The protracted wars in Syria and Yemen have divided Middle East into Shiite and Sunni Muslim blocs. To make matters worse, the USA is threatening a war against Iran, a major Shiite nation in the Gulf.
Recently, US President Donald Trump threatened to wage war against the Islamic Republic of Iran if the latter does not stop enriching uranium and seek to revise the nuclear pact signed earlier in July 2015 by five permanent members of the United Nations and Germany with Iran.
According to the agreement, Iran had agreed to reduce its stockpile of low enrichment uranium by 98 per cent and limit its enrichment capacity and research and development for 15 years. Some inspections and transparency measures were to remain in place for 25 years.
President Trump withdrew from the nuclear pact with Iran in 2018. This was done in spite of objections raised by foreign secretary Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom in May 2018.
According to a leaked cable by Sir Kim Darroch, UK ambassador to the United States, carried by the Daily Mail of UK on July 06, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo showed signs of "disagreement with Donald Trump's position" on the pact with Iran. The UK ambassador also termed Donald Trump administration's behaviour regarding the issue as "diplomatic vandalism".
Of course, the threat to Iran by US President has blessings from the Saudi Arabia-led coalition. There is also no doubt that President Trump has been inspired by the leadership of the state of Israel to dismantle the nuclear deal with Iran. The fact of the matter is that the Islamic Republic of Iran was a signatory to nuclear non-proliferation treaty of the United Nations (NPT) while Israel remained absent from signing this agreement despite accumulating a stockpile of atomic weapons.
The death toll in the Middle East has been on the rise since the unilateral war against Iraq began in 2013 followed by wars in Syria and Yemen. According to the statistics prepared by Syrian observatory for human rights, 560,000 people were killed in Syria's war since it began in March of 2011. The death toll in Yemen since March 2018 stands at 6,592 with 10,470 people injured.
The Senate of the US Congress through a resolution on March 13 voted to end its support to Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen. But USA is still providing support to the coalition in the Yemen war.
European countries are struggling to maintain relations with USA while committing to support the nuclear deal of 2015 with Iran that President Trump abandoned. European foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini is of the opinion that European officials are urging to maintain maximum restraint while USA, on the other hand, pledged to punish Iran by placing more economic sanctions designed to block its international trade to sell oil.
Another dramatic development took place in Vienna on July 10. An emergency meeting of UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) demanded an end to what it calls 'Iran's nuclear extortion'. US ambassador to IAEA complained that Tehran's leadership is breaking the limits of an Obama-era deal. On the other hand, Iran and other powers argued that President Trump pulled the US out of the multinational accord last year and re-imposed harsh economic sanctions on Iran. The Iranian representative to IAEA reportedly said, "due to costly and predictable consequences of sanctions, they should be seen as weapons of warfare and means of aggression. Economic sanctions are in fact, collective punishment of the ordinary people, contrary to the objectives and purposes of human rights and should be considered as crimes against humanity".
China, Russia and US allies in Europe do not seem to be agreeing with President Trump. French President Emmanuel Macron has taken a lead role in trying to save the deal. He has spoken with the Iranian President and Mr. Trump as well. He dispatched his top diplomatic aide to Tehran so that he talks with the Iranian security official to maintain restraint.
Meanwhile, ahead of their meeting in Brussels, foreign ministers of European Union reiterated their support to the deal. UK's foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt said there was a small window to save the deal. Chief foreign policy of European Union Ms. Mogherini said none of the signatories to the deal considered the breaches to be significant.
Needles to say, a war against Iran will have a devastating impact on the already distressing state in the Middle East and around the world.
Mohammad Amjad Hossain is a retired diplomat from Bangladesh and former President of the Toastmaster International club of Virginia. firstname.lastname@example.org