7 July 2019   Leave a comment

Iran has announced that it will enrich uranium beyond the limits set by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The media continue to describe this decision as a “violation” of the agreement, but it is hard to describe it as a violation since the US pulled out of the agreement over a year ago. The Iranians have been slowly ratcheting up pressure on Europe (which wants the agreement to remain in force) to get the US to loosen the sanctions which the US is unilaterally enforcing despite the clear demand of the agreement that the sanctions should be lifted. The Iranian strategy really depends on whether the US uses the slight violations as a casus belli.

“Iran has said it is willing to go back to the deal if it is given the economic benefits it was promised. That will be difficult as long as the U.S. continues to enforce strict sanctions on the nation.

“But there is not another obvious way to stop Iran from accumulating dangerous levels of nuclear material. Sabotage efforts and assassinations have slowed the country’s program in the past, but such methods have been unable to stop Iran outright.

“Similarly, military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities would probably set the program back, but only temporarily. ‘You just can’t bomb their program out of existence,’ says David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security. ‘I think what you’re left with is negotiations.'”

Fortunately, the French have indicated that they will seek negotiations with Iran so perhaps there may be time to avoid conflict. Unfortunately, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu seems to be making accommodation more difficult.

The British newspaper, Daily Mail, has published some diplomatic cables written by the British Ambassador to the US, Sir Kim Darroch. The cables are highly embarrassing to the British.

“In one of the most sensitive documents, Sir Kim writes: ‘We don’t really believe this Administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction riven; less diplomatically clumsy and inept.’

“He also says that he doesn’t think Trump’s White House will ‘ever look competent’.”

The British government did not dismiss the cables as published, insisting that “The British public would expect our Ambassadors to provide Ministers with an honest, unvarnished assessment of the politics in their country. Their views are not necessarily the views of Ministers or indeed the government. But we pay them to be candid.” The Conservative Party is poised to elect a new Prime Minister and it looks as if Boris Johnson is the leading candidate. If that occurs, it is likely that the British government will send an Ambassador significantly friendlier to President Trump.

Posted July 7, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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