Displaying the sort of unthinking bellicosity that has characterised his tenure as US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo chose last week – a time of unprecedented global turmoil – to impose yet more unilateral sanctions on Iran. This was akin to pouring petrol on a burning building, then waiting to see how big an explosion ensues.
The timing of the new measures was doubly inept. Iran’s freeing of thousands of political prisoners last week raised hopes of full pardons for jailed US citizens and the British-Iranian dual national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has been temporarily released.
Those hopes have receded now. Meanwhile, Pompeo’s heedless intervention risked fuelling calls inside Iran to abandon not only the creaking 2015 nuclear deal but also the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) – the cornerstone since 1970 of international efforts to curb the spread of nuclear weapons. Läs artikel