-vis the other major powers. If this would happen, it could also even erode Washington’s power position over time – as we have also recently seen in climate change issues,” he added.
Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China and Russia – plus Germany signed the nuclear deal on July 14, 2015 and started implementing it on January 16, 2016.
The agreement limits Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for, among other things, the removal of all nuclear-related bans against the Islamic Republic.
The US Congress requires the administration’s certification (every 90 days) of Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal. Trump’s administration has already declared Iran in compliance, as required by law, twice during his tenure.
Nonetheless, Trump’s remarks forecasting that the US would declare Iran non-compliant when the next review is due in September, have cast shadow over the future of the landmark nuclear deal between Iran and the world powers.