How Trump is already shifting Domestic Politics in Iran

By Saeid Jafari, for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.

Following a period of silence on Iran, US President Donald Trump has in past weeks once again addressed the topic in tweets and statements. He has issued stern warnings to Tehran about its behavior in the region as well as its ballistic missile tests.

Moreover, on Feb. 5, in an interview with Fox News, Trump called Iran the No. 1 terrorist state. What has Iran’s reaction been to these threats and fiery rhetoric?

The supreme leader’s foreign policy adviser, Ali Akbar Velayati, was the first to react. On Feb. 2, he told reporters that Iran is not taking the threats seriously and that the behavior of the Trump administration will be detrimental to the interests of the American people.

He also hinted at Washington’s limited options by remarking that the United States has not been able to achieve its aims in countries with much weaker military capabilities, alluding to neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan, while noting that Iran has a much stronger military than most countries in which the United States has failed.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was also among the first to take a stance. On Feb. 3, the day that Trump warned Tehran not to play with fire, Zarif tweeted a video in which he is seen defending Iran’s right to develop missile technology in response to a question by a student at the University of Wellington in New Zealand in March 2016. In essence, Zarif told Trump that Iran is not about to stop defending itself.

A few days later, on Feb. 7, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reacted to Trump’s threats, saying that no one has ever succeeded in achieving its aims by threatening the Iranian nation. On the same day, former Reformist President Mohammad Khatami called on the Iranian political establishment to promote national reconciliation and compromise, urging national unity. He also reiterated that in the face of a foreign threat, all forces loyal to Iran will consider it their duty to defend their country and the Islamic Revolution.

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