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            The United States was all set to carry out military strikes against Iran this week. American President Donald Trump himself tweeted to say that his military was “cocked & loaded”, prepared to hit three sites in the Islamic Republic, a move that would have potentially killed 150 people. Just 10 minutes before the strike was supposed to happen, Trump said, he decided to call off the operation. With tensions between the US and Iran running so high, many are wondering whether the US is going to repeat a tragic historical mistake a decade and a half after it bombed its way into a disastrous war against Iraq. It’s impossible to say for certain if there is going to be a war, but the events of the past few days have certainly increased the chances of some sort of conflict.


            The United States and Iran have a long history of tensions, but the latest escalation started when American officials blamed Iran for attacking two oil tankers on June 13 in or near the Strait of Hormuz

            The roots of the latest Iran-US crisis go back to 2018, when US President Donald Trump walked away from the Iranian nuclear deal, one of the signature achievements of his predecessor Barack Obama, and reimposed harsh sanctions on the country.

            Relations between the two nations appeared to take a dangerous turn on Monday, when the Trump administration announced the deployment of 1,000 additional troops and extra military resources to the Middle East.


What is the Iran Nuclear deal?

  • Iran agreed to rein in its nuclear programme in a 2015 deal struck with the US, UK, Russia, China, France and Germany.
  • Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) Tehran agreed to significantly cut its stores of centrifuges, enriched uranium and heavy-water, all key components for nuclear weapons.
  • The JCPOA established the Joint Commission, with the negotiating parties all represented, to monitor implementation of the agreement.


Why did Iran agree to the deal?

It had been hit with devastating economic sanctions by the United Nations, United States and the European Union that are estimated to have cost it tens of billions of pounds a year in lost oil export revenues. Billions in overseas assets had also been frozen.


Why has US pulled out of the deal?

Trump and opponents to the deal say it is flawed because it gives Iran access to billions of dollars but does not address Iran’s support for groups the U.S. considers terrorists, like Hamas and Hezbollah. They note it also doesn’t curb Iran’s development of ballistic missiles and that the deal phases out by 2030. They say Iran has lied about its nuclear program in the past.


What are the implications of US sanctions on Iran?

  • Other countries have promised to uphold it but their ability to do so will depend on how their companies can be firewalled from U.S. sanctions if they continue their engagement with Iran.
  • The sanctions often referred to as “secondary sanctions”, which primarily target non-US companies engaging in business in or with Iran entirely outside US jurisdiction.


Significance of Iran Nuclear deal:

  • The Iran deal, despite its shortcomings, was a shining example of the capacity of world powers to come together and sort out a complex issue diplomatically.
  • It assumed greater significance given the recent wars and chaos in West Asia.
  • It should have set a model in addressing other nuclear crises.
  • Iran deal, and other diplomatic achievements, is necessary to convince countries like North Korea, that it is possible to create security without acquiring nuclear weapons.
  • The deal is important in ensuring the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and regional peace and stability.


Global Implications:

  • Down trends in global economy.
  • Fuel prices would reach high points.
  • Iran may block Strait of Hormuz which is a strategic choke point which inturn would affect global trade.
  • Giant economy like India, China and Russia will suffer.
  • US has cancelled airlines from US to India because they pass over Iran which would affect airspace industry.


Impact on India:

  • India and Iran relations are on downward trend in recent times.
  • Oil supplies are reduced to India and Iran is not in favour of allotting gas fields to India in recent times. Mostly India’s relations with the US might be the reason for this.
  • But India is in a better position having been forced to diversify its crude supplying base
  • It may impact on Chabahar port project if US impose more sanctions on Iran.
  • It will impact India’s balance in the complex West Asia region.