The impact of the historic deal between President Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un was best illustrated by the urgent warning that was issued on Tuesday by spokesman for the Iranian government, who told Kim: “We are facing a man who revokes his signature while abroad.”
The spokesman, Mohammad Bagher Nobakht, reflected the anxiety that is gripping the now isolated Iranian regime, which has lost its key provider of nuclear know-how, even as its is riddled with suspicion about the motives of its other key provider of weapons and technology – Russia.
For his part, Trump had nothing but nice things to say about the future of his dealings with the Islamic Republic. Speaking to reporters in Singapore following his historic meeting with Kim, which resulted in a deal that could bring about the “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Trump said: “I hope that, at the appropriate time, after the sanctions kick in — and they are brutal what we’ve put on Iran — I hope that they’re going to come back and negotiate a real deal because I’d love to be able to do that but right now it’s too soon to do that.”
Juggling his relationship with both rogue states over the past month, Trump proved to be quite the master of the art of the deal, when he followed through on his threat to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May, revved up US sanctions and caused the start of an economic collapse in Iran’s shipping, financial and oil sectors – while at the same time courting North Korea.
On Tuesday, Trump, who described the sanctions as “brutal,” suggested that the resulting decline in confidence should encourage Tehran’s rulers to seek a renegotiation of their 2015 deal with the US.
“On the Iran deal, I think Iran is a different country now than it was three or four months ago,” Trump said, suggesting the Iranians were no longer as sure of themselves in Syria and in the rest of the Middle East.
“I don’t think they’re looking so much to the Mediterranean, I don’t think they’re looking so much at Syria like they were, with total confidence, I don’t think they’re so confident right now,” Trump said.