“Trump’s strategy of maximum pressure on Iran, keeps getting close to a military conflict”

Iranian-American journalist and analyst, and The Independent’s Washington DC based Consultant Editor Negar Mortazavi gave an interview to Ismail Okan. She expressed her opinion about the Iranian-American relations and the United States President Donald Trump policies.

Why nuclear deal was not good for American government? What does Trump want from Iran?

“Trump didn’t like the deal because it was Obama’s legacy. He criticized Obama’s approach towards Iran from the beginning, and opposed the deal without ever explaining what is wrong with it. Trump has been saying that he wants to negotiate with Iran to make a better deal to prove that he is the best deal-maker. But it is also not clear what he envisions as a that better deal. I think Trump’s Iran strategy has been more about undoing what Obama did, rather than a new strategy.”

The US blames Iran as supporting terrorism. But in other side Americans gives weapons to a terrorist organization (an arm of PKK, who also accepting as terrorist by the US and EU) in Syrian-Turkey border. Moreover, this weapons using against Turkey, an American NATO ally. What is difference for Americans?

“The United States has had double-standard policies in the Middle East for a very long time. Americans have allied with various actors in the region or helped create and empower forces that later became their own enemy.”

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There some reports published about Saudis new nuclear central. Also there is many contradiction about American policies over Riyadh especially. What is difference between Saudi Arabia and Iran?

“Saudi Arabia is a long-time ally of the United States in the Middle East and a very controversial one. They buy large amounts of arms from the United States, ensure a steady sales of oil to the world market, and have a deep influence in Washington among the American political elite. America’s policy towards Saudi Arabia over the years has portrayed a stark double standard on violations of human rights, support for terrorism, rules of engagement and international conventions in war, and spreading fundamentalist views of Islam. The Kingdom was a key opponent of Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran and saw it as a threat to its own relations with the United States. The Saudi government along with Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel, did everything they could to stop the nuclear deal but did not succeed. Now they have President Trump as a new ally in the White House whose son in law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner, is reported to have helped transfer nuclear technology to the Kingdom.”

The US is provocates Iran with military actions. Do you think there is can be a possible intervention to Iran?

“Yes it is possible. President Trump is an isolationist and doesn’t want to start another costly war. His supporters and the majority of the American people also don’t want another endless war in the Middle East. But with his strategy of maximum pressure on Iran, Trump will most likely not get a new deal and keeps getting close to a military conflict. Unless he shifts gears and moves in a different direction, which is what the Iranians are trying to signal to him.”

Iranian people jamming between regime and Trump policies. And this sancstions giving harm to people more than regime. What Americans are think about collective punishment about Iranian people? Or how Americans evaluate Iran policies in the US.

“That is correct. Ordinary Iranians are the main victims of broad economic sanctions that have targeted all major industries in the country. Middle and working classes are struggling with high inflation, bankruptcies, unemployment, and decreasing economic opportunities and prospects. Unfortunately many Americans don’t know these details about sanctions. They see sanctions as a policy to pressure the Iranian regime and don’t understand the consequences on people’s daily lives. Because tensions between the two countries have not really affected daily life in the United States, Americans don’t have a real life feeling about it.”

Do you think American-Iran relations can be good again?

“Yes I am hopeful. Under Obama there was diplomatic engagement and a direct line of communication established. That can always be restored. Probably not under the current administration but if two moderate Presidents in both countries coincide once again, like Rouhani and Obama, I think moderates on both sides have by now realized that they need to quickly seize the opportunity and move towards improving relations and making it sustainable. Ordinary Iranians want that and will push for it to happen again.”

This interview published in Intell4 Strategy Channell on May 28, 2019 (Turkish)

This interview published in the Greater Middle East on June 8, 2019 (English)

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