Will China and Russia be the next targets if United States succeeds in imposing sanctions on Iran?

Reportedly on 14th August 2020, the 15-member UN Security Council (UNSC) unanimously rejected a resolution moved by United States to extend an arms embargo on Iran. All other JCPOA participants and most of the UNSC members argued that since the US was no longer a JCPOA participant it cannot use these provisions.

The majority of the UNSC members said they would not support the US move to snapback sanctions. One can still recall that US President, Donald Trump had signed a document reinstating sanctions against Iran after announcing its withdrawal from JCPOA on 8th May 2018. It is also on record that the US after ending its participation in the JCPOA had spared no effort to destroy the agreement.

One has to explore the validity of the US claim. It is believed that there is no legitimacy of the US claim. The imposition of sanctions and the defacto blockade of Iran is a long-standing act of the US to usher regime change, similar to those it had carried out in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

The next question to be explored is; will other members of the UNSC back the US move? It is doubtful that Russia or China would back anything the US aims at hitting Iran. The repeated failures of the US in UNSC have prompted it to move unilaterally to pursue its agenda against Iran.

Yet another question arises, can the US force other JCPOA members to back its actions? Historically, the US has used a variety of tools to threaten and coerce nations around the globe to support its demands. Its current trade war with China is in many ways designed to pressurize Beijing to make concessions. It is becoming evident that both China and Russia know that if the US is successful in imposing sanction on Iran, it will also become easier to take similar actions against them.

The last question to be answered is, why has Trump focused on the Iran issue months before the 2020 presidential election? Trump had started talking about “ending the Iran deal” even before becoming president. If one looks at US foreign policy agenda, all US presidents eventually end up adopting the US policy papers like the Brookings Institution’s “Which Path to Persia?” Declaring a desire to first create, then withdraw from a deal with Iran in order to make the US look like it tried to be reasonable before moving on to more extreme tactics.

Barack Obama and Donald Trump merely played their role in this game – Obama created the deal and Trump withdrew from it. There are reasons to believe that the US had no intention of honoring its commitments even before its representatives sat down with their Iranian counterparts. Trump may win or lose the upcoming election, maximum US pressure will continue on Iran. Other JCPOA participants will have to deal with the US aggression pragmatically.

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