Iranian academics clash on how to deal with Trump

Al-Monitor | : When it comes to Iran, Oct. 13 was the moment of truth for the president of the United States. Although Donald Trump had twice certified Iran’s compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) since taking office, he decertified the nuclear deal, saying it didn’t meet congressional requirements. While he technically did not scrap the JCPOA, the move has sparked different reactions among Iranian academic elites.

Although Trump claims that his new strategy is the culmination of nine months of deliberation with Congress and US allies, many Iranians believe that it lacks any kind of discernible strategic thinking.

In this vein, Mohammad Jamshidi, a professor of international relations at the University of Tehran, told Al-Monitor that in spite of Trump’s claim, Iranians do not see his approach as a strategic endeavor. “It is merely a tactic in order to intimidate Iran and put more pressure on Tehran. But officials and policymakers have not taken it seriously. Indeed, it is not a new strategy; it lacks any new initiative to solve the old and permanent problems between Tehran and Washington,” Jamshidi said. Trump has repeatedly stated that the JCPOA is “the worst deal” the United States has ever entered.

Nasser Hadian, a prominent professor of international relations at the University of Tehran, thinks that one of the purposes of Trump’s recent declaration was to show that he has stood firm on Iran and that he is seeking to unravel his predecessor Barack Obama’s foreign policy legacy as much as he can. But Hadian also told Al-Monitor that it is an oversimplification to think that his new Iran policy is just a politicized decision, saying, “After all, it is the result of over eight months of reviews. It is a policy for the long term. The main purpose of this strategy is to maintain the uncertainty about Iran’s future situation so high that investors do not dare to enter Iran.”

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