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Iran not stuck in the past

Iran not stuck in the past
Highlights

US President Donald Trump has declared his intention not to recertify the Iran nuclear deal in his country’s interests. Trump also claimed, hilariously, that Iran is under the control of a fanatical regime. One does not know whether Trump reads anything or at least watches any news at all, for, he got his general knowledge all wrong.

US President Donald Trump has declared his intention not to recertify the Iran nuclear deal in his country’s interests. Trump also claimed, hilariously, that Iran is under the control of a fanatical regime. One does not know whether Trump reads anything or at least watches any news at all, for, he got his general knowledge all wrong. More laughable is his reference to 1979 Iran uprising to brand it as a fanatical regime.

The world may have its view about it, but the Islamic Revolution led by cleric Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, which overthrew the then monarch to establish an Islamic Republic was a popular uprising and not a handiwork of some gun-wielding Islamic fanatics. Trump referred to the 1979 Iran hostage crisis too to defend his argument that Iran sponsors terrorism as it extends support to Bashar al-Assad of Syria.

However hostile these actions were, Iran’s government is not stuck in the past. It has been changing fast and has been moderating. The 2009 Green Movement itself is a pointer. Protesters took to street that year seeking more political movement and there was a demand for the removal of Ayatollah Khamenei too.

Then came the elections of 2013 in which Iranian voters chose Hassan Rouhani as their President with a huge margin. He is a known moderate cleric. Even in the last year’s elections, his allies gained significantly in the Parliamentary elections and Rouhani himself got re-elected this May.

What is Trump’s problem with these changes? Does he not understand the basics: That if he is to renege on the deal now, Iran would be forced towards hardliners as any sanctions imposed by his government would put the moderates in poor light. Secondly, as some in his own government like Tillerson and Jim Mattis argue, it’s certainly not in his national security interests.

Yet another fallacy is that the deal gave Iran over $100 billion that could fund terrorism in the world and that it also meant a massive cash settlement of more than $1.7 billion. The diplomatic agreement only released Iranian frozen assets, most of which were tied up in debt obligations.

$ 20 billion was what Iran owed to China. Before the 1979 revolution, Iran’s Shah paid $ 400 million for military merchandise from the US. When the clerics demanded their country’s money back, the US refused to pay. The additional $1.3 billion of interest accumulated over 35 years was reimbursement given to help secure the release of American hostages.

There is also no evidence to prove that the “regime intimidated international inspectors into not using the full inspection authority that the agreement calls for”. The International Atomic Energy Agency has never cited any instance of the same and has not complained.

In fact, Iran is the most inspected country according to the statement of the IAEA’s director general. International diplomacy is not run on lies and conjectures. Business and politics may not be opposites, but they are distinct. The mindset is necessarily different and Trump should shun the practice of post-truth politics.

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