Trump’s gunboat diplomacy

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  • After Venezuela, Iran

Last Sunday the USA dispatched an aircraft carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Middle East to put pressure on Iran. On Friday, US B-52 bombers landed in Qatar.

The agreement on the Iran nuclear deal framework was reached in 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 comprising the USA, the UK, Russia, France, and China plus Germany. Iran was required to redesign, convert, and reduce its nuclear facilities and accept the Additional Protocol. As Iran fully abided by the agreement, all nuclear-related economic sanctions were lifted, freeing up tens of billions of dollars in oil revenue and frozen assets. Major European companies rushed to Iran to benefit from a lucrative market and for energy imports. There were hopes also that the Pak-Iran gas pipeline would now be revived.

US President Trump made a U-turn by rejecting the Iran nuclear deal, and launched crippling sanctions against Iran that pushed the Iranian economy to the brink. Iran’s oil exports consequently dwindled from 2.5 million to less than 1.3 million barrels a day and are about to drop even further. The Iranian people, who are already suffering from the raging inflation, currently at 40 percent, would bear the brunt of Washington’s push to bring Iranian oil exports to zero.

The Trump Administration is making unjustified and humiliating demands that require total Iranian surrender, not only to the USA, but also to Israel and President Trump’s Gulf allies.

A blockade of Iran could lead to retaliation, causing oil shortages and raising oil prices sky-high.

Any attack on Iran will be seen in Pakistan as an attempt to destroy yet another stable Muslim country after Iraq, Syria and Libya. Pakistan is still paying heavily for the consequences of the US aggression in Afghanistan. It has lost thousands of civilians and soldiers in attacks by the offshoots of the jihadi network that had been let loose in Afghanistan by the CIA and its allies.

One expects Prime Minister Imran Khan to send a clear and unambiguous message to the USA to desist from any military action against Iran as it would have serious consequences for the region, particularly Pakistan which is yet to fully overcome its internal security problems.