As had been expected for months, Donald Trump, the US President, announced in a speech on Friday 13 October his administration’s new strategic approach towards the Islamic Republic of Iran. Although Donald Trump was expected to address the issue of Iran’s compliance under the JCPOA nuclear deal – that was signed between Iran and the 5+1 countries in July 2015 – his words in fact comprehensively redefined the new strategy of the United States in terms of its future of relations with Iran, the balance of power in the Middle East, as well as how the United States will interact with the world including its European allies.
In this speech, Donald Trump once again emphasised the reactionary and unilateralist policy of his administration in relation to the international community. It is important to note that Trump’s speech was made only days after the announcement of the withdrawal of the United States and Israel from the membership of the United Nations Scientific, Cultural and Educational Organisation (UNESCO), because this world agency, in line with the United Nations resolutions, supports the rightful demands of the Palestinian people. Donald Trump’s outrageous remarks about the Islamic Republic of Iran should in effect be considered as the official end of the strategy of the former US administration, “multilateral containment” in the Middle East, and engagement with its European allies, as well as the beginning of an open and outright support for reactionary states in the region – and in particular Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
The use of the fake “Arabian Gulf” terminology by Donald Trump in relation to the Persian Gulf in his speech evidenced a deliberate disregard by the leaders of the US government of the historical facts in relation to Iran. The Tudeh Party of Iran believes that the new strategic approach adopted by the United States in relation to Iran will pose specific and significant threats to the national sovereignty and security interests of our homeland, as well as peace and security in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East. The president of the United States, in describing the ruling regime as “rogue” and calling it a dictatorship, went on to provide a lengthy, misleading, and questionable list of its actions against the interests of the United States. To justify the US administration’s policy to put further pressure on Iran, he cited all the regional dilemmas and problems as being the result of the policies of the ruling regime in Iran, and completely omitted to mention the interventionist policies of US imperialism and its regional allies, including Israel and Saudi Arabia and other reactionary countries. Donald Trump claimed that Iran was the main sponsor of terrorism in the world, helping the Taleban, al-Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah. Referring to the policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the region, he said the Iranian regime continues to foment conflict and tension in the Middle East and beyond.
The president of the United States in this speech, which will undoubtedly have important repercussions for future relations with Iran, explicitly claimed that based on the specific information he possessed he was “no longer able to confirm Iran’s compliance to the nuclear accord”, adding that “We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror, and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout.” He also warned: “However, in the event we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated.”
By announcing certain decisions in relation to the JCPOA Trump also pragmatically tried to not only keep his options open in ultimate decision making, but also to make the US Congress ultimately responsible for the decision as to whether to stay in the JCPOA or leave it altogether – and gave the Congress 60 days to decide whether the United States should continue to support the agreement or once again pursue a policy of nuclear and non-nuclear sanctions in relation to Iran.
The president strongly criticised the activities of the “Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps” in the region and “its support for terrorist acts” and said he has instructed the Treasury Department to add the IRGC to the sanctions list. In fact, at the very same time as Trump was delivering his speech, the US Treasury Department announced that it had added the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to its sanctions list.
In his speech, the president of the United States also effected a fake sentiment of solidarity towards the Iranian people albeit in an artificial and insincere fashion. While claiming to support the Iranian people and their social and political protests, he deliberately ignored the destructive policies of American imperialism, including the inhuman sanctions against their country, as well as the blatantly criminal actions and transgressions of the US administrations in relation to developments in Iran whether in the more distant past, during the years of revolution in the early 1980s, or in more recent decades, all of which have been proven and widely exposed.
Although Donald Trump’s decision not to sign the pending confirmation, regarding the implementation or non-compliance of the Iranian side’s commitments, does not amount to the unilateral abandonment of the agreement by the US Administration, it is clear that the United States is continuing its hostility towards Iran and its allies in the region whom are considered to be an intransigent obstacle to its absolute domination over the Middle East. The debate over the past few days in the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives and its October 11 decree, exposes the intention of the United States to apply unprecedented sanctions coupled with an expeditious and provocative expansion of the scope and range of Iran’s obligations to include areas that were not previously covered by the JCPOA, including the issue of Iran’s ballistic missile testing program and the Iranian regime’s support for its allies in the region.
Other signatories to the JCPOA, including the European Union, as well as Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, have expressed their grave concern over US policy in the region, and their clear opposition to these decisions taken by the US government. In response to Trump’s statement, Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, stressed that the “JCPOA is not a US internal agreement” and added, “It is not a bilateral agreement, it does not belong to any single country and it is not up to any single country to terminate it. […] The EU and the international community are committed to maintaining the nuclear deal.”
It should be recalled that during the second meeting of the Joint Commission of foreign ministers of Iran and the 5+1 countries, during the 72nd session of the General Assembly of the United Nations on 20 September, Washington’s bilateral relations with Tehran were not reviewed. The US side did not propose such a review and therefore it was not considered. At the end of a joint meeting of foreign ministers, based on eight reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – which were prepared with the participation of US experts – Ms. Mogherini, stated that Iran had fully complied with the requirements of the treaty, that this had been formally recorded, and that in accordance to the JCPOA deal there would be no need to resume negotiations.
The Tudeh Party of Iran is also concerned about the dangerous prospects for possible adventurous positions to be taken by the conservative and reactionary circles of the ruling regime, and their justification in the context of Trump’s decision to not confirm Iran’s compliance with its obligations under the JCPOA, leading to an increase in conflict and tension in the region. Such a danger can be clearly seen in the irresponsible and controversial statements of Ali Akbar Velayati, senior adviser to Ali Khamenei in international affairs, and the commander-in-chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Mohammad Ali Ja’afari. In a provocative reaction to the passage of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives’ resolution on 12 October – to condemn the regime for testing ballistic missiles – and the news of the possible inclusion of the forces under his command in the list of terrorist forces to be subjected to sanctions, the IRGC commander stated: “Before imposing new sanctions, it is best for the United States to withdraw its network of bases in the Middle East to beyond the 2000km range of Iranian ballistic missiles.”
The Tudeh Party of Iran, while condemning Donald Trump’s aggressive, intrusive and irresponsible policies, warns against any aggressive and adventurous actions and statements. Any provocative action and ill-considered statement that broadens the dimensions of the conflict will put our homeland at risk of the direct aggression of US imperialism, or its direct and indirect allies. In recent months, and especially after the official visit of Tramp and his high-ranking delegation to Saudi Arabia and Israel in May 2017, it is clear that the United States increasingly coordinates its actions and policies with those two governments.
The Tudeh Party of Iran is worried that the use of more extensive economic sanctions against Iran by the US government under any pretext would have devastating effects on the lives of the people of Iran, who live and work in very difficult circumstances, as well as on the people’s struggle for peace and democracy in Iran. We emphasise that any foreign interference in the affairs of our country will not only jeopardise the people’s struggle for freedom and getting rid of the dictatorship of the autocratic regime, but will actually be an instrument in the hands of the ruling reaction to exacerbate the atmosphere of oppression and repression. The Tudeh Party of Iran calls on all forces and organisations dedicated to peace in the world to actively oppose the irresponsible and adventurous tactics of the US administration, which undoubtedly increase the prospect of a new war in the Middle East. Our party believes that all existing differences and disputes can and should be resolved within the framework of international law, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, as well as through diplomatic paths based on the rights of the people of our homeland. There is no other way except this.
The Central Committee of the Tudeh Party of Iran
13 October 2017