Code: 872783 A

A political science professor at John Hopkins University John Harper believes that there is a 50/50 chance of a Democrat will defeat Trump in November.

The Professor of American Foreign Policy at SAIS Bologna Center since 1995 told ILNA news agency in an exclusive interview that The EU reaction has been very disappointing, and shows that it is in a very weak position. John Harper who is a recipient of the Robert Ferrell Prize from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations added "US action to assassinate Iran commander was illegal under international law and even US law.

Here is the full interview with U.S political science professor at John Hopkins University:


Q: What's behind the latest European bid to save the Iran nuclear deal and how it could end up?

A: The only hope for the JCPOA is that a Democrat will defeat Trump in November and try to revive the agreement. I think there is a 50/50 chance of this happening. The EU reaction has been very disappointing and shows that it is in a very weak position because European firms are afraid of being punished by the US if they do business with Iran.


Q: Do you think why Trump issued an order to assassinate the Iranian commander despite the negative consequences?

A: Trump order was illegal under international law, and even US law, because there was little or no convincing evidence that Iranian general Qasem Soleimani was planning imminent attacks on US targets (as the administration claimed). I think Trump probably acted rather impulsively, but making two calculations: first, that assassination Soleimani would help him in the upcoming political campaign when he will claim that he has killed a dangerous terrorist. 2) The Iranian response would be limited because of Tehran's fear of provoking a serious military confrontation with the US.


Q: In your opinion, Iran's response to the assassination was limited or not?

A: The perception in the US is that the Iranian reaction was rather weak, and confirmed Trump's hunch that Iran would not provoke a serious military clash. Certainly, the retaliation did not seriously challenge US hegemony. Unlike the drone attack on Saudi Arabia, which was quite effective, this action was not particularly effective. At the same time, it was no doubt wise for Iran to limit its reaction to the moment. I think the US position in Iraq is vulnerable and I would expect Iran to use its influence there to push the US out of that country.


Q: U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly promised to withdraw US troops from the Middle East and always said that “We're bringing our troops back home”. Should we judge him on his promise to end Middle Eastern wars?

A: I think he would indeed prefer to withdraw most, if not all, US ground troops from the Middle East (and Afghanistan) but in reality he has increased the number in the last year. This is partly because of the unforeseen consequences of his own policy toward Iran, including the drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities last September, leading him to send more troops to Saudi Arabia.


Q: How has the Trump presidency changed international relations?

A: That is a big question but in general my assessment is very critical. The policy of “extreme pressure” on Iran has produced no positive results that I can see. The North Korea question is unresolved despite Trump's claims of success. The administration has now concluded a modest trade agreement with China—a kind of truce in the trade war-- but the most difficult problems in the US-China trade relationship have not been resolved. The face that America has shown to the world under Trump is an arrogant and egocentric face.


Q: Some analysts believe that US presence in the region has caused instability and political crises; how accurate do you think sentiment analysis is?

A: The US obviously cannot be blamed for all of the problems of the region but I think the invasion and occupation of Iraq was a monumentally foolish decision, at least from the point of view of US interests. It led, among other consequences to the formation of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, which became the basis for the formation of ISIS/the Islamic State. US support for the Saudi-UAE war against the Houthis in Yemen is also a major mistake. Even some conservatives in the US have come to see this. Needless to say, the new US peace “plan”--if it deserves that name—contributes nothing to stability in the region.


US troops JCPOA saudi arabia Middle East US election Iran deal foreign policy Qasem Soleimani European channel Iranian commander
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