Referring to the US administration’s response to international pressure to lift the unilateral sanctions against Iran in the wake of the corona crisis, Kourosh Ahmadi told the website of the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations in an interview: “Trump’s security team is focused on confronting Iran. In fact, after the first two years in the Trump administration, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has finally assumed a central role to play in the Iran case, and he is a person who deals with the issue from an ideological perspective.

“Pompeo’s ideological outlooks and goals are rooted in US domestic politics. He is very close to the Christian right in the United States and has shown that he has a more radical approach to Iran and the issue of sanctions. He follows his own particular political aims in US domestic politics and has plans for the 2024 presidential election. Unlike Tillerson, who was pragmatic and realistic, Pompeo has no trace of pragmatism or realism.”

Trump Favors Talks, Pompeo Prefers Confrontation with Iran

The international affairs analyst noted the long-standing friendship and companionship of other key figures in Trump’s security team (including Secretary of Defense and CIA Director) with Mike Pompeo, and stressing that he played a key role in US day-to-day security policy, said: “Of course, Pompeo obeys his boss concerning the negotiation Trump proposes but overall, given all the evidence, it is unlikely that Pompeo will believe in negotiating with Iran, and he is more after trouble making for the Islamic Republic.”

“Unfortunately, this is the dominant approach in Trump’s security team, as long as there is no negotiation,” Ahmadi said. In response to Iran’s downing of an American drone and attacks on certain American bases in Iraq in December, Pompeo was apparently in favour of a direct military attack on Iran and not just Iran’s proxy groups in Iraq.

Pompeo is a personality with extremist vision and tendency and plays a key role in Trump’s security team in relation to Iran. Therefore, despite the good actions taken by the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to lift the sanctions specifically over the past two months in connection with the corona crisis and mobilization to take place no attempt has been made to show that Trump’s security team is considering a change in policy.

Americans Still Creating Problems for Iran

Referring to the emphasis placed by the UN Secretary-General, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and other high-level dignitaries on the need to suspend or at least ease the unilateral sanctions, and also considering the positive stance taken by the leaders and foreign ministers of some countries, and the release of letters by NGO, academic and religious figures, he said: “We do not see any change in the US approach and it seems that the US administration’s stance on a loan to Iran by IMF is also negative. Of course, the United States cannot veto the loan because it is an emergency loan from the Fund, and it is approved by a simple majority vote. Meantime, the US vote bloc (16.5 per cent) is not strong enough to veto the loan, but American influence can delay it anyway. The International Monetary Fund has so far failed to devote the loan, because of US opposition, so the Americans are still creating problems for Iran in all areas.”

Trump Administration Ignores Int’l Public Opinion

The international affairs analyst explained that the US administration’s actions will certainly have consequences for the country: “The image of a country, the government and the president at the international level is an important factor and is part of the national security of that country. This also should be important for the United States or any other government, but in the three and a half years that the Trump administration has been in power, this has not been a top priority. Some of Trump’s actions have been very controversial like raising the slogan “America First” and focusing on the United States and ignoring the interests of other countries; and ignoring issues related to international trade, globalization, environmental issues and the Paris Agreement, despite the approximate international consensus and public opinion and their importance to the world.

Need to Increase Pressure on Trump’s Team

At the same time, Ahmadi stressed that if we want to look at the issue realistically, the pressure must be greater to leave an impact on the Trump team. Of course, the IRI Ministry of Foreign Affairs has done its best so far and has been successful, but the pressure so far has not been enough to influence a government like the Trump administration with its peculiar characteristics. Perhaps it would have affected it if a normal government was in power in the United States, but even this is a matter of doubt.

He noted that in the 1990s when UN Security Council sanctions against Iraq were imposed, other countries besides the United States and Britain were seriously calling for the lifting of sanctions. Although the Kuwaiti war was over, the United States and Britain were determined to continue the sanctions. The sanctions inflicted heavy casualties on the Iraqi people. For instance, 600,000 Iraqi children lost their lives due to lack of medical and food supplies. At the time, protest demonstrations were taking place in European capitals with the participation of hundreds of thousands. Other members of the Security Council also pushed for the lifting of sanctions, but unfortunately, the Clinton administration did not back off; so the pressure being put on the Trump administration is good and must continue.

The international affairs expert said that almost all countries, except perhaps five countries, have stated that they oppose and condemn sanctions. “Of course this is a political position but since companies and banks play a role in the issue of sanctions, governments have not gone so far as providing executive support.