Rising Tensions between US and Iran in the Gulf

US and Iran have had rocky relations for decades and it may not be new for the world. But recent developments in this crisis are making it more worse. On the day of June 13, 2019, two oil tankers were attacked near the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf of Oman. The Ships were of Japanese and Norwegian origin named Kokuka Courageous and Front Altair respectively. They were allegedly attacked by Limpet Mines which are low intensity bombs but powerful enough to harm the hull of the ship. Iran denied the attack and even sent ships to rescue the crew members but it was informed by a civilian rescue ship that it was forced to handover 23 crew members of Front Altair that it rescued to Iranian military boats. The situation escalated fast as Saudi Arabia, UAE, Israel and the US blamed Iran for the attacks however Japan refrained to comment on Iran. On June 17, US Congress authorised to further militarise the region by sending 1000 additional troop to middle East. This was seen as an intimidation by the Iranian regime. The escalation reached its height when on June 20, a US drone was shot down by Iranian forces. According to the sources, the Drone costs around a $100 million. The US army planned by to attack Iran but it was called off at the last moment by Trump who later clarified that “an unmanned aircraft” wasn’t worth the casualties in the resulting attacks. What led to a chain of events of such kind?

For understanding the enmity between US and Iran we have to look back at the history of Iran and US's interference with it. On 15th August 1953, the democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh's government was overthrown in a coup d'état orchestrated by the CIA and MI6 because Mossaddegh took a decision to nationalise all oil reserves in the country. US put a pro- US monarch Shah Pahlavi. This went well for years but it changed in 1979. Ayatollah Khomeini was a religious cleric who overthrew his monarchy with popular support because of the degraded condition of the lower strata of the society. Iran became a orthodox religious society and the bitter enmity continued.

In this piece, we will see the relations of US with Iran under Trump. Trump won because of a very anti-muslim rhetoric and all through out his campaign speeches, he specifically termed Iran Nuclear Deal as the “worst deal in the history of deals”. He pulled out of it after coming to power. What followed later was more and more sanctions and the special status given to India and China for trade with Iran was also taken away leading to decrease in oil imports from Iran. We have to understand why is US hostile towards to Iran and not other autocratic countries like Saudi or UAE. Saudi and US have been best buddies for decades and Saudi and Iran do not share friendly relations because of sectarian reasons as one is Sunni majority and other is Shia majority. And the same situation is with Israel as well. Iran and Israel are hostile towards each other. Iran have been blamed for providing assistance to Hamas (Palestinian terrorist organisation) and Hezbollah based in Lebanon financially against Israel. So if any attempt is made by the US govt. to de-escalate tension, it is criticized by Jewish and Saudi lobbies. And Jewish lobbies like AIPAC are very powerful in the Congress and heavily affect the US's middle East policy. Even when Obama signed the Iran Nuclear Deal in 2015, it was Benjamin Netanyahu the Prime Minister of Israel, who heavily criticised Obama for it and said US was committing a blunder.

A long lasting solution won’t be possible as long as US politicians gain from these short term rhetoric and hostilities against Iran. History is an example that Sanctions have never been able to bring down an autocracy instead sanctions make the people of the target country poor and authoritarians use this propaganda to further strengthen their grip in the country. It can be seen as in the case of North Korea, many residents who defect the country for a better future eventually returns to North Korea because the propaganda that “capitalists in the west have destroyed their lives are their enemies” does not go away and they aren’t able to start their life. What the Trump administration is doing here is destroying the Iranian economy and there is a generation who is born and brought up in these conditions who will hate US for the rest of their lives even if relations between the countries get better in future. Obama administration took a big step to normalise ties by the Nuclear Deal but it fell flat in front of the populist campaigning of Donald Trump. It’s high time US politicians get above Weapon's sales and oil profits and really look forward to a last solution of the Middle east crisis and for that the first step should be not working according to Israel and Saudi but make then work according to US. US needs to show its allies in the region that who is the boss because it is the only country with the will and power to bring lasting peace in the region. A lot of countries have suffered because of the Saudi-Iran conflict like Syria, Iraq and Yemen. A major change in the Middle east policy can be seen after the US presidential elections 2020 but for now the US Iran issue have escalated so much that by the time you read this article, a few more events might have happened.

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