Dr. Amirahmadi recently spoke with Voice to America about President Trump's speech to the UN. The audio and a summary are below.
What was the response by Iran to Trump’s speech?
There were reactions right after his speech by President Rouhani, who spoke at the same podium at the UN, and then a few days later by the leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khamenei. Both of them obviously rejected Mr. Trump’s claim and said that those words were humiliating, insulting and “ignorant.” They were particularly reacting to President Trump’s statement regarding not just the nuclear issue, but Iran’s human rights situation, whereby President Trump basically said to the Iranian people that their government is a bad government that abuses human rights, misuses resources and spends their money in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere; saying that with this government they will not have a good economy or even a future… In a way the talk was really a regime change talk. Although he never used the words regime change, but it was obvious he was trying to entice the people against the regime.
Trump also brought up the idea of renegotiating the nuclear deal. What will happen if the US doesn’t recertify?
I don’t believe President Trump will discard the deal so soon. He will keep the deal but create pressure around the deal, including more sanctions, to force Iran from either not being able to utilize the deal or to just walk out. So Trump’s main strategy is to force Iran to exit the deal as opposed to the US exiting the deal.
If what you say is true that Trump is mostly likely going to pressure Iran to exit the deal, what would the breaking point be? What is the pressure point at which they would say “we’re out?”
First, I don’t believe that Mr. Trump will only make the nuclear issue a big deal (although that is for him a big deal), but I think Mr. Trump’s strategy simultaneously will be to make Iran’s missiles as big an issue as the nuclear issue was… and to make Syria a big issue… but I don’t think Iran would like to move beyond the situation it is at the moment. Remember, Iran’s position is that no matter what, they will stay with JCPOA if the other members stay with it.
It appears he already has one leader, the French president, who is open to renegotiating the deal?
Yes, absolutely. In fact, I believe that all the European countries in the bottom of their hearts want to negotiate. France has spoken out because they are always an outspoken country. You know the British and Germans are very cautious (they have always been), but I believe the Germans and the British will also follow the line France is advocating… While Mr. Trump may want to extend the sunset clause of the deal indefinitely, they may [want to] negotiate the sunset clause to, for example, 2050.