America cannot go to war with Iran immediately. Iran knows it and that is why it carried out the recent ballistic missile tests. Yet, the US needs to do something. The new sanctions imposed on Iran by the Trump administration are a manifestation of the US intention to get tough with Iran without impairing the nuclear deal. This, however, does not mean that the deal will remain intact throughout Trump’s tenure which has only just begun. The new president has called it a ‘worst deal.’ He will soon find a pretext – real or engineered – to do away with it.
ATIF SHAMIM SYED | Caravan Daily
[dropcap]L[/dropcap]ast week, the US treasury department published a list of 13 Iranian individuals and 12 entities on which it was imposing new sanctions. The announcement came after it was known that Iran had conducted ballistic missiles tests.
The targeted individuals and entities are suspected of offering support to the Iranian missile program either through logistical support or by supplying materials. Their holdings in the US will be frozen and they will not be able to deal with American organizations.
Tehran immediately responded by denouncing the sanctions and calling American actions as ‘unfounded, repetitive and provocative.’ In a further show of defiance, Iran held military exercises and announced that it will carry out more missile tests
President Trump warned Iran, through his social media account that it was playing with fire. One of Trump’s campaign promises was that he would be tough with Iran.
Though the Treasury department made it clear in its announcement that America was still committed to the Iran nuclear deal, it will be unrealistic to assume that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal signed between Iran and p5 + 1 on July 14, 2015, will survive the recent showdown between Tehran and Washington especially as the number of unresolved conflicts between the two continue to mount.
There is a possibility of the Iran nuclear deal eventually becoming a casualty of rising hostilities between the US and Iran. If it comes to direct confrontation, the Iranian leadership will be left with no choice but to reciprocate because it cannot afford to look weak in the eyes of its own people.
Hostilities between the two countries date back decades. After the successful revolution in Iran, Americans sought not only to stop the former from expanding its influence in the region, it also tried to undermine and oust the new regime in Tehran. It was never successful.
The status quo in the Middle-East changed with the ill-fated US invasion of Iraq in 2003. It toppled Saddam Hussein who was the most formidable bulwark against Iranian expansion in the region. Americans helplessly watched as their investments and efforts came to naught and Iraq gradually slid under Tehran’s influence.
Iranians succeeded in delivering another severe blow to the Americans recently in December last year when Aleppo fell to the Syrian Army. It is common knowledge that the ground assault on Aleppo was spearheaded by Iran-sponsored militias. It was a great victory for Iran which allowed it to establish a permanent anchor in Syria which, only a year ago, had seemed to be slipping away from its grip.
Iran is currently consolidating its military gains in Syria. It will most probably establish and maintain a powerful and highly organized proxy in the country even after the war is over. This will pose a clear and present danger to Israel which is America’s most important ally in the region.
Iran has always been hostile towards Israel due to fundamental religious, political and historical differences. In 2006, there was a war between Israel and Hezbollah – another Iranian proxy in Lebanon – which resulted in a humiliating defeat for the Jewish entity.
The presence of Iranian armed proxies in Israel’s backyard poses a real threat to the later. This is a fact that will influence American policies in the region for many years to come.
America cannot go to war with Iran immediately. Iran knows it and that is why it carried out the recent ballistic missile tests. Yet, the US needs to do something. The new sanctions imposed on Iran by the American administration are a manifestation of the US intention to get tough with Iran without impairing the nuclear deal. This, however, does not mean that the deal will remain intact throughout Donald Trump’s tenure which has only just begun. The new American president has called it a ‘worst deal.’ He will soon find a pretext – real or engineered – to do away with it.
If the nuclear deal comes to an end, Iran will immediately begin expanding its nuclear program. There will be more ballistic missile tests.
Due to the unpredictable nature of the incumbent president, it is very difficult to foresee what the reaction of the US would be in such a scenario. However, one thing is certain; Americans will not be content by simply slapping more sanctions on Iran. There is a likelihood of US drones attacking nuclear sites in Iran. Tehran will react in kind, and there will be another bloody war in the Middle East.
But these are all assumptions. For now, the Treasury Department has made it specifically clear that the new sanctions do not violate the nuclear deal. This means that the deal may still have a chance of surviving the Trump presidency.