The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) transits the Arabian Sea, Jan 19, 2012. (US Navy)

December 7, 2020

Iranians are becoming increasingly concerned at the prospect of US President Donald Trump using his final days in office to launch an attack on their country, western sources have said.

The British Express newspaper quoted Anicee Van Engeland, a senior lecturer in international security and law at the Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS), as saying that with less than 50 days to go before he is due to quit the White House, there was mounting concern at the prospect of “Trump unleashed.”

Meanwhile, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council called Saturday for unity on the country’s nuclear policy following a public row between the government and parliament over a bill to suspend UN inspections and boost uranium enrichment.

The bill “for the lifting of sanctions and protection of the Iranian people’s interests” was approved by the powerful Guardian Council on Wednesday and has to be signed by President Hassan Rouhani to become law.

Having drawn heated opposition from the government, the bill calls on the administration to end UN inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities and to “produce and store 120 kilograms per year of uranium enriched to 20 percent.”

Both steps would run counter to commitments made by Tehran in a landmark deal with major powers in 2015 and would likely complicate efforts to get Washington back on board after outgoing Trump abandoned it in 2018.

In a statement published by Iranian media on Saturday, the Council said that the bill “does not produce any specific issue for national interests.”

“In contrast, what is against national interests and a cause for concern is this ruckus which has damaged the position and status of the country’s legal bodies,” it read.

The body condemned “recent remarks and stances” which have “sacrificed national for partisan interests, have no benefit for the country and send the wrong message” to Iran’s foes.

It called on authorities to focus on “reinforcing national unity” and vowed to prevent Iran’s interests becoming “a plaything in the hands of politicians.”

Passage of the bill, which was first drafted in early November, was speeded up following the assassination of Iran’s top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

He was killed on a major road outside Tehran last week in a bomb and gun attack that Iran has blamed on its arch foe Israel.

The statement came after Rouhani and parliament speaker Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf exchanged sharp remarks in a public dispute in recent days.

On Wednesday, the President called the bill “detrimental to the course of diplomatic activities.”

Rouhani’s government has signaled a readiness to engage with US President-elect Joe Biden after four tense years under Trump, who reimposed crippling sanctions after withdrawing the US from the nuclear agreement.

Asharq Al-Awsat

About Track Persia

Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.