Trump tweeted early on Friday, that Iran “is playing with fire” adding that “they don’t appreciate how ‘kind’ President Obama was to them. Not me!”
Using Twitter again on Thursday morning, Trump continued his condemnation of the Nuclear Deal, an agreement that the U.S. and five other world powers reached to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
According to Trump, Iran should be “thankful” for the agreement, and that the country was “ready to collapse” before the billions of dollars were unfrozen.
He tweeted, “Iran has been formally PUT ON NOTICE for firing a ballistic missile. Should have been thankful for the terrible deal the U.S. made with them!” A later tweet read, “Iran was on its last legs and ready to collapse until the U.S. came along and gave it a life-line in the form of the Iran Deal: $150 billion”
At a White House meeting with Harley-Davidson executives and union members, Trump stated “nothing is off the table” in response to a reporter who asked whether military action against Iran was an option.
The Nuclear Deal required Iran to limit its enrichment of uranium and convert several of its nuclear facilities to other uses, for the next 10 years.
On Wednesday, Trump’s National Security adviser, Michael Flynn condemned Iran’s recent missile launch, declaring it “just the latest in a series of incidents” in which Iran has threatened the U.S. and its regional allies over the past six months. He claimed that leaders in Tehran are emboldened to take these actions because the nuclear agreement is “weak and ineffective,” and the other nations involved in the agreement have failed to rein in Iran’s military ambitions. Additionally, during a briefing at the White House, Flynn said former President Barack Obama and other members of his administration were not tough enough on Tehran.
Political science professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Ian Lustick, told VOA the U.S. has to be careful in dealing with Iran’s actions, especially since Iran can make things worse for the 6,000 U.S. soldiers in Iraq. “The majority of the population in Iraq is Shia, and sympathetic in one way or another to Iran,” Lustick said. “There are very large and powerful militias in Iraq that are commanded by and trained by the Iranians. Those are some of the best fighting units that have had success against ISIS.”
ISIS is an acronym for Islamic State.
Iran also is being advised to remain cautious. According to VOA Persian, Houchang Hassan-Yar, an international relations professor at the Royal Military College of Canada, told them that the tone of Trump’s warnings toward Tehran is similar to the rhetoric of former President George W. Bush, a marked contrast to Obama’s “cerebral” approach. “Given Trump’s unpredictability and the fact that his national security and military advisers have written extensively about Iran as a regional threat to U.S. interests and those of U.S. allies, Iranian rulers would be well advised to think carefully about their next steps,” Hassan-Yar said.
United Against Nuclear Iran, a U.S. advocacy group, says there is uncertainty for international businesses about Tehran’s behavior. UANI discourages its contacts from establishing new deals with Iran. In an interview with VOA Persian, UANI President David Ibsen said companies are asking whether Iranian missile tests will result in a reimposition of financial sanctions on Tehran. “They also ask, if a company has dual national citizens [in Iran], will they be kidnapped or held incommunicado by the Iranian regime? Will they be doing business with front entities for the regime or the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps? All these risks are very real, and companies have taken our warnings to heart,” Ibsen said.
On Wednesday, Iran confirmed that it carried out a missile launch on Sunday, but denied that it violated the nuclear agreement. U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, adopted after the nuclear deal was reached, called on Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles, but it did not specifically ban the activity.
Shahir Shahidsaless, an Iranian-Canadian political analyst, told VOA Persian on Wednesday that the resolution’s lack of an explicit ban on ballistic missile activity is problematic for Washington. “The United States cannot rely on this resolution to condemn Iran at the U.N. Security Council, and for the same reason, Russia and China will not cooperate with the U.S. on this,” he said.
Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, denounced Iran’s missile launch as “absolutely unacceptable” during a Security Council meeting Tuesday. She further stated that the Trump administration will not turn a “blind eye” to these actions.
Matthew Rycroft, Britain’s U.N. envoy, agreed with Haley’s concerns.
Iran’s U.N. mission issued a statement reiterating that “Security Council Resolution 2231 does not prohibit legitimate and conventional missile activities.”