U.S. interests require security and stability in the Middle East. But creating stability is not possible with the continuation of Iranian regime’s hostile behaviors in the region.
U.S. president Donald Trump has always taken a harsh position against Iranian regime during his presidential campaign’s speeches among people and in his press conferences.
Trump’s hostile approach towards Iran is obvious since U.S. voted for the 10-year extension of Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) after his victory in presidential elections. Trump has also said that after getting rid of ISIL, he will go to Iran and other terrorist groups. Moreover, he has pointed out to the necessity of renegotiating provisions and nature of JCPOA, which was signed between Iran and P5+1.
Some information shows that there is a close relationship between some figures close to Trump and Iranian opposition. Some of them have taken part in Iranian opposition’s meetings in past 3 years, and are aware of issues. Also, the same information indicates that Trump will not only have a confrontational approach towards Iran’s hostile policies abroad but will pay attention to numerous domestic issues in Iran, particularly those of non-Persian nations. Such an approach implies a more complicated scenario.
The relationship between Iranian opposition and the U.S. has made Iranian regime concerned more than ever. Particularly the fact that the opposition might give certain cases regarding the establishment and human rights to influential figures of Trump’s administration and Trump might implicitly threaten Iran with imposing new sanctions in this regard. 23 former U.S. officials have signed a letter to president Donald Trump, asking him to start working and consulting with opposition groups in the White House from the beginning of his taking the office. The letter writes: “Iranian opposition demands a meeting with Trump.” It continues: “Iranian rulers are targeting strategic interests and principles and policies of the U.S. and our allies in the Middle East. For this reason and for reviving U.S. influence and prestige in the world, the United States must revise its policies.”
Among signatories were people like the former mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani, former senator Joe Lieberman, and Hugh Shelton, former Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff during Bill Clinton’s presidency, showing political heft of the said letter.
This letter is in line with another Iranian opposition’s letter to Trump, in which Iranian opposition asked Trump to fulfill his campaign’s promises about renegotiating JCPOA.
John Bolton, former U.S. Ambassador to UN, said “Signatories of the letters want to remind that there are opposition groups in Iran, and these groups, like other opposition groups in the world, consist of different parts, and also [remind] the fact that there are alternatives for the clerics’ regime.”
One possible reason for Trump’s harsh stance towards Iran is an escalation of Iran’s hostile behaviors during Barak Obama, whose presidency just ended. While underestimating Iran, Obama did not pay any attention to Iran’s domestic and foreign invasions—the very Iran that along with fueling sectarianism, financially supports terrorist groups and its mercenaries, and deploy them to war zones in Iraq and Syria.
Likewise, this feeling has grown among Arab and Islamic countries that U.S. administration’s approach towards Iran during Obama’s presidency was very weak, and Iran’s behaviors in the region were ignored by the U.S. This has played a significant role in conflicts and wars in Arab region and the Middle East, causing the emergence of many armed terrorist groups and growth of sectarian tensions in many countries. Sectarian tensions went beyond the Middle East and reached the U.S. and Europe—just as bombing, vehicle-ramming attacks, and knife attacks are examples that can be seen in France, Germany, and other countries. These attacks ended in killing tens of people.
On the other hand, Trump was against the weak position of Obama’s administration towards Iran, particularly regarding a nuclear deal, which was signed in July 2015. Several times, Trump said, “JCPOA is the worst deal in history, because Iran, as the biggest supporter of terrorism, would be on its path to achieve nuclear weapons.” Trump said that in the case of victory in presidential election, he “will tear the nuclear deal up.” Of course, Iranian regime responded to Trump’s remarks, and before U.S. elections, Iranian officials threatened and said that Trump does not know what he is talking about. After Trump’s winning U.S. presidential elections, Iranian officials took back their word—sticking to Trump’s last remarks about “renegotiating JCPOA.”
Even in his remarks about the situation in Iraq, Trump severely criticized Obama’s administration, saying that they have handed Iraq over to Iran. He added, “For a long time, Iran was hoping for such a thing.” Trump sarcastically said of Obama’s administration, “Iran will soon send a ‘thank you note’ for Obama administration.”
Under such conditions, Iran can’t do much. It can only “demonize” Arab countries, particularly those in the Gulf region, through its lobby in the U.S., thus presenting a brighter and better image of the Iranian regime in the western media. To influence Trump’s team, the lobby of the Iranian Republic of Iran tries to present Iran as a democratic, anti-terrorist regime. Also with bringing up economic interests and significance of U.S. having a share in Iran’s market especially after lifting of sanctions and nuclear deal, Iran’s lobby will seek to change the face of Jurist Leadership in the eyes of the new U.S. administration.
So far, repeatedly and in several occasions and places, Trump has talked against Iran. Of course, no one knows how far Trump will go after taking office, and how much of these remarks will come true. But the truth is U.S. interests necessitate security and stability in the Middle East, and it is not possible to create stability with the continuation of Iranian regime’s hostile behavior in the region. That is why the first 100 days of Donald Trump will be a real test to see how far he is committed to his presidential campaign’s remarks and to his statements after victory in elections.
Opinions in this article reflect the writer’s point of view, not necessarily the view of The Arabain GCIS