Trump’s UNGA Speech a Setback for Iran

The interpreter who is translating Trump′s speech into Persian becomes audibly flustered, as it is just not possible to translate Trump′s words faithfully, as they cannot not be broadcast on the country′s state-run television station. The interpreter chose the next best thing, and remained silent.

That Trump had insulted the country was the perception of one and all, including the newspapers of the reformers. However, the website of the newspaper Javan, which is operated by the Revolutionary Guards and is addressed to the Guardsmen, their families, and their staunch supporters, faithfully and correctly translated everything Trump had said about Iran. Nothing was left out, nothing watered down.

A few hours after the speech, Revolutionary Guard commander, Ali Jafari, gave a statement to the press, demanding a total revision of Iran′s policy towards the US. He called on President Rouhani in New York to respond to Trump’s tirade. The General thanked Trump for showing America′s true colors and added, “A painful response is under way, which he will be feeling in the coming days.”

Maintaining a conciliatory and moderate tone, Iranian President Rouhani, spoke before the UN. However, at a press conference after his speech, he stated that the nuclear agreement was no longer negotiable, and urged the Europeans to put pressure on the US to abide by the agreement in the same manner as Iran is doing.

Despite acknowledging that Iran has so far fulfilled the agreed requirements, Secretary of State Tillerson once more accused Tehran of threatening the security of the Middle East. Tillerson said that the expectation is that the Iranian government make a contribution to peace in the region, as a natural extension of the nuclear treaty.

To some, it seems that the US more interested in the “spirit” of the agreement than in its actual terms. Yet, both the US and Iran seem to have their own understanding of what exactly that “spirit” is supposed to be. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson speaks of Iranian missile tests and the country′s role in the conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Iraq, while Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran′s supreme clerical leader, repeatedly charges the US with not upholding its end of the agreement and continuing to tighten its sanctions against Iran.

The Iranian president would like European leaders to step in and mediate between Trump in Washington and the radicals at home. When he met with the French president, the British prime minister, and many other European diplomats in New York, they all promised him they would abide by the agreement.

French oil and automotive companies invested billions of dollars in Iran after the treaty was signed. The day after Trump′s address in New York, British energy group, Quercus, signed a contract with the Iranian energy minister for a solar project that will be the sixth largest of its kind, worldwide.

Emmanuel Macron spoke with Rouhani for over an hour after Trump′s speech, but later made it clear that he wants to meet the Americans halfway and negotiate more elements to be added to the treaty. Macron also insisted that Iran change its behavior in Syria. The New York Times recently reported that he offered to act as mediator between Iran and the US.

Trump must decide on certification by October 15th. It is believed that he will demand that the expiration clause of the agreement be changed, and that Iran make changes regarding Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.

Iran′s President Rouhani said at his press conference that the agreement was like a building: if you pull out a load-bearing element, the whole thing comes crashing down.

It appears that years of negotiations, coupled with continued US sanctions, lie ahead. As well, this setback will cause a further decline in the Iranian economy and an increase in power for the radicals. A population of 80 million who are simply yearning for better days will be the ones who suffer.