The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss Mike Pompeo’s threats directed towards Iran where the US Secretary of State said that a “swift and decisive” response would take place should Iran attack US military forces moving into the Persian Gulf.
In response to the escalating American military presence surrounding Iran, Iranian President Rouhani announced a gradual scale-down of the country’s nuclear commitments.
Tehran announced that it will refuse to dispose of excessive heavy water and uranium. Additional measures will be taken over periods of 60 days, according to Tehran officials. The JCPOA deal signed with Iran by world powers and the EU, offered Tehran a relief of sanctions in exchange for voluntarily restrictions of its nuclear industry.
According to RT, last year the US broke its commitments under the deal and has been seeking to cripple Iran’s economy with economic sanction. Iran nevertheless remained faithful to its commitments as other signatories pledged to keep the deal alive by withstanding to US pressure.
On Wednesday, President Hassan Rouhani announced on national television that Iran will be suspending some of its commitments under the deal, which is also called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), due to continued US violation and a failure of European signatories to compensate for the damage done by Washington.
According to RT, Tehran will no longer sell off excessive enriched uranium and heavy water, the Iranian president said. Under JCPOA terms, it is required to dispose of those materials if production exceeds certain thresholds.
Other signatories will have 60 days to negotiate with Iran and address its concerns, particularly in oil industry and banking sector, which Washington targets with its sanctions. If an agreement is reached, the suspension will be reversed.
Otherwise Iran will no longer be bound by an obligation not to enrich uranium over a certain level and may restore the shut heavy water nuclear reactor in Arak, which was supposed to be repurposed with the help of other signatories under the nuclear deal.
After those measures are implemented, 60 more days will be given for negotiations, Rouhani warned. And then Iran may take additional unspecified measures, he said.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has threatened Iran with a “swift and decisive” response to any attack on “US interests or citizens,” including those by “proxies” – leaving lots of leeway for the war he says the US doesn’t want.
“The regime in Tehran should understand that any attacks by them or their proxies of any identity against US interests or citizens will be answered with a swift and decisive US response,” Pompeo wrote in a statement warning that Iran should not mistake US “restraint” for a “lack of resolve,” and criticizing Iran for “an escalating series of threatening actions and statements in recent weeks.”
While Pompeo insists “we do not seek war,” the statement’s wording leaves ample room for it, from describing Iran’s expected offenses in vague terms (“proxies of any identity” attacking “US interests or citizens”) to suggesting the US will have a decisive role in “taking steps to give Iran the future it deserves.”
Pompeo claims Iran’s “default option” has been “violence,” echoing repeated US claims it is the “number one sponsor of terrorism” and the driver of hostilities in Yemen and Syria. When the US used this alleged belligerence as a pretext for pulling out of the JCPOA nuclear deal, despite Iranian compliance and agreement from the other partners the agreement had been a success, Iran’s reaction was to continue to uphold its end of the deal in deference to those partners. Iran has only just announced it will suspend some of its commitments under the deal because additional US sanctions have made its position untenable – and asked the EU to step up and defend it against those sanctions, which seem to be little more than punishment for following the rules.
Pompeo appeals “to those in Tehran who see a path to a prosperous future through de-escalation,” all while a US carrier strike group is headed for the region, reportedly acting on a tip from Israeli intelligence – a country that openly wants war with Iran.
Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has previously warned US President Donald Trump that members of his administration, including Pompeo, are trying to steer him into a confrontation he does not want. Zarif also advised the US to stop blaming Iran for regional hostility toward American interests.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.