Trump's rhetoric more ‘traditionally’ anti-Iranian - expert

Trump's rhetoric more ‘traditionally’ anti-Iranian - expert

Baku, Azerbaijan, August 1

By Kamila Aliyeva – Trend:

The recent Iranian missile test is not a violation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed in 2015, since this agreement only refers to nuclear weapons, although it reflects some changes in Tehran's relations with the US, Associate Professor Gianluca Pastori, an expert in history of political relations in North America and Europe, told Trend.

“However, it is a sign that something has changed – apparently, at least – between the country and the international community, most notably the United States,” he said.

Under the Obama administration, US played a central role in making the agreement possible, committing to withdrawal of their sanctions against Iran in exchange for the Iranian compliancy with the provisions of the treaty, according to the expert.

He stressed that the rhetoric of the US President Donald Trump is different, more ‘traditionally’ anti-Iranian and better fitting in the mood of the US Congress.

“The President’s tour in Saudi Arabia and his meetings with the leaders of several Sunni countries have been perceived as anti-Iranian moves. More importantly, these moves coincided with Hassan Rouhani’s victory in the Iranian presidential elections of May 19, which somehow amplified the ‘pragmatics’ and the ‘moderates’ vis-à-vis the most hardliner elements of the country’s leadership,” the expert said.

Pastori noted that the timing of the test might be seen as an answer to US and their regional allies, especially Saudi Arabia.

At the same time, the test was also viewed as a sort of a message, which was sent to their domestic counterparts by the several components of the Iranian elite, according to the expert.

“In the eyes of the hardliners (both within and outside the Armed Forces), it is a proof of their permanent relevance within the country’s establishment. In the eyes of the ‘pragmatics’, it is a reassurance to their rivals, a way to affirm that – despite the signing of the JCPOA – Iran is not ready to renounce its ambitions,” he said.

Pastori further talked about the possible consequences for the US-Iranian relations in connection with the missile test and JCPOA.

The approval of a new set of sanctions against Iran, Russia, and North Korea by US Congress is a clear sign that the JCPOA still faces a strong opposition within the US establishment, the expert said, adding that at the same time the attitude of the Administration appears to be more nuanced.

“Despite Trump’s rhetoric outbursts, the White House repeatedly declared to remain committed to the implementation of the nuclear deal,” he underlined.

Against this backdrop, the political impact of the missile test could be negligible, according to the expert.

“It largely depends on the will of the US administration not to jeopardize a process that – if kept low-profiled – could benefit, in the long run, Washington as well as Tehran,” he added.

Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council - the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia - plus Germany signed the JCPOA on July 14, 2015 and started implementing it on January 16, 2016.

Under the agreement, limits were put on Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for, among other things, the removal of all nuclear-related bans against the Islamic Republic.

The UN Security Council later unanimously endorsed a resolution that effectively turned the JCPOA into international law.

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