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US belligerent stance on Iran has no future: Ex-UK envoy

Iranians shop in Tehran's grand bazaar on November 3, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

A former British ambassador to Tehran says US’s harsh approach toward Iran is destined to fail as it lacks international support.

In an opinion piece published in The Guardian on Friday, Richard Dalton said the US claim that Iran was not behaving like a normal country is "unintentionally ironic," citing Washington's complicity in regional conflicts.

"The US is not a “normal” country. Complicity in a horrifying aggression against Yemen and supporting the extension of Israeli colonization of Palestine are not acts of normality," he said. "The truth is that all who intervene in the Middle East’s regional struggles, including Iran, are doing what states always have done – trying to influence outcomes in the direction of their real or perceived interests."

Dalton also predicted that Iran would remain "basically stable" despite the economic problems caused by US sanctions.

Earlier this month, the administration of US President Donald Trump unleashed a second round of sanctions against Iran since May, when Washington exited the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in defiance of international objections.

The new measures -- which had been lifted under the JCPOA -- target 700 individuals, banks, aircraft, ships and companies tied to Iran’s energy and financial industries. The first round was re-imposed in August.

Dalton further said that any replacement for the Iran nuclear deal "seems improbable."

"Iran is open to negotiations, but only on terms that it deems acceptable. Like the US, it will try to build a position of strength from which to talk. The bottom line is that Iran will only change track when it thinks it can expect genuine American concessions," he added.

The British diplomat also noted that the US had failed to garner international support for its anti-Iran bans and dissuade buyers from purchasing Iranian crude.

"And, crucially, there is no internationally agreed campaign against Iran this time. The EU, for example, has designed a work-around to achieve some financial flows, though the Iranians are not relying on this ever working," he said.

Recently, the Trump administration went back on its pledge to reduce Iran's oil revenue to zero and gave waivers to almost all major customers of the country.

"Chinese, Indian and Turkish demands for Iranian oil could prompt the creation of alternative channels of exchange in world trade, leading to a fall in the standing of the dollar and of the ability of the US to weaponize it in future," Dalton pointed out.

He said that US's belligerent stance toward Iran would further weaken Washington rather than bring rewards for it.

"Only a shift in approach, namely the dropping of many of the demands for changes in behavior, showing a modicum of respect, and opening negotiations on realistic terms, will work," he said. "With its current policies, however, rather than reaping strategic rewards, the US may be putting on a show of weakness to the world. With no prospect of bringing allies to its side or forcing Iran to accept its excessive demands, it is on a hiding to nothing."

The EU is currently working to set up a mechanism called the special purpose vehicle (SPV) in a bid to circumvent US sanctions and maintain the economic benefits promised in the JCPOA for Iran.

'UN should intervene'

Journalist and political commentator Syed Mohsin Abbas told Press TV that the UN should intervene to deal with US violations of international agreements.

"The UN has to take this very very seriously. If it doesn’t, it is just another nail in the coffin of the United Nations, which has become an increasingly ineffective world body for keeping international agreements alive," he said.

The analyst also emphasized that the US could not be trusted as long as its international commitments were concerned. 

"Iran is absolutely right on this, because of course the US is now becoming an unreliable partner for its own long-term allies and it's reneged on an agreement with the JCPOA," he said. "There is no guarantee with this administration that they won’t pull out of agreements of any kinds."

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