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In America's fevered political landscape, Supporters of Trump President "Trump derangement syndrome." Trump's opponents are so possessed by their contempt for him, the diagnosis goes that they would never consider in any other context. Russophobia among some American liberals and the knee-jerk rejection to Trump's overtures to North Korea – Signs of Partisan tribalism supposedly displacing political logic.
But Trump and his lieutenants are guilty of their own derangement syndromes, most conspicuously when it comes to Iran. Even as Trump has gone out of his way to become an autocrat in Moscow, embracing human-rights-abusing Arab monarchs and celebrating his friendliness with the world's most isolated dictator, he sees in Tehran an implacable, irreconcilable enemy.
On Sunday night, the White House ratcheted up with the Islamic republic. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in all caps: "NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE."
Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister, the following day.
Trump's ire was sparked by comments Rouhani made on Sunday in a meeting with Iranian diplomats. "Iran is the mother of all wars," Rouhani said, delivering a pointed warning to the trump administration "not to engage in efforts to overthrow the Iranian regime." 19659013] Rouhani delivered to the speech Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered later that day. During that address, Pompeo launches a lengthy attack on Iran's political leadership, arguing against the ruling regime was "kleptocracy" and "mafia."
"To our Iranian American and Iranian friends, tonight I tell you that the Trump administration
Pompeo's remarks were the latest in a diplomatic offensive against Iran
. Tehran, the White House is pushing for renewed and tougher sanctions on Iran and has cheered all the glimmers of protest within the country. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's talking points about the country's corrosive influence in the Middle East.
Trump administration officials want regime change. Pompeo and many of his former colleagues on Capitol Hill court the support of anti-regime outfits in the Iranian diaspora that have little clout at home. National security adviser John Bolton, who has spent much of his career saber-rattling at Iran, issued a statement reiterating Trump's threats. "I spoke to the president over the past several days," and President Trump told me that if it does, it will pay for itself. "A coterie of other Washington neoconservatives Trump's current tweets and the "fire and fury"
That's why numerous Iran analysts are wary of parallels between Trump's current tweets and the "fire and fury" Korea's Kim Jong Un. "Unlike the Case of North Korea, with Iran being quite ideological in this administration," said Ali Vaez of the International Crisis Group.
Meanwhile, Rouhani's position is growing weaker. The hard-line forces Rouhani once maneuvered against are asc endant.
The Trump administration "has strengthened the hand of hardline Iranian factions, in the clerical and judicial establishment as well as in the Revolutionary Guards, who said it was a mistake to strike a deal with the US," reported Najmeh Bozorgmore of the Financial Times. Mr Rouhani, whose credibility has been badly damaged by his failure to keep the deal and New economic curbs from Washington. "
That could provoke a backlash from the regime, via its proxy forces in various corners of the Middle East. "Western countries should be aware that if they put too much pressure on Iran, it could not be radical Shia forces and trigger a new wave of Islamic radicalism," added Hossein Marashi, a reformist politician in Tehran.
That may be exactly what Washington's own hard-liners want On Sunday, Pompeo dismissed any prospect that there are real political differences in Tehran, arguing that Rouhani and Zarif are "just polished frontmen for the ayatollah's international con artistry." them moderates; they made them wolves in sheep's clothing. "Trump's lieutenants are as champions of revolutionary change in Iran.
But the Trump administration's grandstanding on this front is unlikely to galvanize popular discontent in Iran. "The more the US threatens Iran, and the more ordinary Iranians have to deal with economic hardships, "argued Vaez," the less motivation [Iranians] may have any kind of radical change. "Leadership in Tehran, Vaez told Today's WorldView, is skilled at survival
My colleague Jason Rezaian, who was a prisoner in Iranian Prison, attended Pompeo's event for all his zeal for change, he observed, the Trump administration is simply the wrong messenger.
"Most of what Pompeo said about the depravity of Iran's rulers was true," wrote Rezaian, "but when coupled with US moves that directly hurt. Iranians – specifically, stiff economic sanctions and the recent upside the ban – it is difficult for the administration to support its own claims that the well-being and prosperity of Iranians matter. "
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