Donald Trump had sharp words for Iran during his presidential campaign, but Iranian leaders see reasons for hope in a Trump presidency.
For hard-liners, Trump’s threats to revisit the nuclear deal, which Iran struck with six world powers including the United States, bolsters their constant refrain that Washington cannot be trusted.
Meanwhile, moderate President Hassan Rouhani and his allies are playing down concerns over Trump’s rhetoric. Some quietly express optimism that the real estate tycoon would be open to negotiations in other areas dividing Washington and Tehran. Some U.S. sanctions remain in place against Iran because of its support for militant groups and over its ballistic missile program.
“President Rouhani is adapting his government to the new president-elect, and everybody here is betting on the flexibility of President Trump when he begins steering America in January,” said Nader Karimi Juni, an independent political analyst.
As a candidate, Trump frequently denounced the nuclear deal, a signature foreign policy achievement of the Obama administration that went into effect in January. Iran agreed to significant restrictions on its nuclear program – which Western officials feared could be used to produce a bomb, though Tehran says it is only for civilian purposes – in exchange for an easing of economic sanctions.
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