U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry addresses the media after the talks with Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak in Moscow, Russia September 13, 2018. © Sergei Karpukhin / Reuters
A routine press conference of the US energy secretary and the Russian energy minister has surprisingly turned into a lecture on Washington’s superiority and exceptionalism as the US official faced a question on sanctions.
A sudden but not all that much unexpected rant by the US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry came as a response to RT’s Maria Finoshina’s inquiry about an apparent contradiction between the US accusations against Russia over its alleged use of energy policy as a political tool and Washington’s own threats to bring Iranian oil revenues to “zero.” Instead of addressing this issue, Perry, who spoke to the journalists together with Russia’s Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak, preferred to explain that the US is just simply in a unique position allowing it to basically impose its will on other countries and the likes of Iran are just naturally expected to oblige.
“The message to Iran is that we expect them to be acceptable neighbours, acceptable members of society,” Perry said, adding that such is not only the will of Washington but that of “some Iran’s neighbours.” The energy secretary then decided not to beat about the bush and openly said that Saudi Arabia – one of the US major allies in the Middle East and Iran’s long-time arch-rival in the region – is “very supportive of the activities we are involved in” while finding Tehran’s behaviour “unacceptable.”
Perry then said that pretty much any country has “responsibilities about [their] actions in the world” as part of the “global citizenry.” Moreover, those very responsibilities apparently consist in following the US lead, according to him.
“We expect the Iranian government to abide by what we consider a civilized activity,” he bluntly told journalists.
As he apparently finished explaining the supposed basics of world politics in Washington’s interpretation, Perry moved to issuing some more threats.
“The message to the Iranian government is clear: if you cannot … participate as a reasonable citizen, there will be sanctions that will cost you,” Perry said, adding that “the United States is in a position today to send a message to countries that do not participate in a civilized way that they will be punished.”
He also did not just stop at that and issued another warning by saying that there are “a lot of different ways” to punish the undesirables and sanctions against the energy industry are just “one of those.” All that said, Perry never actually got to the point of the question he was asked.
Meanwhile, it might be well worth to remember how the situation with international responsibilities and Iran in particular looks like outside of Washington cabinets. It was the US that withdrew from the Iranian nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in May despite the fact that Tehran’s compliance with the 2015 agreement was repeatedly confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The move was unanimously condemned by all other parties to the agreement, including Washington’s major allies in the West, which vowed to keep the deal in place. The US then penned a 12-point ultimatum to Iran and decided to reinstate its penalties against the Islamic Republic as Washington vowed to reduce its revenue from crude oil sales to “zero.”
Tehran shows no signs of caving in to the US pressure as it has gradually ditched the dollar in its foreign trade and even sued Washington at the UN’s highest court. The US allies in Europe, meanwhile, seek to protect themselves from the extraterritorial effects of US and keep their ties with Tehran, while speaking about the need of becoming less dependent on Washington.