The US president’s Twitter outburst was misjudged, but Iran’s economic problems can’t be blamed on the ‘Great Satan’
If there is one thing we can be sure of about Donald Trump’s affection for Twitter diplomacy, it’s that it generates considerably more heat than light. His latest outburst aimed at Iran has elicited widespread reproach, most obviously from Trump critics in the US and Europe. Experience should have taught us by now that this is just Trump being Trump; although given the swift endorsement by his national security adviser, John Bolton – a man known for his visceral dislike of the Islamic Republic – the latest threat betrays loathing for a state that, lest we forget, continues to formally condemn the US as the “Great Satan”, encourages the gleeful burning of the Stars and Stripes and has now taken to abducting its dual citizens (though at least one is a full US national). Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani – in a clear attempt to reinstate himself with his country’s hardliners – has more recently threatened to retaliate for the sanctioning of Iranian oil sales with the closure of the Straits of Hormuz, a clear red line for Washington and a threat that Barack Obama previously responded to with quiet diplomacy.