Some of the US’ demands are impossible for Iran to comply with and are clearly intended to give Washington a public reason for tightening its sanctions regime to become the “strongest in history”, like America’s top diplomat described them as being.
For example, Iran will never cut off support for its Hezbollah allies in Lebanon because it considers them to be the vanguard force in their shared anti-Zionist struggle, while no such ties exist at all with the Sunni Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan that Pompeo accused Tehran of backing. Most analysts concurred that the US has implicitly announced – or as cynics would say, confirmed – what amounts to a comprehensive regime change strategy against Iran which envisions tougher sanctions provoking identity-based conflict among its many minorities that could then evolve to take on political dimensions with time and the right amount of foreign support.
That, at least, is pretty much the strategy that Pompeo unveiled at the beginning of this week, though it doesn’t by any means suggest that it’ll be a successful one since critics have already pointed out that a lot of it depends on whether the US can get other countries to go along with the sanctions, which might prove a lot tougher than the US thinks. The Europeans, for example, are united in opposition to these unilateral economic restrictions, and both Russia and China have no interest in playing along either. Sensing that this is the case, Pompeo made a point that the US will also take action against those who don’t comply with its sanctions demands, in a thinly veiled threat that the summer 2017 “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act”, or CAATSA, would be wielded as a Hybrid War weapon against America’s own allies if it has to.
Trump’s already threatened a so-called “trade war” with the EU, which counts the US as its top trade partner, so Pompeo’s barking might lead to enough bite that the Europeans reconsider their economic support of the Islamic Republic. Russia and China aren’t as easily influenced by these threats, and the first-mentioned one is already sanctioned as it is and one of the reasons for CAATSA, so the possibility exists for these two Great Powers to become Iran’s economic lifeline in the future, especially considering that Moscow and Tehran recently signed a free trade agreement under the aegis of the Eurasian Economic Union.
Pouya Sharif, Iranian student activist from Germany, and Elijah J. Magnier, Chief international correspondent at AL RAI commented on the issue.
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