“The main result of the Trump administration’s ‘maximum pressure’ campaign has been the fraying of U.S. alliances and the steady expansion of Iran’s enriched uranium stockpile,” wrote Kelsey Davenport, the director for nonproliferation coverage on the Arms Management Affiliation.
Trump is predicted to debate Iran on Tuesday in his digital speech earlier than the United Nations Common Meeting. However the sanctions he’ll defend can be seen as extra of his go-it-alone, “America First” technique. Of the 15 U.N. Safety Council members, solely the Dominican Republic gave help for the U.S. determination to indefinitely lengthen an arms embargo on Iran.
“There’s no question that the actions taken by the Trump administration continue to isolate America, not isolate Iran,” Sherman stated. “The U.S. is more isolated at the U.N. and more isolated in the world.”
The choice to ramp up strain on Iran comes at an particularly fraught second in relations between Washington and Tehran. In January, Trump ordered the killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the chief of the elite Quds power of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which the U.S. has designated a terrorist group. Since then, the 2 nations have exchanged repeated threats, together with a warning by Trump to “shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea.”
POLITICO reported this week that Iran was weighing a plot to kill Lana Marks, the U.S. ambassador to South Africa, as a part of its efforts to avenge Soleimani’s demise. The U.S. discovered of the overall menace months in the past, two officers stated, however the data had change into extra particular in current weeks.
Within the days since, Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Nationwide Safety Adviser Robert O’Brien have, with out confirming the plot, nonetheless warned Iran in opposition to any transfer that might damage U.S. pursuits. “Any attack by Iran, in any form, against the United States will be met with an attack on Iran that will be 1,000 times greater in magnitude!” Trump tweeted.
On Friday, South Africa’s State Safety Company issued a press release saying that it was speaking to the “relevant stakeholders.”
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“At present, the information provided is not sufficient to sustain the allegation that there is credible threat against the United States ambassador to South Africa,” it stated. “The South African officials have requested additional information from the United States government. Once the information is forthcoming, the facts will be reviewed and re-assessed.”
The US and South Africa’s regulation enforcement and intelligence providers have what former diplomats and former spies describe as a “cordial” relationship — language that often signifies a stage of coolness and mistrust. It’s by no means clear that the US would share particulars about what it is aware of with South Africa, given the will to guard U.S. intelligence sources and strategies.
South Africa and Iran, in the meantime, have a comparatively heat relationship and have for years, another excuse the U.S. is likely to be cautious of sharing data with South Africa. On the identical time, Iran may not wish to danger that heat relationship by in the end going via with a plot in opposition to Marks.
Nahal Toosi contributed to this report.