All Sides Say They Want An Agreement On Iran, But Their Words Indicate Otherwise
With the prospect of the United States entering into an agreement with Iran, several allies have expressed deep concern. There is no doubt any agreement would have a dramatic impact on the region, but Israel and Saudi Arabia do not fear what that impact will be and believe the Obama administration is naïve in thinking easing sanctions will positively alter Iranian behavior.
“At the heart of this clash lies a fundamental disagreement about the nature of Iran’s regime. By allowing direct talks with Tehran’s emissaries – and picking up the phone himself to call President Hassan Rouhani – Mr Obama has shown that he thinks Iran’s rulers are rational men with whom he can do business. In his view, they take decisions based on cost and benefit, risk and reward, like the leaders of any other country,” write David Blair, and Peter Foster in London’s Daily Telegraph.
It is the belief of the administration that the sanctions that have contributed to a change in Iran’s stance toward cooperating with international officials on monitoring of its nuclear program. But Hossein Mousavian offers a different view, asserting in The Financial Times that it is a result of the desire of President Hassan Rouhani to engage, and the shift in the US red line from “no enrichment of uranium” to “no nuclear bomb”.
Already difficult negotiations were complicated further when Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei remarked that France’s opposition to a nuclear deal was a sign that French officials were “not only succumbing to the United States, but they are kneeling before the Israeli regime”.
He also stated that there are limits to concessions his government is willing to tolerate and would not step back “one iota” on Iranian rights, but he did not elaborate further. Khamanei also used the opportunity while addressing military leaders to jab Israel by stating that it was “a regime whose pillars are extremely shaky and is doomed to collapse.”
As difficult as the talks may be, Mousavian, a research scholar at Princeton and a former spokesman for Iran’s nuclear negotiators and author of ‘The Iranian Nuclear Crisis’, says cooperation is in America’s interest.
“Mr. Obama and Congress should prioritise American lives as the supreme national interest. Detente with Tehran is the short and long-term US interest in the region. Like Russia, other European countries and China, the Obama administration is optimistic that the world powers and Iran can reach a deal. Overstressing sanctions and undervaluing the opportunities offered by the Iranians could lead once more to unintended consequences – this time potentially disastrous,” he contends.