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Trump and Iran

Donald Trump strongly criticized the nuclear agreement during his presidential campaign. He called it a disaster and the worst deal ever negotiated. During a speech to a pro-Israel group in March 2016, Trump said as president, he would seek to end the disastrous deal with Iran. Trump repeatedly slammed the nuclear accord during the campaign. "The stupidest deal of all time," Trump said in the final presidential debate in October 2016. "A deal that's going to give Iran absolutely nuclear weapons. Iran should write us yet another letter saying thank you very much."

The US would not face any direct international legal consequences if it decided to pull out of the agreement. The deal was created as a political commitment rather than a treaty. The United Nations Security Council resolution that approved it does not require its members to accept it. Legal experts say this means the new administration could simply take no action if it chooses to do so.

The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a conservative research organization in Washington D.C., agrees. The group was an early supporter of a "stop the Iran nuclear deal" campaign and urged members of Congress to block the deal. However, the group now opposes canceling it. Orde Kittrie, a senior fellow at the foundation, said if the US withdrew from the deal, Iran would feel free to ignore the restrictions on its nuclear program. He said it would also be very hard to bring back sanctions if the agreement is renegotiated.

Trump's relations with Iran Saudi Arabia's main regional competitor might depend in part on the dynamics of the changing relationship between Washington and Moscow, and on Trump's campaign promises to normalize relations with Russia. In addition, Trump has said of his Middle East policy that the US's main enemy is Daesh, which is presently headquartered in Syria. Accordingly, if Trump's policy is aimed at fighting Daesh, and not Assad, at the regional level, relations between the US and Iran will not be as tense as they were under Obama.

The Senate approved the Countering Iran's Destabilizing Activities Act in a near-unanimous 98-2 vote 15 June 2017, but the House's majority Republican leaders had not said when they will act on it. To become law, the Senate bill would have to pass the House of Representatives and be signed by Donald Trump.

Tehran was shocked by the passage of the unprecedented United States Senate sanctions on 15 June 2017 targeting Irans ballistic missile program, support for terrorism in the Middle East and flagrant human rights violations. Many of the new measures imposed on Iran were far more complex than any sanctions even prior to the Iran nuclear deal. There was no need for the Trump administration to tear up the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as these new sanctions provided the US President vast authority for further punitive action. This new initiative also contained a classified amendment believed to describe Iran as an extremely dangerous state.

Resolution 2231 was adopted on July 20, 2015 to endorse the JCPOA. Under the resolution, Iran is "called upon" not to undertake any activity related to missiles "designed to be capable of" delivering nuclear weapons. Iran says it is not involved in any such missile work and has no such warheads.

Prior to the JCPOA around 600 individuals and entities were blacklisted and the JCPOA delisted around 400. However, with the approval and implementation of this new bill some forecast a few thousand individuals and entities being blacklisted as a result. The Senate's recent vote was "commended" by the pro-Tel Aviv American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

"The U.S. Senate's move is unquestionably in breach of both the spirit and the letter of the nuclear deal," Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said on 16 June 2017. "Iran's ballistic program is totally legitimate," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said. "Iran's armed forces will continue to defend the country's security and interests." Both Qassemi and Velayati said Iran would take "reciprocal measures" if the legislation was enacted.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman defended the country's "completely legitimate" missile program, emphasizing that nothing can prevent the Islamic Republic from exercising its right to defense. "Missile defense programs of the Islamic Republic of Iran are completely legitimate and are not even at odds with [the United Nations Security Council] Resolution 2231," Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said in reaction to the US Senate's decision to impose new sanctions on Tehran.

On 21 May 2018 US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo unveiled a far-reaching list of demands for any new nuclear deal with Iran, and threatened economy-crushing sanctions if Tehran does not change its behavior. The 12-point list of demands came in a speech at the conservative Heritage Foundation that laid out the Trump administration's strategy after pulling out of the Iran nuclear agreement earlier this month.

  1. Iran must declare to the IAEA a full account of the prior military dimensions of its nuclear program, and permanently and verifiably abandon such work in perpetuity.
  2. Iran must stop enrichment and never pursue plutonium reprocessing. This includes closing its heavy water reactor.
  3. Iran must also provide the IAEA with unqualified access to all sites throughout the entire country.
  4. Iran must end its proliferation of ballistic missiles and halt further launching or development of nuclear-capable missile systems.
  5. Iran must release all U.S. citizens, as well as citizens of our partners and allies, each of them detained on spurious charges.
  6. Iran must end support to Middle East terrorist groups, including Lebanese Hizballah, Hamas, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
  7. Iran must respect the sovereignty of the Iraqi Government and permit the disarming, demobilization, and reintegration of Shia militias.
  8. Iran must also end its military support for the Houthi militia and work towards a peaceful political settlement in Yemen.
  9. Iran must withdraw all forces under Iranian command throughout the entirety of Syria.
  10. Iran, too, must end support for the Taliban and other terrorists in Afghanistan and the region, and cease harboring senior al-Qaida leaders.
  11. Iran, too, must end the IRG Qods Force's support for terrorists and militant partners around the world.
  12. Iran must end its threatening behavior against its neighbors many of whom are U.S. allies. This certainly includes its threats to destroy Israel, and its firing of missiles into Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It also includes threats to international shipping and destructive and destructive cyberattacks.

Pompeo's list of demands were wide-ranging, a reflection of the Trump administration's multipronged criticism of the Iran nuclear deal. "That list is pretty long, but if you take a look at it, these are 12 very basic requirements. The length of the list is simply a scope of the malign behavior of Iran. We didn't create the list, they did." A Pentagon spokesman said the U.S. will be taking steps to "address Iran's malign influence and destabilization actions" but declined to comment on any specific moves.

At the battle of Stirling Bridge, 11 September 1297, the movie Braveheart has William Wallace provoking the English to battle, saying "Here are Scotland's terms. Lower your flags, and march straight back to England, stopping at every home to beg forgiveness for 100 years of theft, rape, and murder. Do that and your men shall live. Do it not, and every one of you will die today. ... Before we let you leave, your commander must cross that field, present himself before this army, put his head between his legs, and kiss his own ass."

The United States announced plans 02 July 2018 to reimpose tough sanctions on Iran's energy and banking sectors, saying the Iranian government needs to change its behavior and act like a "normal country." Director of Policy Planning Brian Hook said "Our goal is to increase pressure on the Iranian regime by reducing to zero its revenue on crude oil sales ... We are working to minimize disruptions to the global market, but we are confident there is sufficient global spare oil capacity."

The State Department's director of policy planning noted the first part of U.S. sanctions will snap back in August 6. These sanctions will include targeting Iran's automotive sector, trade and gold, and other key metals. He said the remaining U.S. sanctions will snap back in November 4. These sanctions will include targeting Iran's energy sector and petroleum-related transactions, and transactions with the central bank of Iran.

Donald Trump ordered the reimposition of major financial sanctions on Iran, targeting currency purchases and key industries three months after pulling out of the 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers. In a statement on 06 August 2018, Trump repeated his longstanding position that the 2015 accord which provided Tehran with relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program was a horrible, one-sided deal." The president pulled the United States out of the landmark agreement in May, saying Iran was not living up to the spirit of the accord, and vowed to reimpose economic sanctions that were lifted under the deal.

A new round of U.S. sanctions targeting Iran's oil and economic sectors went into effect 05 November 2018. Analysts said Western capitals are looking at the dynamics of the world oil market as they debate what action, if any, to take against Iran's neighbor, Saudi Arabia, over the recent death of a dissident Saudi journalist. The West needs the Gulf kingdom to help make up for any oil supply shortfalls caused by the reinstatement of the sanctions against Iran, they say. Even before the penalties were reimposed, a significant amount of oil from the world market was removed. The administration appeared to be taking care to keep disruption of the oil markets to the minimum. The United States granted temporary waivers to eight countries for them to continue to buy Iranian oil. Saudi Arabia has promised to increase oil production capacity by a million barrels of oil a day to compensate for the loss of Iranian oil. That pledge emphasizes the importance of Saudi Arabia for the West.

Donald Trump imposed new sanctions 24 June 2019 on Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, and others. However, when announcing the sanctions, Trump referred to the late Imam Khomeini. "Sanctions imposed through the executive order that Im about to sign will deny the Supreme Leader and the Supreme Leaders Office, and those closely affiliated with him and the office, access to key financial resources and support. The assets of Ayatollah Khomeini and his office will not be spared from the sanctions," Trump said at the signing of an executive order to impose the sanctions. The president of the United States, who holds the fate of many decisions and treaties of the world, was not so well aware that "Imam Khomeini" died in 1989 and "Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei" is Leader of the Islamic Revolution for 30 years.

Death to America is a popular slogan among Iranians that has been in use since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, which toppled the US-backed Pahlavi regime in the country and replaced it with an Islamic establishment.

In Trumps comments in an interview with Fox News on June 14, he claimed, They (the Iranians) havent screamed death to America lately. Trump had said, If you look at the (Iranian) rhetoric now compared to the days when they were signing that agreement [the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which Trump withdrew from], where it was always death to America, death to America, we will destroy America, we will kill America, Im not hearing that too much anymore, Trump said. And I dont expect to.

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei derided US President Donald Trump for claiming that the Iranian people have not been chanting Death to America since he came into office. During a meeting with staff members of Irans Judiciary in Tehran on 27 June 2019, Ayatollah Khamenei called the Trump administration the most vicious government of the world. He said Now this great, brave and reputable nation is being accused by the most vicious government of the world, i.e. the US. The crowd welcomed the description by shouting "Death to America." Ayatollah Khamenei poked fun at Trump and said, That fellow had said the Iranian nation is no longer chanting Death to America. The Leaders remarks then drew a new round of Death to America chants from the participants in the meeting.

Iran hit back at US President Donald Trump's call for new nuclear negotiations that encompass its ballistic missiles programme, accusing Washington of bringing the Middle East to the brink of "explosion" by selling arms to allies in the Gulf. Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister, made the comments in a wide-ranging interview that aired on NBC News on 15 July 2019. He said Iran would only sit down with the United States if it lifted punishing economic sanctions it has imposed on Tehran and rejoined the 2015 nuclear deal it abandoned last year.

Zari told NBC it was the US and its allies - Saudia Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) - who were to blame for turmoil in the Middle East. "If you want to discuss ballistic missiles, then we need to discuss the amount of weapons sold to our region," he said. "Last year, Iran spent $16bn altogether on its military, we have an 82 million population. UAE with a million population spent $22bn. Saudi Arabia - with less than half of [Iran's] population - spent $67bn, most of them are American [arms]. These are American weaponry that is going into our region, making our region ready to explode. So if they want to talk about our missiles, they need first to stop selling all these weapons including missiles to our region."

When NBC journalist Lester Holt further pressed Zarif on the issue, referring to Iran's support for armed groups in the region, the minister brought up the Saudi-led interventions in Yemen and Bahrain. "Let me ask you - who's bombing Yemen? Who's invading Bahrain? Who kept the prime minister of another country a prisoner," Zarif asked. "Are we involved at all in North Africa? ... Why do you have chaos in Libya? Is Iran involved in Libya? ... in Sudan? ... in Algeria? Why do we have all this turmoil? I believe if you want to look at the right place for those who have malign activity in our region, the US needs to look at its own allies, not at Iran."

Zarif reiterated Iran did not want a war with the US and urged Trump to lift the crippling measures against Tehran to begin talks. "Once those sanctions are lifted, then ... the door for negotiations is wide open," Zarif said. "It is the United States that left the bargaining table. And they're always welcome to return."

US President Donald Trump had a red notice request for his arrest issued through Interpol by Iran on 05 January 2021. Iranian judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili announced during a press conference that Iran has requested the international police organisation to arrest Trump and 47 other American officials identified as playing a role in the assassination of top general Qassem Soleimani last year. The Islamic Republic of Iran is very seriously following up on pursuing and punishing those who ordered and executed this crime, Esmaili told reporters.

Soleimani, Irans top general who led the foreign operations arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, was assassinated on January 3, 2020, in a US drone strike in Baghdad ordered by Trump. The assassination was deemed to be against international law by Agnes Callamard, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

It was the second Iranian request for an international arrest warrant for Trump and dozens of US officials in the Pentagon and US Central Command, among other organisations. In June 2020, Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr issued an arrest warrant for Trump and dozens of US officials saying they face murder and terrorism charges. But France-based Interpol rejected Irans June 2020 request, saying its constitution forbids it from undertaking any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character.

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Page last modified: 08-01-2021 13:52:09 ZULU