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Do Trump’s Threats Serve Iran? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English
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Opinion

Do Trump’s Threats Serve Iran?

Republican U.S. Presidential nominee Donald Trump attends a campaign event at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio August 1, 2016. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

In an article published in the Economist, the magazine warns that recent statements of U.S. President Donald Trump are helping radicals. The article cited Iran’s Supreme Leader saying: “Thank you, Mr. Trump, for showing the true face of America.” The once ever-smiling Iranian Foreign Minister had lost his smile since Trump reached the White House and warned that there are tough days ahead, the article added, saying that “Iran’s foreign minister has lost his smile. Iran has difficult days ahead.”

The main point of the article is that Iran’s radicals will benefit from Trump’s extreme political rhetoric and will give this wing a chance to rise at the expense of reformists and moderates.

These fears may be justified and reasonable, but when applied on the political reality within the Iranian regime, we realize they are not true.

We used to believe in such conclusions back in the 1990’s, when Hashimi Rafsanjani became president representing the moderates. His term passed and proved that the Iranian regime was in fact ideologically radical and ruled through a centralized control, regardless of elections and the choice of the Supreme Leader.

This was assured after Mohammed Khatami won the presidential elections. Everybody soon understood that he’s just a figurehead and the real power lays in the hands of the Supreme Leader’s office and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

Then,Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became president and had full powers as he was close to the supreme Leader’s and Revolutionary Guards’ institutions.

Nothing happened during three decades to prove that there’s real competition between radicals and moderates inside the ruling command.

Major events rather confirmed that the authority was in fact under the control of the radicals, while moderates were just front men.

President Hassan Rouhani and his FM Zarif both represented the moderates and they succeeded at winning over the administration of former president Barack Obama. They also managed to convince the administration that lifting sanctions and encouraging Iran’s openness were within the interest of moderate figures, the region and the whole world.

Once again, evidence suggested this assumption was wrong.

Iranian leadership became more aggressive than ever and for the first time since the establishment of the Islamic Republic, the regime dared to expand its military activity outside its borders. It is currently participating in and funding four wars outside of Iran.

All of this was possible due to the nuclear deal that paved the way for better relations, trade and activity and kept silent over Iran’s threats to the region.

Trump’s extremist rhetoric is a natural outcome of the disappointment prevailed over Washington due to Iran’s behavior after signing the deal.

Things will keep on getting worse unless a strict international position against Iran’s adventures is taken and unless Iran is forced to end the chaos it is funding in the region and the world.

Those familiar with the Iranian regime’s works cannot believe the excuses being made by Iran’s allies which stipulate that being lenient with Iran can be met positively by the rest of the world.

The nature of the regime in Tehran is religious with a revolutionary ideology. It has a political agenda that has not changed much since it attacked the American embassy in Tehran and held diplomats as hostage.

The same logic leads us to conclude that Iran will dominate through using power via its proxies and militias across the region and through encouraging and supporting the rebellious behavior of certain local parties in neighboring countries.

Iran has not changed much since it announced it plans to export revolutions to the world.

The only change that happened is that its financial and military situations improved a lot thanks to the nuclear deal it signed with the West.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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