It is understandable that Mideast policy is, in general, difficult. But what legitimate reason can there be for paying Iran a $1.7 billion “settlement” after the nuclear deal was reached? What is more, the US, caving in to a demand by Iran, paid the money in non-US currency, and in cash to boot. The answer given by the Obama State Department was that this was in settlement of “claims against the US by Iran” that dated back to before the Iranian revolution, but this simply sounds like an excuse. The real reason is easy to guess when the facts are looked at dispassionately. The most probable explanation is that Iran demanded that a payment of $1.7 billion be attached as a rider to the nuclear deal, and the US accepted this. President Obama is gravely at fault for having simply paid a $1.7 billion settlement without announcing any clear Mideast policy.
As expected, Iran, despite receiving such lavish treatment, remains a rogue state. Quickly forgetting the kindness it had received, Iran on January 29th conducted a test launch of a ballistic missile. In retaliation, the Trump administration announced that it was imposing new economic sanctions on 13 individuals as well as on 12 businesses in the Middle East and China.
And that is not the only negative legacy that Pres. Obama left behind. Just before his term expired, he abandoned one of America’s closest friends, Israel, by failing to veto a resolution criticizing Israel for settlements on the West Bank of the Jordan. In other words, the US changed course to pursue a policy of isolating Israel. In addition, longtime US ally Saudi Arabia showed displeasure at the US for the nuclear deal that it signed with Iran and four other countries. It is certainly true that the US, which for a long time was dependent on Saudi Arabia for crude oil, has now become the largest oil producer in the world thanks to shale oil, and therefore has less to gain from Saudi Arabia. Nevertheless, given the many years that the US and Saudi Arabia have had a relationship of cooperation, Saudi Arabia remains an important ally for the US.
By throwing away money on an extremely dangerous country, Pres. Obama turned a country that had been a longtime friend into an enemy.
The current administration is trying to restore the situation to what it was before. In an address to Congress, Pres. Trump declared that he would strengthen ties with Israel. In addition, Pres. Trump’s meeting with Saudi Arabia’s deputy crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, was an “historic turning point” for improved relations. The White House says that the sanctions on Iran are unrelated to the nuclear deal with Iran, but the truth becomes clear when one looks at Pres. Trump’s tweet on Twitter. If there is anything for the US to keep in mind when socializing with Iran, it is that simply this: that the US has a trade surplus of no less than $86 billion with respect to Iran. Hope someone’s whimsical remarks on Twitter ignoring the surroundings won’t make any trouble and our country won’t back to square one.