(Persia Digest) – An analyst of US affairs in Iran believes: “Part of Trump’s contrasting behavior towards Iran is designated to throw off the other party and interfere with its decision-makings.”

In recent days, the US President has been sending mixed message to Iran. While he thanked the Iranians for not downing a US military plane carrying 35 personnel in its airspace, he went on to impose unprecedented sanctions on its Supreme Leader. He asks Iran for talks and warns that an attack on anything American will lead to its obliteration in the same breath.

Speaking about Trump’s contrasting messages in his approach towards Iran, analyst of US affairs in Tehran, Amir-Ali Abolfath, told Persia Digest (PD): “There are two theories to explain this. Firstly, Trump and his administration are confused and passive vis a vis Iran’s responses. He tries to portray himself as being positive one day, and threatens the next. The fact is that the US is currently facing a difference of opinion in its decision-making centers, especially in defense and security.”

He added: “To date, Trump has had three security advisors, two secretaries of state, and three defense secretaries. Presently, it does not even have a defense secretary. The second theory is that the US President is purposefully sending out mixed messages to make it difficult for the other party to decide. Hence, the US can fish in muddy waters. The Trump Administration’s conduct towards North Korea, Turkey, and even its allies like Saudi Arabia is similar. This has led some experts to believe that his contradictory conduct is a negotiation tactic for better results.”


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Abolfath reiterated: “But in order to understand the contradictory decisions of the United States towards Iran, they should be explicitly examined. The outcome of the intra-American divide may be differences of opinion on a particular topic. For instance, Trump’s stance on the unimportance of the Strait of Hormuz for the US when Pompeo is on a trip to the region to form an anti-Iran coalition does not necessarily mean they want to deceive authorities in Tehran.”

This analyst of US affairs reiterated: “But, Trump’s comments in Japan on his readiness to meet Iranian leaders and Bolton’s emphasis on the 12 conditions for talks with Tehran at the same time may well be part of a misleading policy. Therefore, both theories are there; but each one is objectified depending on specific issues.”


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Speaking about verbal tensions between US and Iranian authorities affecting the management of the crisis, he said: “Differences between the two parties are so great that the presence or lack of such policies and tactics is not very helpful. The US administration is pushing for talks to review the JCPOA nuclear deal and other issues. But Tehran announced at its highest level that it will not negotiate this further and Trump is not even seen as fit to partake in an exchange of messages with. Therefore, verbal tensions are highly unhelpful, because differences are too great.”

Abolfath added: “Iran is waiting for a fundamental change in the US approach, and the US is waiting for the same thing to happen in Iran. As there is no middle road, efforts to bring these two views closer have been unsuccessful and there is no particular change on the horizon. Contrasting messages can only add fuel to the fire and increase mistrust in the White House.”

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