Pompeo seeks to undermine Biden's efforts to engage with Iran: Ex-Pakistan envoy

 Islamabad, Jan 16, IRNA -- Pakistan's former ambassador to Afghanistan said that the Trump administration's accusations against Iran were aimed at undermining the next administration in Washington to engage with Tehran, preventing the revival of the nuclear deal.

Rustam Shah Mohmand in an article published in daily ‘Express Tribune’ on Saturday said on January 12, just days before the Trump administration would depart, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the world that the Taliban have found a new home in Iran, however, he gave no details or evidence of such claim.

He added a lame-duck administration making such an allegation in its last week in the office is puzzling and bizarre. "Few would believe or accept the rationale given by the outgoing Secretary because he failed to produce any evidence of Iran offering to host the Taliban," he said.

The analyst said Tehran remains a steadfast opponent of the Taliban ideology even though in recent years it has maintained contact with the group in order to combat the menace of Daesh.

He said Daesh poses a threat to Iran’s eastern border areas. "The ostensible goal of the Trump administration appears to create a justification for an attack on Iran, targeting its nuclear installations. That would please Israel. But such a strike on Iran’s nuclear installations would cause chaos and instability in the region including the Persian Gulf area,” added the former ambassador. 

He said Iran would not acquiesce in tolerating such an onslaught on its liberty. “The other objective that may be sought to be accomplished is to tie the hands of the incoming Biden administration in its endeavors to restore normalcy and open a new chapter of relations with Tehran,” added Rustam Shah Mohmand. 

He said the Taliban-Iran agreement claim could be intended to thwart any possibility of the US rejoining the JCPOA — which was reached after hard negotiations with Iran under the Obama administration.

The expert on international affairs went on to say that the thinking in the Trump administration is that any perceived linkage between the Taliban and Iran would spread panic and Congress would block any reconciliatory move aimed at the US returning to the JCPOA. 

“The move seems to be motivated by the powerful Israeli lobby. The Zionist state is in possession of a huge arsenal of nuclear weapons that have the potential to strike targets thousands of miles away,” added the analyst. 

He said the Trump presidency has played havoc with the world order in the last four years.

“Its withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement and from the Trans-Pacific Trade agreement was an act only a deranged mind could contemplate and act upon. Leaving the Iran agreement was another blow to peace prospects in the region," Rustam Shah Mohmand noted.

He noted that moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and encouraging Zionist settlements were all steps that would create more divisions and hostility without any dividend. “What is shocking is that in all these draconian actions the President was supported by the Republican Party,” he said.

The former ambassador said there was hardly any dissenting voice when Trump began to unleash his irrational initiatives. 

He added it is for the saner elements in Congress to assert their presence and restrain a president whose mental fitness is now questioned across the US, from undertaking any last-minute catastrophic ventures which would boomerang and adversely affect America’s global position and prestige.

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