Middle East expert calls Trump's new tariffs on Iran a 'miscalculation'

The founder of the nonprofit National Iranian American Council is calling President TrumpDonald John TrumpJulián Castro: It's time for House Democrats to 'do something' about Trump Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest MORE’s planned new sanctions against Iran a “miscalculation.”

“The miscalculation on Trump’s end is that he believes that economic pain automatically will lead to political softening on the Iranian side,” Trita Parsi, who is also a professor at Georgetown University, told Hill.TV during an interview on Monday.

“That is not what happened last time under the Obama administration managed to get the Iranians to negotiate,” he added.

Parsi argued it wouldn’t necessarily be in Iran’s best interest to negotiate with the U.S. following Trump’s additional sanctions.

“In fact, from the position of the Iranian leadership, it is actually a worse situation for them to come to the table as a result of the sanctions and essentially negotiate their capitalization than it is for them to stand firm and even risk a military confrontation,” he told Hill.TV.

Trump announced on Saturday that he intends to impose additional tariffs on Iran in an effort to push Tehran back to the negotiating table to craft a new nuclear deal.

He made it clear that he intends to increase economic pressure on Iran.

“Sanctions come off Iran, and they become a productive and prosperous nation again - The sooner the better!” Trump said in a series of tweets announcing his plan, which was set to go into effect on Monday.

Tensions between Iran and the U.S. have been on the rise ever since Trump withdrew from the Obama-era nuclear deal in May 2018 and reinstated sweeping sanctions against Tehran. He targeted Iranian oil exports, which are one of the country’s main sources of revenue.

Trump, meanwhile, is being pressed to clarify his policy after calling off a retaliatory missile strike against Iran last week over the downing of an unmanned U.S. surveillance drone. The president later said he was not comfortable with the possibility of 150 Iranians being killed in the attack.

There are also reports that U.S. cyber forces struck Iranian military computers last week. U.S. officials told The Associated Press that Trump approved the U.S. Cyber Command’s move to disable systems controlling Iran’s rocket and missile systems after he called off the missile strike.

—Tess Bonn