Although it is still too early to talk about the future of Trump’s foreign policy, however, it became apparent from week one that he was going to pursue a sharp deterioration of America’s relations with Iran. The Trump administration first major step was the introduction of anti-migrant steps, when the residents of a number of Muslim states, Iran included, were prohibited from entering the US.
This step was soon followed by anti-Iranian accusations, when Washington announced that Tehran was pursuing the “colonization” of the neighboring Iraq. In his Twitter Donald Trump was pretty explicit in stating that Iran has been trying to extend its influence on the country on which the US has spent 3 billion dollars.
Last week, immediately after Iran’s new tests of its medium-range missiles, the US State Department announced the introduction of new sanctions against a number of Iranian companies and individuals that are allegedly linked to the the notorious Iran’s missile program. The step has been particularly painful for Tehran due to the fact that its missiles have been serving as a sort of substitute for military aircraft. Due to Western sanctions Iran now has perhaps the worst Air Forces in the region, which are flying American jets that are at least 40 years old.
Besides, in his interview for the Fox News, Donald Trump described Iran as “a terrorist state number one” that “does not respect the United States.” Soon, pretty much the same rhetoric was voiced by the Pentagon chief James Mattis, who announced that Iran can be found among the major sponsors of terrorism. There’s been disturbing reports that the Trump administration is planning to get the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which is by far the most elite unit of the Iranian armed forces, listed as a terrorist organization.
The fact that Trump has already had phone conversations with the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Israel, that are basically Iran’s sworn enemies, doesn’t promise anything good for Tehran as well. The first Middle East leader to arrive to Washington after Trump’s inauguration was Jordan’s King Abdullah, who in 2004 warned the world about the danger of a “Shia crescent” being created under Iran’s direct supervision. These facts may to a certain degree hint us about the desire of the new US administration to the create a broad anti-Iranian Sunni coalition in the Middle East.
Trump has been consistently criticizing Tehran in a pretty harsh manner. His position on Iran is primarily determined by the fact that Trump is one of the most pro-Israeli US presidents in recent decades, so his position on Iran is virtually identical to the views expressed by Israel, and it would be an understatement to say that Tel Aviv hates Tehran. If Barack Obama in the final years of his presidential career was searching for ways to lift anti-Iranian sanctions, even if it was putting Washington on the collision course with its traditional allies in the Middle East (particularly with Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar), Trump feels the urge to return the former status quo.
How else can one explain Trump’s anti-Iranian sentiments? – We should not forget that the new US president adheres to conservative policies, therefore he’s going to be protecting US oil and gas corporations vigorously, especially when they have recently received a chance to start exporting oil from the US. Under these circumstances, Tehran’s intentions to win back the share of the market that it lost due to Western sanctions could result in an abrupt drop of oil prices. This will undermine the positions enjoyed by US oil companies, which are being directly supported by the 45th US President and his State Secretary Rex Tillerson. The new US administration is clearly not going to wait for Iran to spend oil and gas revenues on the strengthening of its military forces, which should allow it to expand its influence in the region even further.
In addition, a possible face-off between the United States and Iran will result in oil prices skyrocketing out of control for the first time in a long while, which will inevitable damage China’s interests, since Beijing has always been dependent on Iranian oil supplies.
Apparently, Iran is going to play the role of the “evil country №1 in the world” in the next four to eight years. However, Washington’s outright hostility towards Iran may trigger a new round of crisis across the Middle East, especially against the background of unresolved issues with ISIS.