Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif was desperate for India to offer his country some relief from the economic component of the US’ Hybrid War on the Islamic Republic but was humiliatingly sent back empty-handed by his hosts after being told in non-committal terms that New Delhi will only decide on this issue after the ongoing elections, which can’t portend anything positive for Iran if Modi wins re-election since BJP-ruled India has been decisively pivoting towards Tehran’s American, “Israeli”, and Saudi enemies for the past half-decade already.
The Iranian “Begging Bowl”
A millennia-old civilization as proud as Iran’s has never sent its representatives abroad with a “begging bowl” until now when Foreign Minister Zarif was urgently dispatched to India to desperately seek some relief from the economic component of the US’ Hybrid War on the Islamic Republic. India’s acquiescence to America’s “secondary sanctions” pressure and its subsequent decision to discontinue purchasing Iranian oil following the Trump Administration’s refusal to renew its waiver will greatly exacerbate Iran’s economic challenges by depriving it of its second-largest customer and the attendant revenue that it was expected to provide to the country’s budget. It’s therefore not for naught that President Rouhani recently warned his countrymen that they might face conditions harder than during the 1980s war with Iraq and decided to send his top diplomat to India in the hopes of negotiating a workaround for continuing Iran’s energy cooperation with the South Asian state.
Inexplicable Trust In The Untrustworthy
Alas, it was all in vain because India humiliated Zarif by sending back to Iran empty-handed after being told in non-committal terms that New Delhi will only decide on this issue after the ongoing elections, which can’t portend anything positive for Iran if Modi wins re-election since BJP-ruled India has been decisively pivoting towards Tehran’s American, “Israeli“, and Saudi enemies for the past half-decade already. Iran’s ruling “Reformist” faction, however, ignored these “inconvenient facts” for reasons that only they can account for if challenged, though possibly in the “best-case” scenario having naively fallen for the “Indian Illusion” of New Delhi denying anti-Iranian sanctions while quietly preparing to implement them this entire time.
The Writing On The Wall
If Modi getting his toes wet with Netanyahu in the Mediterranean during the first-ever visit of an Indian Prime Minister to “Israel” back in summer 2017 didn’t set alarm bells ringing, then Iran must also not have considered India’s military-strategic partnership with the US that past summer through LEMOA to be a threat despite it allowing the Pentagon access to some Indian military facilities on a case-by-case “logistical” basis, nor for that matter would it have realized that Modi was scheming against their country during his summit with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman at last year’s G20 in Argentina. The signs were all there this entire time that India would submit to American-“Israeli”-Saudi pressure to cut off its oil imports from Iran, but the Islamic Republic was evidently oblivious to them for whatever the reason may be.
In spite of all of this, it’s unclear whether Iran finally learned its lesson or not. For all that one knows, India might still have Iran under its spell, lying to Zarif that he needs to wait until the elections are over for it to make a decision because otherwise the US will immediately punish it and therefore tip the scales in favor of the opposition at the last minute. Since Iran has been victimized by the US’ regime change plots for quite some time already, it would probably have been sympathetic to this excuse and easily fallen for it even though it appears obvious that Modi will only accelerate his pro-Western pivot if he wins re-election and probably won’t hesitate to throw Iran under the bus as one of the sacrifices that he might be forced to make to his new American-“Israeli”-Saudi patrons.
The Double Backstab
After all, he might very well be preparing to ditch Russia by pulling out of the previously agreed deal to purchase its S-400s in order to avoid the US’ CAATSA “secondary sanctions”, though with the “consolation” being that he can buy the US’ THAAD instead. Considering that Modi might also be about to bow down to Trump on trade too, it’s difficult to imagine that he’d risk his new master’s wrath by continuing to purchase oil from Iran. In the event that he backstabs Russia too, then the North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC) and its over-hyped terminal port of Chabahar would probably be canceled, unless of course Iran “saves face” by kicking India out of the project first as punishment for it submitting to the US’ sanctions demands and then replaces its role with its Chinese rival instead.
On the topic of Iran’s possible responses to India’s perfidy (if it even realizes that it’s being manipulated, that is), the Islamic Republic would be wise to accelerate its incipient rapprochement with the global pivot state of Pakistan, understanding that there are obvious limitations to how far and fast everything can unfold but nevertheless realizing that it’s the most pragmatic way to “make the best of a bad situation” after “putting all its eggs in one basket” with India but then losing everything. There’s no doubt that India’s humiliation of Zarif and it failure to “donate” anything into his “begging bowl” stands as perhaps the greatest foreign policy failure of the Rouhani-led “Reformist” government apart from the disastrous nuclear deal that the US ultimately withdrew from, so seeing as how those two countries are allies with one another nowadays anyhow (together with Iran’s “Israeli” and Saudi enemies), then pivoting to their Pakistani and Chinese rivals respectively in response would make the most sense.
By Andrew Korybko
Source: Eurasia Future