Following the results of the American Presidential elections, Iranian President Rouhani tweeted “Trump win cannot reverse nuclear deal” (reported also in the political news updates section in the washingtonpost).
This reminds us that in the run up to the Presidential Elections, Trump, as a candidate, attacked the Iran nuclear deal with a storm. Some statements went in the direction of “scrapping the deal” while some went in the direction of re-negotiating the deal to make it tougher and more demanding of Iran. Common to all statements was the disapproval and a pledge to change things. In one of his speeches, Trump said the following on the deal: “My number one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran; this deal is catastrophic for America, for Israel and for the whole Middle East.” (See: donald trump speech transcript).
At last the “House” finds itself on the same page as the future White House. The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly (419 to 1) in support of the ten year extension of the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA). The washingtonpost, covering the vote, commentated that the vote demonstrates that “they are sending a foreign policy message” and that they “favor a strict approach when it comes to Iran”. Interesting that the nytimes, covering the vote, dedicates the latter part to stressing the need to “ease tensions”.
Although some members of Congress and the White House preferred a “clean” renewal of the ISA, as reported in the washingtonpost there were some who proposed to supplement the extension with new sanctions related to ballistic missile tests, cyber-threats and espionage, and the activities of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps”.
Trump himself preached time and time again that the nuclear deal cannot be judged just in the context of the nuclear issue. It is also an issue of trust and “additional Iranian activities”. Trump stated: “We will stand up to Iran’s aggressive push to destabilize and dominate the region”; We will totally dismantle Iran’s global terror network which is big and powerful”.
President Obama expressed the expectation that Trump will not “live up to his word”. As reported at length in the latimes, Obama stated: ” When you are not responsible for it, you can call it a terrible deal, when you are responsible you are more likely to look at the facts”.
So what will happen now? Will Trump “go back on his word”, as President Obama expects and President Rouhani wishes, or will he give expression to the will of a “change of policy”?
Perhaps we should remind Trump that Obama was elected with the hope of change, and he disappointed. We saw the results. Will Trump make the same mistake?