Mains Paper 2| Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: JCPOA, Levant region
Mains level: Implications of the Iran-US nuclear deal on India and Indian interests in the West Asia.
- The article talks about the possibility of US violating the US-Iran nuclear deal and why is it necessary for the US to NOT do so.
Current scenario in West Asia-
- In the Levant, regional powers are scrambling to fill the vacuum created by the steady dismantling of the Islamic State’s caliphate across Syria and Iraq.
- Kurds have held an independence referendum which has drawn ire of their Iraqi, Turkish and Iranian neighbours.
- Turkey’s relations with the Europe are growing sourer every day.
- Qatar crisis– A crisis within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), pitting Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates against Qatar, has entered its sixth month, with no sign of resolution.
- UK, France, Germany and the EU all have expressed their categorical support to the nuclear deal.
The EU-Iran connection-
- EU-Iran trade is 30 times larger than US-Iran trade and it has increased by 95% the first half of this year itself.
- European banks, manufacturers and energy companies have also signed dozens of major agreements with Iran over the past year.
- EU has jurisdiction over the SWIFT network for cross-border banking transactions of which Iran is also a member.
What the US must do-
- Under U.S. law, the president must certify to Congress every 90 days that Iran is complying with the terms of the nuclear agreement. The next deadline is October 15. On this day the US must certify Iran’s compliance. If it refuses to do so then it might pave the way for the US Congress to re-impose sanctions on Iran.
Probable reactions from the world if US re-imposes sanctions-
- Europe would most likely take legal and diplomatic steps to protect its substantial commerce with Iran, even at the cost of a transatlantic crisis.
- China, Iran’s main trading partner, and Russia, Iran’s military ally in Syria, would defy U.S. sanctions with even greater enthusiasm.
Probable reaction from Iran-
- Even if the deal collapses Iran is unlikely to expel inspectors (inspecting its nuclear reactors) entirely, as it did in 1997, or pull out of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). This is because such actions would undercut Iran’s profession of peaceful intent and it stands to lose the moral high ground.
- The bargaining chip: Iran would try to restart accumulating centrifuges and nuclear fissile material that it had halted owing to an interim deal in 2013.
Uncertainties that could lead to war-
- It is difficult to gauge the future path of Iran’s segmented leadership which is divided between an elected president and an autocratic supreme leader.
- The erratic and impulsive behaviour of the US President makes things more unpredictable.
In the eventuality of war-
- Iran’s Shia militia could unleash war against US troops in Iraq and expand support to Afghan insurgents.
- Saudi Arabia-Iran tensions and the probability of US-Russia confrontation in the West Asia would increase dramatically.
- Pulling out of the Iran-US nuclear deal would be detrimental to the credibility of future US diplomacy.
- Implications for India–
i) India’s ambitious Chabahar project, scheduled for completion next year, could face fresh obstacles.
- ii) Iran- Pakistan relations may shift unpredictably.
- Tehran would have to have to balance the support it has garnered from the Europe while bargaining with the US, such that it would not provoke Europeans into siding, reluctantly, with Washington, and that it may push the U.S., Israel, or both, into a preventive war.
- In short, it would be virtually impossible to rebuild today the broad, multinational sanctions regime that helped push Iran to the negotiating table during 2013-15. Hence, it is better to persuade Iran that its economic integration into the world economy could continue regardless and therefore it should abide by the deal.
- The US must not risk its diplomatic credibility and push the West Asian region into spate of war which is still trying to recover from the gradual fall of the ISIS.
- Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA): This is the technical name for the nuclear deal agreed between Iran and six major powers (US, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany).
i) It recognised Iran’s right to enrich uranium in exchange for a battery of tough, but time-bound, limits on nuclear activity for non-peaceful purposes.
- ii) However, critics of the deal said– it did not address Iran’s non-nuclear behaviour, such as support for Hezbollah and other militant organisations, and that the “sunset” clauses, which progressively relax the constraints on Iran over the next three decades, were too generous.
- Levant: The term refers to states or parts of states in Cyprus, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and Turkey.
- SWIFT Network: The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) provides a network that enables financial institutions worldwide to send and receive information about financial transactions in a secure, standardized and reliable environment. (Headquarters: La Hulpe, Belgium)