Trump speaks at Washington rally against the Iran deal back in September 2015. Credit: Olivier Douliery/Sipa USA/Newscom
Trump’s constant hostility to Iran has made it politically impossible for anyone in the Iranian government to consider negotiating with the U.S.:
But even reformers accept that national pride dictates that Mr Trump tirades against Iran makes it ever more difficult for the government to even consider talks with the US.
“It is poisonous to negotiate with Trump under the circumstances,” said Hossein Marashi, a senior reformist politician. “When we face unfair attacks, we have no choice but to answer those attacks. This US approach is not sustainable and we should wait until there is a change in the next Congress or administration.”
Trump and Pompeo may say that they want Iran to agree to a “better” deal, but everything else that they say and do shows that they have no interest in any agreement that might be acceptable to Iran. The administration’s demands have put Iran in the position of choosing between defiance and humiliating surrender with nothing in between, and like any other self-respecting government the Iranians are choosing defiance. The U.S. under Trump has already proven that it can’t be trusted to honor its agreements with Iran when the president reneged on the nuclear deal. The goal of the administration’s Iran policy is now unmistakable: the destabilization and overthrow of the regime. It is clear that the administration has no interest in defusing tensions through diplomacy, and it is instead looking to pick a fight with Iran over anything and everything.
The Trump administration’s intense hostility towards Iran and its willingness to engage with a nuclear-armed North Korea sends a clear message to North Korea and the rest of the world. The administration is showing that the U.S. will treat nuclear-armed states with some measure of respect while treating states that abide by their nonproliferation obligations like trash. Iran is still complying with the terms of the nuclear deal, but the Trump administration has given them every incentive to scrap it and follow North Korea’s example.