Washington Iranian-Americans split on nuclear deal withdrawal

May 9, 2018

Two Iranian-Americans from Western Washington held differing views on President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the landmark Iran nuclear deal.

Natalie Brand writes in King5News:

Saïd Amin of Bothell believes President Donald Trump’s decision Tuesday to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal could open up a Pandora’s box of unintended consequences. He fears worst case scenario could be a potential arms race.

“I think a lot of the more right-wing politicians in Iran are going to have an ‘I told you so’ moment. I told you so being the U.S. cannot be trusted. They’re going to use this opportunity to rally around the flag,” said Amin, who was born in Tehran and currently sits on the National Iranian American Council board of directors.

“The region is incredibly volatile, right now, especially with what we’re seeing in Syria. This further creates upheaval, and I think many of our allies realize this and feel like we’re playing with fire,” Amin continued.

The Trump administration’s decision to pull out of the agreement and impose new economic sanctions on Iran counters the advice of European allies who have indicated they will try to preserve the deal. 

“I believe this was a ploy to buy time to acquire nuclear weapons and further their domination in the region,” said Hossein Khorram of Bellevue.

Khorram, also born in Tehran, didn’t like the Iran nuclear deal from the start. He’s also a staunch supporter of Trump and agrees with his decision to withdraw.

“I think the regime really needs to have a change of behavior, which starts with respect for their people and for their neighbors and others,” said Khorram.

However, Khorram sympathizeD with the people of Iran who will be waking up Wednesday morning to new sanctions.

The memo signed Tuesday gives Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin 180 days to re-impose sanctions that had been had been lifted under the Obama era deal in exchange for Iran’s promise to curb its nuclear program.

“It’s going to be devastating for the Iranian people, I’m sad to say, but they’ve already been devastated by bad policies of the regime. I really don’t know how much worse it can get,” said Khorram.

One of the transactions in question is an estimated $20 billion airplane deal between Boeing and Iran signed in 2016.

“I think there was a lot of hope and promise with this deal, and Iranians were seeing this as an opportunity to better their lives and economy. By and large, that hasn’t happened,” said Amin.

While experts acknowledged the deal was not perfect and critics called it deeply flawed, those who supported staying in worry no deal isn’t the answer.

“I think Iranians would be hard pressed to take America’s word again, but let’s see. Keep hope alive,” said Amin of potential for future negotiation.

While Amin and Khorram don’t see eye to eye on the issue, they both worry that tensions will no doubt be escalated between the two countries.

“Once (Iran) realizes they’re limited in their powers, I hope they realize the way and the path forward is to work with other nations,” said Khorram.

Hossein Khorram serves as Vice President of AMCD.

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