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Iran risks unleashing Trump’s wrath in final months in office as nuclear capabilities soar

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Under the Trump administration, relations between Washington and Tehran deteriorated as the US President pushed a tough stance on Iran. The Republican president imposed harsh sanctions which crippled Iran’s economy.

Washington was seeking an extension of a United Nations (UN) arms embargo against Tehran.

The nuclear deal had restricted Iran’s nuclear weapons capability in return for sanctions relief.

However, Mr Trump abandoned the agreement in 2018 and went on to introduce a number of sanctions on Iranian oil exports.

Following the 2020 US election, Mr Trump lost to his Democrat rival Joe Biden.

But Iran could risk unleashing Mr Trump’s wrath in his final months in office as their nuclear capabilities soar despite the US pulling out of the Tehran nuclear deal.

According to reports, analysts believe the volume of nuclear arms in Iran represents more than a tenfold increase since spring.

The experts have warned this is due to the significant weakening of the “maximum pressure” sanctions imposed by Washington.

Robert Litwak, senior vice president of the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars, said: “The Tehran regime has met ‘maximum pressure’ with its own pressure.”

He added the sanctions imposed on Iran have “diplomatically isolated the United States, not Iran”.

Eric Lee, an energy strategist with Citigroup in New York, echoed Mr Litwak’s comments.

He said: “Many countries are frustrated with US unilateralism, even those with well-placed misgivings about Iran.”

Shortly after Mr Trump’s election defeat, Iranians celebrated the news with Hesameddin Ashena, an advisor to Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani, tweeting Iranians “stood their ground bravely until that coward left”.

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Hopes for new negotiations between Tehran and the Biden administration could resolve rows between the two nations.

However, the Washington Post warned Mr Trump will leave Mr Biden with a crisis that is worse than when he was elected four years ago.

Back in January this year, Washington and Tehran were on the brink of war after US forces killed Iranian major general Qasem Soleimani during a missile strike in Iraq.

General Soleimani was travelling through Baghdad when his convoy was struck by three US missiles.

Just days after the attack, Tehran retaliated and launched a series of ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing US troops.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif previously said he regretted the ongoing disputes between Tehran and Washington.

He told the Institute for International Political Studies: “I believe the greatest sadness of my career is that I haven’t been able to get through to our neighbours that we need to live together, that we cannot live without each other, that we will be neighbours forever and we have to find a way to live together and not rely on outsiders for our security.”

Back in July, a spokesperson for the Pentagon claimed Iran was the “greatest threat” to world peace after armed “underground cities” were exposed.

They told Newsweek: “Iran claims to want good relations with its neighbours, yet it continues to threaten them with even greater levels of violence.

“Iran is the greatest threat to peace and security in the Middle East.

“Statements like this demonstrate clearly that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its leaders are a destabilising force in the region.”

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