Alwaght– The Monday speech of the US Secretary of State at the Heritage Foundation during which he unveiled 12 demands that Iran needed to meet before any new negotiations with Tehran keeps to make the global media headlines. The remarks drew comments from international politicians a well as media experts who made various analyses of possible Washington’s goals behind what many journalists call “Plan B” for Iran, a fortnight after the US president Donald Trump said he scrapped the nuclear deal reached between Iran and six world powers in 2015.
The US conditions are seen so fanciful and impractical that not only the Iranian officials but also other countries including the Western allies of Washington have opposed them and even derided them.
The British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was on top of the list to disagree.
“I think if you try now to fold all those issues – the ballistic missiles, Iran’s misbehavior, Iran’s disruptive activity in the region and the nuclear question – if you try to fold all those into a giant negotiation, a new jumbo Iran negotiation, a new treaty – that’s what seems to be envisaged – I don’t see that being very easy to achieve, in anything like a reasonable timetable,” Johnson told journalists in Buenos Aires, adding: “The prospect of a new jumbo Iran treaty is going to be very, very difficult.”
The European Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini was another figure to come against the US pressures. She said that the nuclear deal, officially dubbed Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was not designed to involve and resolve all the cases that Washington sees linked to Iran.
Besides these formal stances of the European officials, we can see strings of fun poked at Pompeo’s demands. Very brilliant of them was by the renowned Professor Stephan Walt of the Harvard University.
“I’m still a bit surprised Pompeo didn’t demand that Iran agree to open a Trump-branded golf course in Teheran AND pay for the wall with Mexico,” Walt mockingly posted on Twitter.
Still, there are more reasons for the demands to be labeled ridiculous. They are designed in a way that parallels can be drawn between them and conditions set by a victor to a loser— pretty much like the Allies’ demands foisted on defeated Germany at the Versailles meeting after WWI.
But, glaringly apparent, the US cannot dictate like a winner. Washington’s projects in West Asia region, particularly in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Yemen, are a gallery of its losses in a competition against the Iran-led Axis of Resistance. That is not all. The US place on the global stage at the present time is not the one it had a decade ago as it sees shrinkage amid rise of such new powers as Russia, China, and the EU.
Shortly after exiting from the nuclear deal on May 8, Trump said he admitted that the Iranian leaders will not negotiate afresh for a new Trump-pleasing deal. The Iranian officials immediately reiterated what they said before: No new negotiations. The Iranian government offered a short time to the remaining signatories to give Tehran guarantees to make sure the JCPOA will work properly as scheduled after US pullout.
Therefore, making impossible demands for a dialogue that Tehran does not see necessary is nothing by futility. Still, there is a behind-the-scenes reality: Aside from putting political and psychological strains on the Islamic Republic, the Trump administration pursues other objectives:
Overshadowing the embassy move
During his speeches at the presidential campaign, Trump pledged he will implement Jerusalem Embassy Act, a Congress bill that asked for US administrations to transfer the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Al-Quds (Jerusalem) but was flouted by his predecessors. The promise won him support from the small but broadly influential pro-Israeli Zionist lobbies in the country. The bill was passed in 1995 but all preceding administrations evaded its implementation using their bill suspension leverages. The pledge, in fact, pulled Trump out of political anonymity for the pro-Israeli orbit in the US in his race against other Republican hopefuls who publicly had a bigger chance to win the inter-party nomination.
After a year at the White House, Trump fulfilled his promise in a bid to guarantee his second term win. But as many global and American politicians and experts warned the move very profoundly caused an international backlash, rendering Washington isolated and in dire straits politically. Understanding the heavy cost and consequences, the closest US allies, namely EU and the reliant Arab rulers, avoid an open alliance with Trump in the case. Moreover, the Palestinian groups are unanimously rejecting the US mediator role in the Palestinian cause. In such conditions that the global and regional public unmistakably brand Trump’s measures destabilizing, the American administration is dropping a bombshell embodied in highly non-viable demands of Iran to serve a distractive aim.
Mueller’s election meddling probe
The Robert Mueller team’s investigation, commissioned with probing the Russian links to the 2016 American elections, was about to close after several months. But now a new account has turned the tide. A new report has found that Israeli businessman Joel Zame, George Nader as envoy of Saudi Arabia and the UAE Crown Princes, and the founder of the notorious Blackwater security firm Erik Prince had met with Trump’s son to offer donations to his father’s campaign. The account has ignited the investigation and returned its heat to its peak, bringing Trump once again to the center of an exasperating public spotlight.
Therefore, it is not unlikely that Trump, known for creating foreign controversy to draw away the home pressures, this time is using this strategy too. As Mueller’s investigation unearths more details about Middle Eastern sides’ backing for his electoral win, Trump stages anti-Iranian propaganda to draw a veil over his own case.