The removal of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has sparked mixed reactions across the Middle East, with Iran seeing this as the end of the 2015 nuclear deal and Gulf Arab nations hoping for a tougher stance of Iran’s various transgressions.
The Iranian daily newspaper Javan, affiliated to Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), stated that they believed Donald Trump’s decision to replace Tillerson with CIA director Mike Pompeo signalled that the nuclear deal, which Trump and Tillerson often disagreed on, would soon collapse.
In terms of the nuclear deal, Tillerson has urged Trump to remain in the deal, alongside European leaders, while Trump has wanted to withdraw for some time now. It is believed that Pompeo will support Trump in this, something especially notable because Trump’s May deadline for fixing its flaws approaches.
The fixes that were proposed by Trump in January included:
• Removing the expiration dates on certain restrictions, which currently mean Iran could be nuclear-capable in less than a decade
• Enabling automatic triggers to reinforce sanctions if/when Iran violates the deal
• More restrictions on the Iranian Regime’s ballistic missile programme
Ali Khorram, a former Iranian envoy to the United Nations, mischaracterised this in Arman newspaper as Pompeo wanting to start a war with Iran, rather than the simple act of agreeing with Trump to withdraw from an oft-violated deal that does not help US national security.
While Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi tried to downplay this change and what it will mean for the future of the Iran nuclear deal, which in itself shows how scared the Regime must be. This is a major event and to pretend like this is business as usual is basically like sticking your head in the sand.
It looks like the US will be toughening its stance on the Iranian Regime and its many problems, including the nuclear programme, support of terrorism, and human rights abuses.
This will be a positive step towards safety and security in the region, as the Iranian Regime is the cause (or at least exacerbator) of most crises in the Middle East, and has been welcomed by many powers in the region including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Those countries, along with Bahrain, and Egypt, have also previously urged the US for a tougher stance on Iranian ally Qatar for its support of extremist groups, some sponsored by Iran.