US President Donald Trump on February 4 slammed Iran on their poor economy and said that Iranian leaders are either 'too proud or too foolish' to negotiate with the United States for sanctions relief. Trump made the comments while defending his Iran policy which has been severely criticised for being 'reckless'.
Trump, while speaking at his third State of Union address, also said that the Iranian regime must abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons, stop spreading terror, death and destruction, and start working for the good of its own people.
The US President further added, “Because of our powerful sanctions, the Iranian economy is doing very, very poorly. We can help them make a very good and short time recovery. It can all go very quickly, but perhaps they are too proud or too foolish to ask for that help. We are here. Let's see which road they choose. It is totally up to them”.
US-Iran tensions have skyrocketed ever since Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal back in 2018 and last year Trump also reimposed all sanctions that had been lifted under the landmark 2015 deal. On January 8, Iran also fired multiple missiles on Iraqi military bases housing the US troops and called it it's retaliation to Qassem Soleimani's killing. The latest surge in tensions has also prompted calls for de-escalation from the international community that fears a wider conflict in the Middle East.
The United States' interference in Iran dates back to 1950s when it helped overthrow a democratic leader in a coup. However, the relationship between Iran and the US saw a glimmer of hope during the second term of the Obama administration when the former US President started negotiations with Iran's new President Hassan Rouhani.
In 2015, Iran reached a historic nuclear deal with P5+1 group which included the US, UK, France, China, Russia and Germany. Iran, under the 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), agreed to limit sensitive nuclear activities in lieu of lifting economic sanctions.
However, President Donald Trump in May 2018 withdrew from the nuclear deal accusing Iran of violating the terms of JCPOA and followed it with crippling economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic. The bilateral relationship has been vulnerable since then, with Trump pressuring other countries to impose sanctions on Iran. In December last year, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that the country is ready to hold nuclear talks with the United States on the condition that they lift the “unlawful” sanctions.