Thursday, 31 May 2018

Iranian refugees fear conflict

Iranian refugees fear conflict 
Concerns over plans to scrap nuclear deal 
Big Issue North Xmas Special 2017 
Donald Trump’s plan to scrap the Iran nuclear deal could lead to foreign intervention and further Middle East conflict, Iranian refugees fear. 
Even though they do not support the current regime in Tehran, Iranian refugees attending a recent conference in Sheffield said cancelling the deal signed between Iran and six world powers, including the US, could lead to upheaval and civil war in their country. 
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – the Iran nuclear deal – was agreed in 2015 by Iran and the US, Russia, France, UK, China and Germany. 
Controversial programme 
Iran agreed to limit its controversial nuclear energy programme, which international powers had feared was being used to create nuclear weapons, in return for the lifting of crippling economic sanctions that had paralysed major parts of the Iranian economy and led to thousands of children dying due to a lack of food and medical supplies. 
The JCPOA was US president Barack Obama’s major foreign policy achievement during his term in office. But his successor has said he will not re-certify the deal and wants Congress and the other signatories to toughen its restrictions on Iran’s nuclear programme and to re-impose sanctions. 
“We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout,” Trump said in October. 
The other world powers have maintained their commitment to the deal and say the US cannot unilaterally tear it up. 
Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif  said that if sanctions were reintroduced Tehran would have a right to decide whether to remain signed up to the JCPOA. Some analysts believe the possibility of war is growing. 
‘There is no freedom’ 
Yassamine Mather, an Iranian refugee, believes Trump is determined to avenge the 1979 revolution in Iran, which overthrew the US puppet the Shah of Iran. But she warned of the dangers of further sanctions on Iran. 
“The regime won’t just give up and what may happen if people are starving is a civil war, replicating the current situation in the Yemen, Syria and Iraq,” said Mather, whose socialist politics led her into conflict with the Iranian authorities and exile in the UK in the 1970s. “Across the Middle East there is destruction everywhere. 
“Israel wants the opportunity to bomb Iran’s nuclear capabilities. It has the abilities to do so. But they know that Hezbollah, formed in 1979 to defend the Iranian revolution, is the only group to have previously defeated the Israeli army. Saudi
Arabia is now expressing concerns about the situation in the Lebanon and so may be utilised to attack Hezbollah there. 
“The situation is fluid but clearly Trump and the people around him seem keen to change things from above in Iran. It is frightening.” 
Manu, who organised the Sheffield public meeting about refugees, believes the Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei would make some concessions in the face of Trump’s threat. 
“He really does not war,” said Manu, who was involved in socialist politics in the 1980s but fought with the Iranian army after Iraq invaded in 1980. “Also the EU clearly does not want another conflict in the Middle East and are exerting pressure to make sure it is avoided. 
“Trump appears not to have the total support of his own Republican Party. I am hoping that Donald Trump serves just one term in office as his presence in the White House is dangerous.” 
Neither of the refugees supported the Iranian regime. Manu – who quit the army when Iran became the aggressor in the war and later fled his country for Sheffield when the fellow directors of his publishing company were killed by the Iranian intelligence services – said: “There is no freedom. Listening to various types of music can be dangerous. Far too many people have to flee for their lives. Many are coming to the UK. Creationism is being taught in Iranian schools. 

“The current president is a reformist but he has no powers. I really do hope that the next government will be a democratic reformist one.” 

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