Unprecedented Iranian Attacks Spark a Paradigm Shift in the West

US and Saudi officials Intensify their Campaign to Isolate Tehran Diplomatically

In the aftermath of the mid-September attacks on Saudi oil production facilities, American and Saudi officials maintain that they do not seek military conflict with Iran, but have intensified their campaign to isolate the country diplomatically.
 
EUROPE TURNS AWAY FROM  IRAN AFTER SAUDI ATTACKS
 
In a joint statement issued on September 23, the leaders of Germany, the United Kingdom, and France declared, "It is clear for us that Iran bears responsibility for this attack. There is no other plausible explanation." The statement went on to demand far-reaching concessions from Iranian leaders on key security issues: “The time has come for Iran to accept a long-term negotiation framework for its nuclear program, as well as regional security issues, which include its missile programs."
 
The statement represented something of a triumph for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has been attempting to steer closer to the American position than those on the continent seeking to preserve the JCPOA. On September 23, Johnson told Sky News, "Whatever your objections to the old nuclear deal with Iran, it's time now to move forward and do a new deal … What the UK is doing is trying to bring people together and de-escalate tensions," while at the same time “respond to what the Iranians plainly did.”
 
For his part, French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron has lost ground in his effort to draw the U.S. into something resembling the pre-2018 status quo. Macron spent several hours cloistered with Iranian President Rouhani in the halls of the UN in New York, but apparently to no effect. At the same time, the official state outlet IRNA denounced the “baseless accusations” directed at Iran.
 
US SAUDI OFFICIALS GO ON OFFENSE
 
Over the weekend, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo continued the Trump administration’s rhetorical counter-offensive against Iran, soothing concerns of unintended escalations and declaring that “our mission set is to avoid war” while also flatly declaring that “we are putting additional forces in the region for the purpose of deterrence and defense. … If that deterrence should continue to fail, I am also confident that President Trump would continue to take the actions that are necessary.”
 
In a speech on September 23 at the UN General Assembly, U.S. President Donald Trump gave a forceful indictment of the Iranian regime, labelling it "one of the greatest security threats facing peace-loving nations today” and denouncing Tehran’s “repressive regime." He also took the occasion to call upon the international community to close ranks with the American sanctions campaign against Iran, lest they "subsidize Iran's bloodlust." Addressing Iran’s leaders directly, he denounced  "four decades of failure" since the Islamic revolution, called upon Tehran to "finally put the Iranian people first," and noted that U.S. sanctions "will be tightened" unless Iran's "menacing behavior" comes to an end.
 
For their part, Saudi officials were not shy to cast an accusing finger in Tehran’s direction. Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told CNN, "We hold Iran responsible [for] the missiles and the drones that were fired at Saudi Arabia,” adding that both “were Iranian-built and Iranian-delivered." Jubeir noted that “nobody wants war. Everybody wants to resolve this peacefully,” but hastened to add that "to launch an attack from your territory, if that is the case, puts us in a different category... this would be considered an act of war."
 


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