What will Trump's pressure on Iran achieve?

After the US's unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear deal, the new sanctions against Iran are a further step by Trump aimed at increasing the pressure on Tehran. Commentators examine the potential consequences of the Trump administration's strategy for the country.

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The Times (GB) /

Frustrated citizens will topple the regime

The dissatisfaction of large sections of the population could soon lead to a political revolution in Iran, The Times believes:

“The misgovernment of Iran, and above all the central role of self-enriching Revolutionary Guard generals at the heart of the economy, will eventually lead to the regime's downfall. ... Ultimately, though, it is up to citizens to demand responsible rather than war-mongering and corrupt governance. Those who stand up to this hollowed-out theocratic state often face terrible punishment and cannot expect fair trial. But day by day their fear is melting away.”

Tages-Anzeiger (CH) /

The Revolutionary Guards will defend their power

A change of regime is unlikely, the Tages-Anzeiger comments:

“So the US pressure is having an effect. The question, however, is what will come of it. When the US announced its withdrawal from the nuclear agreement and new sanctions in May, it wasn't long before the Iranian media were talking openly about whether the government could be toppled. Nut not by the hungry masses rebelling against its oppression - the talk was of Rouhani being swept away by a coup. Iran's political system may be ossified, but within it there is a dynamic force that will doggedly defend its power: the Revolutionary Guards, who are not only militarily strong but also control large parts of the economy.”

La Stampa (IT) /

The art of negotiating - according to Trump

Trump is proceeding according to the "Trump doctrine" in his dealings with Iran, La Stampa's US correspondent Paolo Mastrolilli explains:

“Applying the maximum amount of pressure, including catastrophic threats, to get the best results at the negotiating table. So far what is emerging as the 'Trump doctrine' for foreign policy has been applied vis-à-vis North Korea, China, Russia, the European Union and now Iran. ... This strategy is based on Trump's book 'The Art of the Deal' [1987] in which he outlines the secrets of his entrepreneurial success. Among the golden rules there are two that he is now applying to international relations: first, always use all the leverage at your disposal. Second, be ready to stand up and leave the table at any time to show that you can go without the deal and won't just make do with the first available compromise.”

Le Figaro (FR) /

Trump's gamble could backfire

This time Trump's strategy won't work, Le Figaro predicts:

“The Iranians seem to be the North Koreans on the Persian Gulf as far as Trump is concerned. ... So he'll adopt the same approach with them. Apocalyptical threats, outstretched hand, then a spectacular summit. And a deal! But Tehran is not Pyongyang. Even with the bomb, North Korea is a hermetic kingdom, isolated and economically drained. Iran, by contrast, is anything but reclusive. It's an active regional power with allies and vassals all over the Middle East, from Yemen to Syria to Lebanon. And it's not stretching the imagination too far to believe that the future of Ancient Persia will have more of an impact on the course of the world than North Korea's will. Here Trump is playing a risky game.”

Handelsblatt (DE) /

Trade could bring hoped-for change

Handelsblatt also doesn't believe external pressure will achieve the desired results:

“The country is too rich for that, its reserves are too large, and people are too ready to side with the leadership at the first sign of a threat from abroad. ... It's wrong to think that further sanctions and pulling out of the nuclear deal will have an effect. We should integrate the country in international trade and reap the benefits of its willingness to renounce nuclear weapons. As their prosperity grows, the Iranians will demand greater participation. The reformers were already on the rise, but the sanctions will stop them in their tracks. It wasn't unilateral US sanctions that softened the Iron Curtain but the concept of change through trade developed by Willy Brandt and German business.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

Washington won't let anyone tell it what to do

Europe is powerless in view of Washington's aggressive stance, writes geopolitics expert Lucio Caracciolo in La Repubblica:

“We are clinging to international law as a way of challenging the US's secondary sanctions which undermine our trade with Iran. As if the American empire, superordinate by its own definition, would renounce the extraterritorial application of its laws or submit to the injunctions of an 'international court'. Perhaps war can be avoided. Perhaps not. But a minute before Trump's decision on whether he, as commander in chief, will set the most powerful army in the world on Iran, Netanyahu will be the only 'foreign' leader whose voice Trump wants to hear.”