The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking to reporters, categorically stated, that the US sanctions on Iran (imposed illegitimately, contrary to international law and accepted codes of practice) would “be rigorously enforced and remain in place until the Iranian government radically changes course.”
The aggressive tone of this statement is rather startling – as if he were talking about part of the US instead of an independent sovereign state that is a member of many international organizations. However, one has to acknowledge that most American states have their own legislation that often conflicts with federal law, and their own policies.
Mike Pompeo does not care one bit whether the US achieves victory by imposing crippling sanctions against the Iranian people or by methods similar to those used against Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Or, for that matter, by using toxic substances such as defoliants, as the US did in Vietnam, a country where the land is still poisoned, preventing it from exporting its superb fruit and vegetables.
It is stunning that Mike Pompeo and his colleagues in the US are behaving as if they were living at the beginning of the 20th century instead of the 21st. We have been living in a new era for a long time now, dozens of new states have emerged, and they pursue their own national policies and seek to achieve favorable and peaceful conditions that give all countries an equal chance to develop. It is only the politicians in Washington who, isolated as they are from the civilized world, apparently still believe they are living in a world of slavery and colonialism. It is hard to see any other explanation for statements of the kind made by Mike Pompeo and other so-called US politicians who resort to the Big Stick policy each time the chance presents itself. The way it is done makes no difference: by sending gunboats and battleships to conquer and subdue other peoples, imposing crippling sanctions or using nuclear weapons. The leaders in Washington still believe that the peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America are slaves who only exist to serve their new masters from the US and follow their orders unquestioningly. However, “The era of hit and run is over in the world,” as Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran, has pointed out, quite correctly. “Any hostile measure against our country will be responded to by Tehran tenfold. We are capable of protecting ourselves in every field,” he added.
A lot of political leaders agree nowadays that the US is going through one of the darkest periods in its history both at home policy and on the international scene, where it has lost even the support of its traditional allies. “The US is currently at a big disadvantage throughout the world,” said the Iranian President. “The US is today in its worst situation globally, and even international organizations such as UNESCO, the UN, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the International Criminal Court do not approve of American policies.” Referring to Washington’s stepped-up pressure campaign against Iran following its withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, Hassan Rouhani said the Islamic Republic was facing an “unsolicited” economic war and dealing with parties and states that have no respect at all for international law.
In other words, if at one time highwaymen and bandits, armed with nothing more than a big stick, used to intimidate and rob passers-by, nowadays there is a new international robber, armed with a nuclear stick, who threatens everybody: Iran, Russia, Syria, Turkey, China and a great many other states. That new robber is the United States of America, led by the current incumbent of the White House, for whom such underhand tactics as blackmail and racketeering have become standard practice.
In general, it is hard to criticize Donald Trump for his unprofessional diplomacy. This president revels in starting trade wars, insulting his allies and abandoning existing agreements, but lacks the political insight required to clearly express what he wants to achieve by such actions. It is highly likely that he has no idea himself. Donald Trump acts as if his presidency were a prime time reality show and his role as a host were to excite and intimidate the international audience that is watching his poor performance. However, somebody should remind him that the world today is extremely fragile and requires a long period of peace in order to develop, and not the continual wars waged by the US and the West far from their own borders.
So, how are the Iranian people responding to these tough conditions? One possible answer is: embarking on new chemistry, gas production and petrochemical projects. The launch of three major petrochemical projects in the petrochemical area of Asaluyeh in the southwest of Iran made the headlines of almost all Iranian energy related and economic news agencies. The fact that these projects were officially inaugurated by President Hassan Rouhani shows their significance for the country’s economy in this new era of unwarranted sanctions and strong economic pressure from the US. The petrochemical industry is one of the most important pillars of Iran’s resilient economy and “one of the main suppliers of foreign currency especially euro for the country,” emphasized Hassan Rouhani during the inauguration ceremony. According to the Iranian Oil Minister, Bijan Namdar Zangeneh, the country’s exports of petrochemical products are expected to reach $14 billion during the current Iranian calendar year (which started on March 21).
Hassan Rouhani not only talked about the importance of petrochemicals, but also accused the US, without actually naming it, of trying to exert pressure on Iran by means of sanctions. “The enemy says: I want to control Iran, I have a tight grip over it. But this is impossible… They want to make us to go back to where we were 40 years ago, and force us to surrender.” This is exactly why the Iranian leadership and their friends are trying to resist Washington’s aggressive policy. Russia and Iran have outlined a number of measures aimed at protecting Iran from the US sanctions, and these need to be discussed with the European Big Three, said the Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Ryabkov. This was one of the topics discussed during his negotiations with the Iranian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Abbas Araghchi and his staff.
“We discussed several important issues regarding preparations for the UN General Assembly Ministerial Session that is to commence in New York on September 23. We can see that the Iranians are ready to do everything they can to preserve the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). It is clear that maintaining this Agreement is in the best interests of all parties, including, of course, Iran and Russia… Washington is ready to go to great lengths, and this trend in the US policy is extremely dangerous. This is why we have outlined a number of measures that need to be discussed with the EU,” said Sergey Ryabkov. Such a statement from a high-ranking Russian diplomat clearly demonstrates that Iran is now not on its own in its quite justified battle against its aggressive foes. It is quite evident that, with the help and support of their true friends and allies, the Iranian people will be able to get through this difficult period in their history.
Viktor Mikhin, corresponding member of RANS, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.