News and Commentary

Former CIA Official Attacks Trump’s Hard Line On Iran. Former Iranian Hostage Blasts Him.
US President Donald Trump gestures after speaking during election night in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, early on November 4, 2020.
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

On Thursday, a former CIA official who has been harshly critical of President Trump’s unyielding stance toward the despotic Iranian regime wrote an article attacking President Trump’s hard line vis-a-vis Iran, saying, “the advent of the Biden administration will make possible a more effective U.S. approach toward Iran,” and trumpeting the advantages of returning to the Iran nuclear deal.

In response, a Princeton PhD candidate who was taken hostage in Iran fired back on Twitter, writing, “Ideas as such are wrong and dangerous: 1. Totally one-sided, portraying the US the perpetrator, IRI the victim, 2. Trying to fit IRI into cookie cutter theories, as if IRI is a normal state, 3. Uttered from former senior officials with an air of authority.”

Wang was arrested in Iran on August 8, 2016, on charges of espionage; he had been researching the Qajar dynasty. In July 2017, he was sentenced to ten years in prison by Iran. He was released in December 2019.

Wang was responding to an article by Paul R. Pillar in which Pillar claimed the Trump administration was “discrediting” so-called Iranian “moderates.” Pillar asserted:

In the wake of the multifaceted failure of the Trump administration’s policy of “maximum pressure,” the advent of the Biden administration will make possible a more effective U.S. approach toward Iran. Return to compliance with the multilateral nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action will slash Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium to one-twelfth of what it has amassed in response to Trump’s policies. Iran will no longer have reason to attack other oil producers’ facilities when the United States is no longer trying to destroy Iran’s own trade. And U.S. discrediting of Iranian moderates and strengthening of Iranian hardliners will end.

Pillar took a sympathetic attitude toward Iranian leadership:

Iranian leaders have indicated they are willing to talk and negotiate, at a suitable time and under suitable circumstances, about issues beyond those covered by the JCPOA and Resolution 2231. … It is hard for Americans to accept that anything an Iranian leader says is reasonable and understandable.

He also lauded the Iran nuclear deal: “The JCPOA was the product of long and difficult negotiations. To paraphrase a sports cliché, the members of each team left it all on the negotiating table.”

Pillar went on to promote the idea of softening Trump’s hardline position on Iran, which has dovetailed with a multitude of Arab nations making peace with Israel:

There will be room for wider discussions and negotiations with Iran in the future, provided the United States recognizes two realities. One is that to get more it will have to give more — especially giving Iran greater assurance it will get the sort of economic relief it expected under the JCPOA but never fully got even while Obama was in office. The other is that agreements on some issues, such as restrictions on missiles, will be feasible only if addressed on a regional basis rather than singling out Iran.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Former CIA Official Attacks Trump’s Hard Line On Iran. Former Iranian Hostage Blasts Him.