As November 4 – the deadline set by US President Donald Trump to impose a second set of sanctions on Iran – approaches, the economic crisis is becoming complicated. This prompted public protests in Iran over the worsening living standards. Still, the worst is yet to be expected with the second set of the sanctions, which is supposed to drive Iranian oil exports to zero.
The White House is betting that the sanctions will force Tehran’s politicians to the negotiating table, as stated by Trump. Then, the renegotiation between the two countries is supposed to tackle controversial issues, including Iran’s interference in the Arab countries and its terrorist arms, which United States Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, asked the mullahs to abandon in June to prevent the application of sanctions. But, it was rejected by Tehran, so, Washington imposed the first package of sanctions in August.
The leaders of the mullahs’ regime tried to present some concessions in the regional issues that Pompeo talked about, especially the Yemeni crisis. However, Iran’s foreign minister assistant, Abbas Arakji, rejected Washington’s demands for ballistic missile manufacturing but expressed willingness to negotiate the Yemeni crisis. But, the Iranian decisions was met with US disregard.
With the great military progress made by the Arab Coalition and the Yemeni resistance forces and their success in defeating the Houthis in many regions, Tehran’s motives for using the Houthis as bargaining card became stronger than ever before. After losing most of their influence in some areas and successive defeats even in Saada province, continuing to support Houthis could cost Iran greatly.
“It is hard to say that Houthis have became a losing bet from an Iranian perspective, despite the recent defeats,” said Dr. Khalid Yaymout, a professor of political science at Mohamed V University in Morocco and a member of the Board of Experts of the Arab Forum for Iranian Policy Analysis. He indicated that Houthis are basis for influence and re-positioning of Tehran leaders in Yemen successfully until today.
Yaymout told el-Marje’ that Iran considers Houthi as part of the strategy of “networking alliance” with the supranational groups. He also pointed out that this does not mean that the two parties – Iran and Houthis – are not subjected to the changes in the international situation.
“Pragmatism is an integral part of the political ideology of both; Houthis and Iran. But generally saying, it’s unlikely that Iran abandons Houthis, especially that the group has made significant gains in Yemen that boosted Iranian interests regionally and internationally,” he explained.