Tehran's decision comes after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Washington is not looking for a war with Iran, following meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Sochi.
But tensions between Iran and the US continue to escalate. Last week the US approved the deployment of warships and warplanes to the Middle East.
Sputnik has discussed the future of the nuclear deal and US-Iran relations with Hooshang Amirahmadi, PhD, Professor at Rutgers University, Senior Associate at Oxford University and President of the American Iranian Council.
Sputnik: It's been a year since the United States abandoned the nuclear deal with Iran, and Tehran has now said that it will halt some commitments under the deal, so is the agreement still alive?
Hooshang Amirahmadi: In my view the nuclear deal is dead. It has been dead for at least a year. After the United States left the JCPOA for all practical purposes that deal died. So I don't believe there is a nuclear deal existing. The Europeans tried their best to keep Iran in the deal while they themselves did not deliver on their commitments. So basically the only country that stayed in the deal with Iran was Russia. After the US withdrew Europeans practically withdrew, although they kept saying they're still in the deal, but they had practically had also withdrawn in the last year. Again that nuclear deal today is between Iran, Russia, and China.
Sputnik: It's been unveiled that the United States, the Trump administration, is seriously considering sending 120,000 troops in case of a war emerging between the United States and Iran, what kind of reaction do you basically expect in Tehran after this information leak?
Hooshang Amirahmadi: Obviously, Iran is already in a war arrangement. They have already ordered the military to the highest alert and in a war position. So Iran is already is in a war position and the highest possible military alert, that's number one.
Second, I don't believe Iran will do anything to give America a pretext to start a war. I believe, unfortunately, however there are hostile forces in the region that could create an incident, an accident, an act of war, that would make the US attack Iran. Just like what happened to the Emirates oil tanker.
The Trump administration's policy towards Iran at this point has two legs. One leg is, obviously, maximum pressure, economic pressure and military pressure, this is one leg. The other leg is opening the door for possible negotiations. Trump is looking for certain results, certain concessions from the Islamic Republic. If he can get these concessions from Tehran through negotiations, then I think the US will not wage a war against Iran. However if Mr Trump is not capable of extracting the kind of concessions that he is after from Iran, then a military action of some sort is possible. For example, destroying Iran's remaining nuclear facilities, or destroying Iran's command and control system in the region. So again, I think there is a very high possibility of a war, but it's not yet a final decision. It is not inevitable, that these troops are sent not to go and invade Iran. They are there as pressure for the time being.
Sputnik: You mentioned that European countries and the United States have both abandoned the nuclear deal with Iran, but at the same time this Brussels summit which happened this weekend proves that they have a very serious disagreement between each other. So how can the United States persuade European countries to support them or are European countries are not willing to participate in any kind of event?
Hooshang Amirahmadi: First, I have to say that the Europeans resist America in the beginning and then they give up. So that has been the way they have been behaving over the last 60-some years since the end of World War II. First they are sort of are in a disagreement with the US and then they become in total agreement with the US.
Yes, Europeans are saying that they are not for a war with Iran that certainly is the case now, but if the US wants to get involved a war with Iran, I think Europe will follow. Because it's part of NATO, it can't just sit back and say it's none of our business. If a NATO member is in a war with another country other members are obliged to follow. So I wouldn't say that Europeans will never join the US in a war with Iran. I would say that they will not join the US to start the war with Iran, but to finish that war they will join.
Sputnik: Speaking about US involvement in a confrontation with Iran, how seriously do you think Donald Trump himself is interested in this kind of conflict, or is it more about Bolton and Pompeo?
Hooshang Amirahmadi: In the Middle East it seems to me that Mr Trump has lost control over US policy. The US policy in the Middle East is no longer really controlled by Mr Trump. He's just basically listening and following. He really isn't the decision maker anymore in the Middle East. His son-in-law, Mr Kushner, with Israelis and Arabs, and then Mr Bolton and Pompeo this is the group that really is controlling the Middle East policy of the United States at the moment, particularly vis-a-vis Iran. And all of these groups from Pompeo, to Bolton, to Saudis, to Kushner, to Israel, they're all enemy number one of Iran. They want to destroy that country, no question whatsoever. But I don't think that America as a country, with the Congress and the people, are ready for war, they really are not. The country is already torn into pieces. Mr Trump has all kinds of problems here, and for him to start a war with a country like Iran, which is a huge country, that war is not going to be an easy war to win. Iran is not Iraq. So that war is going to be very, very messy. So I'm not sure if Mr Trump at the end of the day will go along, although, as I said, he has really lost control and that's where the danger comes from; and that's why I keep telling Iran to be careful. Although Mr Trump himself is not a warmonger, I don't believe Mr Trump is a warmonger, he's not a war person, he's not a regime change person, but he's a man who wants to say that, "I can do it". Either through negotiations or whatever means. He just wants to be recognised as a good negotiator and someone who can deliver, like a businessman.
Views and opinions, expressed in the article are those of Hooshang Amirahmadi and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.