US Treasury Chief's Trip to Region Aims to Up Pressure on Iran

US Treasury Chief's Trip to Region Aims to Up Pressure on IranUS Treasury Chief's Trip to Region Aims to Up Pressure on Iran

A lawmaker said the planned visit of the US treasury secretary to the region is aimed at forming a regional front against Tehran to create further snags for hindering Iran's economic activities.  

"Challenging the economic capabilities of Iran is one of the goals of the US secretary's trip to the region," lawmaker Mohammad Javad Abtahi told ICANA on Monday.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will embark on a four-leg tour to the Middle East on Wednesday. He will meet top officials from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and Israel during the trip.

In a statement on Friday, Mnuchin said he "will engage partners in the Middle East on the Trump administration's new strategy toward countering the [alleged] destabilizing influence of Iran in the region."

Abtahi described the trip as yet another push by the hostile US President Donald Trump's administration to throw a wrench in the works to impede the 2015 Iran nuclear deal by spurring the regional countries to stand up against the agreement.

"The US tries to have the support of regional countries at a time it wants to add more restrictions on JCPOA and calls for the Iranian military sites to be inspected," he said, adding that the hostile policies reveal the animosity of the US toward the Iranian nation.

JCPOA stands for the official name of the agreement, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

The Saudi visit is set to witness Mnuchin commemorating the Terrorist Financing Target Center partnership's inauguration.

TFTC is a memorandum of understanding signed between the US—during the maiden foreign trip by Trump—on one side and the Persian Gulf Arab states on the other. Its objectives are purportedly to identify, track and share information regarding terrorist financing.

Mnuchin's trip comes against the backdrop of a US drive to designate Iranian Revolution Guards Corps as a terrorist organization. This is while the group has been instrumental in fighting back the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group in Iraq and Syria.

The inclusion of Saudi Arabia in a group to counter terrorism has been derided by many observers.

The oil kingdom has been the main source of moral and spiritual support for the IS extremists, while there have been many reports suggesting that the group has received financial support from Riyadh.

A former imam at the Grand Mosque in Mecca has said the IS group follows the same distorted brand of Islam as officially preached by Saudi Arabia, Middle East Eye reported. By pushing to impose more economic constraints on Iran, the US tries to aggravate problems such as unemployment and high inflation in Iran, Abtahi said, adding that such plans are doomed to fail.

"The unity of the Iranian people will become stronger in the face of US hostile measures," he concluded.


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