At the prospect of a re-writing of US foreign policy towards Iran following Donald Trump’s presidential election victory, the Iran lobby in Washington has got to work, reports Michael Tomlinson.
Trita Parsi, founder of the lobby group, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), and a “vitriolic” critic of Trump, writing in Foreign Policy, claimed that the US could not unilaterally alter the nuclear deal with Iran which lifted some sanctions on the regime. This is false. He also claimed that unhappiness with the deal could lead to Hassan Rouhani’s defeat in next year’s presidential elections. This is to be welcomed given his human rights record.
In any case, as Tomlinson says, Rouhani does not make foreign policy; that is the preserve of the Supreme Leader.
A “report” issued by NIAC, which the New York Times described as signed by “76 national security experts,” is, in fact, “a veritable who’s who of apologists and supporters of the Iranian regime,” and includes NIAC staffers and grad students.
Trump will be reviewing US policy towards the regime while EU leaders traipse to Tehran in search of trade deals, says Tomlinson, while Iran reciprocates the interest by locking up dual-nationality citizens and executing political dissidents. “The European Union reiterates its resolute commitment to the (Iran nuclear deal),” its foreign ministers said in a statement in Brussels.
Nonetheless, the Iran lobby faces the challenge of trying to sell a moderate Iran, not only in the face of appalling human rights abuses, but also in the teeth of “the carnage in Syria, the Sunni vs. Shiite bloodletting in Iraq and the civil war in Yemen.”
“Even now the mullahs realize the precarious nature of their existence in the aftermath of the presidential election and announced a new military agreement with China and another $10 billion arms deal with Russia,” writes Tomlinson.
It is to be hoped, Tomlinson cloncludes, that Trump will “continue to rely on the collective wisdom of Iranian regime-skeptics such as Rudy Giuliani and John Bolton.”