Tehran Scrutinizes the Pyongyang Scenario

Tehran Scrutinizes the Pyongyang Scenario

Thursday, 14 June, 2018 - 09:15
Iranian newspapers’ headlines on the Trump-Kim summit. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
London - Adil Al-Salmi
Iranians followed with extraordinary interest the development of relations between the United States and North Korea and the meeting of the two countries’ leaders on Tuesday.

There are in fact many similarities between Tehran and Pyongyang, the most important of which are that the two countries have seen their international relations severely deteriorate and they have also been under US sanctions as the result of their development of a nuclear program and ballistic missiles.

Despite attempts to downplay the importance of the summit and question its outcome, local Iranian newspapers have shared fears and scenarios that could be available to the White House against Tehran, in the first reactions to the Singapore summit.

North Korea’s decision to abandon its nuclear programs and to normalize relations with the United States has put Iran’s conservative current in an embarrassing situation, as proponents of the nuclear program were calling for following the North Korean model.

Most Iranian newspapers said on Wednesday that Trump wanted to implement North Korea’s scenario with Iran with small modifications.

The Trump summit itself was boldly printed on the front pages of Iranian newspapers. Revolutionary Guards and conservative newspapers tried to exploit the event to attack the Iranian government’s policy of signing the nuclear deal and establishing relations, and focused on minimizing the importance of the summit.

In contrast, reformist newspapers close to the government praised the positions of the North Korean leader, who abandoned the missile program and the nuclear program. At the same time, they expressed concern over the success of the Trump plan and his intentions to increase pressure on Iran to repeat the North Korean scenario.

In a sarcastic headline, an IRGC-affiliated newspaper said: “Another American signature”, playing down the importance of the US-North Korean agreement on disarmament.

The official Kayhan newspaper, managed by Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei, wanted to highlight the skepticism and the vague dimensions of the agreement. “The United States and North Korea agree for the fifth time,” it said.

In 12 paragraphs, the newspaper cited reasons for mistrusting the United States, saying that Iran was America’s main problem and not North Korea. The newspaper referred to the role of Iran in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, and claimed that it was able to drag Russia into the Syrian arena.

The government-run Iran newspaper chose the first picture of the summit, which shows both Trump and Kim from behind.

In the opening article entitled “Trump and Shock Diplomacy”, the newspaper discussed the reasons for the summit between the two sides.

It compared the policy adopted by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and that of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and accused Trump of engaging in shock diplomacy in international relations and regional politics.

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