Iran: US is "Great Satan" With or Without Trump

Iran's supreme leader Ali Khamenei said that the result of the US election made "no difference" to the Islamic republic despite president-elect Donald Trump's aggressive stance.

"We have no judgement on this election because America is the same America...We have no concerns. Thank God, we are prepared to confront any possible incident." he told people during a public speech, broadcast on state television.

Iran is trying to play good cop-bad cop with Trump; the same game they played with Obama. The moderates, such as Rouhani, Zarif and Sadegh Kharrazi who spoke to the Financial Times recently, are offering a Persian carpet or an olive branch, which is "strategic cooperation" with the US in the Middle East. Sadegh Kharrazi is a relative of Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatllah Ali Khamenei, and is the leader of the moderate political party, Neday-e Azadi. But will Iran succeed at its deception?

Iran's tactical shift is aimed at:

1. Preventing the US under a Trump presidency to tilt towards Israel rather than Tehran. 2. Fending off any hurdles that might affect Iranian leaders' rising revenues and trade with West 3. Making Washington turn a blind eye to IRGC military activities, and financial and military supports for Shia proxies in several countries. 4. Finally tipping the regional balance of power in favor of Iran and continuing to suppress domestic opposition and violations of human rights without any criticisms from Washington.

Iran is playing its hand well. But what is critical for Washington to realize is that the words of the so-called "moderates" in Iran, are simply empty words because they do not enjoy the final say in Iran's politics.

More fundamentally, Iran can never become a strategic ally of the US. Over three decades, Iran has invested billions of dollars and resources in nurturing proxies and military institutions which aim at damaging US national security, scuttling US and its allies' foreign policy objectives.

Finally, Iranian leaders' political establishment survive on having America as an enemy and on keeping the US the "Great Satan". Iran needs to have a "Great Satan" in order to suppress domestic opposition and blame the US for all its problems.


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Harvard-educated, Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is an American political scientist, president of the International American Council on the Middle East, business advisor, and best-selling author. He serves on the advisory board of Harvard International Review.

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