Ilhan Omar terms Trump’s Iran policy ‘spectacular failure’

December 20, 2020 - 19:44

TEHRAN – U.S. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has called President Donald Trump’s Iran policy a “spectacular failure” which did not bring Iran to the negotiating table, and instead has resulted in an expansion of Iran’s nuclear program.

“As a strategy, it has been a spectacular failure. It has done nothing to bring Iran to the negotiating table,” the Democratic lawmaker from Minnesota said in an interview with Responsible Statecraft published on Friday.

She said Trump’s Iran policy has put the United States on the brink of war, in particular due to the assassination of an Iranian scientist.

“We must do everything in our power to bring Iran back to the table and strike a deal,” she said about the prospects of the Biden administration, adding, “That would not only mean relief for the Iranian people, but also preventing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East that would threaten the United States and the whole world.”

Omar voiced satisfaction that U.S. President-elect Joe Biden and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif have shown a willingness to engage over the nuclear issue.

Iran and six world powers, including the U.S., Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany, together with the European Union reached a nuclear pact in 2015, under which Iran agreed to put certain restrictions on its nuclear program in exchange for termination of sanctions.

However, despite Iran’s strict compliance with the deal – officially referred to as the JCPOA – Trump withdrew the U.S. from the deal and imposed harsh economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic to force it to negotiate a new deal.

Iran signed the JCPOA to prove to the world that it does not seek nuclear weapons.

Trump claimed the JCPOA stopped short of curtailing Iran’s aspirations to develop nuclear weapons.

The Islamic Republic, however, has repeatedly said that it has never sought and will never seek to build nuclear weapons. The decision, Tehran says, is based on a fatwa (religious decree) issued by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The fatwa bans the production, possession and stockpiling of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.

In addition to the JCPOA, Iran has also signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) — whose aim is to prevent the spread of nuclear arms and weapons technology — in July 1968 and ratified it in February 1970.

Maximum pressure is killing innocent people, says Omar

Elsewhere in her interview, Omar urged a reassessment of America’s priorities in West Asia and explained that the United States’ presence in the region has been “counterproductive.”

She also said Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran is killing innocent Iranians by blocking their access to medicine and basic needs.

“As a moral matter, it is quite literally killing innocent people. The Iranian people — particular poor women and children — are suffering. During the pandemic, they have faced a staggering shortage of medicine and don’t have their basic needs met,” Omar said.

Omar has been outspoken and consistent in her calls for lifting of sanctions on Iran. 

In remarks in March, as the coronavirus was spreading rapidly throughout Iran for the first time, she called on the U.S. government to lift sanctions against Iran, citing the Iranian healthcare system’s struggles to deal with the rapid spread of the deadly disease.

“We need to suspend these sanctions before more lives are lost,” the progressive lawmaker wrote in a tweet.

“This makes no sense. Sanctions are economic warfare,” Omar tweeted in January. “They have already caused medical shortages and countless deaths in Iran.”

“You cannot claim to want de-escalation and then announce new sanctions with no clear goal. This is not a measured response!”


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