In an interview with Yahoo News published on Sunday, Wendy Sherman slammed Trump’s use of threats to push his adversaries into submission, emphasizing that Iranians are not a nation to surrender to any threats.
Sherman was a key member of the US nuclear negotiating team under former secretary of state, John Kerry, who pulled off the Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), to fruition in 2015.
Trump is a stern critic of the nuclear accord, agreed between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China – plus Germany. Under the JCPOA, Iran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions imposed against Tehran.
The US president announced on May 8 that Washington was walking away from the nuclear agreement and that he planned to reinstate US nuclear sanctions on Iran and impose “the highest level” of economic bans on the Islamic Republic.
Sharply criticizing the US president’s policy toward Iran, Sherman said, “President Trump’s diplomatic style is to thump adversaries over the head with threats, and then after beating them up offer to sit down to talk and try and seal a deal.”
The former American nuclear negotiator added, “What he [Trump] doesn’t understand is that Iran has a culture of resistance that equates giving in to those kinds of public threats as surrender, and they won’t surrender.”
Trump has stepped up his hostile rhetoric against Iran. Just last week, he threatened Iran with hardship “the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before.”
Trump’s pugnacious Twitter message in all capital letters came late on July 22 after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned his US counterpart not to “play with the lion’s tail.”
Just days after the US president threatened the Islamic Republic with incredible hardships, he claimed that Washington was ready to make a “real deal” with Iran over the country’s nuclear program.
“Iran is not the same country anymore, that I can say,” Trump said during a speech at the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) national convention in the US state of Missouri, adding, “And we’ll see what happens, but we’re ready to make a real deal, not the deal that was done by the previous administration, which was a disaster.”
Sherman’s remarks came after the commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) sharply reacted to the recent military threat by Trump against the Islamic Republic on Thursday, saying, “You threaten us with an action that is ‘unprecedented’ in the world. This is cabaret-style rhetoric. Only a cabaret owner talks to the world this way.”
Referring to multiple failures of the United States in its various military invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq in the past years, General Qassem Soleimani said, “We are near you, where you can’t even imagine. We are the nation of martyrdom, we are the nation of Imam Hossein, you better ask. Come; we are ready. We are the man of this arena. You know that this war would mean annihilation of all you have. You may begin the war, but it is us who will end it.”
Elsewhere in her remarks, Sherman said the greatest shortcoming of the Trump approach was that it lacked the detailed policy preparation and follow-through necessary to turn verbal agreements into binding international accords.
“Trump likes to make headlines with his tweets, and he favors the pomp and circumstance of summits, but with both Iran and North Korea, there is no sign that he has put in the advance work, or that his team has shown the persistence and precision that these complex deals demand.”
Taking a jab at Trump by saying that he just reverts to the same transactional approach he used in real estate, Sherman said such an approach had previously led Trump into multiple bankruptcies in that sector.
“I worry that he will be similarly taken in on some of these geopolitical deals, and that is extremely dangerous,” she concluded.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Sunday that the United States is addicted to sanctions, but the Iranians can pass through the current “critical” stage with national unity.
A review of “the history of US foreign relations shows that this country has imposed the most sanctions on the majority of countries,” Zarif said in Tehran.