What do the Iranians think of Donald Trump

USA policy on Iran and presidential elections

Today Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammed Jawad Zarif is taking part in a virtual event organized by the Council on Foreign Relations. The invitation from the private US think tank is a good opportunity for Sarif: Here he can explain the Iranian perspective directly to the American audience and once again declare Trump's Iran policy to have failed. In an interview with Iranian television, Sarif described the reintroduction of UN sanctions against Iran ("snapback"), which Washington was promoting, as a "propaganda trick" ahead of the US presidential election in November.

Four years ago, President Trump promised his voters that he would withdraw from the agreement with Iran signed by his predecessor Barack Obama and negotiate a better deal with Iran. Trump fulfilled part one of this election promise by unilaterally withdrawing from the agreement in May 2018. The better deal is still pending.

US Secretary of State Pompeo threatens allies with "consequences"

USA isolated with snapback

However, he does not draw the conclusion from this that there may be something wrong with the strategy. On the contrary: The Trump administration regards the UN sanctions against Iran suspended in accordance with the nuclear agreement as having been reinstated and threatens UN member states with consequences in the event of violations. Washington initiated the so-called snapback mechanism of the agreement in August. After a 30-day period for dispute settlement had expired, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that all UN sanctions against Iran automatically came back into force on Sunday. The foreign ministers of the three EU countries involved in the nuclear negotiations, Germany, France and Great Britain, declared on Sunday morning that the re-establishment of the punitive measures pursued by the Trump administration could "have no legal effect."

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also stated that he would not take action for the time being because of the unclear situation. Because 13 of the 15 members of the UN Security Council doubt that the US even has the right to trigger the snapback mechanism. Because of its unilateral termination of the agreement two years ago, everyone else believes that the United States is no longer a member of the agreement.

US Democrats' Joe Biden: "Trump's Iran Policy Has Failed"

Biden wants to go back to international diplomacy

Joe Biden, Democratic Party candidate for the US presidential election, is in favor of a US return to the nuclear deal with Iran (JCPOA). In a guest post for CNN, Biden said his government would rejoin the JCPOA if Tehran again strictly adheres to the terms of the agreement. "If Biden wins, a key question for Iran will be the lifting of the sanctions. Whether and in what order the economic restrictions will be lifted," said Naysan Rafati of the NGO "International Crisis Group" of Deutsche Welle.

The government in Tehran only has a few months to capitalize on a possible Joe Biden victory. Iran will elect a new president in June 2021, incumbent Hassan can no longer run after two terms. It is very likely that the hardliners will benefit from a low turnout, as they did in the parliamentary elections earlier this year, and will be able to send their candidates to the presidential office.

Iranian maneuvers: simulated attack on US ships

Talks with Iran under election winner Trump?

Not only Biden could wait until the next president in Iran is elected and then explore the possibilities for negotiations. His opponent Trump is convinced that the pressure is working on Iran and that Tehran would negotiate with him if he stayed in the White House. "If President Trump were to be re-elected, he could actually try to reach a deal with Iran," writes Iran expert Ariane Tabatabai from the US foundation "German Marshall Fund of the United States" when asked by DW. Tabatabai suspects that Trump would act similarly to North Korea - unilaterally and without the involvement of the Europeans.

At the same time, the Iran expert anticipates growing tensions in the Middle East before a possible deal between the US and Iran. "I think we will first see an escalation of regional conflicts between Israel and Iran in Syria and Lebanon and possibly more acts of sabotage in Iran. At the same time, the nuclear deal will either collapse completely, or at least Iran will impose less nuclear restraint on itself."

Hassan Rohani only in office until June 2021

Hardliners as the successors of Rouhani would have more support

Iran's spiritual leader had ruled out negotiations with the US ahead of the November presidential election. Because Donald Trump could benefit from such talks, said Ayatollah Khamenei at the end of July. A hardliner as Iran's next president would likely allow Khamenei to enter into negotiations with the US in order to appease dissatisfied minds and at the same time to keep the political system from collapsing. In an interview with the IRNA news agency at the end of August, the former vice-parliamentary leader Ali Motahari said: "In the current difficult circumstances, it might be better if the hardliners take over all power from parliament to the presidency. They want to achieve success and would with them USA negotiate. "