Will Trump turn out to be right about Iran deal?

Mae Love
May 23, 2018

The Trump administration has declared financial war on the Iranian regime.

The Administration did hold out the option of full diplomatic and commercial reconciliation with the Islamic Republic-if it agreed to all twelve demands for "tangible, demonstrated, and sustained shifts" in policies.

In announcing the new USA strategy towards Iran, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday warned Washington "will apply unprecedented financial pressure on the Iranian regime" unless it complied with a list of 12 conditions, which must be met before any new deal can be reached. Pompeo further called on Iran to halt its ballistic missile program.

Russian Federation and China - two other parties to the agreement - have also criticized the USA move and vowed to maintain trade with Iran. "No more cost-free expansions of Iranian power", Pompeo said.

Apparently referring to such states as Iran, he added: "Why are countries with nuclear warheads posing a threat to them?"

In the short run, we can expect the European Union to negotiate with Iran to increase investment and support in order to keep Iran in the deal.

"It's implicitly a regime change policy", said Suzanne Maloney, deputy director of the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution. The Europeans are searching for ways to protect their own companies from sanctions that Trump reimposed, though some big multinational firms already were avoiding business in Iran due to the uncertainty over the deal's fate. "Iran hid the archives, lied about it [and] moved it from place to place, because they are seeking nuclear weapons".

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Maas said he will travel to Washington to talk with Pompeo this week. Trump's threats, since December, to abandon the nuclear accord have helped cause the rial, Iran's currency, to lose a third of its value. "People, I think, are overstating the disagreements between the US and Europe".

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the sort of "jumbo Iran deal" Pompeo envisioned would not be "very easy to achieve in anything like a reasonable timescale".

The secretary also made an explicit appeal to the Iranian people. "I just don't think it will happen at the barrel of a gun or in response to USA diktat". "That willingness has been accompanied by a painful pressure campaign that reflects our commitment to resolve this challenge forever". Pompeo's Iran strategy is "basically sanctions on steroids, and appealing to the Iranian public", Dennis Ross, who worked for five Republican and Democratic administrations and is now a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, tweeted.

The speech lacked specifics in many areas, namely how the Administration will mobilize key players in the global economy to side with it in punishing Iran. We've gone from a unified front against Iran to a unified front against President Trump's harebrained scheme.One wonders how a future president is going to fix the wreckage of American foreign policy this president will leave behind. "Will we have such a coalition?" European reactions to Pompeo's speech were largely negative.

"We will continue to work with our allies to counter the regime's destabilizing activities in the region, block their financing of terror, and address Iran's proliferation of missiles and other advanced weapons that threaten peace and stability", Pompeo said.

Soon after the speech, a member of the Iranian parliament's national security committee called Pompeo's strategy nothing more than "U.S. dreams" and suggested the best thing to do was to wait for a change in position after Trump leaves office, whenever that may be. Pompeo on Monday took the first step in trying to restore them.

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