Trump in the Iran shop

President Donald Trump has done it again – annulling concluded deals, abandoning allies and upsetting the world economic order. He has unilaterally withdrawn the United States from the multilateral pact with Iran under which Iran agreed to stop its nuclear arms building programme, The United States apart, the signatory nations to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action included France, Britain, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union. As he did in the case of the world climate agreement – walking out of it unilaterally – Trump has walked out of the nuclear agreement with Iran, leaving his European allies fretting and fuming. The Western allies are in no mood to break the agreement and have clearly said so. If they stick to their decision, the US under Trump will only isolate itself further in the comity of nations. In the process, it will also prove itself as an untrustworthy ally who can never be relied upon. It is too early to say whether Trump’s decision will harm the United States more rather than Iran.
The re-imposition of sanctions on Iran will have an immediate adverse impact on India. India is the world’s third biggest oil importer and Iran happens to be the third biggest oil supplier to India. India is already committed to almost doubling its crude import from Iran during the current fiscal from last year’s 2,05,000 barrels per day to 3,96,000 barrels per day. The economic sanction re-imposed by Trump creates uncertainties on Indo-Iranian oil trade. Crude prices are already rising in the world market. A likely further increase in global crude price will further erode the value of the rupee and lead to domestic price rise of petrol and diesel. Trump’s decision will force India to re-think about its policy of forging closer relationship with Washington.
President Trump’s decision has not gone down well within his country either. While the Republican’s have supported him, the Democrats have strongly criticized him. Former President Barak Obama has adversely commented on “the consistent flouting of agreements that our country is party to” and pointed out the consequent “eroding of America’s credibility”, besides putting the US “at odds with the world’s major Powers.” This last may lead to a realignment of forces in the international arena with China and the European Powers forging a new alliance independent of the US. France, Russia and Germany have already reacted strongly to Trump’s decision and reiterated their commitment to the nuclear treaty with Iran. How India adjusts itself to the changing world scenario remains to be seen.

Tuesday, 15 May, 2018