By the decision in May to leave the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) by the Trump administration indicated that they are taking a tougher position on Iran, including no waivers for various sanctions regarding purchasing Iranian oil.
The Iranian government, in an attempt to not appear to be backing down to the U.S., has fired back, the latest being President Rouhani appearing to threaten the U.S. with war if it continues to push for additional sanctions. U.S. President Trump responded via Twitter, clearly determined to take the upper hand in the war of words.
A new agreement with the Iranian regime
One of the key topics appears to be what is the administration willing to give in return for the creation of a new agreement with the Iranian regime. Another issue, which could greatly impact the region, is whether the U.S. is prepared to back up its policy with military force against the Iranian regime.
In the past, the Pentagon has only offered limited options to the administration. For example, they provided options to stop Iranian weapons from reaching the Houthis, who are battling with the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in Yemen.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo outlined 12 requirements that must be met for the U.S. to reach a new agreement with Iran, including the end of Iran’s military support to various militant groups throughout the region. The result is meant to squeeze Iran, giving the Iranian people the incentive to protest and demonstrate, causing regime change.
Part of the U.S. efforts to isolate Iran both economically and politically is through sanctions, not only on Iran and its various organizations and industries, but those countries and companies that do business with the regime.
While President Trump seems willing to make a deal with Iran after these requirements are met, the sanctions and hard line of his administration appear to be focused on destabilizing the regime and forcing them out. The Trump administration has not indicated that they support regime change, but their actions suggest otherwise.
Rudy Giuliani, personal lawyer to President Trump and former mayor of New York City, gave a speech at a recent Free Iran gathering in Paris held by a coalition of Iranian resistance groups, known as the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
“I can’t speak for the president, but it sure sounds like he doesn’t think there is much of a chance of a change in behavior unless there is a change in people and philosophy,” said Giuliani. He also criticized Europe for their actions to try to save the agreement, while noting that seven companies have already pulled out of Iran in response to U.S. warnings of sanctions being put back into place.
“Anybody who thinks the Ayatollahs are honest people is a fool. They are crooks and that’s what Europe is propping up,” said Giuliani.