The Strategist

US revises policy toward Iran

02/03/2017 - 13:56

The US administration of President Donald Trump started to re-build relationship with Iran, one of the main geopolitical rival of Washington. Mr. Trump yesterday criticized Tehran for test firing with medium-range missiles. Besides, he made it clear that he is extremely unhappy with terms of the nuclear agreement concluded in 2015, which previous President Barack Obama considered one of the major foreign policy achievements. At the same time, Republicans in Congress have prepared a bill to impose new sanctions against Iran.

Adam Jones
Adam Jones
Authors of the bill introduced by the House of Representatives suggested to extend sanctions against the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), specifically, blacklisting those who are in any way associated with military group. The politicians are also urging the government to apply restrictive measures against Iranian airline Mahan Air. The latter supposedly helps IRGC "spread of terrorism and militancy". Some individuals are accused in "providing support to Iran in missile system development." "Iran is mocking the international community by realizing the missile program, supporting terrorism and violating human rights. The United States will not sit idly." – said one of the bill’s drafters.

The bill submitted to consideration after Iranian military forces launched a medium-range missile "Soumar" on Sunday at a site 225 kilometers east of Tehran. According to Die Welt, the missile, capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, flew 600 kilometers in the test’s course.

This event led to cross-talk between Washington and Tehran. "We are formally warning Iran", - said Michael Flynn, Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor, on Wednesday. According to him, Iran's recent actions undermine regional stability in the Middle East. In particular, as noted by Mr. Flynn, missile tests are contrary to resolution 2231 of the UN Security Council of 20 July 2015. Recall that the resolution belongs to Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear issue.

Iran's Foreign Ministry called Michael Flynn’s statement an "unfounded and one-sided provocation" and assured that resolution 2231 does not prohibit the country to carry out missile tests. Diplomats stressed the fact that the Iranian missile program is not mentioned in JCPOA’s text. Iran’s Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan said the same.

Yesterday, the US President joined the verbal duel and faulted the Iranian leadership for ingratitude. "Iran was on its last legs and ready to collapse until the U.S. came along and gave it a life-line in the form of the Iran Deal: $150 billion" - Donald Trump wrote on Twitter. According to the White House’s Head, terms of the deal were "appalling" for the US but Tehran has not appreciated it.

Recall that JCPOA obliges Tehran not to produce weapons-grade plutonium for 15 years, to have at their disposal less than 300 kg of uranium enriched to 3.67%, to convert nuclear facilities and use them exclusively for peaceful purposes. At the same time, the arms embargo imposed by the UN Security Council, has been extended for five years, and a ban on importing ballistic missiles in Iran – for eight.