U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to deliver a more benign speech than what was originally anticipated by many analysts, according to new information from officials.
In his upcoming speech, Trump is expected to attack Iran verbally and reveal a framework for stunting Iranian influence in the Middle East.
The idea has been floated that Trump planned to designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a terrorist organization through the U.S. State Department, an unprecedented and provocative move, but it appears that Trump will stop short of this and only continue with a fresh round of sanctions against IRGC officials, specifically focusing on foreign activities.
Trump is expected to attack the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), christened the 'nuclear deal,' verbally and impose measures wherein Congress can auto-impose sanctions or even scrap the deal if Iran continues to step out of line with U.S.-friendly policy. The administration has repeatedly criticized Iran’s ballistic missile program, Iranian support for the Lebanese Hezbollah as well as the Palestinian resistance group Hamas, and Iran’s support for the Syrian government.
“The United States’ new Iran strategy focuses on neutralizing the government of Iran’s destabilizing influence and constraining its aggression, particularly its support for terrorism and militants,” said a White House press statement.
“We will work to deny the Iranian regime – and especially the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) – funding for its malign activities, and oppose IRGC activities that extort the wealth of the Iranian people. We will counter threats to the United States and our allies from ballistic missiles and other asymmetric weapons.”
The IRGC has been a major source of revenue for Iran despite crippling U.S. sanctions.
Trump is expected to say that Iran is not acting appropriately for the amount of sanction-relief that they have received in return for their compliance.
Top U.S. allies in Europe have been wary of Trump's upcoming speech, fearing that he may totally upset the deal or push Iran away from diplomacy by reimposing aggressive sanctions. Instead, the President is expected to call on Congress to amend their legislation to allow for a tighter leash on Iran, especially focusing on Iran´s foreign policy in the Middle East which challenges key U.S. interests. Iran's foreign relations were not included in the terms of the deal.
The White House's official statements continues that “in regard to JCPOA itself, the Iranian regime has displayed a disturbing pattern of behaviour, seeking to exploit loopholes and test the international community’s resolve.”
“This behaviour cannot be tolerated; the deal must be strictly enforced, and the IAEA must fully utilise its inspection authorities,” referring to claims that Iranian officials planned to block independent inspection of military sites by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an agency that has defended Iran's adherence to the deal.
Despite pleas from European diplomats and key trading partners, including China, it appears that Trump is committed to finding means to turn the tables on Iran's independent foreign policy while stopping short of completely flipping the table, a move that his rhetoric as a candidate seemed to suggest.