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Portentous stand off

Portentous stand off
Highlights

A fresh round of stand–off is looming large over US–Iran relations. The emerging geopolitical tensions already started showing impact on the global oil price movement as any possible escalation in the situation can adversely impact oil supplies.

A fresh round of stand–off is looming large over US–Iran relations. The emerging geopolitical tensions already started showing impact on the global oil price movement as any possible escalation in the situation can adversely impact oil supplies.

The present bone of contention is over Iranian ballistic missile programme. While the United States threatens a fresh round of sanctions to cap Iran’s missile programme, the Iranian leadership called for speeding up the development of missiles. Both sides take recourse to US– Iran nuclear accord signed recently to defend their actions.

The nuclear deal was expected to signify the end of sanctions regime. Iran in return agreed to roll back its nuclear programme. According to this deal, which was even approved by the UN Security Council, Iran will, however, retain the right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The deal could successfully avert another bloody war of western invasion in West Asia. The US allies in the region, especially Israel and Saudi Arabia, were unhappy over the peace deal.

Against this background, the US has come out with yet another pretext to reimpose sanctions on Iran, causing fresh concerns. The United States alleges that Iran is developing nuclear-capable missiles that can deliver nuclear war heads. But, Iran has already capped its nuclear programme and the missiles are not nuclear-capable. Iran claims to test these missiles as part of its right to deterrence which the peace deal allows.

Iran has hardened its stand and announced its intentions to even speed up its missile programme undeterred by the threat of sanctions. But, the geopolitical concerns over fresh stand-off already started showing an ominous impact on global oil prices as Iran is a major oil exporter.

The US misadventure and miscarriage of justice has led to the emergence of ISIS, a more dreaded outfit than even Al Qaeda. The American policy of regime change has destabilised this fragile region. The world cannot afford to have another theatre of conflict in the West Asia that has serious implications for global peace and security.

The US suffers from a serious credibility crisis as it always cited the so-called threat of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) to defend its unilateral and self-defeating war in Iraq. The fact that the US is behind the militarisation of a rogue nation like Pakistan further exposes the big power’s duplicity. The US is perpetuating a discriminatory nuclear world order. India was not just the victim of nuclear apartheid let loose on the world by US-led nuclear haves. India faced long years of nuclear isolation. Its missile programme was also subjected to similar sanctions by the US.

The international community can find a lasting solution to this vexed question only by fostering a just nuclear world order. Total nuclear disarmament rather than mere non-proliferation is the need of the hour. The world needs clarity on distinguishing between nuclear capability which Iran is claiming to acquire and nuclear strike capability which the US is alleging. The UN can resolve this only through an impartial inspection. But, the world body is also not free from hegemonic influences. The solution lies in global diplomacy to diffuse the situation before it turns precarious.

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