With the choice of controversial retired Gen. Michael Flynn to be White House National Security Advisor comes a new flurry of anticipation (and worry) that American foreign policy will be turned on its head with the election of Donald Trump.
Take the Iranian nuclear accord negotiated by the Obama Administration, which Trump has called "the worst deal ever" in, well, the entire history of dealmaking. Tehran is watching the coming changes in Washington, with conservative Fars news agency this week quoting past remarks by the hawkish diplomat John C. Bolton, touted as a possible Secretary of State, urging support for Iranian opponents intent on toppling the regime. The more moderate ISNA agency preferred to cite, hopefully perhaps, comments by another Trump ally, Rudolph Giuliani, saying that the nuclear deal with Iran could not be ignored completely.
The conflicting reports reflect unease in Tehran over the best- and worst-case scenarios of a Trump presidency. A commentator in the conservative daily Resalat, Hamed Hajiheidari, wrote Thursday that at least America's "mischief" would now become more evident. Democrats were always "more destructive," he argues, as they "tricked" many governments into trusting the United States as benign.
In his first comments on Trump's election, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei offered what can only be described as a yawn. He told a crowd Wednesday that "we have no judgment" on Trump's election, because "this is the same America that has brought us no good […] whichever party is in power" the reformist paper Shargh cited him as saying.
If Trump's foreign policy turns into nothing more and nothing less than an extension of his "Art of the Deal," we can safely say that Tehran will be like no other re-negotiation he has ever faced.
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