by Majid Rafizadeh:
The Obama administration, which is pushing for a final nuclear with the Islamic Republic of Iran and an easing of sanctions, has repeatedly told the American people to trust the Iranian government and that Iran is a rational state actor. Billions of dollars have already flowed into the Ayatollahs government, sanctions on some trade sections have been lifted, Iran’s currency (Rial) is regaining its value, Tehran’s non-oil exports are on the rise as it is starting to feel the benefits of easing international sanctions, and Iran has increased its oil exports and production.
According to the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Customs Office, Iran hit a record high in exports with $37.36 billions worth of non-oil products exported during the course of the past eleven months— from March 21, 2013 to February 20, 2014.
Iranian leaders have markedly increased their oil exports, particularly to China and India over the past few months. Iran’s oil exports increased significantly after the interim nuclear deal. According to Iran’s semi-official news agency Press TV, Iran’s oil sales picked up from 1.06 million barrels per day (bpd) to 1.32 million bpd.
A confluence of interests brought Iranian leaders to a desperate political and economic position, and ultimately to the negotiating table for nuclear talks. The main concerns of the Ayatollahs were the economic sanctions and high inflation that endangered the hold on power of the ruling Iranian cleric.
The major question is: what is the Obama administration doing in response? Instead of setting any deals based on American or the international community’s terms, the Obama administration is setting the nuclear deals based on the interests of the Iranian leaders. This is followed by a release of billions of dollars and the lifting of sanctions.
More importantly, how have the Iranian leaders responded to these kind offers? These economic and political moves have emboldened and strengthened the geopolitical and economic status of the Ayatollahs.
A few weeks ago, in a secret arms deal, the Islamic Republic and the Iraqi Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Maliki signed an arms deal worth millions of dollars. The deal was recently revealed by Reuters news agency. Based on the recent report by Reuters, Tehran has signed a $195 million arms deal with the central Iraqi government. Accordingly, Iranian and Iraqi defense officials have signed eight agreements through which Iran will sell Baghdad arms, military communications equipment, ammunition for tanks artillery, mortars, and ammunition for U.S.-made M-12 assault rifles, among other weaponry.
First of all, it is worth noting that this arms deal is in violation of the United Nations embargo on weapons sales by Iran. But the Obama administration has not seriously reacted about this arms deal and is still continuing the nuclear talks to reach a final nuclear deal and remove all economic and political sanctions against Iran.
This arms deal is considered to be the first official arms agreement between the Shi’ite Iranian government and Iraq’s Shi’ite-led government of Maliki. This also shows the increasing military, geopolitical, strategic and economic relationship between Iran and Iraq since American troops withdrew from Iraq in December 2011, and since the United States started to lift sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
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