0708 GMT December 11, 2018
The international obstinacy of White House leaders in withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), has more than anything else led to a gap between the US and the international community.
This comes as US officials are now speaking of developing a global consensus as their strategy to counter the Islamic Republic of Iran.
After turning a blind eye to all diplomatic efforts by the European signatories to the Iran nuclear deal as well as China and Russia to preserve the JCPOA, Washington is now seeking the cooperation of these countries in controlling Iran.
After making hostile remarks against Iran and threatening the country with the severest sanctions in history in the past few days, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said consensus-building is Washington’s strategy to double the pressure on Tehran.
On May 26, Pompeo wrote on his Twitter account that the US strategy on Iran is to develop a global consensus that simply asks the Middle Eastern state to do what Washington asks every other country to do: Behave like a normal nation.
On May 21, the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Moahmmad Javad Zarif said in a Twitter post, “US diplomacy sham is merely a regression to old habits: Imprisoned by delusions & failed policies — dictated by corrupt Special Interest — it repeats the same wrong choices and will thus reap the same ill rewards. Iran, meanwhile, is working with partners for post-US JCPOA solutions.”
Many international experts and observers maintain that the US decision to go a separate way from that of the rest of the parties to the JCPOA has led to a political polarization at an international level, with the US sitting alone on one pole, opposing those on the other.
This comes as US President Donald Trump and his foreign policy team did not expect Europe to make public its differences in attitude and policies with Washington in an unprecedented way and strongly and openly back Iran.
In other words, US unilateralism imposed a heavy political cost on the country. To compensate for this cost, Pompeo now seeks to use the strategy of consensus-building and intends to form an anti-Iran coalition.
The most important mission of this coalition would be to intensify the pressure on Iran by imposing a large number of financial, oil and transit sanctions on the country in a bid to minimize Tehran’s forex revenues and completely isolate it. Seeking to achieve the same goal, Hillary Clinton, the first secretary of state in the Obama administration, used all the capacities of US foreign policy to intensify sanctions on Iran.
At that time, the US managed to secure the cooperation of the United Nations Security Council and Europe and persuade them to impose the severest sanctions on Iran. As of the beginning of 2012, the European Union began to cut its oil imports from Iran. Later on, the imposition of banking, insurance and transit sanctions gradually increased the number of the bottlenecks faced by Iran.
The atmosphere of the present circumstances, however, is totally different from that of the previous period of sanctions. To impose its unilateral sanctions on Iran, the US is now relying on its own economic status in the global economy. However, it will fail to receive any support or confirmation from its allies in this process.
The Trump administration would also have to undertake a herculean task to build a consensus against the Islamic Republic of Iran even within the US.
Trump may manage to continue with its unilateralism and obstinacy with the assistance and approval of extremist figures such as US national security adviser John Bolton and non-diplomatic forces including Pompeo, as well as using his presidential authority. However, he will certainly be doomed to failure in gaining the approval of public opinion, the US elite society, and thus building a national, let alone international, consensus in implementing his anti-Iran strategy.
Currently, the majority of Republicans in Congress have voiced disapproval of Trump’s obstinacy toward Tehran.
On May 22, the US House of Representatives passed an amendment making clear Congress’s position that no law exists which gives Trump power to launch a military strike against Iran.
Given this situation, the White House’s consensus-building strategy appears to be a rhetorical policy adopted to make up for the heavy cost it has to bear as a result of opposing the Islamic Republic of Iran.