India's Iran test

The repercussions may be felt well beyond Iran

Aatif Ahmad Mehjoor
Srinagar, Publish Date: Jul 11 2018 11:11PM | Updated Date: Jul 11 2018 11:11PM
India's Iran test

Trump's repudiation of the Iran nuclear deal has once again demonstrated the US's disregard for international law and its unwillingness to abide by international agreements. The deal, known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), committed Western countries to remove economic sanctions that had been adopted by them against Iran, in exchange for Iran taking steps to reduce its nuclear programme. Iran  has since complied with the terms of the agreement and its compliance has been certified by international inspectors and various world powers such as the European Union, China and Russia. However, Trump, the arrogant and narcissistic bully, has decided to renege on the agreement. The United States has decided to re-impose secondary sanctions against Iran. 

What is particularly brutal about the American action is the imposition of 'secondary sanctions'. Under these sanctions (which the US lifted after the JCPOA), any entity in any country outside the US which engages in business with Iran (such as buying Iranian oil or making payments to Iranian entities) will itself be subject to US sanctions if it does business in the US. Violation of sanctions can result in fines, imprisonment of individuals involved and sequestration/confiscation of property. As a result of this bullying, many European companies have already terminated their operations in Iran. The US has announced that it intends to reduce Iran's oil exports to zero by November this year. The aim is to cause a collapse of Iran's economy and thus trigger regime change. 

Why is Iran being punished so brutally? The reason is that, apart from Turkey and Qatar, Iran is the only regime which actively supports the cause of the Palestinians. Iran is the only power which prevents the success of the American-Israeli plan to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians from the whole of Palestine and establish a single apartheid state in this territory. The puppets of American imperialism in the region are urging Trump to attack Iran because they have sold their conscience to imperialism. They are doing deals with Israel under which Israel can annex the whole of the West Bank and disenfranchise its Palestinian population (who will be settled in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt). When Israeli troops recently massacred scores of Palestinians in Gaza, not a single protest was heard from the puppet regimes. When Trump announced the shift of the American embassy to Jerusalem, these regimes did not even utter a protest. 

The US-Israeli attempt to destroy Iran's economy and bring about regime change is part of their project to destroy any country which stands up to settler-colonialism. That is why they destroyed Iraq by invading it in 2002 and then went on to destroy Libya and Syria - countries which stood up for the rights of Palestinians. The Western hypocrisy on terrorism is evident from the fact that a terrorist group that has targeted civilians in Iran - known as Mujahidin-e-Khalq - is being encouraged and funded by many Western countries, even though these countries had designated it as a terrorist group until 2012. Once again, it is blatantly obvious that, for Western countries, "terrorist" means anyone who attacks Western interests or puppets. 

Already, many European countries (who account for 25% of Iran's oil exports) are buckling under American pressure to cut Iranian oil imports. The same is likely to be true of Japan and Korea, who are beholden to American due to their dependence on America's security guarantee. The success of the American plan depends on whether Iran's three other major customers - India, China and Turkey - resist American pressure to cut imports and even make up for Iran's loss of other customers by increasing their imports of Iranian oil. Turkey has already announced it will not cut imports, as has China. There is speculation now as to whether China will increase its imports. 

Sushma Swaraj recently rejected any idea that India would follow Trump's diktats. She said that India only follows UN sanctions and not the unilateral sanctions of any country. However, there have been reports in the press of major Indian oil companies having been directed by the central government to find substitutes for Iranian oil imports. Whether India resists Trump's bullying and stands up for its own interests will be a litmus test for Modi. It will determine whether India is destined to become an independent power, capable of projecting and prioritising its own interests, or whether it will accept the role of 'junior partner' to the neo-imperialist Anglo-American alliance, eager to obey orders without question, in return for nebulous benefits. Certainly, there will be consequences for India if it chooses to effectively impose an economic boycott of Iran. Iran has maintained friendly relations with India and invited it to develop the Chabahar port, as well as contributing to India's energy security. India resisted US sanctions last time round (2012-2015). If it decides to adopt a different policy under Modi, then the repercussions will be felt well beyond Iran. 


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