The U.S. withdrawal shows that American sanctions against one country can have negative, “collateral” effects on others.
Changes in international relations and world politics rarely happen overnight. Rather, the flow of events makes international actors reconsider their tactics and strategy, adjusting policies in order to achieve their goals. Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—better known as the Iran nuclear agreement—is important by itself. However, its long-term influence may be even more significant. A lot was said and written about the potential impact of Trump’s announcement, but one issue has received less attention that it actually deserves: the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA emphasizes the importance of economic means in international conflicts. The growing understanding of this fact is changing international relations in a historic way. Specifically, the U.S. withdrawal shows that American sanctions against one country can have negative, “collateral” effects on others. This development highlights the virtues of Russia’s protests against U.S. sanctions policies.
The past months of public discussions on whether America should pull of out of the agreement obscures the core of President Trump’s decision—the reintroduction of sanctions against Iran. At the same time, the link between the sanctions and the progress of Iran’s nuclear program has been broken: the Islamic Republic is in compliance with the JCPOA, a fact confirmed by U.S. intelligence services, but the sanctions are returning. The Trump administration has made several demands to Iran (never have an ICBM; cease its support for Hezbollah and Hamas; end the publicly declared quest to destroy Israel etc.), pronouncing, that before Tehran fulfills them, it will be subject to sanctions initially developed and implemented to stop the Iranian nuclear program.