May 15, 2019, 3:54 PM
News Code: 83315768
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Ex Envoy: Sanctions not to bring Iranians to their knees

New York, May 15, IRNA – Former Ambassador of the US to Israel, Egypt, and the UAE rejected Trump's administration's false pre-conditions for Iran, saying sanctions will not bring people of Iran to their knees.

'Sanctions will not bring the Iranians to their knees and military action would cost us more in blood and coin than the American people would countenance. Bolton would be willing to pay that price, our generals and politicians would not,' Edward S. Walker Jr. said in response to IRNA reporter's question whether the US administration will achieve its anti-Iran objectives.

He added: 'The first thing we would need to know is what the Trump Administration's objectives are. If they are outlined by John Bolton as in his numerous public statements over a number of years, the objective is regime change.'

'If you take the twelve steps that Trump has outlined as preconditions for sanctions relief, the result is the same - regime change. Trump and his crew seem to be banking on the assumption that Iranians will sacrifice national pride for personal profit,' he said adding: 'I don't buy that. The Iran-Iraq war was clear evidence of how far the Iranian people will go when their country and religion are threatened by an outside power.'

Stressing Iranian people's patriotism, Walker said: 'Iranians have embraced internal revolution by Iranians, but they have been strongly opposed to external manipulation or intervention in their affairs.'

'I don't see any change in that. In addition, given the political makeup of Iran, any significant move in the direction of the US demands would lead to overthrow of the regime by conservative military and religious authorities, leaving us with a worse situation than we are currently facing.'

Elsewhere in his remarks, he warned the US against fanning the flame of war with Iran, saying: 'It is still conceivable that we could, through miscalculation or plain stupidity, wind up in a direct and active military confrontation with Iran, but it will cost us and our friends in the region, including Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, a heavy price. Trump is looking at adding another 120,000 American troops to the region.'

Commenting on the impact of the US administration's choice to bring to zero Iran's oil exports, ex-diplomat said, 'What we found in Iraq when we had full international cooperation on the sanctions against Saddam Hussein was that it is very difficult to sustain air tight sanctions, even with the full cooperation of the international community.'

'We also found that the longer the sanctions were in place the harder it was to ensure compliance and the more loopholes other countries found to avoid the sanctions,' He added.

For much of the interview, Walker said: 'Iran, with its links to Russia and China and given global energy markets, will survive any sanctions regime that the US can realistically put together. The White House seems to be under the impression that the Iranian people, if pressed hard enough, will rise up and topple the regime. I don't know what evidence they have for that assumption.'

Referring to Iranian's sacrifices at the time of war against Iraq, he said: 'When Iran faced Iraq in war the Iranian people sacrificed both financially and physically, and sent their young children to war rather than give in.'

Elaborating on the reason behind US act to blacklist the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC), he said: 'The Trump administration designation of Iranian military elements as terrorist organizations has no practical effect. They were already subject to sanctions. The move was apparently taken for political reasons so that Trump could look like he was doing something.'

He noted: 'It has no particular regional impact that I can see. The more important issue it raises is the precedent in international law of conflating regular military functions and units with terrorism and terrorists. It is a bad precedent for American military service men and women who serve throughout the world and can be subject to local laws where we have inadequate or no status of forces agreements.'

Alluding to the consequences of Iran-US reciprocal acts regarding JCPOA commitments, Walker said: 'The Trump Administration has pulled out of the JCPOA on premise that it does not go far enough and that Iran will use loopholes to pursue its military nuclear ambitions under cover so that it can reach breakout before the world can do anything about it.'

'The Iranians would not have agreed to the JCPOA if it had seriously impeded their long-term ambitions to become a regional great power,' he reiterated.

He went on to say: 'To gain relative immunity, Iran will at a minimum level have to be in a position to block and/or respond to the Israeli conventional and nuclear threat.'

Commenting on Iran's reaction to the US recent act to deploy the USS Abraham Lincoln to the Persian Gulf, Walker said: 'Iran appears to be falling back on the Mohammed Ali tactic against George Foreman, 'float like a butterfly, sting like a bee'.

He added: 'The Iranian navy has been practicing swarming tactics with small boats to counter American naval capital ships. From the Iranian perspective spending thirty or forty small motor boats manned by one or two crew to damage a US destroyer or carrier (as previously seen by the example of the Cole), is a small investment to pay.'

'It is not clear that they can succeed, but at a minimum they can impede the freedom of navigation in the Gulf and partially strangle global oil supply. That won't affect the US directly, but it will force the global price up which we will have to pay at the pump. The attacks on Saudi oil tankers the other day was a warning signal. I recall the tanker war in the Iran-Iraq war and the gas lines at the pump in the US. It is not likely that Trump facing election will want that albatross hanging around his neck and the Iranians know it,' he noted.


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