Sanc­tions Seek to Im­pose U.S. Na­tion­al­ism on World

Iran News - - FRONT PAGE -

LON­DON (Dis­patches) - The lat­est U.S. sanc­tions against Tehran are an at­tempt by Wash­ing­ton to im­pose a vi­sion of Amer­i­can na­tion­al­ism upon the rest of the world, and are not just about Iran, a se­nior Ira­nian diplo­mat has said.

Seyed M. Kazem Sa­j­jad­pour, deputy for­eign min­is­ter, made the com­ments in Lon­don on Tues­day, a day af­ter the United States reim­posed sanc­tions that were orig­i­nally lifted af­ter the sign­ing of the Joint Com­pre­hen­sive Plan of Ac­tion (JCPOA) - widely known as the Iran nu­clear deal - in 2015.

His com­ments echoed the de­fi­ant re­sponse of other Ira­nian lead­ers to the move by the ad­min­is­tra­tion of U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, who de­fied in­ter­na­tional op­po­si­tion in May to uni­lat­er­ally aban­don the agree­ment.

“The JCPOA and the sanc­tions are not just about Iran but about a trans­for­ma­tive process in the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity whereby you have ei­ther in­ter­na­tional law, or­ga­ni­za­tions, diplo­macy, ne­go­ti­a­tions - or you have im­po­si­tion, you have Amer­i­can pol­icy ver­sus the rest of the world,” Sa­j­jad­pour said dur­ing in a talk at Chatham House think-tank.

“It is about Eu­rope also: we all know what they think about Eu­rope, even about their al­lies.”

His re­marks pro­vide an in­sight into Iran’s diplo­matic re­sponse based on an ef­fort to iso­late the U.S. by driv­ing a wedge be­tween it and Eu­ro­pean coun­tries.

“Our pol­icy is not just to aim at iso­lat­ing the U.S.; the U.S. by it­self is iso­lated, not eco­nom­i­cally - the US lacks le­git­i­macy glob­ally. What we are do­ing is prac­tic­ing a form of strate­gic pa­tience.”

Sa­j­jad­pour said that a “po­lit­i­cal civil war” was un­der way in the U.S. be­tween an in­ter­na­tion­al­ist school of thought and sup­port­ers of Trump as­sert­ing a new and “nar­row-minded def­i­ni­tion of Amer­i­can na­tion­al­ism which negates the in­ter­ests of the rest of the world”.

He added: “Now you have a na­tion­al­ist ap­proach which thinks the United States should be at the top of ev­ery­thing and not just ‘Amer­ica First’ but Amer­i­can in­ter­ests, and no other in­ter­ests, and also that the U.S. achieves the re-estab­lish­ment of U.S. hege­mony.

“Amer­i­can na­tion­al­ism is very nar­row-minded, it is based on xeno­pho­bia of the oth­ers - even of Euro­peans, he (Trump) is against Eu­rope.” Although com­men­ta­tors have sug­gested that the lat­est round of sanc­tions will hurt Iran, Sa­j­jad­pour sug­gested that they would have a lim­ited im­pact.

He ar­gued Eu­ro­pean lead­ers had now put be­hind them a pe­riod of “ap­pease­ment” of Trump in or­der to de­velop the spe­cial pur­pose le­gal mech­a­nism that they hope will en­able com­pa­nies to get around the U.S. penal­ties.

“It is an in­ter­est­ing pro­ce­dure but what is lack­ing is speed and ef­fi­ciency,” said Sa­j­jad­pour. “What we need is speed and a process which is re­sult-ori­ented, be­cause it is about re­sults.” Sa­j­jad­pour’s said his coun­try re­mained con­fi­dent that it would sur­vive the lat­est set­back, al­most 40 years since the Ira­nian rev­o­lu­tion, and had en­dured sig­nif­i­cantly harsher cir­cum­stances in pe­ri­ods such as dur­ing the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.

“Times are not as chal­leng­ing as they have been ... Sanc­tions are about psy­chol­ogy, that you want to dom­i­nate the other, but I can in­form you that Iran is self-con­fi­dent.”

The coun­try had de­vel­oped a “100 per­cent home­made” se­cu­rity sys­tem that was more in­de­pen­dent than any other coun­try in the world, and did not rely upon al­liances.

“Our pol­i­tics is very do­mes­tic - it’s not as if Wash­ing­ton coughs and we get a cold,” he said. “We are not wor­ried who is in the White House.”

The Ira­nian of­fi­cial in­sisted the coun­try had co­op­er­ated fully in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the JCPOA, but could not tol­er­ate hav­ing to abide by the agree­ment but also en­dure sanc­tions.

“Co­op­er­a­tion has its own lim­its and frames - on the JCPOA we have been co­op­er­at­ing and we have been abid­ing with the reg­u­la­tions, but Iran can­not have both sanc­tions and co­op­er­a­tion to­gether.”

Pro­tect­ing the terms of the JCPOA was im­por­tant not just for Iran but the global com­mu­nity, he added, mak­ing it nec­es­sary for other coun­tries to counter not just the U.S. sanc­tions but the ideas be­hind them.

“Re­sis­tance is not just a con­cept ex­clu­sive to Ira­ni­ans - although we like this con­cept and we fo­cus on it. It is a global con­cept.” The diplo­mat sug­gested that coun­tries were be­gin­ning to see through the fre­quent use of the Ira­nian threat by the U.S. and its al­lies in shap­ing Mid­dle East pol­icy.

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