After excoriating the Obama administration’s deal with Iran as “the worst deal ever made in history,” Trump told a small group of conservative journalists meeting with him Monday night that the government of Ayatollah Khamenei was “on the verge of collapse” until the lifting of U.S. sanctions saved it.
But press secretary Sean Spicer told Newsmax that the reason there was currently an “interagency process” to look at the deal was to ascertain if in fact it kept the mullahs from being overthrown.
Trump did not provide any details for his charge. “Is this based on intelligence reports he’s received, or other information?” I asked Spicer on Tuesday.
“I’m not going to get into what the president knows,” Spicer replied, “but there is a reason that we are undergoing an interagency process right now to look at the deal.”
A spokesman for a leading Iranian exile group in the U.S. told me it agreed with the asertion that the ending of sanctions and stepped-up trade in Iran are keeping the Tehran regime in power.
“There’s no dispute that Western political and economic concessions have kept the Iranian regime afloat to this day,” said Ali Safavi, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, which is dedicated to the establishment of a democratic, secular and non-nuclear republic in Iran.
“Were it not for the mullahs taking advantage of regional conflicts and the West’s lenient approach to Tehran’s nuclear weapons program, the regime could not have survived,” added Safavi. “This explains why after the imposition of United Nations, and especially the U.S., economic sanctions, supreme leader Ali Khamenei, fearful of the prospects of another uprising by an increasingly restive and enraged population, had no choice but to crawl to the negotiating table to secure some sanctions relief in return for temporary restrictions on its nuclear program.”
Safavi added, “the previous administration’s easing of the sanctions enabled the regime to preserve its balance. Firmness, ending uranium enrichment and evicting the regime from Syria, Iraq and Yemen will lay bare the mullahs’ vulnerability.”
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports,