Former CIA director John Brennan says the US President Donald Trump administration’s policy of pressure against Tehran is a failed policy because there is “a culture of resistance” in Iran.
In an interview with The Irish Times newspaper published on Saturday, Brennan said the Trump administration has been moving down a “cul de sac” with its policies toward Iran.
“The United States has gone down this cul de sac with Iran, by putting pressure on the regime, in the false belief that they will change. It’s a culture of resistance in Iran,” he said.
He referred to some of Trump’s policies specifically.
“By reneging on the Iran nuclear deal, by designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization, by tightening sanctions on Iran and forcing European parties to the agreement to renege on their obligations, the perception in Iran is that the Trump administration ultimately wants to overthrow the regime,” Brennan said.
Since taking office in 2017, Trump has taken a progressively bellicose posture toward Iran. A year and a half into his term, he unilaterally withdrew the US from an international nuclear deal with Iran — the JCPOA — and imposed sanctions against Tehran. He then began pressuring the other cosignatories, including European states, to also abandon the deal.
The ‘Iran zealots’
The US president also listed Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization.”
Furthermore, Trump appointed as close aides a coterie of individuals known for their acrimony toward the Islamic Republic. Those figures, who include National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in turn worked to reinforce the administration’s anti-Iran posture.
In his interview, Brennan singled out Bolton and Pompeo as “Iran zealots.”
In May, the US announced highly provocative plans to dispatch military reinforcements to the Middle East, including an aircraft carrier strike group and a bomber task force, citing an alleged, unspecified Iranian threat.
At the same time as taking those anti-Iran measures, Trump has also offered new talks with Tehran. At different times, his administration has offered talks with or without preconditions.
Iran has rejected the preconditions and has said offers of talks do not go with threats and pressure.