By Mohammad Sadat Khansari
U.S President Donald Trump pulled out of the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), also known as the 2015 nuclear deal, earlier this year. He explained that the agreement does not meet the aim of preventing Iran from becoming nuclear – rather it guarantees a nuclear arms race in the region.
He said that the U.S. was going to initiate a maximum pressure campaign and announced that the crippling economic sanctions that were in place before the nuclear deal was signed would be re-imposed.
Trump has been criticised for pulling out of the deal and critics say that his policies are unwise and careless. However, the policies have so far shown success so the criticism does nothing but detract from the action that is forcing the regime to reconsider its own policies.
Since the moment Trump announced that sanctions were to be re-imposed, the Iranian economy started to falter even more. The Rial – the national currency of Iran – lost even more value and foreign companies started to pull out of business deals almost immediately.
Furthermore, the people of Iran have ensured that domestic pressure is maintained. Since the end of last year, the Iranian people have been making sure that their voices are heard. They have been holding anti-government demonstrations and protests and are clearly calling for regime change.
During his time in office, former U.S. President Barack Obama saw the Iranian regime’s behaviour get worse and worse. He maintained that its behaviour would become more moderate with appeasement and concessions, but the exact opposite happened. The regime became more emboldened than ever because it knew that Obama would turn a blind eye.
This was clear when he disregarded his own red lines with regards to the use of chemical weapons in Syria. This was a green light for the regime to continue as it always has.
Obama had a brilliant opportunity to get Iran under control but he wasted it and let Iran take the upper hand. Now Trump is working to change the situation around so that the United States once again takes the lead.
Iran had $150 billion made available to it when foreign assets were unfrozen once the 2015 nuclear deal was agreed. This gave Iran the chance to fund terrorist proxies and militias like the Lebanese Hezbollah and the Houthi rebels in Yemen. It gave Iran the cash to support Assad’s regime in Syria. It gave Iran the funds to move forward with its goal for a “Shia crescent” through the region. And now Trump is trying to un-do all of this.
President Trump is also strengthening ties with allies that were pushed to the side by the former administration. And he is making sure that the previous silence towards Iran’s belligerence is replaced with loud and clear condemnations. He, and his administration, have slammed the regime for its abuses against the people of Iran and the people of the region.
But most importantly, the Trump administration has recognised the plight of the people of Iran.