By Javad Heirannia

Trump himself is serious about talking to Iran: Shireen Hunter

June 29, 2019

TEHRAN - Shireen Tahmaasb Hunter, a professor of political science at Georgetown University, tells the Tehran Times that “Trump himself is serious about talking to Iran and his position is not merely a campaign ploy.”

“The problem is unless the position of the two countries become closer and they are willing to make compromises talking by itself would not be able to change anything,” Hunter says.

Following is the text of the interview:

Q: Do you think that the maximum pressure campaign on Iran will have an outcome for the Trump government?

A: Of course any policy has an outcome. The question is whether the policy of maximum pressure on Iran will have a positive or negative outcome. So far it seems that this policy has only strengthened Iran's resolve to resist American pressures until Washington changes its behavior. But since it is unlikely that America will change its position faced with Iran's refusal to talk, the outcome of the current standoff might well be a military conflict.

Q: It looks as though we are approaching the date of the American presidential election, Trump's willingness is increasing to talk with Iranian authorities. Some believe that this tendency is more for electoral advertising than as his foreign policy achievement. What is your opinion?

A: Trump himself is serious about talking to Iran and his position is not merely a campaign ploy. The problem is unless the position of the two countries become closer and they are willing to make compromises talking by itself would not be able to change anything.

Q: If the maximum pressure against Iran does not reach the result, would you imagine a change in Trump's warring team, including the expulsion of John Bolton and Mike Pompeo?

A: Trump has been prone to making sudden changes in his advisers. Therefore, he might appoint someone else as Secretary of State or National Security Adviser. However, personnel changes are never enough to produce fundamental policy change. If Trump decides to change his policy, even Pompeo and Bolton would be forced to implement it.

Q: Given that China's trade war with China will have unfavorable effects on the US economy in the coming months and the economy is also the card winner for the trump, how do you assess the results of the US elections in 2020 in the shadow of the continuation of the trade war with China?

A: Trade wars with China but perhaps more importantly with Mexico could have negative repercussions on US economy. The question is the extent to which US economy might deteriorate because of these tensions. If slowdown in economy leads to more unemployment, which currently is very low, then it might affect Trump's electoral chances. But this will not become clear much later in the next year.

Q: The poll was recently held by Fox News, Media sponsor Trump, that it show Trump has less votes than five Democrats, including Bernice Sanders and Joe Biden. Given the fact that the poll was held by Fox News, How do you evaluate it? (Of course, there were some differences between Trump and Fox News recently)

A: As a general rule incumbent presidents poll low during the early stages of campaign. What are important are the figures juts before the election around September next year.
 

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