Tabnak – One month after Donald Trump’s inauguration as the President of the United States, there is still a sense of ambiguity regarding the future course of the US policies toward a range of critical international issues, among which, Trump’s position toward Iran is of a great importance. However, a number of recent positions taken by Trump and his Secretary of State, together with some media reports, have caused the general possible outlines of his Iran policy to become clearer.
Although during his electoral campaign, Donald Trump had raised harsh criticisms of Iran nuclear deal and suggested breaking it apart after entering the White House, it now seems that the international realities are gradually pushing him to a different line. However, this does not mean that his main idea on increasing the pressures on Iran and intensifying the confrontation with the country has been set aside.
In fact, even after his inauguration, Trump has continued his criticisms of the nuclear deal and has always referred to it as a very bad deal. In one of his latest positions, in a joint press conference with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu he talked of the nuclear deal as "one of the worst deals I’ve ever seen”. Trump also insisted that his administration will conduct a series of activities to make sure that Iran will never get a nuclear bomb.
Yesterday, the second formal point of the US administration’s approach toward Iran was represented in the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s remarks. After the French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault talked about his concerns over a possible willingness among the US officials to revise the nuclear deal, Tillerson denied that he is against the deal and wants its abolition.
At the same time, in a press conference last night, Trump defended his record on Iran, referring to the imposition of a new set of sanctions against the country. He also labeled Iran as "the main supporter of terrorism”. However, again he tried to keep the ambiguity on the issue, saying that he is not willing to say what he will do against Iran and North Korea, because he doesn’t want these countries to know his plans.
Thus, what could be currently said with a degree of certainty is that Trump’s positions toward Iran have been tempered down thanks to facing the international realities. Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean a total reevaluation of his general viewpoint toward Iran. In this vein, it seems that from now on, his main focus will be on increasing the pressures on Iran through different channels.
The Wall Street Journal published a report yesterday saying that the talks have already begun between Trump administration and the Arab allies of the US to form a kind of military coalition against Iran. The ultimate goal of the talks is to limit Iran’s influence in the region and to counter its so-called military threats. It is said that the US won’t be a formal member of the coalition, but will support it by different security and military means.
Therefore, reminding Trump’s insistence on imposing new sanctions against Iran, together with reports like that of the WSJ, one could conclude that the two main pillars of the new American approach toward Iran are imposing political, diplomatic and economic pressures against the country by tightening the circle of the sanctions and at the same time, enhancing the cooperation with the US regional allies to form an anti-Iranian coalition. Although breaking up the nuclear deal is no more a centerpiece of his policy, Trump is apparently trying to put Iran under pressure more than before.