Tensions with Iran, A Turning Point
By. Raimondo Graziano
In recent weeks tensions between the United States and Iran have reached a fever pitch. The relations between our nation and their own have always been strained, and we are, as is often the case, partly responsible for the situation that currently exists today. After all it is our deposition of their democratically elected leader, decades ago, that spurred on the revolution in the late 70’s. And it is the withdrawal of the United States from the JCPOA, negotiated under the former President and withdrawn from by the current, that has created both an air of uncertainty and a potential international crisis, regardless of the merits of the deal that was struck.
Now, nations have come to trade blows with one another in the past while limiting the severity of escalations, in many cases it is a ruse to bring one and the other to the negotiating table to hammer out differences. What is different now is the degree at which escalations are increasing, and tone with which this war of words is being wage has taken a sharper lean. One expects belligerence and bellicose rhetoric from the President of the United States, after all it is his way. Though for an internationally recognized moderate like Hassan Rouhani, it is an alarming escalation.
The door for diplomacy is closed in his words due to the ratcheting up of sanctions by the Americans, meant to cripple the Iranian economy. If the door to diplomacy is closed, what then? In recent weeks there have been attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf and in oil fields in Iraq, a downing of an American surveillance craft, an execution of an American prisoner and numerous other acts of aggression by the Iranians. We are perhaps stumbling into a war, whose reach and scope would be catastrophic. It is true Iran is the world’s largest purveyor of state sponsored terrorism. Our allies in the region are itching for a conflict to settle their own personal scores with the nation. Saudi Arabia and Iran are locked into a proxy war in Yemen over their numerous differences. Israel has threatened aggression before for their fear of annihilation of the state – a threat propagated by the Iranians themselves. It is obvious that conflict is in the air.
What’s troubling is not only the potential for miscalculation and careless loss of life, but the strangle it will have on global oil markets as the strait of Hormuz is a critical point in the infrastructure of global oil shipping. With more troops being sent to the Middle East to counter the threats posed by Iran, a regional power in its own right, the threat of war looms. It will not be like Iraq, nor Afghanistan nor is the conflicts context similar to that of the war of words between the President and Chairmen Kim. The nuances ate stark and the implications grave. Of course, we must push for diplomacy and engage our allies in this effort, but above all we cannot become hostage to Iranian demands and increasing belligerence on their part. From the threat of raising the threshold of production of material that could be used in the production of nuclear weapons, to the threats leveled at Europe to further test their ballistic missiles if they are not granted waivers from sanctions for trade.
The West cannot be held hostage and capitulate to the demands of a regime which seeks the downfall of Western institutions and the propping up of its own allies – the likes of Russia, China and other authoritarian regimes. Let alone the human rights abuses perpetuated by them. If we capitulate, then what is the West then but a vestige of a forgotten cause? With this in mind, we too have to keep a check on Saudi Arabia, our hopelessly convenient ally in the region on their own abuses and misgivings. The West must take a stand on all fronts. Diplomacy always, but prepared for any eventuality. We must move forward with caution and resolve.