Reading Trump in Tehran
- Mehdi Khalaji
- Content Type
- Policy Brief
- The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
- A week after Donald Trump was elected president in November 2016, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei played
coy, remarking, “I have no judgment on the American election...[Both parties have been] naughty toward us.” Of
course, his true reaction was far more complex. On one hand, he saw in the president-elect—who had spoken
much of disentangling U.S. forces from the Middle East—a prospect of decreased military pressure on his country.
On the other, he heard Trump’s raw vitriol directed at Iran’s leadership and the nuclear deal crafted by President
Obama. The eventual U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA demonstrated that the new president could back up his talk
with punishing action.
In this close analysis of statements by Khamenei and other Iranian leaders, former seminarian Mehdi Khalaji lays
out the regime’s current views on President Trump and the United States. He shows that even after the American
assassination of Qods Force chief Qasem Soleimani, Iranian leaders could be open to negotiating with Washington
if they believe the regime’s existence depends on it.
- Foreign Policy, Politics, Elections, Donald Trump
- Political Geography
- Iran, Middle East, North America, United States of America