Say what you want about Donald Trump, but one thing is undeniable. When it comes to dealings with Iran, Trump effectively rendered their nuclear ambitions null and void. A lot of people may have disagreed with Trump’s decision to pull out of the deal that President Barack Obama and then Vice-President (soon to be President) Joe Biden made with Iran, but Trump’s rationale was that you can’t trust Iran to do what they say they are going to do, and lifting all the sanctions and giving them access to billions of dollars only made their nuclear hopes easier to accomplish. Trump did away with that and put in place worse sanctions that crippled Iran on a whole new level.
You pair that with Trump’s brazen tactics. Love him or hate him, the people that run Iran knew that if they messed with Trump, they would stand a good chance at finally getting a nuclear bomb but not in the way they wanted to receive it. Much like the situation in North Korea, Iran was mostly a non-issue during the Trump years because he spoke the kind of language they understand. Iran doesn’t make deals. Iran responds to tough rhetoric. Trump said he would blow them off the face of the Earth if they didn’t act right. They believed him. End of story there.
So, with President-elect Joe Biden coming along in January to no doubt return to the way things were done before, Iran is already gearing up to get back on track. Just last week, there were reports that they were already getting back to business with their nuclear program. The bottom line is they know that the Biden administration will echo the Obama administration, and that means there’s no reason not to get back on the horse.
So, with the news that Iran’s leading nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was apparently assassinated Friday morning (at least according to Iran’s state media), it seems that someone out there isn’t waiting around for Biden to make another deal with Iran to get there message across.
All eyes are on Israel, naturally, and that makes a lot of sense because Israel is the most likely to have felt the need to strike before the Trump administration goes out. It is also very possible that Trump himself is very much aware of this and even supported the decision. It will be interesting to see who Iran places the blame on, and what the reactions of the accused will be. In the meantime, the world can hold their breath and see if Trump has one last act in this play before he leaves Pennsylvania Avenue for good (unless, of course, he makes a triumphant return in 2024).