Trump Wrong in Reading of Iranian Gov't, People

Trump Wrong in Reading of Iranian Gov't, People
Trump Wrong in Reading of Iranian Gov't, People

US President Donald Trump is not trying to provoke a war with Iran, but is seriously mistaken in believing he can pressure Tehran into renegotiating the 2015 nuclear agreement, former CIA case officer, Philip Giraldi, told Sputnik on Friday.

In a speech earlier in the day, Trump said his administration has decided not to recertify that Iran is in compliance with the nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

"Trump clearly believes that applying more pressure on Iran will force it to make new concessions on ballistic missiles and on 'interfering' in the region, which have nothing to do with nuclear weapons," Giraldi said. He noted that Trump failed to appreciate the strong convictions of top officials in Tehran and of the Iranian public on the issue.

The US president "is, of course, wrong in his reading of the Iranian government and people. He is demanding that they abandon what they see as vital interests in terms of Iranian national security," he said.

Although Trump does not want a war, he does not realize that his hard line against Tehran plays into the hands of Iran's enemies in the region and of their political allies in the United States, all of whom wanted to draw the United States into a full-scale war with Iran, Giraldi warned. "I don't think he [Trump] believes there will be a war, but he is giving the tools to the Israelis, Saudis and hawks in Congress to make that happen, which is what they fervently desire," he added.

The former CIA officer said predicted that Trump's speech would be followed by an escalation of US economic sanctions against Iran and an increased and more proactive US naval and air presence just outside Iranian territorial waters.

"I imagine that the White House would incrementally increase pressure on the Iranians if [they] do not concede in the next two months through the use of sanctions and aggressive patrolling in the Straits of Hormuz," he said. Giraldi cautioned that any decision by Trump to approve a more aggressive presence of the US armed forces off Iranian waters would almost certainly lead to a real or alleged incident that could rapidly escalate into a serious crisis or a full-scale war. If the US approval of aggressive patrolling in the Persian Gulf region happens, "there will be an incident sure as hell that will escalate", he said.

"However, there was no indication that Trump had thought through what the consequences of a war or sustained showdown with Iran would be, or how to win any full-scale conflict with Tehran," he said.

"As for what happens the day after [a war begins], I don't think he understands what winning or losing would mean in practice."

Giraldi recalled that Trump has given no indication that he had studied or thought about the US military's failure to bring the ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq to a successful conclusion despite so many years of commitment to both of them.

The US president "has not grasped that we have been in Afghanistan for 16 years, with Iran representing a much tougher nut to crack," he said.


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