Iran after the US election, a return to the deal?

By SETH J. FRANTZMAN

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said that Iran has suffered years of US “economic terrorism” and that now after the US election Iran hopes that the US will learn the lesson that Iran will not “submit” to US pressure. Iran’s regime is calculating that US President Donald Trump has lost the election is portraying itself as self-sufficient and strong in front of years of US pressure.

The US walked away from the Iran deal in 2018 and has put “maximum pressure” on Iran led by men like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Iran czar Brian Hook and Elliott Abrams. Abrams took on the Iran file from Hook in August. A hawk on Venezuela, he has barely settled into his role. Now it looks like these Trump powerhouses will be leaving office and Iran faces some tough choices. Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif was sent to Venezuela to shore up Iran’s role there and carve out some influence.

Iran calculates on several frontlines at once. It wants the US to leave Iraq. It wants to open new relations with China. It has a pro-China lobby who argues that Rouhani should not grovel to the new US administration. It also wants to work with Europe and Russia but knows that Europe lacks substance and is mostly virtue-signaling. That leaves Iran with several options. It is suffering economic pressure and putting on a brave face while it builds new missiles and drones, hoping that the end of an arms embargo will mean it can sell its wares.

Rouhani told the public on Saturday that “our people have been facing economic terrorism for the past three years, and in this regard, they have shown remarkable resistance, patience and unparalleled resilience.” 

Read the full report at The Jerusalem Post.

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