The US is now focusing on the alleged Iranian-Russian arms deal rather than the Iranian nuclear deal. Robert Malley, the US special envoy to Iran, said that his country will now focus on other issues rather than Iran’s Nuclear Deal as Iran is dragging its feet in finalizing this deal. (Bloomberg Dec 3, 2022). He further added that right now, two things are significant: Iran’s alleged supplies of arms to Russia and internal protests in Iran.
Iran is stepping up uranium enrichment pursuits and even hoodwinking international inspections. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) observed with concern that Iran is enriching uranium and has denied it access to the places where these activities are being carried out. Also, Iran is insisting on withdrawing the IAEA inspections mandate as a precondition to resuming the talks on the nuclear deal. Iran is generally coming up with ideas and demands which are not practical and is adopting delaying tactics.
Contacts between European Union and Iran are intact and haven’t been suspended so far. However, the US has now shifted its focus on Iran’s arms supply to Russia and the internal uprising in Iran. It is believed that Iran has supplied Drones and Missiles to Russia. It is also alleged that even Iran is establishing manufacturing facilities in Russia. If it is true, then Iran would be crossing the red lines as per the sources of the US.
On the other hand, Russia denies using Iranian arms. It has relied more on drones from Iran as it exhausts its supplies in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict. It is believed that Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev interacted with top Iranian political leaders and officials in Tehran in the last month.
The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said there are no indications of Russia’s Vladimir Putin wanting amicable talks on a settlement. At the same time, French President Emmanuel Macron has decided to speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin soon about civilian nuclear-related issues.
However, Mikhail Mishustin, the Prime Minister of Russia, articulated sureness that “in the new geopolitical reality, comprehensive and strategic partnership between Russia and China will fully reveal its great creative potential.” And he also said that some countries of the western world impose their rules on others through illegitimate pressure tactics. (TASS, Dec 5, 2022).
The US announced additional military assistance to Ukraine worth $725 million in August this year, which makes a total of $18.3 billion in military aid to Ukraine since the start of the Russian-Ukraine conflict in February 2022. (Mint Oct15, 22). This military assistance is in the form of HIMRAS Rockets, anti-tank weapons, anti-radiation missiles, vehicles, and medical supplies.
Ukraine’s second largest military aid provider is the UK, which has pledged 2.3 billion British pounds since the outbreak of conflict. The UK also committed to providing the same help in the year 2023. NATO, as an alliance, is extending political support and coordinating all the assistance provided by the member countries. European Union also supplies lethal weapons through European Peace Facility (EPF). First time in history that the EU supplied arms, ammunition, and warlike stores outside the member counties. (UK parliament, House of Commons library).
Ukraine broke away from the former USSR in 1991. Since then, Russia and the West have tried to exert significant influence on the country to strike a balance of power in the region. Ukraine is a crucial buffer between Russia and the West for the US and the EU. As the conflict between Russia and Ukraine prevails, the US and the EU are increasingly resolute in keeping Ukraine from Russian control.
Russia had sought assurance from the US that Ukraine would not join the NATO bloc. However, the US has failed to give such assurance. Russia is keeping the pot boiling to achieve its aims. But it is not easy to know about the intentions of Russia and stop it from pursuing those. Any direct military assistance or involvement in Ukraine by the US, EU, or NATO could escalate the conflict further.
Sanctions on Russia have not worked effectively and could prove counter-productive also. The Russia-Ukraine conflict is threatening the delicate balance the world is in now, and escalation can have manifold impacts worldwide. There is a strong case for de-escalation, as a peaceful culmination of severed relations is for the good of everyone in the region and the world over. The US can play an essential role in resolving the Russia- Ukraine conflict with the help of other European nations like the UK, Germany, and France. Dialogues and strategic investments should be aimed at creating a sustainable resolution of the conflict. It will not be enough to smooth over the difficulties, but significant attention must be given to structuring the military disengagement to minimize the chances of backsliding.
India’s balancing approach to the Russia-Ukraine conflict is becoming difficult. However, India has a unique position in the world, having friendly relations with Russia and the western world, and could play the role of mediator. As the war progresses, the world’s food and energy shortages become imminent, prompting India to take a decisive stand and play a constructive role in resolving the conflict.
India assumed the presidency of G-20 on Dec1, 22 for one year and has more exciting opportunities to play in world affairs. Envisaging the vision of G-20, Prime Minister Narender Modi has remarked that today, we do not need to fight for our survival – our era need not be one of war. Indeed, it must not be one. India has declared its agenda of G-20 working toward one earth, one family, and one future. Therefore, it will work toward inclusive, ambitious, action-oriented, and decisive growth of the world. We must find a way to return to the process of dialogue and diplomacy.
The Group of Twenty, or G-20, is the premier forum for international cooperation on the most critical aspects of the international economic and financial agenda. It brings together the world’s major advanced and emerging economies.
War has an appalling effect on the health and well-being of nations. Many studies indicate that conflict situations cause more mortality and disability than any significant disease. War demolishes communities and families and, many a time upsets the development of nations’ social and economic fabric. The best way to safeguard and strengthen democracy in postwar Ukraine is to end this war as soon as possible before more people are killed, more cities are destroyed, and more of Ukraine’s by-now-endangered democracy is lost. Therefore, there is an urgent need to search for a diplomatic track sooner than later.