TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – A senior American political analyst in Madison described the US’ new sanctions against Tehran as “purely symbolic”, urging Iran to continue with its “resistance strategy until Trump changes course or backs off”.
“The new sanctions are purely symbolic. The Supreme Leader’s office is not using Western banks. They will not have any actual effect. But they send an ugly, insulting message. They are also an attempt to divide the Iranian people. But it will not work. By disrespecting the Leader and the IRGC Trump and his stupid advisers will just convince more Iranian people to rally to Iran’s defense,” Kevin Barrett told Press Shia Agency.
He added, “Iran should continue with its resistance strategy until Trump changes course or backs off. It really has no other choice.”
The following is the full text of the interview.
Press Shia Agency: US President Donald Trump on Monday announced new sanctions on Iran as part of its pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic. They target the office of Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, Iran’s foreign minister and senior commanders of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC). What is your take on the sanctions?
Barrett: The new sanctions are purely symbolic. The Supreme Leader’s office is not using Western banks. They will not have any actual effect. But they send an ugly, insulting message. They are also an attempt to divide the Iranian people. But it will not work. By disrespecting the Leader and the IRGC Trump and his stupid advisers will just convince more Iranian people to rally to Iran’s defense.
Press Shia Agency: Trump and other senior US officials have repeatedly said that Washington is ready to talk to Iran about a new nuclear deal without any preconditions. It seems the Trump administration by imposing new sanctions on Tehran is facing political confusion. What do you think? Do you believe that the administration is closing the path to a diplomatic solution with Iran?
Barrett: Trump and his advisers are pursuing an incoherent and chaotic policy. Trump wants to negotiate a “better” nuclear deal. But his advisers (Mike) Pompeo and (John) Bolton want to overthrow the Islamic Republic and install a US-Zionist puppet government. So they make ridiculous threats and demands and apply draconian sanctions (Pompeo and Bolton’s policy) while at the same time talking as though they want to negotiate (Trump’s policy).
The problem is that Trump doesn’t realize that there will never be a “better” nuclear deal. Iran already agreed to forgo nuclear weapons and to allow inspections. But Iran is not going to give up its rockets and it is not going to stop having good relations with Hezbollah and the Palestinian resistance. So there is really no opening for negotiations to lead anywhere. At this point, the only path to a diplomatic solution would be for Trump to fire Pompeo and Bolton, end the sanctions, go to Tehran, and convince Iran to commit to talks on all outstanding issues between the two countries. Trump could claim he succeeded in getting Iran to agree to talk to the US about all issues including rockets, Hezbollah, and so on. Iran could use those talks to explain where its red lines are and why. The talks could continue indefinitely and go nowhere, like the US talks with North Korea, and Trump’s short attention span might move on to other issues.
Press Shia Agency: As you know, most of Iran’s economy has been already targeted by earlier US penalties and, in fact, there is not much left for Washington to target. Do you believe that it is just a theatrical move and that sanctions diplomacy no longer works in face of Iran?
Barrett: This question answers itself. The US has already applied maximum sanctions. The world doesn’t agree with the sanctions and is now seriously thinking about ending US dollar hegemony. So the US is actually harming its own position. It has no more leverage against Iran except covert operations (which Iran can covertly answer) or a war that would be a total disaster for the US.
Press Shia Agency: The new sanctions came after Iran last week shot down a US spy drone that had ventured into Iran’s airspace. Trump told reporters that the sanctions had nothing to do with the downing of the drone. It seems, however, that the sanctions were imposed in response to the shootdown. What are your thoughts on this?
Barrett: The sanctions probably are a response to the shootdown. The Americans felt they needed to take some kind of action to save face.
Press Shia Agency: Iranian officials are of the opinion that resistance is the best option for the country as they have announced no talks will take place until all of Iran’s demands, including the complete removal of oil and banking sanctions, are met. Do you believe the continuation of the resistance policy would be a viable option for Tehran?
Barrett: Yes. Iran should continue with its resistance strategy until Trump changes course or backs off. It really has no other choice.
If Trump fired Pompeo and Bolton and offered major sanctions relief in return for talks, that might be the time to consider negotiating. Iran could offer sweeteners to Trump including celebrating the defeat of DAESH and giving Trump some credit for it and possibly dangling business opportunities as a future possibility.