By Ali Kushki

Trump and Iran 

February 8, 2017

Having had no open contracts prior to the 2015 nuclear accord that established a temporary pause in hostilities, Tehran and Washington are again back to old habits of trading barbs.

Since taking office, the antagonistic Trump administration has been particularly seizing on an Iranian missile launch to portray an aggressive image of Tehran. 

The start-up president has gone too far writing strongly worded tweets and statements, pledging to take a hard line against Iran, dissimilar to what he called Obama’s “kind” approach to the country. 

As a matter of fact, the rhetoric was already anticipated, and will most probably continue in the future as well.

The other day, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif could not hide his concerns over the issue, saying “difficult days are ahead.” 

Also, in an article published by the Tehran-based daily Iran, former Iranian ambassador as well as expert in exploring pathways for diplomacy between Iran and the United States, emerged quite nervous about members of Trump’s security team and Saudi and Israeli lobbies. 

In making the hasty comments about Iran’s missile program and the nuclear deal, Trump may have different things in mind. 

One possible scenario can be Trump’s team trying hard to push Iran toward an angry response to find an excuse for a more belligerent tone toward the country. 

Washington is also considering designating Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a terrorist group, further complicating the situation, according to a Reuters report. 

In so doing, Washington probably seeks mounting pressure on the elite forces to limit its overseas functionality. 

Another scenario could be motivated by Trump’s inability to “tear up” the nuclear deal as he promised during presidential campaigns. 
 
However, considering that the accord is a multilateral one and endorsed by the United Nations Security Council, disrespecting the deal will not be cost free for the U.S. 

Therefore, recent hysterical stances by U.S. officials can aim at voiding the deal of its effect without openly breaching its terms. 

A third interpretation can be simply a sort of political courtship intended to send a message to the countries ill-disposed to Iran, particularly certain Arab ones, and keep them paying for the service. 

With this backdrop in mind, Iran should be cautious not to be dragged into an unnecessary complication, what certain Arab countries would favor. 

While it takes some time for Tehran to get a closer, better understanding of the White House under Trump, for the time being it can adopt a more tactical policy. 

Avoiding emotional reactions, strengthening ties with regional countries and the European Union, and shoring up national unity can contribute to a better future for the country. 

AK/PA 

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