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Why US sanctions won’t change Iran’s foreign policy

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The messages from Tehran are stark. On October 1, Iranian forces fired six missiles at Daesh positions in eastern Syria. The weapons landed within three miles of US troops in the country; one missile shown on Iranian state television carried the slogan: “Death to America, “Death to Israel, Death to al Saud.” A statement by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), said the missile strike was retaliation for a September 22 shooting attack on a military parade in Ahvaz, southwest Iran, that killed at least 25 people.

The missile attack, however, was intended to deliver a message beyond the militant holdouts of Daesh. It was an explicit signal to the Trump administration and its allies in the Middle East that Tehran will not change its foreign policy in spite of Washington’s escalation of sanctions – the next round is due in November – after President Donald Trump withdrew from the multilateral 2015 Iran nuclear deal in May.

Tehran got a boost for its approach on October 3, when the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered the United States to ensure that sanctions against Iran do not affect humanitarian aid or the safety of civil aviation. Although unenforceable and rejected by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the decision by the United Nations court will likely encourage the Iranian leadership to stay its defiant course. The ruling “proved once again that the Islamic........

© Middle East Monitor