US Fighting in Seven Wars, Arming Terror-Supporting States: Geopolitical Analyst
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Senior political commentator and Middle East geopolitics analyst Sharmine Narwani said the United States of America is the “real rogue state” as it is funding and arming terror-supporting states in the wars across the world.
“The real rogue state is the United States, which is fighting in seven wars, supplying terror-supporting states with billions of dollars in heavy weapons, and trying to undermine the few nations who actually fight terror in earnest,” Narwani told the Tasnim news agency.
Sharmine Narwani is a commentator and analyst of Middle East geopolitics. She is a former senior associate at St. Antony's College, Oxford University and has a master’s degree in International Relations from Columbia University. Sharmine has written commentary for a wide array of publications, including Al Akhbar English, the New York Times, the Guardian, Asia Times Online, Salon.com, USA Today, the Huffington Post, Al Jazeera English, BRICS Post and others.
Following is the full text of the interview.
Tasnim: US President Donald Trump in a major confrontational stance against the Islamic Republic of Iran refused to certify the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers and imposed further sanctions against the country’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC). What is your take on his speech?
Narwani: President Trump's speech was not exceptional - we have heard this kind of belligerent rhetoric from many past US presidents, with differing degrees of severity. For some strange reason, the Americans believe if they sound "tough," others will quake in their shoes and cave to US demands. They have not learned a thing about Iran in the past four decades, it seems. On a practical note, Trump's "decertification" has very little impact because it only addresses procedures within US law and is neither pertinent to the JCPOA and its other signatories, nor to the UN Security Council. While sounding "tough," in fact, all Trump has done is to defer the decision to confront Iran to the US Congress. In my view, this shows how very weak he is domestically. The JCPOA has done something remarkable - it has divided the American body politic and public opinion in two. So now Iran has Americans defending this nuclear deal with vigor, which explains why Trump decided to saddle Congress with the hard decision to exit this agreement.
The sanctions on the IRGC however, are a new and unhelpful development. But in this respect too, the US has not learned that sanctions do not work - those sanctioned simply find creative and game-changing ways to circumvent restrictions and ultimately undermine the US-led global financial order. It is the US that will lose the financial war, despite the tools currently at its disposal. The western world is reeling from economic uncertainty, and today the Chinese and Russians are stepping in to fill a vacuum and rebalance global power. Part of that equation will be trading commodities in the yuan and ruble and other currencies, so further financial sanctions against important 'middle states' like Iran will only hasten the process of disrupting the US's financial hegemony.
Tasnim: “The Iranian regime has committed multiple violations of the agreement, for example on two speared occasions they have exceeded the limit of 130 metric tons of heavy water, until recently, the Iranian regime has also failed to meet our expectation in its operation of advanced centrifuges,” Trump claimed. This is while the IAEA has confirmed Iran’s compliance with the deal for eight times. What is behind this denial? Do you believe that he is seeking a new war?
Narwani: That's Trump's other problem. All the other signatories to the JCPOA and the IAEA are insisting on Iran's complete compliance with the agreement. The British, French and Germans took the extraordinary step of issuing a joint declaration stating Iran's compliance, and undermining Trump's efforts to scuttle the deal. US negotiator Wendy Sherman's words in the aftermath of the Vienna signing are ringing true today: "if we walk away. Quite frankly we walk away alone." While Iran has upheld its commitments to this agreement, the US has not honored its own deliverables - both in substance and in spirit. What Trump has set in motion this week has little to do with the JCPOA, and everything to do with the US and its regional allies' colossal losses across the Middle East - in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Bahrain, Turkey and elsewhere. It is a desperate attempt to reassert an American role in the region, all while the US is hemorrhaging credibility and power. The US has few tools left to undermine Iran's ascendancy in the region, so it is hoping a variety of swift non-military initiatives against Iran can somehow achieve this. I personally suspect that a US war against Iran has been dismissed as an option, because why else would Trump be left with only some hostile rhetoric and a few financial levers to exercise?
Tasnim: Shortly after his speech, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE welcomed Trump’s decision not to certify the agreement. Trump called Iran a “rogue” state and repeated Washington’s allegations that Tehran sponsors terrorism and continues “aggression in the Middle East and all around the world.” What do you think? Which countries are true rogue states?
Narwani: If you look at the US State Department's long list of terrorist organizations, it is almost entirely composed of extremist militant groups. Iran has been in the forefront of the battle against Takfiri-inspired regional terror, and this recent US escalation against Iran reveals how unhappy it is with the Islamic Republic's success in this fight. Many of the groups on the US terror list have been armed and financed by American allies who back armies of terror - we know this because many US officials have said so, including Trump who claimed his predecessor Barack Obama created ISIS. The real rogue state is the United States, which is fighting in seven wars, supplying terror-supporting states with billions of dollars in heavy weapons, and trying to undermine the few nations who actually fight terror in earnest.
Tasnim: In his speech, Trump referred to Iran’s “proud history, its culture, its civilization, its cooperation with its neighbors.” However, he used the "Arabian Gulf” instead of the Persian Gulf in his speech. What’s your take on this?
Narwani: Trump can use whatever language he likes, it does not make facts change on the ground. He is catering to his GCC allies when he uses language like this - they are his only "economy" and he needs to please them. If you look at the map of the Persian Gulf, you can see very clearly that Iran holds the longest border by far of any nation on that waterway - that is why it is called the Persian Gulf and not the Kuwaiti, Bahraini, Qatari or Emirati Gulf. The Persian Gulf is the internationally designated name for this waterway, and that's that. It was a very foolish fight for the US president to pick, because I am sure he will now alienate all Iranians by calling it the Arabian Gulf.