Hassan Rouhani

In a surprise turn, Trump offers to meet with Iran

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After months of confrontation with Tehran, President Trump said on Monday that he is willing to meet with Iranian official without preconditions and at the time of their choosing.

Just days before, Trump and President of Iran Hassan Rouhani were exchanging threats over the media.

“NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE,” Trump tweeted in all caps.

Rouhani responded by warning him not to “play with the lion’s tail” and stating that war with Iran would be “mother of all wars.”

His overture for a conciliation was rejected by the Iranian government: “With current America and these policies, there will definitely not be the possibility of dialogue and engagement, and the United States has shown that it is totally unreliable,” said Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, Bahram Qassemi.

Trump wasn’t worried about the reaction from his fellow Republicans, some of which staunchly oppose any attempt at negotiation with Iran, or U.S. allies in the region like Israel and Saudi Arabia, who believe that Iran is the major source of instability in the Middle East.

“I would certainly meet with Iran if they wanted to meet,” Trump said. “If they want to meet, I’ll meet.”

Source:dailysabah.com

Trump acknowledged that Iran’s economic troubles are caused by his cancelation of the Iran Deal, negotiated by President Obama. Iran’s currency is in free fall, and the situation will only get worse once the U.S. sanctions, suspended after the deal was signed, come back in effect on August 4th. The citizens have organized several protests criticizing the Tehran’s economic policies.

“They are having a hard time right now. But I ended the Iran deal. It was a ridiculous deal,” POTUS said. “If we could work something out that’s meaningful, not the waste of paper that the other deal was, I would certainly be willing to meet.”

Trump hopes that months of pressure combined with the bad economy will force Tehran to negotiate and his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo agrees with the plan. He did say that Iran must meet some conditions before the talks could start.

“If the Iranians demonstrate a commitment to make fundamental changes in how they treat their own people — reduce their maligned behavior, can agree that it’s worthwhile to enter in a nuclear agreement that actually prevents proliferation, then the president said he’s prepared to sit down and have a conversation with him,” Pompeo said, somewhat contradicting Trump on “no preconditions” clause.

Some other White House supporters also agree with the plan.

“It’s a well-timed offer made as the leaders of the Islamic Republic are facing increasingly severe economic and social crises,” said Mark Dubowitz, chief executive of the hawkish Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “Trump is saying, you want the pain to stop, meet me. If not, the pain will only get worse.”

There are critics of the plan, however. They say that Iran doesn’t trust Trump and don’t believe that he would negotiate in good faith. They also state that even if Rouhani, a moderate politician, would agree to meet with him, the scrutiny he would face at home would be overwhelming.

Even Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), one of the Trump’s biggest supporters on the Hill, seems to think that the meeting would be unwise at this point.

“You know, countries like Iran and Cuba and other two-bit rogue regimes don’t have nuclear weapons, yet. They can’t threaten the United States in that way,” Cotton said. “Once North Korea had nuclear weapons, once they have missiles that can deliver them to use, I would liken it to past presidents sitting down with Soviet dictators.”

The key U.S. allies in the Middle East, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates clash daily with Iran in Syria and elsewhere, and would be adamantly opposed to any notion of a meeting between Washington and Tehran, let alone such a high profile one that would include president of the United States.

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States, Khalid bin Salman, issued a warning against any sort of appeasement of religious leaders of Iran.

“Those who have not learnt history’s lessons counsel us to let the Iranians subvert the entire Middle East while granting them as many financial enticements as possible,” he wrote. “A wiser and ultimately more moral approach is to pressure Iran to correct its awful behavior immediately.”

The cycle of threats and negations seems consistent with Trump’s method of conducting foreign affairs. He was also threatening North Korea, only to have a meeting with Kim Jong Un just months later.

Iranian President Goes To China – Nuclear Deal Talks

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According to China foreign ministry, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will be coming to a regional summit for talks about the possibility of saving of Iran’s nuclear deal. The move has been made after the President of the United States, Donald Trump, decided to pull out America from the agreement.

This will be a working visit for President Rouhani as he will go to the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation which is China and Russia-led political, economic and security Euroasian organisation. Regional meeting will be held in Qingdao, China located in northern part of the country. While we did not get the exact date of the visit, we know that the event has been scheduled for the second weekend of June.

At this moment, Tehran is only an observer member, but they already sought to become a permanent member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. With the sanctions imposed by West lifted it was reported that Iran could become a member of the bloc. Currently, this organisation consists of China, Russia, India, Pakistan and four Central Asia ex-Soviet republics.

Source:atimes.com

Before the nuclear deal was signed, Tehran was racing to finish their nuclear weapons program and to develop nuclear missiles. With the agreement that has been signed in 2015, Iran stopped the uranium enrichment process but also sent out its stockpiles to Russia. As a result, sanctions set by West were removed, and the Middle East country could return to trading and exports of oil.

While the deal that was signed didn’t completely stop Iran from using uranium, this was a good move for the entire world as it did stop them from developing a nuclear bomb. One of the problems with the agreement is that it prevents Tehran in creating atom bomb until 2025 after which they can continue the development. Of course, the terms could be renegotiated after that date, so the termination of the deal is considered to be a mistake by many.

Source:timesofisrael.com

With America out of the deal, we could see a lot of activity from European countries that will try to help Iran economically and thus persuade them to respect the terms. Since China is one of the signatories, it is considered that they will also work to ensure Tehran’s loyalty.

Source: cnbc.com

Withdrawing from the Iran Deal Possible Outcomes

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Trump faced a decision which will shape the future of the world. He had the option to either stay in the Iran deal or withdraw from it and allow Iran to revive its nuclear program. On Tuesday, Donald Trump made an announcement, and all eyes were on Washington. POTUS decided to withdraw from the agreement and here are the possible outcomes of this decision.

What happens with Iran?

Source:algemeiner.com

For the first time, the sanctions on Iran were imposed in 2012 when the country’s oils exports were hit hard. This forced Iran to negotiate with America and its European allies, and they came up with the Iran deal. The sanctions were lifted, and the oil exports jumped to 2.6 million barrels per day. Now Trump would like to do the same – introduce the sanctions which would force Iran to submit to a new agreement which favors America more, but this is not 2012, and the circumstances are different. Even if the sanctions are imposed once again, they would be enforced in six months, according to the US law, and Iran would still be able to export oil to countries such as China and India, as they would not support the sanctions imposed by the US.

What happens with allies in Europe?

Source:english.almanar.com.lb

Trump has already worsened the alliance between America and European countries. He has threatened to introduce steel tariffs, and the US withdrew from the Paris climate agreement. Great Britain, France, and Germany, the US most important allies in Europe, are going to stick together, and they consider America’s withdrawal to be the violation of the deal. On several occasions, the leaders of these countries pointed out that they would not pull out of the deal and they would do everything to protect the European companies that are operating in Iran.

However, the agreement is endangered with the US pulling out. Despite the fact that the European countries will try to prevent the sanctions from applying to their companies, most of the businesses will have to choose to access the American market or stick with the Iranian one. And most of these businesses will opt for the former, therefore harming the Iranian economy.

What is Iran’s response?

Source:brecorder.com

The Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and the government will do everything to comply with the deal even after America gets out. Initially. So far, they have not broken the agreement, and they will do everything in their power to keep the deal valid since everyone but the United States wants to stay in. However, Rouhani’s political opponents have criticized this deal, and the economic benefits the country has from it since the economy of Iran remain slugging and fragile. Their economy should benefit from the investments from Europe, but the European investors are expected to flee should the US impose their sanctions leaving Iran stranded. This would force Iran to withdraw from the agreement as well and revive its nuclear program.

To do this, they would have to kick out international inspectors who have kept a close eye to Iran’s nuclear program, according to the Western intelligence agencies. Iran’s stockpiles of uranium are high, and according to the estimates, which vary, the country could build a nuclear bomb within a year. That way, Teheran would successfully revive its nuclear program, jeopardizing every nation in the region.

Based on everything you can read here, you can conclude whether it is better for the US to stay in the deal or not. Leaving the agreement is a dangerous move that could hurt everyone involved. America’s position in the Middle East will be harmed, Iran would be under economic sanctions, but they would be forced to strengthen their position with the nuclear weapon and defend their land. Meanwhile, the relationship between the US and Europe will definitely deteriorate while European investors would have to look for another place to do business.

Source: foreignpolicy.com

Iran’s Currency Crisis is an opportunity for the United States

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In February 2019 the Iranian Revolution will celebrate its 40th anniversary. Unless it is toppled by another revolution, this time fueled by the regime’s inability to provide a decent living to the citizens.

Since the beginning of 2018, Iranian currency is in free fall. The inflation is rampant and the dollar gained 375 on rial in the first three months of the year. These are all signs of a deeply troubled economy and the measures taken by Iran’s government may prove too much for their people to handle.

The crisis has been caused by the statements made by the United States president Donald Trump about his intentions to exit the Iran Nuclear Deal. Several attempts have been made to persuade him to change his mind, but there are indications that he is determined to go through with his threats and pull America out of what he describes as “insane” deal. The May 12th deadline he has given to his European allies is fast approaching and it appears that the agreement will be canceled. President Trump’s intentions in case the deal is dropped are unclear and may include a variety of actions, re-imposing sanctions against Tehran being on top of the list.

Source:yournewswire.com

The limitations placed on purchasing of the foreign currency, mostly dollar, and euro, have forced many Iranians to trade them in back allies, effectively breaking the law and risking prison. The regime has also proclaimed that 10,000 euros is the maximum amount a citizen may have at any moment, forcing them to either sell the surplus to the government at a loss or place it at a special account, controlled by the Central bank, making it easily accessible to the regime.

President Hassan Rouhani has managed to alienate his most staunched supporters by this move, the country’s middle class, which have helped him take power by the massive demonstrations against then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s stolen election in 2009 and voting for Rouhani in 2013. The economic crisis also means that lower class isn’t getting its wages on time, turning them against the regime as well. This only leaves the military supporting the government and once their salaries start to dry up, the mullahs may find themselves in a tough spot.

Source:timesofisrael.com

One thing the United States can do to speed up the process is to re-impose sanctions on Iran’s Central Bank, which will make it almost impossible for Tehran to fight currency depreciation and inflation, pushing the entire country into an economic nightmare. It is debatable whether this would be enough to cause a massive outpour of anger big enough to depose the regime, but it surely won’t be beneficial for them.

Source: foreignpolicy.com

USA Loses Credibility Due to Foreign Policy Double Standards

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The American leaders are promoting their country as the example of how a country should behave in the world, but the reality is completely different. While the US has been overthrowing some repressive rulers, they have allowed the others to keep their positions and called them their friends and noble members of the Free World. Names that pop up include Shah of Iran, Nicaragua’s Somoza family, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, to name a few. This hypocrisy lives on, and it appears that will continue to be a dominant part of the US foreign policy.

The value United States practices and those that they preach are vastly different, and that gap can be seen in the Middle East. Recently, the United States harshly criticized Iran and Syria because of their domestic and foreign policy and while some of those criticisms are valid, the others are not so much. Bashar al-Assad’s regime and Iran’s government broke numerous international laws and violated human rights on many occasions, but sometimes officials from America are quiet and to make matters worse, the US is the one committing such crimes.

Source:dailytimes.com.pk

After the reported use of chemical weapons by Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, Trump called him to be an exceptionally vile enemy. He used Twitter, as always, to say that Assad is “an animal” and to justify the use of airstrikes on Syria, Trump wrote: “[The incident confirmed] a pattern of chemical weapons use by that very terrible regime. The evil and despicable attack left mothers and fathers, infants and children thrashing in pain and gasping for air. These are not the actions of a man. They are crimes of a monster instead.” He was also quick to criticize Russia and Iran for the support and sponsorship of such a man. He said: “To Iran and to Russia, I ask: What kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women and children?”

According to Daniel Larison of TAC, Trump should be the one who knows the answer to this question. He acknowledged: “Trump should know the answer since he just hosted one of the chief architects of the war on Yemen that the U.S. has backed to the hilt for the last three years. Britain welcomed the Saudi crown prince earlier on, and France just hosted him in the last few days. All three have been arming and supporting the Saudis and their allies in Yemen no matter how many atrocities they commit.”

It appears that the United States spread not only peace and democracy around the Middle East, but also chaos and war. They have funded Saudi Arabia and provided intelligence in their attacks on Yemen, which besides other devastating events triggered cholera epidemic which affects regular people. However, it doesn’t end here, and Washington would have a hard time washing their hands after everything they have done. Evidence has emerged that the Saudi forces have used white phosphorous munitions which cause severe burns on the victims and the supplier is no other than Washington.

Source:ceftus.org

To show that America is a hypocritical country, we have to go north and visit another US ally – Turkey. When Russia annexed Crimea, the United States was first to react, but they did nothing when Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974 and occupied the northern part of the island. They sort of criticized Turkey for the invasion, but as the time passed by, the US officials became more and more disinterested. Instead, they pressured Cyprus to accept the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus which was established by Ankara. The sanctions were imposed initially, but they were soon lifted, which was an embarrassment. This mild reaction from the US repeated when Turkey sent their troops to northern Iran and northern Syria as well.

Source:thenation.com

We are moving on. The next stop is Iran. The United States keeps criticizing Iran for repression and their domestic conduct, and they are joined by Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the US allies. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley is the first one to verbally attack Iran for repression. After demonstrations emerged in several parts of the country, Haley used the opportunity to speak up: “The Iranian regime’s contempt for the rights of its people has been widely documented for many years.” She added that America stood “unapologetically with those in Iran who seek freedom for themselves, prosperity for their families, and dignity for their nation.”

Her facts are way off. Let’s be clear on something. Iran’s political system differs from the Western democracy, but that doesn’t mean that it is repressive. Of course, there are some matters which can be improved and dealt with, but this country is way more open than Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The candidates for office which are considered “unacceptable” are excluded from the race by Guardian Council, but the Iranian election are quite open, and people have a chance to vote for a candidate they like. More often than not, two candidates have very contrasting views on the matters regarding Iran, and President Hassan Rouhani managed to win electoral mandate over his opponent in May 2017. Why is Saudi Arabia America’s ally when the laws in this country are too strict, and inequality and repression are pouring out of its borders?

Source:presstv.com

The Saudi royal family is condemning any attempt at creating an opposition. People who criticized regime have often been imprisoned and sometimes even beheaded. According to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, Saudi Arabia is at the bottom when it comes to respecting human rights. For instance, the government has just allowed women to drive and this was considered to be a radical reform. The similar things happen in Egypt where speaking against the regime could mean losing your head. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi put thousands of his political opponents behind bars, and hundreds were killed. Where is the United States in these countries? Why aren’t troops sent to free the people who don’t have the rights they deserve?

The United States, with President Trump in the oval office, is aware of what is going on, but they refuse to react. These are brutal atrocities, committed by the US allies, but just because they are allied countries, they would go unpunished. The US is even selling weapons to such countries, aiding their repression and attacks on other states in the region. This leads us to the conclusion that the United States don’t care at all about freedom around the world. Now, we understand that this is no fairytale and to get rid of some enemies the United States needs to unite with the countries which are drastic in their laws to strengthen the position in the Middle East.

What bothers us is that the officials are not frank with the United State citizens. Instead of explaining that these decisions are made for the interest of the US, they are presenting one side of the story. Is it possible that they are afraid of how the public would react in such case? For once, the United States need to be honest in their intentions, and these do not include the rights or welfare of the people who live in the Middle East. No matter what the politicians say, the foreign policy of Washington indicates otherwise, and we must not turn a blind eye.

Source: theamericanconservative.com

Iran Threatens Trump Not to Drop Nuclear Deal

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According to Reuters, Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani said on Monday that Donald Trump should not pull out of the nuclear deal with his country. Rouhani warned the US President that their response would be much stronger than Trump thinks and that he would regret such a decision.

On May 12, Donald Trump will have a chance to waive the sanctions that were temporarily lifted under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015. Otherwise, they would resume. The leader of the United States believes the European powers are supposed to “fix the terrible flaws” of the deal. Rouhani doesn’t agree with Trump’s decision, and he said in a broadcast: “The new U.S. president – who has big claims and many ups and downs in his words and actions – has been trying for 15 months to break the JCPOA … but the structure of the JCPOA is so strong that it has not been shaken by such quakes.”

Source:newsweek.com

He also added: “Iran will not violate the nuclear deal, but if the United States withdraws from the deal, they will surely regret it. Our response will be stronger than what they imagine, and they would see that within a week.”

If the JCPOA is to collapse, it would only allow the Iranian nuclear program to further develop without any control, meaning that it could reach a level more advanced than it was before the deal was signed. Rouhani sent his message on the National Nuclear Technology Day. On this important day for Teheran, he displayed the latest nuclear achievements such as a nuclear battery and centrifuges for the oil industry.

The Iranian president added that nothing would surprise Iran and they were preparing for every possible outcome one of which is the JCPOA without the world-leading USA. If the USA were to break the deal, it would still include China, Russia, and leading European countries, but the deal might collapse entirely.

Meanwhile, countries such as Germany, GB, and France are motivating their EU partners to back new sanctions on Iran in order to persuade Trump to stick with the nuclear deal in return for sanctions relief. The aforementioned sanctions aren’t including the measures lifted under the nuclear deal. What they would do, is hit individuals who are behind Iran’s nuclear weapons program and the country’s support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Source:voiceofpeopletoday.com

Rouhani pointed out that their weapons have defensive purpose only. He said: “We will produce any weapons necessary to defend our country in such a volatile region. But we will not use our weapons against our neighbors.”

On a slightly different note, the US dollar jumped from 54,700 rials to 58,000 rials in one day in Teheran, according to the local media. Just for the record, a dollar was 36,000 rials in September last year. In the meantime, Iran’s currency has dropped to a new low due to a concern over imposing the sanctions again should Trump put his words into practice.

Source: reuters.com