Last week, USS Mahan destroyer was in standoff with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Crops’ vessels, which prompted it to fire warning shots. Meanwhile, celebrations were held in Tehran on the one-year anniversary of Iran’s detention of U.S. sailors, in what Tehran refers to as the “humiliation of American sailors.”
All this embarrasses President Barack Obama who ends his eight years as president this week. Obama is the only president who carried the Iranian regime on its back since 1979.
Obama cancelled the policy of five former U.S. presidents, negotiated with the Iranians, signed generous agreements with them after lifting economic sanctions and kept silent over their crimes in Syria.
As Obama is preparing to leave the White House, the Iranian regime rewarded and bid him farewell by coming nearon the U.S. troops in Gulf waters and insulting them again. Not to mention the insults campaigns against him all over Iranian official media outlets.
In all cases, few days separate us from the inauguration of the president-elect Donald Trump, after which we will observe how the Iranian regime will deal with the new U.S. government.
Will it dare intercept its fleets and detain its sailors or open fire at military vessels in Gulf waters?
Preparations are underway in Washington to hand over the power and what we’ve heard so far indicates that the termination of Obama’s presidential term is also the end of his policy in the Gulf and that this phase will be followed by a different era in the Middle East.
We should not rush into raising our expectations from Trump’s administration but what high-ranking officials said at the Congressional hearings last week indicates that the new president will be different than Obama. This was confirmed by the testimonies of three major nominees for the departments of defense and state and the CIA regarding Iran.
All three men clearly accused Iran of being the source of unrest in the region, confirming that the new administration will challenge it rather than allying with it. But this does not mean abandoning the nuclear agreement as they respect the signed agreements.
If they went ahead and did what they threatened Iran with, it will be a major shift in U.S. policy in terms of its relations with the Gulf and the balance of power in the Middle East.
Obama secretly began building relations with the Iranian regime and trusted the “scorpion” regime. He carried it on his back betting that it will be a regional partner in peace and a major ally in fighting terrorism.
Since Obama’s administration deliberately communicated with the Tehran regime covertly for a long period of time, it was easy to make promises and sign deals that were not only bad for the U.S. but for the region and the entire world.
No one in the region objects to Washington being open to Tehran and reaching an agreement that suspends the latter’s nuclear program but Obama’s administration made a series of mistakes that unleashed the Iranian regime’s monsters which are behind the disasters in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
It was unnecessary. It’s about time Iran realizes it can enjoy its economic capabilities and the world can open its doors for trade, tourism and exchange of knowledge. However, Iran must not leave its forces and militias unleashed and continue to threaten the security of the region and the security and interests of the entire world.
Abdulrahman Al-Rashed (Asharq Al-Awsat)