How US makes money off "Iranian issue" / News / News agency Inforos
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How US makes money off "Iranian issue"

An Iranian political scientist dwells on the situation in the region

How US makes money off "Iranian issue"
Context:

The situation in the Persian Gulf region has seriously deteriorated in recent weeks. The US has imposed new sanctions against Iran, which, in particular, will seriously hamper Tehran's ability to sell oil: restrictions are now threatening its buyers. In response, the Islamic Republic suspended the fulfillment of certain paragraphs of the 2015 agreement on the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program. Meanwhile, Washington sent a group of warships to the region and also intends to deploy an additional 1.5 thousand military there. Inforos discussed the situation with an Iranian political scientist, Director of the Center for Strategic Studies in Tehran Amir al-Musavi.

- In your opinion, to what extent is a war between Iran and the United States probable? What are its consequences going to be?

- So far there have been no signs of the imminent start of a military conflict there. Iranian ships pass freely through the Strait of Hormuz, and Iranian facilities are not subjected to provocations from the United States. There is no war. At least, the sanctions should not be treated as its explicit harbingers. In addition, Iran has been living with them for 40 years, during which time the situation has never developed into a military conflict with Washington. Meanwhile, muscle-flexing is gradually weakening in the region: American aircraft carriers stay clear. Therefore, in this case the United States seems to be intended to draw as much money as possible from individual countries of the Persian Gulf. Meanwhile, we can see a softened rhetoric of America's top leadership, and this creates hope for finding a diplomatic way out of the current situation. And Iran has taken all the possible measures to show its ability to withstand any aggression. So we'll see how the situation is going to develop in the coming days.

- Indeed, Washington said that it would sell Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Jordan weapons worth $8.1 billion "to counter the Iranian threat." So, it looks like the true objective of the Americans' settling for an escalation in the Persian Gulf?

- The very fact of the announced sale of weapons was part of the current anti-Iranian campaign. And the aim was additional pressure on Tehran. Moreover, the Americans made a stir, with [Donald Trump's National Security Adviser John] Bolton predicting a war in the region. The US has frightened a number of its allies and forced them to strike this kind of deal. But this is only the first stage. There will be other agreements following this one. After all, $8 billion is nothing for Donald Trump. The American President wants the Gulf countries to pay hundreds of times more. So this is just the beginning. We should not also forget about the growing US military presence in the Persian Gulf region – some Arab monarchies, namely Saudi Arabia and the UAE, are already paying the US administration about $350 million a day.

- The United States imposed strict sanctions against Iran. They caused countries like China, India, Turkey and a number of others to stop buying Iranian oil. Will Tehran manage to cope with these challenges? And how is the Islamic Republic going to overcome the difficulties?

- Iran opposes the sanctions, it sticks to its guns. As I mentioned earlier, the country is no stranger to them. In the past, these were sanctions by the UN Security Council, the European Union and the United States. Now there are only American ones left. By the way, India claims to be willing to resume the purchase of Iranian oil. The same thing goes for China. And the reality is that, despite the sanctions, Iranian tankers carry about 900 thousand barrels of oil daily through the Strait of Hormuz. So the words are one thing, but in practice the situation is quite different. I think Iran has many other potential buyers, whether among its neighbors or outside the region. For instance, it is possible to develop trade relations with Russia in this area. This is very important now. Anyway, Tehran keeps selling oil, although to a lesser extent than desired, while the impact of sanctions is very limited. The Iranian stock market is stable, the situation remains under control. And in general, the developments are stable when a country is able to provide itself with food, medicines and fuel. These are the three important factors of any country's economy. Iran does have all of this.

- Iran suspended the fulfillment of some paragraphs of the nuclear deal and gave Russia, China and Europe 60 days to compensate for the losses from US sanctions. Does Tehran intend to withdraw from the agreement at the end of this period?

- Iran will not completely withdraw from the nuclear agreement. But the fulfillment of some of its paragraphs will be suspended, as announced by Germany, Britain and France. We can expect that in 60 days another escalation of the situation will happen, if these countries fail to meet Iran's requirements. In any case, it is premature to reflect on what will happen upon the expiry of this term. An important point is that Iran will no longer sit silent while others evade their commitments. After all, any nuclear agreement is based on benefits for all its parties. For this reason, the situation when all the others benefit and Iran is the only one to lose its profit, is unacceptable. I mean, either everybody wins or everybody loses. There is no middle ground here.

- How do you assess the Russian stance on the events involving Iran?

- The Russian stance remains acceptable, although perhaps not as expected. Moscow is now trying to maintain strategic relations with Iran without undermining its interests in Europe. To be honest, the public opinion in Iran is not on Russia's side, especially as regards other countries' attempts to impose an economic blockade against the Islamic Republic. But officials in Iran treat Russia's policy with understanding and realize that it can play an important role when the going gets rough. I can say that trade cooperation between our countries is preserved. But major companies have left Iran. However, the present-day situation is better than before the nuclear program agreement has been signed. After all, back at that time Russia and China approved the imposition of sanctions against Iran, along with other members of the UN Security Council. And now they are establishing cooperation with Tehran, albeit not to the extent we would like to.

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