Negative public opinion against Iran - what US needs the most
Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept. 19
By Azer Ahmadbayli – Trend:
Remember what sense of relief the world felt in 2015 after the nuclear deal was signed. Iran was no longer regarded as abode of evil (in the White House eyes), but a good partner that can commit to its obligations.
After signing the nuclear deal, Iran has been complying with all its terms, which has been confirmed periodically by IAEA. Reputation of Iran has gotten better and that’s it – Europe is rushing to conclude major trade and energy contracts with Tehran.
Meanwhile, on the other hand, the US extends a range of complaints against Tehran, going beyond the nuclear deal.
“We have to consider the totality of Iran’s activities and not let our view be defined solely by the nuclear agreement”, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on September 14 during his visit to London, Reuters reported.
US President Donald Trump is weighing a strategy that could allow more aggressive U.S. responses to Iran’s behavior. It could be agreed and made public before the end of September, U.S. officials said. “Whatever we end up with, we want to implement with allies to the greatest extent possible,” the US administration official said, Reuters reported.
According to the proposal, the US has defined all possible targets for cracking down on Iran’s “malicious activities” in the region, including prop up the Assad regime, cyber activities, developing of ballistic missiles program, support of Shi‘ite Muslim proxies and militant groups in Iraq and Syria, Iranian arms shipments to Houthi rebels in Yemen and Palestinian groups in Gaza and Sinai, and aggressive behavior of Iranian naval forces in the Gulf.
So, US has outlined potential zones for confrontation with Iran with possible use of force (recall “more aggressive U.S. responses”).
The nuclear deal inherently should be profitable for the US as it guaranties non-proliferation.
Washington trusts the IAEA. Indirect confirmation of this thesis came on September 14, when the US extended the sanctions relief for Iran under the deal.
But at the same time Washington gives itself full scope to give hard time to Iran in any other direction of its political and military activities in the region. Now, Washington is issuing one more bill regarding Iran’s “bad behavior” with a request to pay it.
The US is creating the environment where Iran will do nothing without being severely criticized, at best. Iran will not respond to this rhetoric unless it turns into practical steps, for instance, bombing a spot in Syria where Iranian militant groups are stationed, or clash in the Gulf as that in March 1988, when USS Samuel B Roberts was blown up by Iranian mine and in response of that a number of Iranian warships were destroyed by the US Navy (Praying Mantis operation).
If an armed incident (or chain of incidents) occurs, it will give cause for the US to create negative public opinion in mass media and to convince its hesitating European allies that Iran nevertheless poses a common threat for all, and that time has come to change the current JCPOA status-quo and return to policy of isolation.
Then it will get easier for the White House to take any unpopular decision concerning Iran. But the best prize for the US will be if Iran, having been embittered, backs out from the nuclear deal first.