“P5 + 1 Negotiations: Promoting Tyranny, Jeopardizing Free Markets” By: Terence Rosenthal

The P5 + 1 negotiations reject the global economic and political needs of people of the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, and Iran. These negotiators have ignored the significance of the Middle East with respect to shipment of global trade and commerce. The P5 + 1 negotiations embolden Iran as the hegemon in the Middle East, as well as Iran’s allies, China and Russia. Five capitals in the Middle East are under control of the Iranians. These are Baghdad, Sanaa, Damascus, Khartoum, and Tehran. In addition, Iran influences or controls every major body of water surrounding the Middle East. Shipment of goods to and from Europe and Asia must pass through these waterways.

As a result of the P5 + 1 treaty, security and control of three major trade waterways, the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal, and the Bab Al-Mandab straight are now in jeopardy. Approximately 40 percent of global maritime trade passes through the Bab Al-Mandab strait, much of it on its way to and from Suez Canal. Given the tone of current leadership in the U.S. and Europe, this waterway may potentially be blockaded by way of Iranian influence in Yemen. Twenty percent of oil traded globally is shipped through the Strait of Hormuz, the most important petroleum transit choke point in the world. Recently a Maersk cargo ship was commandeered by Iranian naval forces near this strait.

In addition, Iran is backed militarily and financially by China and Russia, two superpowers that, like Iran, seek to dominate in their global regions. China benefits from the purchase of Iranian oil while Russia is profits from outfitting Iran with new weaponry and nuclear technology. With respect to territorial violation and political encroachment in their territories, China, Russia, and Iran are three nations with which the U.S. and Europe are willing to do nothing to stop. In the past year, the world has witnessed Russia take over parts eastern Ukraine and Crimea. Threats of global litigation have done nothing to prevent China from building militarized islands in the South China Seas. Iranian proxies, the Houthis and Hezbollah have overthrown governments in Yemen, Lebanon, and Syria, as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard dominates in eastern Iraq.

With respect to challenges presented by the emboldened alliance of China Russia and Iran, U.S. and European leadership provide no solutions. It is conceivable that U.S. leadership is allowing the unfreezing of $150 billion in Iranian money as the result of not being able to pay back Chinese purchase of U.S. debt. Perhaps since the European Union depends on Russia to maintain flow of oil to Europe, European leadership is willing to provide Iran with easy terms with respect to lifting economic sanctions.

It appears that P5 + 1 negotiators are not looking out for private citizens in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, and Iran. The people of the U.S. and Europe stand to lose economically, being at the mercy of Iran with regard to the passage of imports and exports through waterways which Iran either influences or controls outright. With $150 billion of unfrozen Iranian money, pro-western countries in the Middle East should expect political encroachment and well-funded radicalized cells funded by an emboldened Iranian Republican Guard, Houthis, and Hezbollah. Hassan Rouhani, the winner of the P5 + 1 deal, runs a regime that is no less oppressive than it was under Ahmadinejad. Given the outcome of the P5 +1 deal, it is highly doubtful that Iran’s Green Revolution will re-emerge. It is unfortunate that the real losers of the P5 + 1 deal are average people who live in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, and Iran. These people depend on free trade, and the minimization of autocratic regimes like those of China, Russia, and Iran. Simply put, the U.S. Congress should not support the P5 + 1 negotiations. The P5 + 1 negotiations reward tyranny and jeopardize free markets.