WION Edit: Nuclear deal crumbles - Is Iran a victim or a villain?

File photo of Hassan Rouhani. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Delhi Nov 07, 2019, 06.05 PM (IST)

It seems as if the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement has effectively ended. Is Iran using the nuclear programme to blackmail the world? Or did US sanctions force Iran to violate the deal? What's the impact on India?

On WION Edit, we explore the situation.

First, look at the nuclear agreement called the JCPOA and Iran's compliance record.

It was not a perfect deal but it was working. The deal did not have a clear way to stop Iran from developing nukes or to curb Iran's terror-sponsoring. Then they imposed sanctions and Iran's economy took a serious hit.

In 2015, when the deal was signed, when sanctions were lifted, Iran had hoped for a growth surge. That did not happen.

Then in 2018, when the deal collapsed and sanctions were back, Iran's economy suffered more. So, it started enriching uranium and even now, Iran says it will stop if America returns to the deal.

The country is bleeding. Inflation is touching 40 per cent. The government is paying the price. Hardliners are putting pressure on reformists. President Hassan Rouhani has been cornered. Iran is an oil-producing country, oil is its most profitable commodity and Iran is being banned for selling oil.

At a time when it desperately needs the money, a textbook case of being pushed to the wall.

Plus, US President Donald Trump remains evasive. He doesn't spell out what exactly he wants from Iran, what will it take to lift the sanctions.

And this should bother everyone. Because if Iran revives its nuclear ambitions, it's bad news for the whole world.

In any case, American sanctions on Iran are hurting other countries too. India is a case in point. Iran's tradition oil buyer and an old strategic and cultural ally.

America's actions impact India in many ways. First, the Chabahar port which is crucial for India's strategic interests. Chabahar brings India, Afghanistan, and Iran together.

India has invested a lot in the Chabahar special economic zone and Hajigak iron and steel mining project. If Iran's economy deteriorates, it hurts India's investments - both strategic and monetary.

Aspect number 2,  oil prices. India has diversified its oil sources. So, no supply disruptions. But if sanctions on Iran continue, prices might go up for a country that imports more than 80 per cent of its oil.

Aspect number 3, impact on India-Iran ties.

Yes, there are no permanent friends or foes in global politics. But India and Iran share historical ties.

Delhi is risking all this because of Washington.

India took a six-month grace period after US sanctions. Since May 2019, India has not bought oil from Iran. Now China has done the same. It was Iran's biggest buyer. More than 8 lakh barrels per day. It has stopped buying.

Both India and China have 'communicated' to the US about the strategic importance of Iran. Look at it, the US unilaterally walks out of a multi-lateral deal, which the US negotiated. Then it imposes sanctions on Iran.

And then it forces other countries to stop doing business with Iran. And what do these countries do? They comply.

So, who's the victim and who's the villain in this game?

The primary victims are the people of Iran. The secondary victims are developing countries like India and China.

The tertiary victim is regional peace. Who's the villain? An oppressive regime in Iran that wants to use this to blackmail the world and a president in Washington who views the world through the tinted glass of tariffs and sanctions. Both.

(Disclaimer: WION Edit is the channel's take on the big events of the world)