US to play 'Russian roulette' with Iran? | Eurasia Diary -

19 August, Monday

US to play 'Russian roulette' with Iran?

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Recent political tensions between Iran and US lead to political challenges across the Middle East region and have been occupying a great deal of attention in the international arena. Iran is the key player in the region, it has nukes and continues to increase its nuclear capacity. At the other hand US is the hegemon country and dedicated it preserve its interest in all parts of the world. Although many International Organizations and Western countries are trying for bringing peace into the conflict ridden regions of the Middle East, but this process seems to be rather difficult to end in constructive results in near future. Conflicts of interest among key players such as Iran, US in the region and in the world cause peace process slow down, and some questions arise regarding to the future of the region. Consequently, US forceful economic pressure and Iran’s pride don’t bring any peaceful solution to existing problems, but rather make political and economic lives difficult in the&nbsregion.


How did tensions erupt?

Recent political escalation between US and Iran showed up when US decided to send the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier to the Middle East region about two weeks ago in order to counter future aggression with “unrelenting force” and thus sent warning signal to Iran. As a result, Iran took this move as a psychological warfare against itself and declared that it can withdraw its parts of JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action). A few days later the military deployment, US decided to send another warship and more missiles to the region. High-ranking political and military figures started to make threats against each other. Iran demanded economic and political demands from European countries within 60 days in order to commit the Irannuclear deal, and then it announced to suspend its parts of JCPOA when EU rejected Iran’s ultimatum.


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What does Iran want?

It is certain that Iran prefers to avoid any confrontation with US, to reject to negotiate under US pressure, and pushes for reducing economic sanctions by Western countries. Many high-ranking government officials and senior diplomats expressed that Iran wasn't willing to enter war with US, although they emphasize strong deterrence ability of Iran. JCPOA proved that it hadn't generated any rewarding results for Iran so far. Its economy is experiencingthe worst times of the last decades. There are also political pressures on the President Rouhani form both conservative ideological opponents and his progressive bloc to take urgent measures against US pressure. These factors could push Iran to suspend its parts in JCPOA which generated no results for Iran, in order to counter US pressure and alsoto demand EU to ease economic sanctions on Iran.


What about US?

The Trump Administration prioritize its political interests rather than concluding a peaceful arrangement with Iran. How is it possible to make the nuclear deal work if US attempts military build-up in the Middle East? US Secratary of State Pompeo cancelled his trip to German and visited Iraq neighbour country  of Iran amid the existing tensions. He asked Iraq leaders to protect US troops and citizens in the country. Military deployments and unpredictable diplomatic movew shows that US obviously chose to ignore Iran’s demands coming from JCPOA and try to reach a new deal with Iran which it wants to set the rules of the game. Moral, economic exhaustion of Iran may be another underlying reason of the increase of US military presence in the Middle East. These provocative movements induce further forceful actions. Although both countries stated that they don’t seek to make war, but any mistake will cause current tensions to step more aggressive level.


Third parties

Russia, Iran’s ally, expressed that it will stand by the Iran nuclear deal and maintain closer ties with Iran before. When US Secretary of State Pompeo met with Foreign Minister of Russia Lavrov, the recent tensions with Iran were on the table. Lavrov stated that US and Russia have differences on Iran and its discontent with US withdrawal from JCPOA. The EU is another key actor in the Iran nuclear deal. However, it showed the lack of ability of playing a counterweight to US. Economic sanctions by US and its pressure on other countries to cut economic relations with Iran are still in force. When Iran called for economic promises from EU countries, demands were rejected. Consequently, Russia does not want to risk the possibilty of restoring relations with US, and confines itself to merely condemnation like EU powers.


Islam Mammadov

Eurasia Diary

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