Iran Won’t Reward Trump’s Aggression
In case there was any doubt, the Iranian government made clear that they were not interested in talking to Trump:
Iran sees no prospect of negotiations with the United States, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Tuesday, a day after U.S. President Donald Trump said a deal with Tehran on its nuclear program was possible.
Iranian officials have repeatedly stated that there won’t be any talks with the U.S. until our government rejoins the JCPOA. That definitely won’t happen under the current administration, so there has never been a realistic chance of starting up U.S.-Iranian negotiations in the near term. Everyone understands that, and that makes the president’s random “offers” to talk all the more ridiculous. Iran has already been burned by Trump’s decision to renege on the nuclear deal and wage economic war on the entire country, so there would have to be a major effort on the U.S. side to regain Iranian trust. The Trump administration would have to reverse course and undo every anti-Iranian thing that it has done over the last two years, and even then that would barely get the U.S. and Iran back to where they had been in 2017. Trump wouldn’t ever do that because it would require him to admit being completely wrong.
Najmeh Bozorgmehr reports on how Iranians are adapting to life under U.S. economic warfare against them:
Iranian analysts tell me the US made one big mistake this time. It used almost all its non-military leverage against Iran over the wrong issue, because the country was not violating the 2015 nuclear accord. Iranians may despise their rulers but they are aware that the US is not righteous, either. How can they see Mr Trump as a saviour when he calls Iran “a nation of terror” and promises “the official end of Iran”?
I don’t see how Iranians could view Trump as anything other than a menace when one of his first acts as president was to declare all of them to be potential security threats with the unnecessary and cruel travel ban. His hostility to and contempt for Iran and its people have been intense and consistent for more than two years. The complete lack of respect that Trump has shown to Iranian leaders and the Iranian people alike stands in sharp contrast to his fawning praise for the North Korean leader, and they cannot help but take that as an insult. It also isn’t lost on the people being strangled by Trump’s sanctions that they are being punished for abiding by an international agreement backed by the world’s major powers while North Korea is celebrated after successfully defying the rest of the world by building up their nuclear arsenal and long-range missiles. Iran is being penalized because they trusted the U.S., and Trump has proven to them that this was a foolish thing for them to do. Why would they reward Trump’s aggression and make the same mistake twice?
When the president veers between “genocidal tweets” and disingenuous offers to talk, this doesn’t come across as the work of a master negotiator but rather the impulsive babbling of a leader who can be easily enraged by the smallest and most inconsequential things that he happens to see on television. As the North Koreans have also learned, no one can successfully negotiate with a person as unreliable and moody as Trump. No one in Iran’s government is going to go out on a limb and take the political risk of engaging with the U.S. again after the last effort blew up in their faces, and Trump’s mercurial instability guarantees that it would be a waste of everyone’s time.