Strategic observation

Commentary: Return of U.S. sanctions a blow for stable Mideast

2018-08-08 18:28:51 (Beijing Time)


BEIJING, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- As a batch of stringent sanctions against Iran returned on Tuesday, years of diplomatic efforts for a denuclearized and stable Middle East have been thwarted due to a one-sided move from Washington.

Three months after the withdrawal from the landmark Iran nuclear deal, the Trump administration announced Monday that it would reimpose mass financial and industrial sanctions on Tehran to exert "maximum economic pressure."

What's more, the second tranche of sanctions, mainly targeting Iran's vital oil sector, will come into play in early November, which means trouble ahead for countries that trade in energy with Iran.

By ignoring strong appeals from the international community and reneging on the 2015 deal, or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the United States is attempting to force Iran and the other co-sponsors to create another treaty to undercut what the White House alleges is Iran's rising influence in the Middle East.

However, given the fact that the United Nations' nuclear watchdog has repeatedly confirmed Iran's compliance with the JCPOA terms, applying economic pressure on Iran could be a challenge for Washington.

With its violation of global consensus and the absence of any international legal basis, the United States will have difficulty persuading other countries to cut commercial ties with Tehran, Peter Harrell, an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, said in an article published online on Foreign Affairs.

The current nuclear treaty has been widely accepted and recognized for its role in promoting denuclearization and maintaining stability in the war-torn region.

Washington's wayward sanctions cast a shadow on the hard-earned historic deal reached between Iran and the Untied States, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany.

Although there are no exact retaliation measures from Tehran so far, fears over the growing possibility of a nuclear arms race in the region have heightened, as the Iranian authorities threatened to drop out of the deal and restart its nuclear program.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has called for honesty and sincerity following Washington's proposal for dialogue.

As he said in a televised speech, "If you stab somebody with a knife and then you say you want talks, then the first thing you have to do is remove the knife."

For the "deeply regretful" European Union (EU), a counter-measure came into effect at the same time in order to protect European economic interests and maintain its business relations with Iran.

The EU's defiance represents an escalation in tensions between the United States and its European allies. Trans-Atlantic trust has been undermined following Washington's unilateralism and disrespect for the national interests of countries in Europe.

This fresh assault against multilateralism won't benefit Washington or its allies; instead, the new round of sanctions will serve as a further blow to the superpower's already damaged credibility.