The US’s withdrawal from the deal and its belligerence on global matters actually provides an incentive for Moscow, Beijing and others to band together with Tehran
By Borzou Daragahi
Following controversial strikes by Iran or its allies on the world’s single most important oil facilities and threats that the US was “locked and loaded” in preparation for an attack, Iran’s leaders did not hunker down in bunkers waiting for the bombs to start dropping.
Hassan Rouhani, president of Iran, and Mohammad Javad Zarif, his foreign minister, instead went to Ankara, in a meeting that included Nato member Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, joking with president Vladimir Putin as he mocked US defence systems. Days after the attack, an Iranian official travelled to China to talk about a series of proposed mega deals that would potentially deepen Sino-Iranian economic cooperation and integrate Iran into Beijing’s belt and road programme.
With secondary sanctions forcing Europe to abscond from doing much of any business with Iran, the administration of Donald Trump may have believed that by pulling out of the nuclear deal last year it had Tehran cornered, forcing it to return to the negotiating table and hand him “a better deal”, or at least a photo op, just in time to herald a major foriegn policy success ahead of 2020 elections.