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US May Have Ability to Start War on Iran, But Won't Be Able to End It – Lecturer

© AP Photo / Kevin Lamarque/Pool PhotoUS Secretary of State John Kerry, left, meets with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, right, in Vienna, Austria, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, on what is expected to be "implementation day," the day the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verifies that Iran has met all conditions under the nuclear deal.
US Secretary of State John Kerry, left, meets with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, right, in Vienna, Austria, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, on what is expected to be implementation day, the day the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verifies that Iran has met all conditions under the nuclear deal. - Sputnik International
Addressing the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, US President Donald Trump lashed out at Tehran, criticizing its nuclear program and saying that the new anti-Iran sanctions would be "tougher than ever before." Sputnik discussed the issue with Dr. Alam Saleh, a lecturer in Middle Eastern politics at Lancaster University, United Kingdom.

Sputnik: What is your take on Washington’s current strategy towards Iran? 

Dr Alam Saleh: Washington's main strategy, commenced since May this year, is to put Iran under greater economic pressure. This, according to officials in Washington, would further disenchant Iranians from the government in Tehran, and as result it would either lead to the collapse of the Islamic Republic, or it force Tehran to enter a new negotiation to give greater advantages to Washington and its regional allies, which weakens Iran’s regional influence and power.

READ MORE: US to Find Options for New Sanctions Against Iran If Sees No Changes — Bolton

Sputnik: Do you think that US sanctions on Tehran will be successful and will allow the Trump administration to achieve its goals?

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaks during a discussion on Turkey-US Strategic Partnership: Looking to the Future at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, on March 21, 2017 - Sputnik International
Turkey Will Not Join US Sanctions Against Iran - Foreign Minister
Dr Alam Saleh: It entirely depends on two factors; one is how the Iranian people react to such great economic pressure, and second to what extent the EU is serious about helping Iran to survive until Trump is longer in office. It is difficult to guess how the Iranians will behave and who is to blame for what is going on, such as the devaluation of the Iranian currency, inflation, unemployment and so on. It is, however, more evident to see how the EU would respond to Trump’s aggressive acts, not only against Iran but also perhaps the entire international community. It is yet to be seen what options are open to EU against Trump’s egoistic acts.

Sputnik: Several EU countries, namely the signatories of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, have said that they will reject US sanctions against Tehran, while China and Turkey said they will continue purchasing Iranian oil and gas. What signal do you think has this sent to non-Iranian companies doing business with Iran?

Dr Alam Saleh: This can somehow help Iran’s economy to survive, but not enough to establish a strong economy and meet people’s expectations. The EU cannot force its big companies to invest in Iran; those companies do rely on the USA more than their own home, Europe! Small companies, however, may invest, but the investment is not large and effective enough to help Iran go through such economic hardness. In other words, the EU should more effectively and seriously attempt to help Iran to persuade Tehran to stay loyal to the nuclear agreement. For instance, making sure that EU countries buy Iran’s oil, and to create financial means to ensure that Iran can be paid for its sales abroad.

READ MORE: 'Number of Countries' Expected to Thwart New US Anti-Iran Sanctions — Prof

Sputnik: Some reports suggest that US National Security Advisor John Bolton has advocated for military action against Iran in the past. How likely is the US to launch this war, in your opinion?

A staff member removes the Iranian flag from the stage after a group picture with foreign ministers and representatives of Unites States, Iran etc. - Sputnik International
Iran to Keep Opposing Unlawful US Sanctions Destabilizing State - FM
Dr Alam Saleh: The Trump administration has no legitimacy nor power to launch a military action against Iran. The USA has proved in the last few decades that they cannot handle long wars, nor… know how to end wars. They may have the ability to start a war against Iran, but they will not be able to end it for sure. Such statements made by Mr Bolton are rather part of a psychological war, to dissuade European companies to invest in Iran and also to create a sense of uncertainty inside Iran, which affects Iranians and the Iranian economy altogether.

Sputnik: With both US President Donald Trump and Iranian President Rouhani using strong words in regards to each other’s policies, what do you think needs to happen for the two sides to settle their differences?

Dr Alam Saleh: The differences are too deep and to move beyond such differences requires great compromises, especially since Trump has left the internationally recognized nuclear deal. Tehran has no reason to trust Trump administration, Tehran needs a guarantee for any further talks and negotiations, which the current government in Washington cannot provide. Tehran and Washington do not trust each other, and they have so many reasons why!

The views and opinions expressed by the contributors do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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