Flaring US-Iran rivalry

  • The signatories to the original deal should sit together


Right after the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, the world has seen a sustainable period of peace, development, progression, respect for human rights and the indispensable phenomenon of globalisation. Moreover, and more worryingly, a few states on the world stage started pursuing their nefarious designs of hegemony which compelled them to flex their muscles for waging catastrophic and bloody wars against their competitors. Under such a sorry state of affairs, the world has seen two ruinous and extremely harmful world wars. However, the period of 1945-1979, once again, was marked by harmony and multilateral co-operation in trade and human development. Notwithstanding, the triumph of the USA in the Cold War era against the USSR, which provided the former with impunity to trigger dismay in the world and alter the desired matters with the toolkit of coercion.

Having unlearnt the lesson from the previous wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan (the last ongoing), the mighty USA is trying to keep another recipe for unrest and war in the already fragile region of South-Asia. The USA and Iran are beating the war drums in the Persian Gulf and creating the clouds of uncertainty and putting everyone on tenterhooks.

The recent events like the attack on an oil tanker in the Arab Gulf and shooting down of the USA’s drone by Iran’s revolutionary guard, have pushed the war-like situation to its present instability. Not only this, the USA has augmented its presence in the region by an increase in deployment of 2,500 additional troops, intensified its economic strangulation and planned to hit certain areas of Iran. All these preparations in Washington’s will yield another clumsy situation in the region which will be a lose- lose option for all the strategic actors.

Trump is looking at the 2020 elections. His deft diplomacy in dealing with this conundrum will adorn him with popularity in the upcoming polls. However, war with Iran will lower his chance of winning

Now, at this stage, the USA is entirely perplexed as Iran can launch an attack from any side which could hurt the USA’s interest and could lower its international prestige and stature. Iran can target US vessels passing through the narrow channel of the Strait of Hormuz, the missiles of Iran can strike against US forces, Iranian-led militias can target US personnel and US installations in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq. Furthermore, Iran has the edge to carry out disastrous missile attacks on Israel and its occupied territories. Hence, in order to avert these dangerous outcomes, the USA and Israel are planning for pre-emptive aerial strikes to obviate and annihilate the missiles of Iran and for further extinguishing her naval capabilities.

Here the matter of deep concern is, that all the international powers, be they China or Russia, are silent over this issue, even while it worsens. The ramifications of this tussle would be numerous and disastrous. To spell out a few; the conflict would blow fires in the conflicts where Tehran has a hand, like Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, and proxy and frontline wars between Iranian troops and forces allied to the USA. Not only this, the ethnic insurgencies in the provinces of Iran would lead to a civil war; disturbing and perturbing the entire region. Furthermore, Iranian government efforts to speed up its nuclear programme would lead to a halt in the regular flow of oil; hence, the demand and supply of oil will increase its prices and ultimately leading to a global economic recession.

Under such circumstances, expedited efforts are highly desirable to avert and avoid a future Armageddon. In this regard, the proposal of the UN Secretary General for holding an independent investigation into the attacks on tankers in the Persian Gulf is the right decision. During that process, no party would be able to wage war or disrupt the peace of the region. Moreover, all the five parties (other than the USA) in the P5+1 deal, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany, should take up the mantle to diplomatically solve the war-like situation. They should tell Iran to avoid breaching the pact and make the Trump Administration to loosen its screws on Iran in economic terms and allow her to conduct trade as per the original deal.

Additionally, the aforementioned powers should arrange a meeting where all the pact members must attend the sitting and Iran and the US are convinced to resolve this issue through peace, talks, rebooting relations and giving co-operation a chance to avoid any catastrophe. Lastly, all the strategic competitors should sit together to resolve the ultimate and find an agreeable solution for missiles and arms-control regimes to lessen or reduce further derailment of peace and progress.

Apparently, the Trump Administration is internally divided in terms of dealing with the Iran issue. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, CIA Director Gina Haspel and National Security Advisor John Bolton are strongly vocal to wage war against Iran, but President Donald Trump is looking at the 2020 elections. His deft diplomacy in dealing with this conundrum will adorn him with popularity in the upcoming polls. However, war with Iran will lower his chance of winning the elections. Therefore, Trump is widely tipped to handle this issue with extreme care and worry.