Trump’s Anti-Iran Rhetoric ‘Cowardly’, ‘Irresponsible’: IAI Director

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The director of the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) thinktank in Rome, Italy, described US President Donald Trump's latest speech against Iran as “cowardly” and “irresponsible”.

Trump’s Anti-Iran Rhetoric ‘Cowardly’, ‘Irresponsible’: IAI Director

“In three words: cowardly, unrealistic, irresponsible. Cowardly because President Trump has passed the buck to Congress. By decertifying he has washed his hands from the deal, without necessarily meaning that the US as such will withdraw, passing that decision to Congress. Unrealistic because a renegotiation of the deal is off the cards. Neither the rest of the P6 nor the EU, nor Iran itself are willing to renegotiate the agreement. And irresponsible because were the JCPOA to collapse the responsibility would be Trump's alone, undermining not only the agreement itself but representing a major blow to multilateralism and nonproliferation worldwide,” Nathalie Tocci told the Tasnim news agency, referring to Trump's recent speech against Iran and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Nathalie Tocci is Director of the Istituto Affari Internazionali, Honorary Professor at the University of Tübingen, and Special Adviser to EU HRVP Federica Mogherini, on behalf of whom she wrote the European Global Strategy and is now working on its implementation, notably in the field of security and defense. Previously, she held research positions at the Centre for European Policy Studies, Brussels, the Transatlantic Academy, Washington and the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, Florence.
Her research interests include European foreign policy, conflict resolution, the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Her major publications include: Framing the EU's Global Strategy, Springer-Palgrave Macmillan, 2017 (author); The EU, Promoting Regional Integration, and Conflict Resolution, Springer-Palgrave Macmillan, 2017 (co-editor);  Turkey and the European Union, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015 (co-author); Multilateralism in the 21st Century, Routledge, 2013 (co-editor), Turkey’s European Future: Behind the Scenes of America’s Influence on EU-Turkey Relations, New York University Press, 2011 (author); and The EU and Conflict Resolution, Routledge, 2007 (author). Nathalie is the 2008 winner of the Anna Lindh award for the study of European Foreign Policy.

Following is the full text of the interview.

Tasnim: US President Donald Trump in a major confrontational stance against the Islamic Republic of Iran on Friday refused to certify the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers and imposed further sanctions against the country’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC). What is your take on his speech?

Tocci: In three words: cowardly, unrealistic, irresponsible. Cowardly because President Trump has passed the buck to Congress. By decertifying he has washed his hands from the deal, without necessarily meaning that the US as such will withdraw, passing that decision to Congress. Unrealistic because a renegotiation of the deal is off the cards. Neither the rest of the P6 nor the EU, nor Iran itself are willing to renegotiate the agreement. And irresponsible because were the JCPOA to collapse the responsibility would be Trump's alone, undermining not only the agreement itself but representing a major blow to multilateralism and nonproliferation worldwide.

Tasnim: Trump described the IRGC as a “terror force” which has funded "war and terror abroad.” Do you believe so?

Tocci: I certainly do not consider the IRGC as angels and some of their actions in the region are indeed questionable. But defining the IRGC as a terrorist force is entirely off the mark. Neither is it accurate nor helpful in any way.

Tasnim: Shortly after his speech, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE welcomed Trump’s decision not to certify the agreement. Trump called Iran a “rogue” state and repeated Washington’s allegations that Tehran sponsors terrorism and continues “aggression in the Middle East and all around the world.” What do you think? Which countries are true rogue states?

Tocci: Rogue is an adjective that has not served the region well. I would not define any state as rogue. The only rogue act at this particular juncture seems to me to be President Trump's decertification against the technical views not only of the IAEA, (but also) the EU, Russia, China, as well as key elements in his administration.

Tasnim: In his speech, Trump referred to Iran’s “proud history, its culture, its civilization, its cooperation with its neighbors.” However, he used the "Arabian Gulf” instead of the Persian Gulf in his speech. What is your take on this?

Tocci: Frankly, I would not read too much into this. I doubt that President Trump has a fine understanding of the region's long and complex history. The Gulf is Persian as it is Arabian. Regional countries are, will and must continue to coexist.

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