If there is one thing that President Trump has yet to become accustomed to, among many things, it is that of his inability to understand how international diplomacy works. Since taking office, he has said things that have disrespected and damaged relationships with key allies around the world, and has taken actions without considering the global political ramifications that his decisions may have. Considering the place of the United States in the international community, having a sense of foreign policy smarts can be the difference between maintaining a reputable place in the world, or blundering and becoming a laughing stock among allies and adversaries.
On Tuesday, President Trump announced a bombshell decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, roughly three years after it was signed. Despite attempts by global powers and allies to change his mind regarding the action, Trump made it clear that he wanted to send a message not only to the Iranian government, but apparently our friends across the Atlantic as well.
Ambassador Richard Grenell presented his credentials to German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at Bellevue Palace. pic.twitter.com/QF3jQfeW2S
— US-Botschaft Berlin (@usbotschaft) May 8, 2018
Shortly after pulling the plug on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), President Trump’s appointed Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, published a Twitter post which singled out German-based companies, and the expectation that the administration had of these corporations to wind down their operations with the Iranian dictators immediately.
As @realDonaldTrump said, US sanctions will target critical sectors of Iran’s economy. German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately.
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) May 8, 2018
Despite the fact that the United States was one of the foremost forces in pushing for, and obtaining the somewhat muddled deal, the tweet by Grenell holds little authority in requiring Germany to reduce their economic relations with the Islamic Republic. Given that major world powers including the United Kingdom, China, Russia, France, and Germany were all signatories of the Iran agreement, their decisions to continue adhering to the deal are entirely their own, and have no obligations to abide by the requests of the Trump administration.
US Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, is the highest-ranking openly gay official in a Republican administration.
He was sworn in by Mike Pence.
— #ThePersistence (@ScottPresler) May 5, 2018
Grenell clearly aimed to make his presence felt, especially considering his recent undertaking of the role. According to an article by The Wichita Eagle:
‘The new U.S. ambassador to Germany is advising German companies to stop doing business in Iran following President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal.
‘In a tweet just hours after he officially took up his duties, Ambassador Richard Grenell noted Tuesday that Trump said American “sanctions will target critical sectors of Iran’s economy.”‘
When the JCPOA was initially signed in 2015, and lifted sanctions were followed by re-integration into the international economy, many believed this to be a glimmer of hope for the Iranian people, as hyperinflation, lack of social aid, and money spent funding terrorism by the Islamic Republic, had left Iranians in a state of widespread and excessive impoverishment. However, as Iran’s economy began seeing money flood in through international business transactions, it quickly became clear that the dictators in Tehran had no intention of distributing the influx of wealth to their people.
Rather, as inflation continued to skyrocket, and the cost of basic foods and necessities became unbearable, the Iran government used their newfound resources to continue providing billions of dollars in aid to Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad, funnel millions to their terrorist proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon, and stage an essential coup by providing arms and resources to Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Whether or not the other signatories to the JCPOA decide to continue economic relations with Tehran is their own prerogative. However, even in the face of maintaining diplomacy with Iran and supporting the frameworks of the deal, it remains to be seen if the lucrative economic transactions will provide much needed relief to the suffering population of Iran.
Featured Image by Getty Images