US makes gift to their rivals in the Middle East
US President Donald Trump's decree suspending entry for nationals of seven countries (Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Yemen and Somalia) caught everyone by surprise: the named Muslim countries, bot the Europeans and the Americans, including the Democrats and some influential Republicans, as well as high-ranking State Department employees. Trump's behavior in the international arena is putting the Iranian political leadership, which is trying to establish economic relations with the EU and the US after lifting the UN sanctions, in a difficult situation. It is easier with the Europeans, however, Iran also had hopes for large US investments.
A year ago, President Hassan Rouhani said: "It's possible that Iran and the US might have friendly relations, but the key to that is in Washington's hands, not Tehran's. Certain US officials should understand that the era of sanctions and pressure has ended". Rouhani also expressed his country's readiness to establish a joint production with American companies and welcome investors from the US.
Now they can forget about US investors and a joint production - at least until the end of Donald Trump's presidency. In the next 90 days, the Iranians will not be able to travel to the United States, and Trump's actions are likely to entail a response from Iran. Iran's First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri Kouhshahi has already threatened that Tehran may stop issuing entry visas to US citizens. Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made a similar statement. They are seriously arguing in Iran about whether to allow the US athletes to the World Wrestling Championship in February.
Thus, the already strong anti-American sentiments in Iranian society and the elite have been further reinforced. The head of Iran's Center for Strategic Research of the Expediency Discernment Council, Ali Akbar Velayati, called Trump "unstable person" and predicted that these actions will harm the US. FarsNews even described the US president's policy as "fascist". The Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, nominated for an Oscar in the best foreign-language film category, refused to attend the ceremony. Actress Taraneh Alidoosti, star of the Oscar-nominated film, also refused to visit the United States.
Trump's decree has not affected the Muslim countries, with which the US has significant economic ties - in particular, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt and others. The fact that Iran was on the "forbidden list" shows not only the new US President's loyalty to its hard line against Iran (which finds approval in Israel), but also the absence of an intention to develop the economic, political and humanitarian ties with this state.
It is striking that the ill-fated decree of President Donald Trump is being fiercely criticized simultaneously by the EU countries, led by Germany (exception for the UK), numerous international human rights organizations, Iran, Iraq, and even Turkey, which is not affected by the decree. Critics of Trump's decision indicate that the already damaged reputation of Americans in the Muslim world will suffer even more from such actions of the US. In addition, each party has its own reasons to express dissatisfaction with the actions of the US leader.
For the EU, the US president's decree is a direct challenge to the policy, that Europe and, in particular, Angela Merkel, has carried out on the issue of migrants from North Africa and the Middle East in recent years. Against the background of America, which betrayed ideals, the European ruling elites are positioning Europe as the last bastion of liberalism. Ankara's negative reaction is also understandable: Turkey has taken millions of Syrian refugees, among which there were terrorists, however, despite the attacks, it never made such radical steps, as the United States today. In addition, the Turkish government, opposing Trump's decree, caters to the religious feelings of its constituents, many of which, to put it mildly, do not favor the West.
For obvious reasons, Trump's decision caused outrage in Baghdad. In 2003, US soldiers - without any visas by the way - entered Iraq, defeating Saddam Hussein's government. In 2011, without creating a stable government, the Americans withdrew from Iraq, due to which ISIS strengthened in the country." Therefore, it is no wonder why the Iraqis resent when in 2017 the United States bans issuing entry visas to all citizens, without exception, because of the threat of terrorism.
By its unpopular actions in the Middle East, fueling anti-American sentiment among the local population, Trump's administration unwittingly helps its geopolitical rivals in the region. Unwittingly, the US had already seriously extended Tehran's influence in Iraq after overthrowing Saddam Hussein. Today, demonstrably fencing off from a number of Middle Eastern countries, Washington is making a valuable gift to its regional competitors once again.