MIDDLE EAST

12 phone calls from Theresa May to Trump

Two parties engaged in a fateful battle to keep the US in the nuclear deal and were at some point more enthusiastic about this than the Iranians themselves.

A European party and an American one that mainly consists of Democrats, particularly those affiliated with the faction of former President Barack Obama, the godfather of the deal. Although these two parties have some similar goals, they also have different motives.

On the European level, British Prime Minister Theresa May exhausted US President Donald Trump with phone calls in an attempt to convince him to change his stance. She made 12 calls to him in a short period of time. This was followed by dispatching the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Boris Johnson to the White House.

For the first time, we notice how she tasked junior diplomats in the Middle East to defend the nuclear deal to an audience whose majority rejects it, and this caused them embarrassment. German Chancellor Angela Merkel also visited Washington and met with Trump for long hours to convince him not to withdraw from the deal.

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However, the romantic trip which has been engraved in our memories and which did not have a happy ending was that of French President Emmanuel Macron who can be described as the new lecturer of the deal now that Obama is out of the picture.

When he visited Trump in Washington, he brought up his well-known arguments and resorted to embraces, kisses and holding hands to influence the American president. However, all these Europeans efforts proved to be futile and Trump decided to withdraw from the deal. While making the announcement, Trump noted that the entire agreement was based on lies.

US National Security Advisor John Bolton said Trump decided to withdraw in the last second, but we cannot believe such claims. As more reports emerge, we realize that Trump had decided to withdraw from the deal after he rearranged his team and kept the doves out of it, particularly his former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who convinced Trump to postpone scrapping the deal twice.

The Europeans are saying that during this last phase, American negotiators were leniently working and did not have any strong belief in the cause because they knew that their president had made up his mind to withdraw from the deal.

Europe’s angry reactions convey justified fears because resuming its trade with Iran greatly threatens its trade with the US

Mamdouh AlMuhaini

Knock on the door

However, if the US president had decided to withdraw then why did he let European leaders beg him not to and knock on his door every hour?

Most likely, he saw this as a big chance to display America’s power, which he wants to embody in himself and his administration and which is the opposite of how the former administration was as he was always accused it of being humiliatingly weak.

This is not the first time he does so with the Europeans as he withdrew from the Paris Agreement on climate change and once threatened to impose a 35 percent import tax on German cars. The issue of the Iranian nuclear deal is more humiliating.

A high-ranking official at the EU angrily commented on Trump’s decision and said: “We must stop acting like we’re yielding.” On Thursday, Merkel reiterated her past statements in a new tone and said: “It is no longer such that the United States simply protects us, but Europe must take its destiny in its own hands.”

Abstract political theories and major economic gains constitute the motives of this European enthusiasm. Their political argument is not different from that of the former American administration despite the major transformations on the ground.

ALSO READ: Withdrawal from the deal weakens chances of war

The idea in general seems right and perfect, i.e. the deal will contribute to integrating the Iranian regime in the world order and strengthen the reformist movement thus it will defuse crises and spread peace. However, what we saw was the complete opposite.

Almost everyone knows that the American money brought by European funds and investments encouraged the Iranian regime’s dangerous behavior to spread chaos and destroy regional peace. History is not on European side.

For instance, they decided to strongly confront the Nazi threat and did not think of making any peace agreements even when Chamberlain made the deals, which he celebrated. When Hitler’s troubled deputy Rudolf Hess traveled to Britain in search of peace, he was confined to a solitary prison.

The Europeans then struggled for a long time while confronting Stalin’s iron rule. Western powers are now united in a hawkish determination to confront the influence of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The other motive is related to economy. European countries are trying to maintain these economic ties with Iran as they clearly said they will work to maintain their companies’ interests. European companies rushed to invest in Iran after the deal was signed.

Iranian-German commercial trade is around $4 billion a year. Last year, the French company Renault sent more than 60,000 to Iran. The French company Total is considered the largest investor in Iranian gas and oil. (There is a detailed report by colleague Hanan al-Manouri in Al Arabiya.net about the European billions that are now in the wind.)

Terms of agreement

Europe’s angry reactions convey justified fears because resuming its trade with Iran greatly threatens its trade with the US. Before withdrawing from the deal, the US Treasury had thwarted European banks’ operations that fund large projects and deals inside Iran because they violated the terms of the agreement.

The American party that opposes Trump’s move has made huge efforts to maintain Obama’s only legacy in foreign policy and which is now shattered to pieces. This was the main reason behind their enthusiasm as they have used all means of intimidation and resorted to media attacks to deter Trump from making his decision.

After he withdrew from the deal, we heard several angry and bitter comments which, interestingly, greatly resemble the comments made by Iranian regime officials. Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani repeated the same accusations they made, that Trump does not have the mental capability to manage and govern. This accusation is at the core of the American leftist camp’s propaganda.

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There were angry reactions following the withdrawal of the deal including a tweet by former director of the Central Intelligence Agency John Brennan in which he said: “Today, Donald Trump simultaneously lied about the Iranian nuclear deal, undermined global confidence in US commitments, alienated our closest allies, strengthened Iranian hawks, & gave North Korea more reason to keep its nukes. This madness is a danger to our national security.”

Brennan is an agitated and reckless man who lacks any sense of wisdom, and his statements reflect the rage toward the Trump administration and its decision, which is considered historical except by these two parties as well as by the mullahs in Tehran.

This article is also available in Arabic.
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Mamdouh AlMuhaini is the Editor-in-Chief of Al Arabiya News Channel’s digital platforms. He can be followed on Twitter @malmhuain.

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Last Update: Friday, 11 May 2018 KSA 12:18 - GMT 09:18
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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