Iran’s latest assault on President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal is a report claiming that President-elect Donald Trump’s criticisms have “psychologically affected” implementation by causing “a sense of anxiety and uncertainty over the fate of the agreement” among foreign companies that might do business with the Islamic Republic.
So says Saudi Arabia’s Al-Arabiya in summing up the report from Iran’s Foreign Ministry. The Foreign Ministry did say, however, that it will not “rush to judge the new U.S. administration.”
Trump’s statements on the nuclear agreement with Tehran during his presidential campaign and after his election caused great concern to Iranian officials as well as companies and international banks, which intend to cooperate with Tehran and engage in the Iranian market. Subsequently, President Rowhani and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif were faced with a wave of domestic criticism, especially from the supporters of Iranian Leader Ali Khomeini.
The proximate cause of Iranian anxiety and distress is not Trump himself, but his secretary of state nominee, Rex Tillerson. The Foreign Ministry has developed a bad case of indigestion over Tillerson’s recommendation for a “comprehensive review” of the nuclear deal.
The Associated Press reports Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif insisting Iran is the party with legitimate “grievances” over the deal, but they intend to honor it, and are not overly concerned with criticism from Trump or his cabinet.
“Whatever he does to the nuclear deal, we are not worried because we have our own options. But we believe it’s in the interest of everybody to stick to the deal. Most importantly it’s an international agreement. It’s not a bilateral agreement between Iran and the United States,” Zarif told reporters in Kuala Lumpur, echoing language from the Foreign Ministry report.
“President Trump likes surprises and we will make him surprised,” Zarif said, when a reporter asked what Iran would do if Trump scuttled the nuclear deal, as he spoke of doing during the 2016 presidential campaign.
When he was asked for more details, Zarif laughed and said, “It won’t be a surprise anymore if I tell you.”
That is exactly what Trump has been saying about the Iran deal lately.
“I don’t want to say what I’m gonna do with the Iran deal. I just don’t want to play the cards. I mean, look – I’m not a politician, I don’t go out and say, ‘I’m gonna do this.’ I gotta do what I gotta do,” the President-elect told German and British interviewers during the weekend. He added, “But I don’t wanna play. Who plays cards where you show everybody the hand before you play it?”