Whilst a war rages between Russia and Ukraine the shady and duplicitous world of international deals between nation states continues. In Vienna the West is negotiating with Iran a deal called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or “the Iran Deal”. The result will be Iran in from the cold.
To those in the world of government they love the elevated term diplomacy. To those of us who watch from the sides we know that such diplomacy would involve stabbing their friends in the back with a smile. They are a nations equivalent of the duplicitous brother, Antonio, in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, who betrayed his brother Prospero, the Duke of Milan, to claim that Dukedom and by repeating the claim time and time again believed he was the Duke:
By telling of it,
Made such a sinner of his memory,
To credit his own lie, he did believe
He was indeed the duke.
The Iran deal is simply a formal agreement between Iran and the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council ( the US, UK, France, Russia, China ) and the EU. It was originally signed in 2013 and permitted Iran to effectively enrich some uranium to fulfill its desire to have nuclear energy as long as its nuclear weapon programme ended.
The West monitored Iran’s nuclear establishments and approved them as being compliant., Yet despite the UN’s weapons inspectors proof no breaks in the agreement had occurred in 2018 the US withdrew from the agreement stating that Iran was involved in a covert nuclear weapons programme.
In the US there was always opposition to the Iran Deal. A key Republican Senator Bob Corker told Vice President John Kerry. that it would “enable a state sponsor of terror to obtain sophisticated, industrial nuclear development program that has, as we know, only one real practical need”.
A section of the US military and political elite set out to establish and maintain Iran as a terrorist state and should be shunned as such. AsKelly Craft the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations said:in 2020
“History is replete off tragedies of appeasing regimes such as this one, that for decades have kept its own people under its thumb. The Trump administration has no fear in standing in limited company on this matter, in light of the unmistakable truth guiding our actions. I only regret that other members of this [Security Council] have lost their way, and now find themselves standing in the company of terrorists.”
The US then imposed heavy sanctions on companies dealing with Iran. This included a $100 billion dollars of Iranian Assets held in foreign banks. Individuals were also sanctioned and their assets frozen too. Most importantly the key source of income to Iran, oil, was banned. The sanctions programme is an exact model of the initial sanctions formulae used on Russia today.
Despite US opposition the EU sought to keep the deal alive. High Representative Federica Mogherini stated in the bilateral meetings that they “reconfirmed their commitment to the full and effective implementation”
This push and pull of regional desires to support or disavow Iran continued until President Biden recommenced US engagement https://www.state.gov/senior-state-department-official-on-the-jcpoa-talks/. The US agreed to permit the talks to continue and so allow not only Iran to come in from the cold, but also removes sanctions and allow their nuclear programme for energy to continue. The Eu were delighted and talks in Vienna moved on a pace.
We have now reached a stage where agreement between all parties to reinvigorate the Iran Deal is almost complete. Then came the Russia invasion of Ukraine. This threw up major obstacles, particularly as Russian sanctions were enacted and Russia plays a major role n the Iran deal
Any agreement with Iran required the sign off from the pariah state. Yet Russia had supported Iran economically, politically and financially during its period of sanctions. They also had huge contracts developing the nuclear energy stations in Iran’s nuclear programme. Faced with sanctions would or could Russia still be involved and if so also paid.
This question was dealt with on 15 March 2022 when a joint press conference was held in Moscow between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahain (joint press conference in Moscow).
From the communique issued later that day a number of key talking points emerged. Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, in the presence of Amir-Abdollahian, said that “all projects and areas of activity envisaged by the JCPOA have been protected, including the direct involvement of our companies and specialists, including cooperation on the Iranian Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, which is a flagship cooperation project, and in the context of all existing plans associated with it.”
So it seems that despite the sanctions Russia would still be economically able to trade with Iran, help with their nuclear programme and receive an income for it. Iran also stated that they were grateful of Russian support and would move forward with the agreement and it would not stop trade with their friend.
So why is it that the West has allowed a pariah state they have deemed a terrorist supporting nation, in which sanctions still applied to individuals and part of the state and why will they let the nation have billions in frozen assets made available?
Why would the West allow a country they deemed as bad as Russia free to develop a nuclear energy programme despite their own warnings and trade with the nation they have placed punitive sanctions on giving them a lifeline?
Why would they allow a country that Israel says is dangerous and opposes the deal? The simple answer is oil. The hypocrisy of the West is that in punishing Russia they still need to keep the lights on across Europe and are therefore willing to throw principle out of the bath for convenience.
They are cosying up to Maduro in Venezuela, a man they deemed a terrorist. They are cosying up to Iran a nation they call a terrorist backer. They beg for oil from the Saudis who bombard Yemeni children into the ground. The UK settles a debt of hundreds of millions with Iran to release 2 people held in captivity when the real reason is to release millions of barrels of oil.
Today, the West holds up flags to support Ukraine, but for every one of those we honour, praise and laud we send death squads to opponent of Iran and Venezuela and death bombs to children in Yemen. Welcome to 2022 where our enemy is our friend and our friends are our enemies.
Steven Woolfe is Editor of LIBERTATIO and also writes on its SUBSTACK PAGE here