TEHRAN, Iran — The US Supreme Court ruling to confiscate $2 billion worth of Iranian assets to compensate American victims of terrorist attacks has hit hard in Tehran. The asset seizure, which has the backing of the US State Department, has been described by Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani as “blatant theft,” while Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has called it “highway robbery.”
There is no doubt that the measure will have severe repercussions on the already tense relations between Tehran and Washington; its impact can be roughly categorized under four headings.
First, a “wall of mistrust” will be created. The Supreme Court ruling is causing Iranians to be pessimistic about the easing of tensions between Iran and the United States. Following the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in July 2015, political experts were hopeful that the two countries would work toward the easing of tensions and removing this “wall of mistrust.” However, with the recent Supreme Court decision, all such hope has been ruled out. This has not only empowered the opponents of the JCPOA in Iran, but also those more broadly opposed to relations with the West. This has prompted the Rouhani administration to adopt a passive approach.
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This article was written by Dr. Ali Omidi for Al-Monitor on May 13, 2016. Dr. Ali Omidi is an associate professor of international relations at Esfahan University.