Zarif is a skilled, shrewd diplomat: professor

July 13, 2020 - 17:28

TEHRAN — Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is undoubtedly a very skilled and shrewd diplomat, according to a professor of political science.

“I think it is pretty well-documented that the Trump administration – and at this point it appears that there is no one left in the administration that will challenge him, so really it is largely just President Trump himself – is fixated on undoing the JCPOA because it was a signature foreign policy accomplishment of the Obama Administration,” Professor J. Butler from Clark University says.“Zarif is undoubtedly a very skilled and shrewd diplomat. His reference to Mosaddeq and the 1953 coup plays very well to a domestic audience,” Michael J. Butler, an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at Clark University, said in an interview with ILNA published on Monday.

He was referring to the foreign minister’s address to a virtual UN Security Council meeting last month regarding Washington’s push to have the Council extend an arms embargo against Iran that will expire in October under a historic nuclear accord endorsed by the council’s Resolution 2231.

“I think it is pretty well-documented that the Trump administration – and at this point, it appears that there is no one left in the administration that will challenge him, so really it is largely just President Trump himself – is fixated on undoing the JCPOA because it was a signature foreign policy accomplishment of the Obama Administration,” the professor said. He said Trump himself has indicated as much in his incessant tweets on the matter. 

Asked to comment on the United States’ push to extend the arms embargo on Iran, Butler pointed out that the pretexts U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and others in the administration have provided is that the attacks on the Saudi oil fields as well as in Yemen have been carried out with arms illegally supplied and transferred from Iran.

He said China and Russia certainly can and will veto the U.S. bid within the bounds of the UN Security Council.

On the prospects of a Biden victory in the November elections, the professor said that a Joe Biden administration would be amenable to restoring the JCPOA, though frankly there are many other more pressing matters from the U.S. perspective that would be a greater priority.  

“The polls indicate that Trump is in trouble, but they said the same thing in 2016. There are other indicators of this though, including mounting challenges from some Republicans as well as former (and rather hardline) members of his administration on national security matters.”

“Frankly, there are so many weaknesses in, and threats to, the electoral process in the U.S. that to me the outcome seems very murky,” he said.

He also speculated that it is an open question as to what Trump will do if Biden gets elected.

MH/PA

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