Comprehension Exercise – 16 (ISC Unseen Comprehension)

Comprehension Exercise – 16

Creative Writing – 62

Model ISC unseen comprehension question set. Read the following write-up and answer the questions. 

Article taken from Washington Post

After weeks of heightened tensions between Iran and the United States, national security adviser John Bolton’s visit to Abu Dhabi this week signaled that there isn’t an easy way out of the dispute that Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal triggered one year ago. Without offering evidence, Bolton said Wednesday that Iran was “almost certainly” behind several attacks on oil tankers near the Persian Gulf in mid-May. Even though Iran rejected those accusations, the incidents had previously raised fears of a — perhaps accidental — direct confrontation between U.S. and Iranian forces in the region.  [Line 8]

President Trump initially appeared to agree with the hawkish rhetoric of Bolton and other advisers. But he has since shifted to a more conciliatory approach. On Monday, speaking at a joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump said, “We’re not looking for regime change. I want to make that clear.”  ]Line 12]

But as Trump dials down the rhetoric on Iran, the United States has stepped up pressure on a different front in recent days: Europe. [Line 14]

As my colleague Carol Morello reported, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to be in Europe starting Thursday to visit Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany and Britain. And discussions about Iran are likely to be on the agenda as an issue that is driving the United States and Europe further apart. Britain, France and Germany resisted U.S. pressure to follow the United States last year out of the Iran deal, which was negotiated to stop the country from being able to produce a nuclear bomb. And tension over that decision continues to simmer. [Line 21]

In early May, Pompeo’s planned trip to Berlin was canceled, as he rushed to Iraq to address tensions with Iran in a surprise visit. The move was seen as an affront in Berlin and other European capitals. Days later, Pompeo crashed a meeting of European foreign ministers in Brussels, aiming to convince Europe to abandon its stance. But the last-minute visit yielded no specific outcomes.  [Line 26]

E.U. diplomats repeatedly suggested that they considered the United States to be partially responsible for the tensions and called for restraint to prevent a military conflict in the region. [Line 29]

Though the White House accuses Europe of aiding Iran by sticking to the 2015 nuclear deal and preventing the negotiation of a different deal, Iran insists that Europe is not doing enough to save the agreement. This month, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani set a 60-day deadline to get relief from reimposed U.S. sanctions and threatened that Iran would otherwise resume enriching uranium to a higher level than now allowed. Even though the sanctions were imposed by the Trump administration, the Iranian move appeared to be mostly directed toward the Europeans, who have looked at options to circumvent U.S. sanctions. [Line 37]

Those European efforts have centered on the creation of a payment channel with Iran, which in theory could allow European companies to keep trading with the country despite U.S. sanctions. The Paris-based Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) was formally registered by Britain, France and Germany more than three months ago and is expected to operate essentially like a clearinghouse for credit points. This would avoid a need for the exchanging of real money. Europe hopes that continued trade will keep Iran adherent to its commitments under the nuclear deal. [Line 44]

The rationale is that a company backed by three major U.S. allies could bind the Trump administration’s hands, as any move to sanction INSTEX or companies trading through it would pit Washington against Berlin, London and Paris. More countries may still join the effort: News media in Spain reported this month that the country was considering throwing its weight behind the initiative.  [Line 49]

The experiment is being closely watched. If expanded, it could challenge the global dominance of the U.S. dollar, which is most often used for international transactions and allows the United States some control over the global economy. India, which has long relied on Iranian oil but is also a U.S. ally, has started using a system that is separate from but similar to the E.U. effort, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.  [Line 55]


(a) Answer the questions according to the instructions.

(i) The following words have been taken from the passage. Make sentence with them in your own way, so that there is no similarity with the way it is used in the passage.
1. Simmer (line 21) 2. Circumvent (line 36) 3. Rationale (line 45)

(ii)These words appear in the passage. Make sentences using them for their alternate meanings. Don’t change the form of the word.
1. Approach (line 9)     2. Regime (line 11)   3. Sanctions (line 32)

(iii) Explain the following in your words. Make two sentences for your answer.
1. ….. to agree with the hawkish rhetoric of Bolton and other advisers. (line 9-10)
2. The move was seen as an affront in Berlin and other European capitals.  (line 24-25)

(b) Answer the following briefly in your own words.

i) What is Bolton’s charge against Iran?
ii) What threat Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has given to the international community?
iii) How are some European countries trying to get around U.S. sanctions on Iran with regard to its oil exports?
iv) If the ISTEX experiment succeeds, what will be its effect on the standing of the American dollar?

(c) Why do you think the United States doesn’t find enough international support for its effort to pressure Iran on the nuclear deal by restricting its oil exports?


Simmer – Indian curries taste better if they are left to simmer for  sometime under low flame instead of being pressure-cooked.
Circumvent – By bringing in an ordinance for Dalit reservation, the government was able to circumvent the necessity of a bill having to be debated and voted in both Houses.
Rationale – The captain and the coach forcefully defended the rationale behind picking as many as four fast bowlers for the side.

Approach –  The approach to the air port has been blocked by fallen trees after the thunder storm.
Regime – The traders struggled for quite some time to adjust to the GST regime enforced by the government.
Sanctions – The government has moved quickly to give sanctions for vital military purchases.

… to agree with the hawkish rhetoric and other advisers. – Bolton is known for his aggressive stance against nations that America is at odd with. He has a few more advisers in the U.S. establishment who side with him in his strident anti-Iran policy.

2. ..The move was seen as an affront in Berlin and other European capitals. – Mr. Pompeo, the U.S. Secretary of State cancelled a meeting in Berlin at short notice to be able to go to Iraq for talks about Iran. Such unilateral cancellation was taken as an insult by German and other European diplomats.

Bolton is more or less convinced that Iran was the mastermind behind the recent terror attacks on oil tankers near the Saudi ports. He has adopted a belligerent stand against Iran due to this.

ii) Iranian President Hassan Rouhani appears to be losing patience with the international community for the ratcheting up of U.S. sanctions against its vital oil exports. He says Iran will soon renege on the terms of the treaty, and start nuclear enrichment in a heightened level.

iii) European powers have put in place a system of exchange using which Iran can be paid for its oil sales to them in exchange of European exports to it. It is barter system involving no payment of dollars and euros. The system doesn’t involve any bank, so America can’t take any action either against Iran, or the Europeans. The system will be named ISTEX.

iv) If ISTEX succeeds, America’s dominance over the world payment system will be challenged. Over a period of time, the clout of the US Dollar will take hit.

(c) There is a general feeling among European powers that the United States under Trump has been needlessly bellicose against Iran on the terms of the Nuclear deal. Most countries think that Iran has stuck to the terms of the deal, and this meets the international desire to push the acquiring of nuclear weapons by it to a distant future. So, they find it hard to come on board the United States in its stance to punish Iran to the point of submission by cutting off its oil exports — its lifeline.

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