Best columns: International
How they see us: Iran cries foul at sanctions renewal
What an outrageous bait and switch, said Mohammad Kazem Anbarlouei in Resalat(Iran). The details of the nuclear deal that our government clinched last year with the U.S. and other major world powers were clear: Iran would dismantle many of its nuclear facilities in exchange for the lifting of U.S. and European Union financial sanctions against Iran. When the deal was signed, it was understood by all parties that a separate U.S. sanctions regime, the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996, would not be renewed when it expired at the end of this year. But last week the U.S. Senate voted unanimously to extend those sanctions, which prohibit investment in all Iranian energy sectors, for another decade. The sanctions are not currently in effect, because President Obama is allowed to waive them if he believes our government is complying with the deal. But President Trump could falsely claim that we weren’t honoring the pact, demand that the sanctions be enforced, and cripple our economy. Is our government prepared to stand up and “defend Iran’s honor”?
Once again, the devious Americans have revealed their true nature, said Hossein Shamsian in Kayhan. The reformist government of President Hassan Rouhani naïvely thought it could trust the U.S. Deluded Iranian officials bleated that the nuclear agreement would solve every problem facing our country: “Unemployment, desertification and drought, bad weather, inflation, production stagnation, sanctions—all were to end.” As a result, we filled our sole heavy-water nuclear reactor with concrete and dismantled most of our uranium-enriching centrifuges. Now we find that the U.S. negotiated the deal in bad faith. The only solution is to pull out of the nuclear pact, and “return to the correct point, where we started.”
That’s exactly what they want us to do, said Seyyed Ali Mir Baqeri in Sharq. The U.S. has certainly violated the spirit of the deal by extending sanctions until 2026, but it has not violated the letter of the pact. By renewing these punitive measures, the U.S. is trying to “push Iran to make wrong and emotional decisions,” to provoke us into pulling out of the nuclear deal. That would give the Americans a pretext to retaliate against us. Rather than step into that trap, Iran should appeal to the other parties to the treaty, particularly France, Germany, and Russia. There is a “global consensus” that the nuclear deal was a net good for the region.
That’s why now is the time to “strengthen relations with all who are dissatisfied with the United States,” said Mousa Ghaninejad in Donya-e-Eqtesad. “The majority of the elite and the public in European countries do not have a favorable opinion of Donald Trump.” And his protectionist trade policies will likely anger China, India, and other nations. We need to mobilize the global consensus against the U.S. For once, America, and not Iran, could find itself isolated.
More than a match for any bully
Why did Donald Trump throw “a tantrum against China” on Twitter? asked the Global Times in an editorial. After the entire world criticized the U.S. president-elect’s ill-considered phone call with Taiwan’s leader, he sarcastically tweeted that China didn’t ask the U.S. for permission before enacting its own monetary and security policies—as if such permission were necessary. Was he angry that he’d been caught flouting diplomatic precedent? Washington cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1979 and recognizes that Beijing views the island as a renegade province. Or, less likely, was this some “shrewd step in a well-considered China policy”? For China, the reason doesn’t matter. What’s clear is that “Sino-U.S. ties will witness more troubles” with a Trump-led White House than with “any predecessor.” Trump’s “reckless remarks” show that he is out of his depth. He wants to upend the global economic order, not realizing that the U.S. is “the biggest beneficiary” of that order. Trump thinks he can rewrite trade rules to “pillage other countries,” but we will make sure that “he won’t take advantage of China.” We know that to appease him early on will only embolden him. Trump has “overestimated the power of the U.S.”—and the resolve of China.
How not to fight HIV/AIDS
You can’t stop the spread of HIV by refusing to promote safe sex, said Deonatus Mafuru. But that’s what the Tanzanian government is now trying to do. Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu has accused groups that work with at-risk populations of attempting to “normalize” homosexual relationships, and even encouraging gay sex, by distributing condoms. Police have raided U.S.-funded groups fighting AIDS, even seizing patient records to try to find evidence of homosexual activity, which is illegal in Tanzania. This is tragically counterproductive. Men who have sex with men, particularly in a country like this where the act is punishable by life in prison, often also have sex with women. Unless these men are provided with condoms, the disease will continue to spread throughout the whole population, including what the government considers “the moral population.” In Tanzania, atrisk groups include sex workers, prisoners, police officers, people in the transport sector, and those in the military. We must reach out and educate these groups, “so that the circle of transmission can be broken.” The government is thus faced with “a crisis of choice”: They can conquer a disease that has infected 1.4 million Tanzanians, about 5 percent of the adult population, or continue to refuse condoms to gay men. We know that AIDS kills. The choice should be clear.