|By Arabian Post Staff| With a hardliner like Donald Trump set to head the US administration, Iran-US relations seem to be set to re-enter the tension zone once again. Already signs of hard posturing by both sides are visible. Trump has advocated doubling or tripling the sanctions previously imposed on Iran to force the country to accept greater restrictions on its nuclear program than those contained in a 2015 agreement with world powers.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani fired the first salvo immediately after Trump’s election when he declared that Donald Trump won’t be able to undo world powers’ nuclear deal with Iran.
The 2015 accord, signed between Iran and six powers including the U.S., “cannot be overturned by one government’s decision,” Rouhani told his cabinet on Wednesday, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency. Trump told a pro-Israel lobbying group in the U.S. in March that “my number one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran.” Rouhani said Trump’s victory won’t be able to stop Iran’s economic growth.
For a decade, the U.S. and other major powers squeezed Iran’s economy to force it to rein in its nuclear program. Like its immense oil reserves, its relatively well-educated workforce, a wider range of industries than most oil exporters and a president determined to liberalize the investment climate and revive the nation’s fortunes. During his campaign Donald Trump threatened to take a tougher position on Iran.
International sanctions were lifted in January after inspectors certified that Iran curtailed its program as promised under the deal. Rouhani has been courting global companies with the aim of doubling foreign direct investment in 2016 to about $15 billion. Overseas oil and construction companies as well as airplane and car manufacturers like Airbus and Peugeot Citroen inked early deals.
After Iran complained that a U.S. restriction on dollar-denominated trades involving the country inhibited the sealing of additional agreements, the U.S. relaxed some rules in October. A sweeping 1995 U.S. ban on trade and investment, triggered by concern about Iran’s links to terrorism, has kept most U.S. companies on the sidelines. However, Boeing gained U.S. government approval to sell jetliners to Iran.
Reuters quoted Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former Saudi intelligence chief and ex-ambassador to Washington and London, as saying on Thursday Trump should not scrap a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers but should take the nation to task for its “destabilizing activities” in the Middle East.
“I don’t think he should scrap it. It’s been worked on for many years and the general consensus in the world, not just the United States, is that it has achieved an objective, which is a 15-year hiatus in the program that Iran embarked on to develop nuclear weapons,” Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former Saudi intelligence chief and ex-ambassador to Washington and London said on Thursday.
“To scrap that willy-nilly as it were will have ramifications, and I don’t know if something else can be put in its place to guarantee that Iran will not go that route if the agreement is scrapped,” he said at a think-tank event in Washington.
Prince Turki said he would like to see if the deal could become a “stepping stone” to a more permanent program “to prevent proliferation through the establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.” (With Bloomberg, Reuters)