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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has announced that Iran is scaling back some of its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA. This announcement was in response to the recent military deployment in the Middle East by the United States under the command of its President Donald Trump, who withdrew from the nuclear agreement after becoming the President of the United States. Since its withdrawal from the JCPOA, the United States has successively taken such decisions against Iran which have widened the conflict between the two countries.
Under the new Iran Policy of President Trump, the US has followed an extremely non-compromising attitude towards Iran under which it re-imposed sanctions on the country which were lifted as a result of the implementation of the JCPOA. Thereafter, the United States listed as “terrorist” the entire Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps or IRGC. It was for the first time that the US had listed an entire wing of a foreign government as ‘terrorist’. Also, the United States last month refused to grant waiver to some of the countries like India, China and South Korea for the import of oil from Iran, changing the precedence that was followed by his predecessor Barack Obama.
These actions of the US have already created a conflicting scenario between Iran and the United States and it has been aggravated by the recent US intelligence assessment that Iran has been planning to attack US interests in the Middle East. It was in response to such assessment, which the US considers as quite credible, that the US naval Carrier Abraham Lincoln was dispatched to the Middle East region. In response to this action of the US, a meeting of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran was held in which it was decided that Iran would scale back some of its commitments under the JCPOA. The Supreme National Security Council of Iran is headed by the President of Iran Hassan Rouhani, who has assured the world community that this decision does not mean Iran’s withdrawal from the JCPOA; rather it is just a temporary arrangement under the current scenario. This decision includes enrichment of the uranium and the intermediary deadline self-imposed by Iran has been 60 days.
In the meantime, the other parties to the nuclear deal have called the US decision to withdraw from the nuclear agreement and re-imposing of the sanctions on Iran as unfortunate. The European Union, a major party to the deal has also tried its best to save the deal, but to no avail. If the current conflict stays and Iran continues to follow what it has decided, then the next step of the United States could be to bring the Iranian nuclear issue to the United Nations Security Council and that could further aggravate the tension between the two countries. This is the time when the international community including the European Union should work hard with both the conflicting parties, the United States and Iran, to come to the negotiating table and find an amicable solution to the current stand-off.
Middle East has already been under turmoil because of a number of conflicts and a conflagration between Iran and the US would be devastating not only for the region but for the whole world. India has always maintained that it would abide by the decision of the United Nations and not by any individual country. India has also called for an amicable solution which mutually acceptable to both conflicting parties. Re-imposition of sanctions on Iran by the United States has also impacted India’s energy security, as Iran is an important provider of oil to India. India is a friend to both Iran and the United States and a conflict between two of its friends is not in New Delhi’s interest.
Script: Dr. Asif Shuja, Strategic Affairs Analyst on Iran