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Walid Phares: ‘Trump’s Administration Will Aid Regional Countries to Face Iranian Expansion’ | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Trump’s Adviser Walid Phares. AP

Cairo- Walid Phares, a key U.S. President-elect Donald Trump adviser for Middle East affairs, said that the new U.S. administration, which will take over on Friday, will reconsider the nuclear deal signed earlier with Iran.

Phares, who is nominated for a higher post in Trump’s new administration, noted that the major reason behind reconsidering the nuclear deal is that Trump believes that it opposes the U.S. national security’s considerations, and it allows Iran to act freely in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon to face interests of U.S. Arab partners in the region and especially in the Gulf.

“President Trump and his administration will work on implementing what should be implemented in this deal regarding the nuclear weapon,” Phares said as he answered questions by Asharq Al-Awsat via email.

“On the other hand, they will work on developing this deal to include stable security in Iraq, Syria and Yemen and settlement in Lebanon, thus reassuring Arab states and partners, especially the U.A.E., Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and other countries such as Jordan and Egypt,” he added.

“Iran should accept these amendments in the deal or else the U.S. administration will be forced to adopt strategic substitutions in order to protect its partners and its national security and help the region face Iranian expansion,” he further noted.

Regarding the future of relations with Gulf partners, especially Saudi Arabia, Phares said that according to “our experience and connections since the beginning of the electoral campaign, we have been aware of the Arab and Gulf stance and this is why we carried out several meetings with prominent officials in the U.A.E., Saudi Arabia and some other moderate Arab countries.”

He explained that Trump’s administration fully understood these countries’ concerns from what is happening in the region and from the policies adopted by Obama’s administration and led to the decline of U.S. influence, the continuation of wars in some countries and the loss of confidence between regional countries and former U.S. administration.

Phares confirmed that this will change under Trump’s administration, which will work on rebuilding trust with Gulf States and moderate Arab countries in general.

The new administration, according to Phares, will also renew its commitment to maintain security in these countries and organize bilateral and regional relations so that every party knows its duties and obligations.

“Trump said it clearly in his speeches, whether before his electoral campaign or after it, and he will reconfirm it when he enters the White House.”

Trump considers that the Iranian regime has been practicing aggressive policy in the region, whether in Iraq where his militias are expanding, in Syria where his militias are also being expanded with the Lebanese so-called Hezbollah or in Yemen where Iran has installed weapons and missiles that some were launched on U.S. ships and others were targeted towards Makkah.

“All these practices proved for Trump’s administration that there is expansion and violence practiced by Iran towards regional countries.”

Trump’s adviser stressed that this new administration will carry out an assessment to adopt a new strategy in the region and will review it with the Congress; whose majority of members refuse Iran’s aggressive policy that is practiced in the region.

Phares said that the new U.S. administration will seek restoring friendly relations with Arab countries and reshape its alliances with governments of Gulf and Arab States in a better way than it was in the past.