Ramping up uranium enrichment was an inevitable response to US moves. A resolution is possible if the president changes course.[…]
Next, in an unprecedentedly aggressive action, the Trump administration has imposed sanctions on Iran’s ultimate source of authority according to its constitution, namely the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Just as in the US the president has the authority to determine the general trajectory of foreign policy, the supreme leader in Iran is the one who sets the foreign policy of that country. Let’s not forget it was the supreme leader who allowed direct negotiation with the US over the nuclear issue in the first place. By sanctioning Ali Khamenei, Trump has effectively killed off any chance of diplomatic rapprochement so long as he is in office. And it is not only the political leadership of Ali Khamenei that is relevant here; he is also a religious scholar with millions of Shia Muslim followers – not just in Iran, but Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Bahrain and elsewhere.
In addition, last week, the treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin said the Trump administration was looking to levy penalties against Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, who trained in the US and is one of the most distinguished career diplomats in Iran’s recent history. Zarif has been compared to the popular prime minister Mohammad Mossadegh, who nationalised Iran’s oil industry and was deposed in 1953 in a coup organised by Britain and the US. Sanctioning Zarif is a mistake if the US ever wants to reengage with Iran, because he is in charge of the diplomatic channels that would be necessary to resolve this crisis. […]
It has now also announced it will enrich uranium above the 3.67% limit specified by the deal. In addition, the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, has told his cabinet that the Arak reactor will be restored to its original design which, it was claimed, would be able to produce plutonium. It is crucial to note that this is the first time Iran has contravened the JCPOA. Ever since the Trump administration withdrew last year, Iran has been patiently waiting for the other parties involved in the nuclear agreement to honour their commitments, but the only outcome was the intensifying of pressures and sanctions. Läs artikel