Rouhani compares Trump to Shah of Iran

President Hassan Rouhani said in a recent speech that despite all the pressure, US policy toward Iran has failed.

ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images).

By Al-Monitor Staff

Jan 14, 2021

President Donald Trump's second impeachment, on his way out from office, comes as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has continued to speak out about Trump’s legacy, particularly the US leader's “maximum pressure” policy against Iran.

Speaking Jan. 13 on the anniversary of when Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last shah of Iran, fled the country for good, Rouhani said that the shah's departure marked the end of colonialism in Iran and that Trump’s departure marks the “end of another dictator in America.” Rouhani said Trump’s election loss is not just the transfer of one government to another but shows that “bullying, racism and trampling laws does not have a good end.” 

Rouhani added that during the last three years the Trump administration tried to collapse Iran’s government and that Trump’s exit marks the “end of a policy” Rouhani referred to as “economic terrorism.” Rouhani said that despite all the pressure on Tehran from US sanctions and having to deal with the coronavirus, Iran has had positive economic growth the last six months.

While some countries in the Middle East will be sad to see Trump’s presidency come to an end, Iran is looking forward to a Biden administration that has stated its desire to reenter the nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Trump exited the deal and reapplied sanctions, preventing Iran from selling oil and conducting financial transactions with countries in Europe and Asia. The United States also sanctioned numerous entities in Iran. Most recently the United States announced sanctions against Mohammad Mokhber, the head of the Executive Headquarters of Imam’s Directives and Barkat Ventures, where the Iranian vaccine for COVID-19 is being developed. Iranian media referred to this latest penalty as a “sanction on the Iranian coronavirus vaccine.”  

Trump’s maximum pressure also included his orders to assassinate Iran’s Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani. While the assassination nearly led to a broader war, Iran is trying to pursue a legal angle. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said an arrest warrant for Trump will be pursued by the Foreign Ministry and other institutions. While Iran knows that no such thing will ever happen, the country is under severe pressure to respond. Shortly after the assassination, Iran launched missiles at a US base in Iraq. While the missiles caused severe damage, no US troops were killed in the attack. 

While members of the Rouhani administration will be happy to see Trump go, conservative politicians have felt vindicated that their viewpoint on the United States was the more accurate one. Conservative Iranian politicians also took pleasure in covering the chaos in the United States, most recently after the Capitol riots and the calling in of the National Guard to protect the inauguration. Vatan-e Emrooz newspaper’s top story above the fold showed a picture of the sleeping national guardsmen using a headline with a double meaning, “Goodnight America.”   

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