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The United States is well and truly embroiled in two nuclear crises, one with North Korea and the other with Iran. The latter’s nuclear program has been kept in check by the Iran Nuclear deal. However, with festering tensions between Tehran and Washington, the deal’s future is under threat. Iran’s newly re-elected President Hassan Rouhani has threatened to quit the 2015 nuclear deal “within hours” if the United States continues to impose new sanctions on the country.

While addressing the Parliament in the televised speech today, Rouhani said:”Iran could quit the nuclear deal within hours if the US imposes more sanctions.” The statement comes at a time when doubts about the future of the deal have risen.

Rouhani, much to the chagrin of hardliners cracked the deal in 2015. The deal has slowed and somewhat curbed Iran’s nuclear program. However, detractors including President Trump have time and again lambasted the indenture that was chalked out by the Obama administration.

He further added: “Iran has remained and will remain committed to the deal, though any breach of promise by other parties will receive appropriate responses.” Rouhani had earlier vowed for a tit for tat response to any US misadventure. In his inauguration ceremony earlier this month, Rouhani said:”We will never accept isolation.The nuclear deal is a sign of Iran’s goodwill on the international stage.”

Read more: Iran and Afghan Taliban: A marriage of convenience or something bigger?

Rouhani, much to the chagrin of hardliners cracked the deal in 2015. The deal has slowed and somewhat curbed Iran’s nuclear program. However, detractors including President Trump have time and again lambasted the indenture that was chalked out by the Obama administration. Trump, who had ratified Iran’s compliance with the deal rather gingerly, signed new sanctions into law on 2nd August. The US top man has been unequivocal in his criticism of the regime and the deal. During his election campaign, he called it “the worst deal ever”. Sanctions were levied on entities and individuals related to Iran; they dealt with Iran’s missile program and terrorism.

Iran is chastised for its support for the Assad Regime in Syria, Houthis in Yemen and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Iran’s fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq is discarded as an effort to extend its regional influence.

Rouhani said that it is difficult to trust the United States. He cited Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement and new restrictions imposed by the US on Cuba.

Ties between both countries have vitiated over the past few months. Trump has been particularly raising the verbal diatribes against Iran ever since the Riyadh Summit. The US has accused Tehran of stoking violence in the region and has called upon other nations to counter that country. Iran is chastised for its support for the Assad Regime in Syria, Houthis in Yemen and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Iran’s fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq is discarded as an effort to extend its regional influence.

Read more: Modi revisits Iran ties

Trump’s obsession with Tehran 

Iranians vociferously protested when Trump condoled terrorist attacks in Tehran in June. The attack was followed by diatribes from both sides. The US has been aggressively pursuing a tough policy against Tehran. Trump has been disdainful towards Iran ever since he launched his elections campaign.

However, Trump with his overly anti-Iranian stance has other ideas. “It’s a lot easier to say that the Iranians are complying … But, yeah, I would be surprised if they were in compliance,” Trump told Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago.

While the administration is in agreement with curtailing Iran, there are disagreements on the tactics that should be employed. Tillerson and Mattis have advocated regime change but the former has warned against reneging the deal. “The greatest pressure we can put to bear on Iran to change the behavior is a collective pressure,” said Tillerson earlier this month.

Read more: Playing with Fire: Trump’s Iran policy risks cloning North Korea

However, Trump with his overly anti-Iranian stance has other ideas. “It’s a lot easier to say that the Iranians are complying … But, yeah, I would be surprised if they were in compliance,” Trump told Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago.

The sanctions limit Iran’s nuclear ambitions, not its ballistic missile program, its alleged support for terrorist groups, or the regime’s human right violations. Iran has protested that the new sanctions are a way to browbeat the country, something which is unacceptable. In response, Iran’s parliament passed a bill Sunday outlining plans to “counter US terrorist measures in the region.”

Such a policy will give strength to anti-Americans voices in Iran, something which is least desired in the region.It is predicted that the US-Iran is likely to fester further. Pundits worry that US’ reliance on dubious opposition groups for regime change may work to the detriment of regional peace.

Seemingly, Trump is singularly focused on the nuclear-related threat that Iran poses. The dialogue on the deal seems to be out of his toolkit. Analysts opine that such a behavior is likely to strengthen the views of hardliners in Iran. This is majorly due to the fact that Trump has tried to ignore the moderate side of Rouhani’s personality. He was hardly impressed by Iranian voting for moderate elements and rejecting the hardliners.

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Such a policy will give strength to anti-Americans voices in Iran, something which is least desired in the region. It is predicted that the US-Iran is likely to fester further. Pundits worry that US’ reliance on dubious opposition groups for regime change may work to the detriment of regional peace. Peaceniks worry that Trump’s Twitter surge and the suggestions of hawks around him may lead towards a quick escalation. Many also warn against underestimating the resiliency and grit of the Iranian Regime which has taken many crises head-on. It would be interesting to observe if the deal can survive these tests. If anything, the continuation of the deal is imperative to regional stability, but not the be-all and the end-all. The deal’s survival is of utmost importance to regional peace, which is already marred.

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