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Win-Win Negotiations

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Abolqasem Qasemzadeh

The Best Way Out of Crisis

Active ImageIran’s representative to the United Nations wrote an official letter to UN Secretary-General protesting to recent remarks made by the US Chief of Staff about his country’s plan for military attack on Iran. Many western analysts have also condemned those remarks as a cause of more tension in the Middle East. Subsequent to these developments, the US President, Barak Obama, repeated his past calls for negotiation with Iran in a press conference at the White House. He told reporters that although results of international sanctions against Iran were gradually unraveling, it was still difficult to assess Tehran’s reaction to them. He noted that realities on the ground showed that sanctions have not been effective in changing Iran’s behavior as were thought. Obama then said he was ready to negotiate with Iran on the crisis in Afghanistan and added that both Iran and the United States were willing to cooperate on solving problems in Afghanistan and fighting Taliban. He opined that Iran could be a partner to constructive negotiations.

The White House spokesman also said last week that the United States would be represented in the next round of 5+1 talks with Iran as Washington was willing to talk to Iran about its nuclear program.

The olive branch extended to Iran by the United States has taken place of “threat and sanctions” in major international news headlines and the US President’s remarks have been under scrutiny in the European political circles. Pointing to Obama’s offer of negotiation on Afghanistan, the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Manouchehr Mottaki noted that plan for a meeting among seven neighboring countries of Afghanistan was on the table and if the Americans were honest, they should support that plan. The Iranian foreign minister also noted that Iran would never implore on the United States for negotiations. “We monitor what they say, but there is a long distance from words to action and nobody, but the Americans can eliminate that distance,” he said.

When it comes to use of “threats and sanctions” against Iran by the United States and its European allies, there are two official political currents in international sphere. The first current seeks to intensify sanctions and forge international consensus against the Islamic Republic of Iran to achieve two goals. The first goal is to isolate Iran by reducing its international interactions and pave the way for even more severe sanctions with the second goal being to convince Tehran to change course and give in to the west’s demands. While Germany and UK support sanctions against Iran, they are also faced with severe opposition from their own people and political figures that are afraid of economic and financial consequences of continued sanctions against Iran for Europe.

The second current, which is dominantly represented by China and Russia, criticizes additional sanctions against Iran which go far beyond the Security Council resolutions. This current incorporates such countries as Japan, South Korea, Turkey, Brazil and the majority of the Non-Aligned Movement member states. Analyses made by most economic circles prove that aggravation of sanctions will lead to two dangerous outcomes. Firstly, escalation of crisis in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East whose economic and political fallout is hard to assess and will hit most countries which need free flow of energy from this region. Damages to those countries resulting from possible disruption of energy supply are beyond speculation.

Secondly, most western states and political circles are concerned about possible recurrence of George Bush’s policies which wreaked havoc to the Middle East by waging devastating wars whose costs still weigh heavily on the frail shoulders of the United States and its European allies.

They maintain that it is easy to unbalance a state of equilibrium, but it is not possible to recreate balance through “threat of war.” This is especially true about the Middle East where major problems from Palestine to Lebanon and from Iraq to Afghanistan have remained unsolved. These countries believe that win-win negotiation is the sole solution to this dilemma.

Win-win negotiation seems to be an attractive option for finding a solution to the nuclear issue, especially under presence circumstances when most states are concerned about possible escalation of threats and sanctions.

Iran has frequently indicated its willingness to engage in constructive talks. It seems that both sides are currently bent on restarting negotiations and to ask for help from few countries which can have a positive impact on win-win negotiations which aim to keep threats in check and pave the way for further talks.

Source: Ettelaat Newspaper
Translated By: Iran Review

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