US President Barack Obama’s decision to extend the national emergency against Iran is part of broader efforts to keep his successor Donald Trump from changing the geopolitical dynamics in the Middle East, says an American political analyst.
On Friday, Obama said the national emergency, which was declared on March 15, 1995, would “continue in effect beyond March 15, 2017.”
The outgoing president claimed that despite being fully committed to the 2015 nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran still posed “an unusual and extraordinary threat” to the United States.
“There is no justification for the outgoing president to keep sanctions on Iran in place and tensions between the two at such high levels,” Myles Hoenig, a Green Party candidate for Congress, told Press TV on Saturday.
“If all countries that adhere to the JCPOA agree that the Iranian government is living up to its agreement, then it only shows that the US foreign policy establishment sees Iran’s other actions, whatever they may be, as cause for US condemnation,” the analyst said.
It also shows that the US “concern for Iran’s nuclear policies is merely a smokescreen for handing incoming President Trump and his foreign policy establishment an excuse to maintain a policy based more on hysteria than reality,” Hoenig stated.
"Geopolitics is shifting and the US is becoming more and more marginalized," he noted, adding that Russia, China and other countries are "rising up in prominence as the US’s role in the world is waning."
“Trump is no friend of Iran, but his willingness to see other countries’ role in the world different from that of the American foreign policy establishment is a threat to the status quo," Hoenig pointed out. "Keeping the emergency in place does box Trump in from doing anything in the short term that might alter the dynamics in that region.”
In addition to forming the basis for most US sanctions against other countries, the National Emergencies Act gives the US president special powers, including the ability to seize property, summon the National Guard and hire and fire military officers at will.
In November, Obama extended a separate national emergency against Iran, which was originally declared by former US president Jimmy Carter on November 14, 1979.