22 April 2019   Leave a comment

The Trump Administration has decided not to issue any waivers to countries buying Iranian oil. When the US decided to leave the Iranian nuclear agreement (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action–JCPOA) last May, it re-imposed sanctions on Iran (even though Iran had not violated the agreement), but gave waivers to countries who wanted to import Iranian oil. Those waivers allowed Iran to continue exporting about 80% of its normal exports. The decision today ends that program and US Secretary of State Pompeo defended the move in these terms:

“We have made our demands very clear to the ayatollah and his cronies: end your pursuit of nuclear weapons, stop testing and proliferating ballistic missiles, stop sponsoring and committing terrorism, halt the arbitrary detention of US citizens. Our pressure is aimed at ending these and others and it will continue to accelerate until Iran is willing to address them at the negotiating table.”

The affected countries include India, China, South Korea, Japan and Turkey. The move will likely tighten up the global petroleum market–expect gasoline prices to go up as a consequence. The Europeans, however, are expected to try to evade the sanctions by setting up a payments program that the US cannot detect.

The US is threatening to veto a UN Security Council resolution on combatting the use of rape as a weapon of war. The resolution initially called for the creation of a monitoring body to investigate these crimes, but the section was stripped out by threats of vetoes by Russia, China, and the US. But the US is now threatening to veto the watered-down version because it contained a single reference to reproductive rights. According to The Guardian:

“In recent months, the Trump administration has taken a hard line, refusing to agree to any UN documents that refer to sexual or reproductive health, on grounds that such language implies support for abortions. It has also opposed the use of the word ‘gender’, seeking it as a cover for liberal promotion of transgender rights.”

The European states are adamant that the reference to reproductive rights. Again, according to The Guardian:

“European states, led by Germany, the UK and France, have been resisting abandoning the language on access to family planning and women’s health clinics, as they believe it would mean surrendering the gains of recent decades in terms of international recognition of women’s rights.

“’If we let the Americans do this and take out this language, it will be watered down for a long time,’ a European diplomat, who asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the negotiations, said. ‘It is, at its heart, an attack on the progressive normative framework established over the past 25 years.’

“’Until the Trump administration, we could always count on the Americans to help us defend it. Now the Americans have switched camp,’ the diplomat said. ‘Now it’s an unholy alliance of the US, the Russians, the Holy See, the Saudis and the Bahrainis, chipping away at the progress that has been made.’”

Let us hope that the US changes its position on this incredibly important resolution.

Posted April 22, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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