By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed, Asharq Al-Awsat
Wednesday, 22 June 2016
Washington DC was divided into two camps about the nuclear deal and the opening up of Iran in January. It has now become more rejecting of Iran. The White House, which is a sponsor of relations with Iran and is enthusiastic about them, has not changed its mind but no longer defends it as much. On the other hand, those against dealing with Iran have grown in number and have more influence.
Disappointment in the stances of Ayatollah Khamenei’s aggressive regime has increased, and its hostile statements to the Americans are similar to those that it made before the nuclear deal was signed and sanctions lifted. An official commenting on the matter said “We knew that the regime there is bad, but we did not expect it to be this mediocre”. The struggles and the game of balances in the capital Tehran reflect the regime’s inability to reconcile with America.
If we analyse Congress’ activities from last week, it is clear that there is a general orientation towards restricting Iran and punishing it, and that Washington is walking in the opposition direction to the one it was walking towards six months ago.
The honeymoon period was cut short further due to Iran’s slow implementation of the promises related to the deal and the fact that it signed a few more big military contracts with Russia. In addition to this, the Iranian regime’s leaders are racing to make statements against the United States, and are besieging officials who are “America’s friends” in Iran such as the Foreign Minister and President Hassan Rouhani’s aides.
In a noticeable setback, a large majority of Congress’ Finance Committee adopted a decision that obligates the secretary of the treasury to disclose the liquid and fixed assets of Iran’s leadership, both at home and abroad, including those of the Supreme Leader, the President, members of the Trusteeship Council, the Guardian Council of the Constitution and military leaders.
Those who approved the new law admit that the reason is political and they want to expose the wealth of the Iranian leaders to their people and to the world. The new resolution was supported by six Democrats, i.e. from the president’s party. They also urged the secretary of the treasury to keep Iran on the list of countries classified as dangerous and non-cooperative in the fight against money laundering.
Senator David Vitter denounced a deal to sell Boeing aircraft to Iran due to the fact that it is classified by the US State Department as a sponsor of terrorism. Two other members of Congress agreed with this view and sent a letter to the head of Boeing, criticising him for the deal.
Congressman Mike Pompeo criticised the Department of the Treasury and denounced what he called the administration’s withdrawal of its promise to not let Iran benefit from loans provided by the Export–Import Bank of the United States to finance the Boeing deal.
Another Congressman Steve Chabot said that he is working to persuade the administration to stop Russia from selling S-300 missiles to Iran because this would violate sanctions.
The US President Barack Obama’s administration may not change its stance on Iran because it considers the agreement its project. However, it is likely that the Iranian regime will be faced with a different situation when the next American president is elected in about six months’ time, whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump is elected.
In my opinion, Iran will tire a lot as long as it does not want to become part of the new world and as long as the main motive for signing the deal was to lift sanctions and obtain money and weapons. It is wrong to compare the Obama administration’s opening up of Iran to its opening up of Cuba and Vietnam as these two countries renounced wars and weapons years ago whilst Iran is at the peak of its hostility and involvement in wars.