The American camp against Tehran
There is huge disappointment due to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s hostile stances
Washington, which is divided over the nuclear deal and rapprochement with Iran, has become more rejecting of Iran. The White House, which is the sponsor of relations with Iran and is enthusiastic about them, has not backed down, but it no longer defends Iran much. Meanwhile, the opposing camp has increased in number and influence.
There is huge disappointment due to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s hostile stances, as his current unfriendly statements toward the Americans are similar to those prior to signing the nuclear deal. A US official commented on the matter, saying they knew the regime in Iran was bad, but they did not expect it to be this bad. The struggles and game of balances in Tehran have reflected the regime’s inability to reconcile with the Americans.
When analyzing last week’s activity of the US Congress, we can see that there is a general orientation that wants to restrain and punish Iran, and that Washington is walking a path that is opposite to that which it walked six months ago.
What further shortened the honeymoon period was Iran’s slow implementation of the promises related to the deal. This in addition to signing massive military deals with Russia, making statements against the United States, and besieging officials who are “America’s friends"” in Iran, such as the foreign minister and President Hassan Rouhani’s aides.
President Barack Obama’s administration may not alter its stance toward Iran. However, Tehran will likely confront a different situation when the new president, whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, assumes powerAbdulrahman al-Rashed
In an obvious setback, most of the financial committee of Congress adopted a decision requiring the treasury’s secretary to submit a report on the Iranian leadership’s funds inside and outside Iran. This targets the supreme leader, the president, members of the Guardian Council and military leaders.
Those who approved the bill admit that the reason behind it is political, as they want to reveal the fortunes of Iranian leaders to their people and to the world. Six Democrats, i.e. from the president’s party, supported the bill. They also urged the treasury’s secretary to keep Iran on the list of countries categorized as dangerous and uncooperative in money-laundering.
Senator David Vitter condemned Boeing’s deal to sell airplanes to Iran, and noted that Iran is categorized by the US State Department as a country that funds terrorism. Two Congressmen share his opinion, and sent a letter to Boeing’s director criticizing him for the deal due to these security concerns regarding Iran.
Congressman Mike Pompeo criticized the Treasury Department, and condemned what he described as the administration’s backing down on its promise to not allow Iran to benefit from the loans of the US Export-Import Bank to fund the Boeing deal. Congressman Steve Chabot said he sought to convince the US government to stand against Russia’s selling of S-300 missiles to Iran because this would violate sanctions.
President Barack Obama’s administration may not alter its stance toward Iran because it considers the nuclear deal its own project. However, Tehran will likely confront a different situation when the new president, whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, assumes power in six months.
Iran will tire a lot as long as it does not want to become part of the new world, and as long as all it wants from the deal is for sanctions to be lifted and to get money and arms. It is wrong to compare the Obama administration’s openness to Iran to its openness to Cuba and Vietnam, as these two countries gave up arms and wars years ago, but Iran is currently manifesting the peak of its hostility and wars.
This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on June 22, 2016.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today. He tweets @aalrashed