America writes-off Iran, blocks Europe’s Tehran talks

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivers a speech, entitled, “After the Deal: A New Iran Strategy”, at the Heritage Foundation, in Washington, D.C, on May 21, 2018. (From US Department of State Official Blog).

While the European Union and more so Germany have being relentlessly working to save the nuclear non-proliferation deal with Iran, last Monday the new US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, shattered any opening for negotiations with Tehran. Until Pompeo dropped his bombshell, the EU was discussing a new pact with Iran, on the basis of the 2015 P5+1 Agreement, plus some more terms in order to meet the demands of the White House.

Last Sunday Miguel Arias Canete, the European Commissioner for energy was in Tehran and said the government there wanted the 28 nations bloc to take action fast, in order to preserve its oil trade with this country. It seems Pompeo doesn’t leave now any opening for a new agreement with the Islamic Republic under no circumstances. Let’s start from the beginning.

The P5+1 Agreement

To be reminded, in 2015 the so called P5+1 non-nuclear proliferation agreement with Iran was flamboyantly co-signed by the US, France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China. It fore-showed the end of Iran’s nuclear program and the relevant checks and verifications. In return the six powers agreed to lift the two decades old devastating sanctions on Iran. In this way the Islamic Republic gained access to world markets not only for her crude oil sales, but also for the imports of consumer products, technology and more. However, on 8 May the American President Donald Trump pulled the US out from the P5+1 Agreement with Iran and urged the allies of his country to do the same.

The French President Emmanuel Macron, while in a state visit in Washington unsuccessfully tried to change Trump’s mind. Russia and China both denounced Trump’s withdrawal. As for the three European signatory powers Britain, France and Germany, they are more or less united in trying to salvage the Iranian Deal. In more than one way they are still working to either gain exonerations from the new American sanctions like France or otherwise sidestep them as Germany does.

Germany to lose more

The Teutons are the biggest exporters to Iran. Hundreds of big multinationals, medium and small German business are present, invest or plan to do so in Iran. From an economic point of view, Germany is to lose the most, if the country doesn’t find a way to overstep the American sanctions to be soon imposed. The key problem is that in order a German company to be able to continue doing business in Iran, it mustn’t have any contact whatsoever with the US markets, businesses or even American people. The American authorities will be watchful and ready to grab and punish anybody and anything under their jurisdiction, that breaks the sanctions in any indirect or direct way.

Until last Monday the Europeans together with the rest of the world were in consultations with Iran. Their aim is to salvage any parts of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Agreement and possibly widen it, to include the demands of the White House. In this way, the US could drop the new sanctions and undersign a new stronger agreement. In view of that, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was expected to deliver a statement on what really America demands from Tehran. Alas, the list Pompeo presented last Monday demanded the…impossible. What he practically asks Iran to comply with, goes so deep into the functioning of the Islamic Republic’s structures, that the independent commentators equated it with an attempt of regime change.

Asking the Iranians to topple their government

The US Foreign Secretary went as far as to ask the Iranian people to send away their elected President Hassan Ruhani and the Foreign Minister Javad Zarif; that is; to topple the government. From the tribune of the Heritage Foundation, Pompeo said, if Iran doesn’t comply with his list of demands, America will punish the country and her people with “the strongest sanctions in history and crush Iranian operatives abroad”.

On the same occasion, the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanded rather impossible changes to force Iran reverse its recent expansion of military and political influence throughout the Middle East, up to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Only then America will be ready to lift the sanctions, Pompeo concluded. That is…never.

What the US Foreign Secretary did was to practically stop only before declaring war on Iran, although he later on indirectly likened it with Libya. In that last case the US, Britain and France openly, plainly and unprovoked overthrew the Gaddafi regime, killing him and destroying all state and government structures of the country. There is nothing left standing to this day in this completely destroyed country. As it turned out, the US, France and Britain decided in cold blood to obliterate the Mediterranean country, without having bargained anything with the Gaddafi regime.

Iran is not Libya

However, in the case of Iran, the Europeans insist in negotiating with Tehran, pressing the country to accept the Western demands, but not the ‘holistic’ kind Pompeo presented. Obviously, they do not share the likely American intentions to totally cripple the Shia Muslim Iran as the Sunni Gulf Kingdoms and Israel wish. Iran is not Libya in every respect.

As things are developing, the Washington administration and more precisely the White House are making life difficult to European, who are still trying to salvage the P5+1 Agreement. Even the closest US ally, Britain is taken aback with what the US wants in Iran. According to Reuters, Boris Johnson the British Foreign Secretary from Argentina, dismissed Pompeo’s list of demands as infeasible.

Threatening the Europeans

Pompeo, though, had more to tell Europeans. The previous day he presented his devastating list for Iran, he had turned to America’s allies. He said, he was expecting the European Union to cooperate in confronting “Iran’s nuclear program, missile development and role in regional conflicts”. According to Reuters, a State Department source observed this cooperation will be the “foundation to continue to work together, moving forward.”

Reading this statement in another way, it says if the Europeans do not cooperate with US against Iran, then the US won’t ‘work together’ with them anymore, nor will there be ‘moving forward’ together for America and Europe. If this is not a direct threat between ‘allies’, then words have lost their meaning.

The Americans may mean all that and actually proceed with their threats or possibly refrain in the future from so aggressive actions. Nevertheless, their actions and threats have so far derailed international trade and global order and turned the world into a very unpredictable and dangerous place to live in, for hundreds of millions of people.

 

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