Why US needs an Iran N-deal more

TEHRAN, Jul. 04 (MNA) – As the nuclear talks between Iran and the 5+1 are at the final stage, the United States seems to need a final deal more than Iran.

While the marathon of nuclear negotiations between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany seems to be approaching the finish line, news of a new message from US President Barack Obama to Iranian officials came out on Monday. The message was reportedly delivered by authorities of one of Iran’s neighbor countries in recent weeks and just ahead of final round of nuclear talks.  

Moreover, on June 23, the Leader of the Islamic Republic made key remarks addressing the country’s authorities and officials, casting more light on nuclear negotiations, particularly with the United States. Ayatollah Khamenei highlighted that the negotiations with US had begun during previous government and was made at the request of Americans:

“They made a request and chose an intermediary. One of the honorable personalities in the region came to Iran and met with me. He said that the American president had called him, asking him to help. The American president said to him that they want to resolve the nuclear matter with Iran and that they would lift sanctions. Two fundamental points existed in his statements: one was that he said they would recognize Iran as a nuclear power. Second, he said that they would lift sanctions in the course of six months. Through that intermediary, he asked us to negotiate with them and to resolve the matter. I said to that honorable intermediary that we do not trust the Americans and their statements. He said, ‘try it once more’ and we said, ‘very well, we will try it this time as well.’ This was how negotiations with the Americans began.”

In November 2014, Secretary of Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani reacted to another letter sent by US officials to the Iranian officials then and asserted that “the letter was only one of many ‘confidential correspondences’ by the US leaders. There are many other reports of letters or messages from the United States, some of which have been responded, too. But why two countries with no diplomatic ties for more than three decades, have had so many correspondences?

One clear point is that while the occasional exchange of messages dates back to previous administrations, it has considerably increased during Obama’s administration since 2008. Two main reasons can be seen for this raise in such contacts; one in terms of US foreign policy and the other in terms of regional issues.

The Middle East

Following two terms of George W. Bush administration marked with warmongering policies and two devastating wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Barack Obama began his tenure with a goodwill gesture toward the Muslim world, especially with his speech in Cairo. With failure of Washington, as majority of Americans believed in a recent poll, in Iraq and Afghanistan which according to some American political figures and analysts gave Iran the upper hand and influence in both countries, he also withdrew most of American troops from the two devastated Middle East countries as a sign of his anti-war policies. Yet with 2010 uprisings in the Arab world (also known as Arab Spring or Islamic Awakening) the snowball of dysfunctions in US foreign policy began rolling.

The confusion in US State Department towards the ongoing protests across a region in which it had spent millions of tax dollars for what it called democracy promoting programs and was supporting its dictators could be easily seen in fast changing positions by Washington and contradictory statements made by officials, especially when it comes to Egypt. The apex of such failures was Benghazi incidents leading to killing of US ambassador to Libya.

Syria crisis

Syria was another instance of miscalculation in foreign policy of the States. Suffering from losing its puppets in the region one after the other, Washington tried to hit two birds with one stone. Reluctant to be militarily involved in any conflict, Washington supported extremist groups and terrorists in Syria to not only try to topple Iran’s ally Bashar Assad, but also deviate attention and threat from its own allies in other Arab countries. A 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency document on Benghazi events which was recently declassified and released by Judicial Watch on May shows how Americans decided to facilitate rise of ISIL (aka ISIS or IS) “in order to isolate the Syrian regime.” (Last June marked a year after rise of ISIL in 2014). In terms of international politics in regard to Syria, the US, European states and their Arab allies were opposing Assad on one side, and on the other side Iran and Russia were supporting Syria. Barack Obama and his administration set several red lines and insisted on their position that Assad must go. But to this date neither alleged red lines were observed nor is Assad gone.

Ukraine conflict

Just a little above Syria and in north of Black Sea, American diplomacy along with the Europeans opened another forefront in an effort to counterbalance Russian influence in world and the Middle East by engaging it Ukraine. In a region with the experience of velvet and color revolutions, Westerners supported a coup against Ukrainian pro-Russia president who was against integration into EU. Senator John McCain and Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland appeared among protesters in Maidan Square to support toppling President Viktor Yanukovych. While the old scenario of soft revolutions was accomplishing with Yanukovych out of power and pro-western Petro Poroshenko ruling, a Russian move for annexation of Crimea through a referendum was a counterpunch. Although US and EU have imposed sanctions on Russia, but they have so far failed to inflict heavy damage on the country and do not seem to do so in any near future.

AIIB

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is the most recent struggle for US global influence. Initiated by Chinese huge foreign-exchange reserves, AIIB is widely believed to be an opponent to IMF and World Bank which are dominated by the West. The AIIB has been founded by some 57 founding members and 100 billion dollars of capital. While Washington was against such a financial organization and had asked its allies not to join it, the promising perspectives of the bank and a Chinese market with vast money were appealing enough to entice many US allies to ignore Washington’s demands. The negative impacts of the AIIB on US influence would emerge more as it begins to work and to compete with pro-western system, though the AIIB denies it.

With US presidential elections preliminary campaigns heating up, Democrats and Obama administration have only more than a year to gain enough weight to be able to defeat Republicans who took control of the Congress in 2014. While economy has recovered from 2008 calamities during Obama’s term in office, the country has in these years faced social unrests of Occupy Wall Street and anti-racial protests in Ferguson and other parts of the country. The recent attack on Charleston Church was another ticktock in ticking bomb of social and racial unrest in the country.

In other words, Obama administration has not recorded a considerable accomplishment either in domestic or international realm. What Americans need is an achievement in world politics to help Hillary Clinton or any other Democrat candidate get rid of the shadows of Benghazi and Middle East crises and to rely on it to win. The Middle East seems to be the only chance the United States has to play a more effective role in global sphere. But in this region, the Islamic Republic of Iran is now a power and everyone admits that any solution to the crises in the region, be it in Syria, Iraq or Yemen, must involve Iran.

Iran’s influence in the region and close ties it has with Bashar Assad’s government in Syria, Fouad Massoum’s in Iraq, Ansarallah movement in Yemen and the last but not the least Hezbollah in Lebanon, has given the country enough weight so that any attempt to find a solution without Iran be doomed to failure, as it has been proved for several times so far. Therefore, in order to have an influential role in the Middle East, Washington has to engage and work with Tehran more seriously. It is needless to mention that nuclear negotiations is the scene this should happen as the Islamic Republic’s Leader has also showed the green light for it in his remarks on April 9.

“Today, the only matter for negotiation is the nuclear matter. This will become an experience for us. If the other side stops its usual obstinacy, this will be an experience for us and we will find out that we can negotiate with it over other matters as well. But if we see that they continue to behave in the same obstinate and deviant way, well, our previous experience will naturally be strengthened.”

To leave a significant legacy at the end of his terms in office, President Obama direly needs the Iran and 5+1 nuclear talks bear fruit and pave the way for further cooperation with Iran on regional issues. In his June 23 remarks, Ayatollah Khamenei showed enough flexibility and provided practical redlines and measures for nuclear negotiators to work upon them. Iran doesn’t seem to have much to lose should the negotiations fail as it has experienced time of imposed war during early years following the Revolution and handling an oil-dependent economy with single-digit price of oil in 1980s and it has never come to its knees. With the historic opportunity for reaching an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program available, the Obama administration should seize the opportunity to stop excessive demands and make a real win-win agreement possible. It then can build trust inside Iran and take serious measures to help bringing peace and stability to the Middle East.

 

Hamid Reza Gholamzadeh has done his MA in North American Studies and his focus has been on US policies towards the Middle East. He also contributes to Mehr News as a columnist.

 

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    • Imre Demech 18:23 - 2015/07/04
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      The USA has no leadership in foreign policy what so ever. We are the laughing stock in the world. For 25 yrs we have sunk to an all time low in the world of foreign diplomacy. US politics is a joke just look inside the USA & cities are rusting away with new poverty levels up. There is two kinds of Americans now & a new country with nuclear weapons,IRAN! Rotten politics allowed it to happen.
    • R. K 22:32 - 2015/07/04
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      God bless America nd Iran alike! Jews and Zionist are the real enemies of both countries! God bless!
    • Igor Stravinskey 00:22 - 2015/07/07
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      Imre D, Also all of the BRICS countries (incl; So.Africa) have nuclear weapons.