Zarif: U.S. Foreign Policy in Crisis

June 21, 2018

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

Following the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris Climate Accord, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is the third multilateral agreement that the current United States administration has withdrawn from. The administration has also put in jeopardy other multilateral arrangements such as NAFTA, the global trade system, and parts of the United Nations system, thus inflicting considerable damage to multilateralism, and the prospects for resolving disputes through diplomacy.

The announcement on 8 May 2018 of United States’ withdrawal from the JCPOA and the unilateral and unlawful re-imposition of nuclear sanctions[1] -- a decision opposed by majority of the American people[2] -- was the culmination of a series of violations of the terms of the accord by this administration, in spite of the fact that the International Atomic Energy Agency, as the sole competent international authority had repeatedly verified Iran’s compliance with its commitments under the accord.[3] The U.S. decision was rejected by the international community and even its closest allies, including the European Union[4], Britain[5], France[6] and Germany.

On 21 May 2018, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a baseless and insulting statement, issued a number of demands of and threats against Iran[7] in brazen contravention of international law, well-established international norms, and civilized behavior. His statement reflected a desperate reaction by the US administration to the overwhelming opposition of the international community to the persistent efforts by the White House to kill the JCPOA, and the ensuing Washington’s isolation. Mr. Pompeo, in his statement, attempted to justify the US’ withdrawal from the JCPOA and divert international public opinion from the unlawful behavior of the United States and its outright violation of UN Security Council resolution 2231[8]; a resolution drafted and proposed by the US itself and adopted unanimously by the Council. Mr. Pompeo’s 12 preconditions for Iran to follow are especially preposterous as the US administration itself is increasingly isolated internationally due to its effort to undermine diplomacy and multilateralism. It comes as no surprise that the statement and the one made by the US president on Iran were either ignored or received negatively by the international community, including by friends and allies of the United States. Only a small handful of US client states in our region welcomed it.[9]

I seriously doubt that had the US Secretary of State even had a slight knowledge of Iran’s history and culture and the Iranian people’s struggle for independence and freedom, and had he known that Iran’s political system—in contrast to those of the American allies in the region—is based on a popular revolution and the people’s will, would he have delivered such an outlandish statement. He should, however, know that ending foreign intervention in Iran’s domestic affairs, which culminated in the 25-year period following the US-orchestrated coup in 1953, had always been one of the Iranian people’s main demands since well before the Islamic Revolution. He should also be aware that in the past 40 years the Iranian people have heroically resisted and foiled aggressions and pressures by the US, including its coup attempts, military interventions, support of the aggressor in an 8-year war, imposition of unilateral, extraterritorial and even multilateral sanctions, and even going as far as shooting down an Iranian passenger plane in the Persian Gulf in 1987. “Never forget” is our mantra, too.

The Islamic Republic of Iran derives its strength and stability from the brave and peace-loving Iranian people; a people who, while seeking constructive interaction with the world on the basis of mutual respect, are ready to resist bullying and extortions and defend in unison their country’s independence and honor. History bears testimony to the fact that those who staged aggression against this age-old land, such as Saddam and his regime’s supporters, all met an ignominious fate, while Iran has proudly and vibrantly continued its path towards a better and brighter future.

It is regrettable that in the past one-and-a-half years, US foreign policy—if we can call it that[10]—including its policy towards Iran has been predicated on flawed assumptions and illusions—if not actual delusions. The US President and his Secretary of State have persistently made baseless and provocative allegations against Iran that constitute blatant intervention in Iran’s domestic affairs, unlawful threats against a UN Member State, and violations of the United States’ international obligations under the UN Charter, the 1955 Treaty[11], and the 1981 Algiers Accord[12]. While rejecting these fictitious allegations, I would like to draw the attention of U.S. policymakers to some aspects of their nation’s current foreign policy that are detrimental to the entire international community.

[...]

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Footnotes: 

[1] https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/ceasing-u-s-participation-jcpoa-taking-additional-action-counter-irans-malign-influence-deny-iran-paths-nuclear-weapon/

[2] https://edition.cnn.com/2018/05/08/politics/poll-iran-agreement/index.html

[3] IAEA in its report of 24 May, IAEA has concluded that “continues to verify the non-diversion of declared material at the nuclear facilities and locations outside facilities where nuclear material is customarily used(LOFs) declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement” and “since Implementation Day, the Agency has been verifying and monitoring the implementation by Iran of its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA.” 

https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/focus/iran/iaea-and-iran-iaea-reports

[4] https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/44238/remarks-hrvp-mogherini-statement-us-president-trump-regarding-iran-nuclear-deal-jcpoa_en

[5] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/joint-statement-from-prime-minister-may-chancellor-merkel-and-president-macron-following-president-trumps-statement-on-iran

[6] https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/french-foreign-policy/disarmament-and-non-proliferation/events/article/jcpoa-joint-statement-by-france-the-united-kingdom-and-germany-08-05-18

[7] https://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2018/05/282301.htm

[8]  The Security Council in the resolution 2231 (2015) has urged the full implementation of the JCPOA and has called upon all UN Member States, including the United States to “refrain from actions that undermine implementation of commitments under the JCPOA”.

[9] http://www.newsweek.com/trumps-iran-deal-announcement-could-leave-us-isolated-and-allies-trouble-916023

[10] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/josh-rogin/wp/2018/05/21/pompeos-iran-strategy-speech-lacked-a-real-strategy/?utm_term=.9789576593c4

[11] According to Treaty of Amity of 1955, the United States is obliged not to impose sanctions against Iran and Iranians peoples. For instance, Article IV of this Treaty is obliging the United States “at all times accord fair and equitable treatment to the Iranian nationals and companies” and “refrain from applying unreasonable or discriminatory measures that would impair Iranians legally acquired rights and interests”. Furthermore, Article X is prescribing that “Between the territories of the United States and Iran “shall be freedom of commerce and navigation.”

[12] In the Algeria Declaration of 1981, “The United States pledged that it is and from now on will be the policy of the United States not to intervene, directly or indirectly, politically or militarily, in Iran's internal affairs.”

 

[1] https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/ceasing-u-s-participation-jcpoa-taking-additional-action-counter-irans-malign-influence-deny-iran-paths-nuclear-weapon/

[2] https://edition.cnn.com/2018/05/08/politics/poll-iran-agreement/index.html

[3] IAEA in its report of 24 May, IAEA has concluded that “continues to verify the non-diversion of declared material at the nuclear facilities and locations outside facilities where nuclear material is customarily used(LOFs) declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement” and “since Implementation Day, the Agency has been verifying and monitoring the implementation by Iran of its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA.” 

https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/focus/iran/iaea-and-iran-iaea-reports

[4] https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/44238/remarks-hrvp-mogherini-statement-us-president-trump-regarding-iran-nuclear-deal-jcpoa_en

[5] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/joint-statement-from-prime-minister-may-chancellor-merkel-and-president-macron-following-president-trumps-statement-on-iran

[6] https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/french-foreign-policy/disarmament-and-non-proliferation/events/article/jcpoa-joint-statement-by-france-the-united-kingdom-and-germany-08-05-18

[7] https://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2018/05/282301.htm

[8]  The Security Council in the resolution 2231 (2015) has urged the full implementation of the JCPOA and has called upon all UN Member States, including the United States to “refrain from actions that undermine implementation of commitments under the JCPOA”.

[9] http://www.newsweek.com/trumps-iran-deal-announcement-could-leave-us-isolated-and-allies-trouble-916023

[10] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/josh-rogin/wp/2018/05/21/pompeos-iran-strategy-speech-lacked-a-real-strategy/?utm_term=.9789576593c4

[11] According to Treaty of Amity of 1955, the United States is obliged not to impose sanctions against Iran and Iranians peoples. For instance, Article IV of this Treaty is obliging the United States “at all times accord fair and equitable treatment to the Iranian nationals and companies” and “refrain from applying unreasonable or discriminatory measures that would impair Iranians legally acquired rights and interests”. Furthermore, Article X is prescribing that “Between the territories of the United States and Iran “shall be freedom of commerce and navigation.”

[12] In the Algeria Declaration of 1981, “The United States pledged that it is and from now on will be the policy of the United States not to intervene, directly or indirectly, politically or militarily, in Iran's internal affairs.”

[13] https://www.foreign.senate.gov/hearings/nomination-041218

[14] https://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2018/05/282301.htm

[15] https://www.politico.com/story/2016/10/full-transcript-third-2016-presidential-debate-230063

[16] https://lobelog.com/how-the-saudis-took-donald-trump-for-a-ride/

[17] https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-crown-prince-mohammed-bin-salman-kingdom-saudi-arabia-bilateral-meeting/ ,  https://www.rt.com/news/421890-peanuts-mbs-trump-video/  and https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/trump-humiliated-saudi-crown-prince-while-boasting-about-arms-sales-1.5938561

[18] https://theintercept.com/2018/03/02/jared-kushner-real-estate-qatar-blockade/   and https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/03/did-jared-kushner-punish-qatar-because-it-wouldnt-lend-his-family-money

[19]  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-g7-summit-communique-text/the-charlevoix-g7-summit-communique-idUSKCN1J5107

[20] https://www.smh.com.au/world/middle-east/donald-trump-s-america-has-just-become-a-rogue-nation-20180509-p4zebu.html

[21] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-44427660 and https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/06/10/donald-trump-throws-g-7-disarray-tweets-leaves/

[22] http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/391774-trump-if-i-was-wrong-about-kim-ill-find-some-kind-of-an-excuse  and https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/trump-interview-north-korea-w521433

[23] http://www.iusct.net/General%20Documents/1-General%20Declaration%E2%80%8E.pdf

[24] http://www.icj-cij.org/en/case/143/judgments

[25] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/19/cia-admits-role-1953-iranian-coup

https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB435/#_ftn1

[26] https://www.nytimes.com/2000/04/16/world/secrets-history-cia-iran-special-report-plot-convulsed-iran-53-79.html

[27] According to Points II and III of Algeria Declaration of 1981, the United States is committed to return all Iranians Assets.

[28] https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/15pdf/14-770_9o6b.pdf

[29] https://scholarship.law.berkeley.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2243&context=californialawreview

[30] https://www.britannica.com/event/Operation-Eagle-Claw

[31] https://www.nytimes.com/1992/01/26/world/us-secretly-gave-aid-to-iraq-early-in-its-war-against-iran.html,  https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/2002/12/30/us-had-key-role-in-iraq-buildup/133cec74-3816-4652-9bd8-7d118699d6f8/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.6be00053e094  and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_support_for_Iraq_during_the_Iran%E2%80%93Iraq_War.  Also according to PBS Frontline, Saddam was recruited by the CIA while in Cairo in the 1950s. According to United Press International, he was used by the United States to plan a coup against General Abdulkarim Qassim. His collaboration with the United States after assuming power in 1979 has been widely documented. See Richard Sale “Exclusive: Saddam key in early CIA plot,” United Press International, 4 October 2003, http://www.upi.com/archive/view.php?archive=1&StoryID=20030410-070214-6557r

[32] https://1997-2001.state.gov/statements/2000/000317.html

[33] https://glasgow.rl.talis.com/items/684B064F-2507-AE89-0568-56D8F164C550.html

[34] http://www.bbc.com/persian/iran-features-40431691

[35] http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/08/26/exclusive-cia-files-prove-america-helped-saddam-as-he-gassed-iran/

[36] https://www.britannica.com/event/Iran-Air-flight-655

[37] https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1990/04/23/2-vincennes-officers-get-medals/cf383f02-05ce-435b-9086-5d61de569ed8/?utm_term=.e6c9789813e6

[38] The International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, in its Judgment of 2003 found that “the actions of the United States of America against Iranian oil platforms on 19 October 1987 and 18 April 1988 cannot be justified as measures necessary to protect the essential security interests of the United States of America under Article XX, paragraph 1 (d), of the 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations and Consular Rights between the United States of America and Iran, as interpreted in the light of international law on the use of force.”

[39] http://articles.latimes.com/1987-09-28/news/mn-6980_1_weinberger

[40] https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/politics/trump-calls-iran-a-terrorist-nation-like-few-others/2017/10/13/810b8214-b025-11e7-9b93-b97043e57a22_video.html?utm_term=.33c4c2ad3feb

[41] https://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2002/01/20020129-11.html

[42] https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/tourism-visit/visa-waiver-program.html  

[43] http://www.socialist.ca/node/3550

[44] https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monographs/2009/RAND_MG871.pdf

[45] http://foreignpolicy.com/2018/04/30/bolton-iran-mek-terrorism-trump/

[46] https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/11/giuliani-mek-terrorist-group-money-bolton-iran-214479 , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OWYnNh9w4s ; Also in, http://nototerrorism-cults.com/en/?p=1436

[47] https://www.politico.eu/article/netanyahu-israel-assassinate-iranian-scientists-hatched-a-secret-plan/

[48] https://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Iran/Israel-behind-assassinations-of-Iran-nuclear-scientists-Yaalon-hints-411473

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/03/05/israel-assassination-iranian-scientists-217223

[49] https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-israel-developed-computer-virus-to-slow-iranian-nuclear-efforts-officials-say/2012/06/19/gJQA6xBPoV_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.54301c957813; Also in: https://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/01/world/middleeast/obama-ordered-wave-of-cyberattacks-against-iran.html

[50] https://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/27/us/politics/cia-officer-in-leak-case-jeffrey-sterling-is-convicted-of-espionage.html

[51] http://justworldbooks.com/books-by-title/manufactured-crisis/

[52] https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/pages/iran.aspx

[53] https://treaties.un.org/Pages/showDetails.aspx?objid=0800000280142196

[54] https://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:31996R2271:EN:HTML

[55] See UN. Documents A/72/869 and S/2018/453

[56] https://www.theblaze.com/news/2014/01/13/former-u-s-defense-contractor-arrested-for-attempting-to-ship-sensitive-information-to-iran; Also in: https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/dual-iranian-american-citizen-sentenced-25-years-prison-conspiring-and-attempting

[57] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/09/world/middleeast/ahmad-sheikhzadeh-iranian-prosecution.html

[58] http://ifpnews.com/exclusive/iran-perusing-situation-iranian-woman-detained-australia-official/

[59] http://globalnation.inquirer.net/109665/wanted-iranian-dies-in-nbi-custody

[60] https://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/08/opinion/08zarif.html

[61] https://www.globalpolicy.org/humanitarian-issues-in-iraq/consequences-of-the-war-and-occupation-of-iraq.html; Also in: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/ivan-eland/worst-effect-of-us-afghan_b_5474805.html?guccounter=1; And

[62] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/isis-us-saudi-arabia-arms-fighters-jihadis-military-capability-enhanced-weapons-syria-terrorism-a8112076.html  and https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-iraq-arms/arms-supplied-by-u-s-saudi-ended-up-with-islamic-state-researchers-say-idUSKBN1E82EQ

[63] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/11/09/saudi-arabias-arms-deals-are-buying-the-wests-silence-over-yemen-allege-activists/?utm_term=.7bf6b323a98b

[64] https://www.brookings.edu/opinions/lets-admit-it-the-u-s-is-at-war-in-yemen-too/

[65] http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/42-times-us-has-used-its-veto-power-against-un-resolutions-israel-942194703

[66] https://www.sipri.org/news/press-release/2018/asia-and-middle-east-lead-rising-trend-arms-imports-us-exports-grow-significantly-says-sipri

[67] https://www.defensenews.com/breaking-news/2017/06/08/revealed-trump-s-110-billion-weapons-list-for-the-saudis/

[68] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/26/opinion/us-saudi-arabia-arms-deal-iran.html

[69] http://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/news/2014/facebook-meme-iraq-war-dollars-could-have-ended-world-hunger-30-years

[70]  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/23/netanyahu-thanks-us-blocking-middle-east-nuclear-arms-ban

[71] https://media.defense.gov/2018/Feb/02/2001872886/-1/-1/1/2018-NUCLEAR-POSTURE-REVIEW-FINAL-REPORT.PDF

[72] The International Court of Justice in its Advisory Opinion of 1996 expressly stated that “The legal import of that [disarmament] obligation goes beyond that of a mere obligation of conduct; the obligation involved here is an obligation to achieve a precise result - nuclear disarmament in all its aspects - by adopting a particular course of conduct, namely, the pursuit of negotiations on the matter in good faith.” http://www.icj-cij.org/files/case-related/95/095-19960708-ADV-01-00-EN.pdf 

[73] https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB116787515251566636

[74]US Department of State: http://usinfo.state.gov/mena/Archive/2006/Mar/06-846555.html 

[75] http://www.utrikesmagasinet.se/kronikor/2017/november/hans-blix-from-an-isolated-iran-to-an-isolated-us/and https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jan/05/russia-us-iran-un-emergency-session

[76] https://news.gallup.com/poll/225761/world-approval-leadership-drops-new-low.aspx

[77] A/Res/56/6

[78] A/Res/70/109

[79] See for instance "Impermissibility of the Use or Threat of Use of Nuclear Weapons,"  Iranian Journal of International Affairs, Volume VIII, No. 1, 1996 and https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jul/31/iran-nuclear-deal-israel-vienna-treaty-middle-east-wmd .

[80] See for instance International Law as a Language for International Relations, (The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 1996.)

[81] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/dec/18/syria-islam-syrians-peace

[82] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-iran/iran-submits-four-point-yemen-peace-plan-to-united-nations-idUSKBN0N823820150417

[83] https://tvnewsroom.consilium.europa.eu/video/eu-hr-mogherini-meets-mfas-of-the-e3-and-iran-1abbf 

[84] https://www.sipri.org/sites/default/files/Milex-share-of-GDP.pdf and https://www.sipri.org/databases/milex

[85] Article 152: The foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is based on the rejection of any kind of domination, both its exercise and submission to it;… http://www.wipo.int/edocs/lexdocs/laws/en/ir/ir001en.pdf

[86] https://aawsat.com/home/article/10372

[87] https://www.ft.com/content/c0b6bc36-fead-11e7-9650-9c0ad2d7c5b5

[88] http://assafir.com/Article/1/434785

[89] https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/10/iran-persian-gulf-jcpoa/542421/  

[90] https://www.ft.com/content/c0b6bc36-fead-11e7-9650-9c0ad2d7c5b5