Iranian Diplomacy | Ahmad Gholami: As the famous Persian saying goes: die once, mourn once, or: better to face danger once than to be always in fear. This seems to be the case for the two key sides of the nuclear deal, i.e. Iran and the US.
For Iranians, accustomed to diplomatic routines, there is no problem with certification of its compliance with the JCPOA every three months. However, some Iranian political groups find this need for quarterly confirmation to be an embarrassment and against national interests. They are actually accustomed to an open-or-shut door paradigm. From this angle, Trump has acted in line with their wishes.
It is of course simplistic to think that the US President did not know his fiery speech would unite these domestic groups who oppose the JCPOA with the Iranian government. But Trump seems to be unable to bear the wound of the nuclear deal and find his ultimate success and interests in getting rid of the nuclear deal and its restrictions. His Friday night speech was his last shot, not only to take a step in enacting the promise he had made to his voters, but also to prove to other American statesmen who looked down at him that he wielded a strong decision-making power, doing whatever he deemed right despite their opposition.
Trump wants to be Obama’s antipole. Trump’s serious criticism of Obama’s Middle East diplomacy is genuine and reflects the Republican approach; however, this does not negate the fact that what he has done is personal revenge from those who believe diplomacy is harder than war and to accept its rules is more courageous than to fight in the battlefield.
If Obama is the Athenian spirit of American, Trump is their Spartan spirit, for whom war is a virtue and fighting in the battlefield to promote the America for America’s sake. It is no secret that the United States’ main focus today is on market and business. Therefore, war is not only of a diplomatic nature, but also war of business.
What soothes Trump’s rebellious spirit is praise of American virtue he considers himself an epitome of: a hardworking businessman daring risks, doing everything to win the business war. The thirst for victory make him invulnerable to condescending labels such as “moron” and “man-baby” coming from his critics. Trump does not have the patience to test diplomatic approaches with Iran. Like many in Iran, he wants to get rid of everything that does not fit in his world plan.
There have been a myriad of analyses on Trump and his moves in Iran. He has been called a madman at times, while some see him as a wise person pretending to be irrational. Whatever he is, the outcome of his moves is not in the interest of Iran. With real or empty threats, the US President is making economic climate unsafe in Iran, delaying Iran’s process of integration into the global market. The business war is rooted in Trump’s business background. He knows that European governments will finally stand beside the US when their interests are involved, despite their initial refusal and defiance. War in the market is the ground on which Trump could prove US’ superiority.
POTUS considers pressure on Iran as the only way for direct talks at all levels. If that happens, his victory in the next election will be guaranteed. If he fails, he will approach hawkish Republicans, Senators and military leaders who entertain ideas bigger than deals and talks. Therefore, he will find a status among them coming not from sympathy but from strategic overlap.
But on the other side of the story, the Iranian people and administration have proven they cannot be easily predictable. In many historical deadlocks, they have evaded danger through talks or deals and when nobody expected their sacrifice, they have fought back to death in defense of the homeland. The kind of response adopted by Iranians is not in control of Trump and this is the only empty space in his puzzle. He does not know whether Iranians will insist on diplomacy or find themselves forced to fight to death, even though they do not seek a war.