If Mike Pompeo’s ultimatum to Iran, after US withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal, was fulfilled it would inflict economic warfare on the country and set up Tehran for failure while reasserting a US-led unipolar world order.
However, it is doomed to failure. As Iranian President Hassan Rouhani pointed out following the US Secretary of State’s declaration mirroring the views of President Donald Trump’s new national security adviser, John Bolton, the era when the US will “decide for the world” is over.
Pompeo outlined the 12 demands on Iran in a speech on May 21 before the US think-tank Heritage Foundation. Even many of the conservative participants in attendance seemed to be skeptical of how effective the demands would be to prevent the US from imposing more onerous sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Pompeo’s ultimatum demanded that Iran halt all uranium enrichment, with access to “all sites”“anywhere, anytime.” Yet, the Islamic Republic is a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty which entitles it to enrich uranium for civilian use, as does the Iranian nuclear agreement, formerly known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.
The ultimatum went well beyond anything to do with Iran’s nuclear program - demanding that the Islamic Republic halt its missile development, support for Hezbollah and Hamas and demanded that it withdraw all forces under the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from Syria, where it has been fighting along with Hezbollah against the Islamic State and al-Qaeda at the invitation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Left unsaid in Pompeo’s demands was that the US is in Syria without invitation, supporting the jihadi Salafists who also are backed by Israel and Saudi Arabia and are threatening Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Iran itself.
Barbara Slavin, who directs the Future of Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council, observed that:
Pompeo’s speech has “almost no chance of working. It’s likely to further alienate the US’s economic allies, boost China as a global economic and political power and gladden Iranian hardliners looking for more reason to start proscribed nuclear activities to continue their interventions in the Middle East.”
In plain-talk English, what Pompeo and Bolton want through their economic warfare against Iran is regime change. Pompeo is signaling an effort to reassert US leadership of a Western world order on Middle East countries, as are European Union countries in resisting Trump’s new brand of economic warfare.
Trump’s 180-degree turn represents a strategic change from his previous position of wanting to pull out of the Middle East. Strangely, it comes at the same time when Americans at home are just beginning to realize the benefits of the tax cut and creation of more jobs at home, promises that Trump said he would fulfill during the campaign.
But he also promised to move the US Embassy to...