The Friday remarks by US President Donald Trump against Iran and the Iran nuclear deal have drawn mixed reactions. Hessamodin Ashna, a cultural advisor to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, is among those who believe Trump’s speech would make the IRGC even more popular in Iran. The highlights of his Farsi interview with IRNA follow:
What is your analysis of Trump’s comments?
I had never seen a US president as desperate. I think Trump is in a predicament now as he feels under pressure to make good on the promises he made during his election campaign, not to mention the conflicts within the US government on the JCPOA. Of course, Trump showed how important the nuclear deal is and how prudently Iran has turned the JCPOA into an opportunity for itself. Before the JCPOA was concluded, it was Iran that was facing accusations and needed to prove something (the peaceful nature of its nuclear activities) to the world, and now it is the US that has to address global concerns.
Why do you think Trump is in such a situation now?
The Trump administration pays due regard to the interests of Israel and the Hebrew-Saudi lobby in Washington. Trump had chanted the slogan “America first,” and now the world is seeing that Washington is compromising its international credibility for Israel’s security. It looks like “Israel first” is the priority for Trump.
What do you think the US society’s reaction is to this approach of Trump?
The creation of tension in this region will benefit none of the regional countries. The Americans will secure no benefits, either, by spending so much energy and US taxpayers’ money in order to provoke tension, conflicts and war in the region. The elite of a country which claims to have the oldest democracy and civil society in the world cannot remain tight-lipped in the face of such irresponsible behaviour. American people and elite should know that Trump’s move constitutes the isolation of the US from the rest of the world.
The JCPOA is a multilateral agreement. How will the other signatories to the deal act?
The other countries attending the talks which led to the conclusion of the JCPOA are facing a tough test. These countries should get ready to defend the credibility of an agreement which took two and a half years to conclude. The credibility of these countries themselves is intertwined with their way of handling the JCPOA. The Europeans showed that they are dealing with the issue with interest. This position of the EU is praiseworthy, and Iran is waiting for the bloc to fulfil its commitments not only in word, but in deed as well.
How do you think Iran’s domestic economic and political atmosphere will react to Trump’s recent speech and future developments?
It is good to know that everything they do is aimed at influencing the country’s economic and political climate negatively. Firstly, people should rest assured that the government will not act hastily. Trump and the US government cannot bank on Iran’s hasty moves. Iran’s government will move forward in keeping with its national interests and alongside wise signatories to the JCPOA, at least as long as the nuclear deal does it more good than harm.
Investors from across the world, domestic economic activists and Iranian people can be confident that the government will move on the path to boost economic growth, solve problems and prioritize people’s livelihoods by introducing reforms to the country’s economy and extensive cooperation with the world. Today’s world considers us a reliable partner, and we are moving on a path that will be in the interest of the Iranian economy and people.
Trump tried to create divisions between the government, people and the IRGC. Can Trump achieve this objective?
People in the region and in European countries know that if the IRGC had not stood up to terrorists in this region, Europe would be in a different situation now and terrorists would have made the world unsafe. The imposition of sanctions on the IRGC is nothing new. Trump should know as well that Iranian people do not want the IRGC for its economic activities; rather, people want the IRGC to safeguard Iran’s security and independence. The IRGC is not an economic enterprise, so its fate will not be affected with the imposition of sanctions. The IRGC is a military institution whose duty (ensuring security) is not negotiable, nor will it forgo its responsibilities. Trump’s remarks will only increase People’s support for the IRGC.
Now, after Trump’s speech, what is your idea of the JCPOA?
Today, the rightfulness of the JCPOA is more evident than ever. The US cannot pull out of the JCPOA without compromising its reputation and credibility. The world is standing by our side now, and Iran can pass through the current juncture alongside countries which respect peace, diplomacy, rationality and mutual interests.