Friday, August 3, 2018

The Ball is in Trump’s Court to Engage Iran

By Melkulangara Bhadrakumar - August 03, 2018 at 09:17AM


As I had written last week, a conversation of sorts has been under way between Washington and Tehran. The megaphone is no longer in use, the conversation is in civil tone from public platforms or more meaningfully, through the Twitter. It’s become an almost daily occurrence. Broadly speaking, the communication is between President Donald Trump from the American side, with Foreign Minister Javad Zarif actively interjecting on behalf of President Hassan Rouhani almost in real time. To be sure, the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is listening in.

The duet has incrementally come to be this: Trump is willing to meet with Rouhani “anytime… without preconditions.” He has a gut feeling lately that it could happen “very soon.” (When Trump puts a timeline like that in broad strokes, it hints at some back channel.) But then, Tehran says it will not talk under duress and injured pride and honor; US must first show “respect” and stop unfriendly activities.

On the other hand, Trump claims he perceives change in Iran’s behaviour. (It can be construed as a signal or an acknowledgment.) Interestingly, Tehran neither disputes Trump’s claim nor confirms it. In fact, there is some discernible “change” in Iran’s behavior – Moscow has disclosed that Iranian forces and the “Shi’ite formations” have withdrawn their heavy weapons in Syria to a distance of 85 km from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and “there are no units of heavy equipment and weapons that could pose a threat to Israel at a distance of 85 km from the line of demarcation.”

Clearly, this “change” in Iran’s behavior became possible in the backdrop of the Trump-Putin meet at Helsinki on July 16. The important thing is that Rouhani (read Khamenei) heeded Putin’s advice (at the behest of Trump.) Of course, Israeli PM Netanyahu, like Dickens’ Oliver Twist, keeps saying "Please, sir, I want some more" – namely, Iran should quit Syrian soil altogether, but that’s an “unrealistic” demand, as Moscow puts it. (Putin would have told that to Trump, too.) Which is to say, Moscow doesn’t have the inclination to advise Tehran to do otherwise. Nonetheless, this “change” of Iranian behavior in the Golan itself is a good thing as far as CBMs go.

Now, what about Tehran’s expectations? The first lot of Trump’s sanctions are supposed to “click in” next week. Will he hold back? Meanwhile, Zarif, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Russian FM Sergey Lavrov, and Chinese FM Wang Yi as well as the EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini are converging on Singapore in the context of the ASEAN foreign ministers meeting through August 4.

En route to Singapore, Zarif tweeted: “Iran & U.S. had 2 yrs of talks. With EU/E3+Russia+China, we produced a unique multilateral accord—the JCPOA. It’s been working. US can only blame itself for pulling out & leaving the table. Threats, sanctions & PR stunts won’t work. Try respect: for Iranians & for int’l commitments.” This was in response to Trump’s remark that he is ready to meet with Rouhani without setting any pre-condition. “It’s good for the country, good for them, good for us and good for the world. No preconditions. If they want to meet, I’ll meet,” Trump had said.

Things have indeed narrowed down dramatically. Hamid Aboutalebi, an aide to President Rouhani, has clarified that rejoining the nuclear agreement is the major precondition for possible talks – “Respecting the Iranian nation’s rights, reducing hostilities and returning to the nuclear deal are steps that can be taken to pave the bumpy road of talks between Iran and America,” Aboutalebi tweeted.

But then, did Trump really tear up the 2015 deal? He said he wanted to improve upon the 2015 deal (which was not good enough in his judgment). Trump is determined to go down in history books as a smarter negotiator than Barack Obama — be it on climate change, TPP or Iran deal.

On the whole, these are positive stirrings. Significantly, sensing that “a meeting may not be beyond the realms of possibility,” Chinese government newspaper China Daily suggested in an editorial on July 31 that “the other parties to the (2015) nuclear agreement should encourage Washington and Teheran to get together as it really would be good to talk.”

Without doubt, China is a major stakeholder. Apart from being the destination for over a third of all Iranian oil exports, which inevitably makes it a target of collateral damage from US sanctions, China is also handling one of the trickiest templates of the 2015 deal – namely, the re-designing of the Arak heavy water nuclear reactor in Iran to render it unable to make bomb-grade plutonium under normal operation.

This subject had figured in the meeting between Rouhani and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing in June on the sidelines of the SCO summit. On Arak, the 2015 deal specifies that the new design will aim to minimize the production of plutonium and to prevent the production of weapon-grade plutonium in normal operation. It also specifies the fuel Arak must use and says its spent fuel for the reactor’s lifetime must be shipped out of Iran. The US had initially led the working group to redesign the Arak reactor with China, but UK has now replaced it. Just think of all the mess Trump has created.

Reprinted with permission from India Punchline.

from Ron Paul Institute Featured Articles


No comments:

Post a Comment


Ron Paul America Cloud

Site Credits

Ron Paul America

is voluntarily affiliated with

Liberty Operations Group


Site created, maintained and hosted by

Liberty Web Services


#TurnOnTheTruth 2008 2012 4th amendment 911 ACTION Afghanistan war Agency Aggression Principle al-Qaeda Alan Colmes Alert America America's Fault Americans antigun AR 15 assault weapon Audit Authoritarian bailouts Believe Big Brother big government bill of rights Blame blowback bubbles Bush Campaign for Liberty Career Politician Eric Cantor Central Bank Charity China churches collapse Collectivism Commission committee Compassion Congress Conservative constitution Crash dangerous person Democrat Democrats Donald Trump Donald Trump. Planned Parenthood drones economic Economy Edward Snowden End the Fed European Union Federal Reserve Floyd Bayne floyd bayne for congress force foreign interventionism free market free markets GOP Nominee GOP Presidential Debates Government Great Depression gun control House of Representatives housing bubble HR 1745 I like Ron Paul except on foreign policy If ye love wealth better than liberty IFTTT Individual Individualism Institute Irag Iran Iraq war ISIL ISIS Judge Andrew Napalitano libertarian Liberty Liberty Letters Liberty Report Lost mass Media meltdown metadata Micheal Moore Middle East Mitt Romney nap National Neocons New Ron Paul Ad New York Times Newsletters Newt Gingrich No Non non-interventionism NSA NSA Snooping Obama Overreach overthrow Patriot Act peace Peace and Prosperity politicians Pope Francis President Presidential Presidential Race programs prosperity Race Racist Racist Newsletters Rand Paul Read the Bills Act recessions redistribution of wealth refugee crisis Repeal Obamacare Report Republican Republican Nomination Republican Nominee Republicans Revolution Rick Santorum Rick Santorum Exposed Ron Ron Paul Ron Paul Institute Ron Paul Institute Featured Articles Ron Paul Institute for Peace And Prosperity Ron Paul Institute Peace and Prosperity Articles Ron Paul Next Chapter Media Channel Ron Paul Racist Newsletters ron paul's foreign policy Ronald Reagan Rosa DeLauro russia Samuel Adams Saudi Arabia Second Amendment Security Senate Senator September 11th attacks Show Soviet Spying stimulate Stock Market surveillance Syria tech bubble terrorist The the Fed the poor US US foreign policy Us troops USA Freedom Act Virginia Virginia Republican Primary voluntarism. Liberty Voluntary Warner Warning warrantless wiretaps YouTube