By Mohammad Javad Zarif
Following the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris Climate Accord, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is the third multilateral agreement that the current United States administration has withdrawn from.
The administration has also put in jeopardy other multilateral arrangements such as NAFTA, the global trade system, and parts of the United Nations system, thus inflicting considerable damage to multilateralism, and the prospects for resolving disputes through diplomacy.
The announcement on May 8, 2018 of the United States’ withdrawal from the JCPOA and the unilateral and unlawful re-imposition of nuclear sanctions, a decision opposed by majority of the American people, was the culmination of a series of violations of the terms of the accord by this administration, in spite of the fact that the International Atomic Energy Agency, as the sole competent international authority had repeatedly verified Iran’s compliance with its commitments under the accord.
The US decision was rejected by the international community and even its closest allies, including the European Union , Britain , France and Germany.
On May 21, 2018, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a baseless and insulting statement, issued a number of demands of and threats against Iran in brazen contravention of international law, well-established international norms, and civilised behaviour.
His statement reflected a desperate reaction by the US administration to the overwhelming opposition of the international community to the persistent efforts by the White House to kill the JCPOA, ensuing Washington’s isolation.
It is regrettable that in the past one-and-a-half years US foreign policy, if we can call it that, towards Iran has been predicated on flawed assumptions and illusions if not actual delusions.
The US president and his secretary of state have persistently made baseless and provocative allegations against Iran that constitute a blatant intervention in Iran’s domestic affairs, and unlawful threats against a UN Member State, and which violate the United States’ international obligations under the UN Charter, the 1955 Treaty, and the 1981 Algiers Accord
I seriously doubt that had the secretary of state even had a slight knowledge of Iran’s history and culture and the Iranian people’s struggle for independence and freedom, and had he known that Iran’s political system, in contrast to those of the American allies in the region, is based on a popular revolution and the people’s will, would he have delivered such an outlandish statement.
He should, however, know that ending foreign intervention into Iran’s domestic affairs, which culminated in the 25-year period following the US-orchestrated coup in 1953, had always been one of the Iranian people’s main demands since well before the Islamic Revolution.
He should also be aware that in the past 40 years the Iranian people have heroically resisted and foiled aggressions and pressures by the US, including its coup attempts, military interventions, support of the aggressor in an eight-year war, imposition of unilateral, extraterritorial and even multilateral sanctions, and even going as far as shooting down an Iranian passenger plane in the Persian Gulf in 1987. “Never forget” is our mantra, too.
Iran has ensured its security and stability in the past four decades on the basis of its inherent domestic capabilities and its reliance on the great Iranian people, not on any foreign power’s benevolence or patronage.
Despite foreign pressure and while expending comparatively the least amount in the region on armaments, it has become stronger, more stable and more advanced by the day.
It believes that the era of regional and global hegemony has long passed, and any effort by any power to achieve it is futile.
Instead of yielding to foreign domination or trying to dominate others, countries in our region should seek to create a stronger, more prosperous and more stable region.
We in Iran view our security and stability as inseparable from those of our neighbours. We have a common history and culture as well as indivisible opportunities and challenges, and can only enjoy security and stability at home, if and only if our neighbors enjoy internal and international stability and security.
We expect other regional countries to adopt a similar approach, and instead of insisting on the failed experiment of “trying to purchase or outsource security, concentrate on dialogue, mutual understanding, confidence building, and cooperation with neighbours.
The Islamic Republic of Iran views the establishment of a “Regional Dialogue Forum” in the Persian Gulf as the best means to resolve regional crises and create a stronger region. We can begin adopting confidence-building measures to bring regional countries closer to each other on the basis of such principles as the sovereign equality of states, non-resort to the threat or use of force, peaceful settlement of disputes, respect for territorial integrity of other States, inviolability of international boundaries, non-intervention in domestic affairs of others, and respect for the right of peoples to self-determination.
By fostering common understanding about threats and opportunities at the regional and global levels, we can move towards achieving a non-aggression pact and creating common mechanisms for regional cooperation.
We firmly believe that we, regionally, as the inheritors of the richest civilisations the world has ever known, should stand tall and can solve our own problems amongst ourselves and secure a better future for all of our children without outside interference and patronage, both of which come at a heavy cost to our collective dignity as well as our future development.
Mohammad Javad Zarif is the Iranian foreign minister.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.