Renewed Negotiations with 5+1

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Abolqasem Qasemzadeh

Active ImageNews about a new round of nuclear negotiations between Iran and 5+1, have recently hit the headlines in the national and international media. The Iranian foreign minister recently announced that negotiations will be resumed in late November or early December. On the other side, Catherine Ashton, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union and representative of 5+1, has noted that a proposal for resumption of three-day negotiations in November has been submitted to Iran.

Announcements about renewed talks between Iran and 5+1 have led to analyses both in domestic and western media. All of them have pointed to the following facts:

1. The new proposal for negotiations between EU and the Islamic Republic of Iran has Obama’s backing because on the verge of the US Congress elections, he needs to break new grounds in foreign policy and use them to his party’s domestic avail. So, on the one hand, he has been diligently pursuing negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis introducing himself as the main pivot of those talks. On the other hand, he feels that despite all propaganda campaign which has been launched against the Islamic Republic of Iran by Washington and its European allies as well as serious threats and sanctions, his government’s performance has not been satisfactory to the American and western public opinion.

Several months after adoption of sanctions resolutions, Iran has not shown any sign of retraction from its position on the nuclear program and peaceful use of the nuclear energy. If the main goal of sanctions was to make Iran give up the nuclear energy program, they have failed by this time. Meanwhile, most independent political circles in the west, in general, and Europe, in particular, maintain that sanctions have actually targeted the economic system of an independent country (Iran) making the Iranian people suffer. On the other hand, strong protests by trade and economic entities are sweeping through the European countries as sanctions have disrupted free trade and damaged their financial turnover.

2. Europe is still whirling under a serious economic crisis whose aftermath is nothing less than widespread unemployment, high inflation, stagnation, and devaluation of the European currency. France, Germany, and UK, have been already suffering from public protests and labor strikes organized by workers’ syndicates.

The cost of living in Europe has been soaring so steeply that Europeans have become fed-up with managerial fiascos of their governments. The dire economic and financial situation has prompted the European politicians to warn their respective governments about following suit with the American statesmen and implementing policies dictated by the White House and the Obama Administration. Since the political leadership in UK has shifted from Labor Party to fall in the hands of Conservatives, some changes in EU’s political agenda and attitude toward the United States have been on the horizon. Therefore, political and economic environment in Europe, especially in Germany, UK, and France, is quite shaky. Companies that have been threatened with punishment in case they disregarded sanctions against Iran, have been persistently haggling their governments because they believe that US-led sanctions will only benefit their non-European rival countries such as China, Japan, South Korea, and even Russia which are sure to run a black market under the apparent cover of foreign trade. Given these circumstances, political representative of the European Union has been underlining the need for renewed negotiations with Iran as the best way to solve mutual problems.

3. The Islamic Republic of Iran has frequently noted that it is ready to negotiate about technical and legal issues surrounding its peaceful nuclear activities only with the sole relevant specialized international institution, that is, International Atomic Energy Agency, and has tenaciously stuck to that policy. However, there are two proposed packages for negotiations between Iran and 5+1. The first package has been proposed by the Islamic Republic of Iran and the second one is EU’s initiative. All political circles believe that common grounds in both packages should be taken as the basis for the agenda of any possible negotiation.

4. The Iranian politicians have frequently stated that the more distant Europe stays from US hostile policies against Iran, the closer will its ties be to Iran. This Iranian approach has been taken onboard by many European politicians. In view of historical relations with Iran, European officials are well aware that force and sanctions do not constitute a suitable language to talk to Iran, but will only worsen an already tense situation. The Obama Administration has been trying to isolate the Islamic Republic of Iran through sanctions for several months. Now, the west has found out that Iran cannot be isolated. The conflict between US officials’ words and acts was evident from the very outset of sanctions. Obama has frequently called Iran the biggest axis of power in the Middle East, but at the same time, he has promised a regime change or submission of the Islamic Republic of Iran through isolation and sanctions. European governments and politicians have found out that although continuation of such practices will make the Iranian people suffer, they have also many things to lose.

5. Last but not least, few analysts are optimistic about the end result of new round of negations between Iran and 5+1 as they don’t believe that they would result in great effects.

In reality, negotiations per se are desirable and a diplomatic solution cannot be achieved unless through “dialogue.” However, the ultimate goal of dialogue can be only achieved through patience, relying on common principles to change the existing hostile literature, and mutual confidence building aimed at peace and coexistence.

Source: Ettelaat Newspaper
Translated By: Iran Review

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