Dhaka, Bangladesh
US must face consequences of worsening Turkish ties

Off the track

US must face consequences of worsening Turkish ties

Yasar Yakis

The US’ attempt to revoke the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal — is a deviation from the established practices of international law. Any party to a multilateral agreement does, of course, have the inherent right to withdraw if it feels that the agreement does not cater for its national interests, but it has no right to force the other parties to do the same. The JCPOA was agreed after 20 months of long, laborious negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — China, France, Russia, the UK and the US — plus Germany) and the EU. It did not give full satisfaction to all parties, but all eight agreed to it as a compromise. The states party to the JCPOA refused to follow the US’ decision to withdraw and instead announced that they would continue to honor the agreement. The EU said the US sanctions against Iran were null and void for EU companies. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on May 17 that the EU had decided to allow the European Investment Bank to facilitate European companies’ investments in Iran and that the Commission would continue to cooperate with Tehran. When the US could not secure the revocation of the JCPOA, it imposed unilateral sanctions and introduced restrictions for foreign companies that do business with Iran. It will implement these restrictions by blocking the dollar transactions that have to pass through US banks. The dollar’s role as a reserve currency has always caused discontent with countries that conduct their commercial transactions using the dollar, because it provides the US government with “monetary seigniorage” power. Washington earns from the circulation of dollars in international markets, while the real actors of this circulation get nothing. This is a strong tool in Washington’s hands to influence international relations, in addition to the political dominance it enjoys because of its superpower status. By threatening Turkey and insisting it abides by sanctions on Iran, the US is further pushing its NATO ally toward cooperation with Tehran. The Trump administration’s assertive “America first” policy has caused an erosion of trust in the dollar. Russia and China gave the first signals of this erosion and other countries may join them.

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