Iran has been experiencing sanctions from the USA for the last 4 decades now, but the recent escalation of harshness and decrease in the accommodating attitude of the USA has led to the deterioration of relations between the two. On top of this, the latest sanctions imposed on Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif have rendered it impossible for Iran to follow the path of diplomacy with the USA.
There are increasing fears of war between the US and Iran after a US drone was shot down by Iranian forces. Iran claimed it as a spy aircraft encroaching its territory, thus justifying its move. But the US maintained its stance of being hit in the international territory.
Now, let’s try to understand, what exactly are the issues running in the background:
- The USA has been accusing Iran of spreading unrest in the middle-east region. But, Iran believes that the USA is not comfortable with Tehran’s independent foreign policy and wants to assert its influence over its decisions. It seems a little convincing as well, considering the fact that the USA always wanted to have its influence in the oil-rich region so that it can maneuver the policies of countries in its own interest.
- USA withdrew from the JCPOA or Iran nuclear deal, stating that the deal was inadequate to control Iran’s nuclear programs and ballistic missiles. But, the reason has been clearly opposed by Iran, as it has been following all the IAEA guidelines. Even the other signatories have taken Iran’s side in this matter.
- The increasing sanctions by the USA have already crippled Iran’s economy as its oil export has decreased by many folds which makes the major part of its GDP. Tehran has called these tactics as ‘economic terrorism’ and ‘psychological warfare’, to make Iran weak and bend down in front of US demands.
- Globally, economists believe that the USA is using its containment policy to control Iran’s military power within its boundary, to appease its allies in the middle-east especially Saudi Arabia and Israel so that it can maintain its dominance indirectly in the region through its allies.
- All these coincided with a series of mysterious attacks on oil assets in the Persian Gulf that the USA has blamed on Tehran, which has, in turn, denied responsibility for the explosions.
Let’s look at other countries stance:
Iran’s European partners under JCPOA have still maintained their stance for the continuation of the nuclear deal.
To help Iran with economic distress, they have extended a line of credit, started INSTEX project and other relief measures to keep the economy running.
Even Moscow has extended its support towards Iran to counter the drastic impact of primary and secondary sanctions by the USA.
How can it be better handled?
The USA, on one hand, has reiterated its desire to avoid a military confrontation, but on the other hand, its aggressive approach has left no room for Iran for Track 1 or Track 2 diplomacy.
If it continues like this, Iran would have no other option than to retaliate, which would include violating the restrictions under the nuclear deal and enriching its uranium. And that could definitely end up into nuclear warfare.
Iran could even increase its presence in Syria and its support for militia groups across the region, including in Iraq, to increase its leverage against the American military presence in the Middle East
The USA needs to acknowledge the fact that there is no winner in a war, it destroys both sides equally. It should focus on using the carrot and stick policy by giving some incentive to Iran so that it can come to the negotiation table, and this whole situation can be saved from further escalating.