Trump in a confrontation with Tehran’s regime

Abdulrahman al-Rashed
Abdulrahman al-Rashed
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Here we are waiting, and the world also awaits US President Donald Trump’s decision on opposing Iran after he announced yesterday that he will be reconsidering the US-Iran nuclear deal. The president saw that Iran broke the very soul of the agreement. He also saw that the deal was not in the interest of US security and therefore it must be amended.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates promptly and courageously backed the US decision because it is in the region’s interest. Their support of the decision also finally sends a political message to Iran urging it to stop its battles and threats. Trump’s decision is also in favor of the moderate voices in Iran – perhaps it would restrain extremist groups in power.

The US decision is a courageous one. It’s one that we have never seen the like of in two decades. It may as well be the beginning of a regional correction; or at least it would stop Iran from creeping in.

Trump’s decision will rectify a number of mistakes Iran has non-explicitly considered to extend and threaten the region’s security and the United States’ interests in Bahrain, Iraq, Yemen, Syria and Lebanon.

Iran had seen an international retreat from Syria as a new symbol of victory for itself and Hezbollah.

Trump is not hasty as some say. Don’t forget that he has been patient with Iran previously and signed the continuation of the US-Iran agreement twice, when he should be reviewing it every three months.

Yet, Iran did not cooperate with Washington. It did not stop its military activity in the region nor did it quit its military trade. Instead, Iran challenged Washington and announced that it was developing a ballistic missile system.

This time Trump made his decision and it is the biggest blow to Iran’s extremist wing. With this decision, Trump would send back the agreement for a congress to vote on, he would then re-impose painful economic sanctions. Now let Iran’s government do what it wills.

The rest of the Western countries are against Trumps’ decision; they want the agreement to continue. They do so while fearing Iran coming back to enrich Uranium and develop its military forces as an excuse. In reality, what President Trump is proposing is correct.

The president is noting that the current agreement does not stop Iran from its military-nuclear project, it only postpones it. For during the temporary prohibition period on enrichment, Iran is allowed to build its military equipment such as missiles carrying nuclear warheads.

Note that we are not dismissing the dangers of Trump’s decision nor its repercussions on the region. For if the President completely terminated the agreement and faced Iran, he could open a wider phase of confrontation.

It is wrong to view Iran’s nuclear project as just a mean to jump on the nuclear states' bandwagon. On a daily basis, Iran is fighting wars in the region, none of which are a defensive need, but all seek expansionism.

Meanwhile, what is said about President Trump as being a reckless war advocate and acting without taking into consideration the consequences on serious global issues such as Iran and North Korea, is not true.

In reality, Trump has given Tehran’s leaders two chances since stepping into his role as president to respond in a positive manner towards the agreement. However, they refused to meet him half way.

Also, let’s not forget that members of Trump’s party, the Republican Party, in Congress have a consensus against the agreement even before Trump even reached presidency. It is also obvious that Tehran has underestimated Trump after living eight comfortable years during Barack Obama’s time in office – who loosened the reigns on Iran.

Puppet governments

There is no interest for the world in allowing the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to roam around freely in the region and allow it to lead the militias’ war in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen. By the time the prohibition period comes to an end and the agreement is terminated, Iran would have extended its presence in the region and established puppet governments.

During which, the West will not be able to impose sanctions or prevent Iran from enriching Uranium. Iran would have also completed establishing a support system comprised of platforms, laboratories, caches and others.

Iran’s project is an expansionist one and intends to dominate the region. The project is not simply about building Iran’s nuclear powers for defensive purposes. For instance, India and Pakistan possess and share a nuclear weapon in South Asia. We have never seen the two countries seek expansion or fight wars.

It is wrong to view Iran’s nuclear project as just a mean to jump on the nuclear states' bandwagon. On a daily basis, Iran is fighting wars in the region, none of which are a defensive need, but all seek expansionism.

Tehran’s intentions and persistence to challenge the world are clear through the way it has dealt with its conflict with Washington.

The US administration stepped down for Iran in Syria. The US even agreed to maintain Bashar al-Assad’s regime, Iran’s ally. Yet, Tehran did not step down from any of the areas in which it is at war with, nor did it give Trump any concessions in the nuclear agreement.

This article is also available in Arabic.
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.

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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