A second term of US President Donald Trump would be “too much for [Iran] to bear,” Chatham House Director Robin Niblett told Al Arabiya on the sidelines of the 2020 World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.
“Iran is under enormous pressure. We know internally the policy of maximum pressure is creating pressure for the government,” he added.
This pressure appears to be forcing Iran to reach out to other countries for deals ahead of the US Presidential elections in Novemeber, in case Trump wins and continues the maximum pressure policy, commented Niblett.
The original JCPOA nuclear deal, assuming it has not been completely abandoned by all parties, would have only four years left at that point so “even the Europeans at that point would be wanting a new deal, rather than hang on to the old deal,” he said.
Alongside pressure on Iran, Trump would also aim to withdraw US troops from the region, according to Niblett.
Trump would “try to make sure that America, when he leaves office, really is less physically engaged in terms of troops, in terms of presence in the region, than when he started,” he said.
Niblett also predicted that Trump would put pressure on the EU if he wins a second term.
There is a “very high likelihood” that he will turn to Europe and try to force through change that’s “not just about cars and tariffs,” Niblett said.
“The EU is the antithesis, the opposite of what Trumpian form of governance is … for Trump the EU is something unnatural, that America by being strong demonstrates the failure of Europe,” he added.
Perhaps in a move to calm trade war fears, Trump announced on Wednesday at WEF 2020 that he believes he will have a deal with the EU before the elections.
Global economic fears
The US-China trade war had hit global economic growth, added Niblett.
“The hangover of the Trump trade wars is affecting the global economy overall,” he said.
The latest figures from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggest that the global economy is undergoing its slowest rate of growth since the 2008 financial crisis.
On Wednesday, there was some relief for businesses, as Trump told attendees that negotiations for Phase 2 of the US-China trade deal would soon begin and that tariffs will remain as part of the deal.
“The relationship with China has never been better,” Trump added.
However, climate change remains a concern, according to Niblett, who said improvements in US-China relations did little to assuage the issue, which has begun to impact economies as authorities put regulation in place on coal and energy power plants.
“A kind of smooth global economy is facing real challenge here with a slowing growth overall and also the impact of climate into the agenda,” he said.