Analysis by PMOI/MEK
Iran, June 12, 2019 - The Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and his president Hassan Rouhani recently reiterated the Islamic Republic’s position on not negotiating with the U.S. under current circumstances. However, since they have no solution for the problems that could theoretically be solved by negotiations the infected wound has reopened and those for and against talks are at each other’s throats.
Considering Tehran’s weak position, Khamenei’s camp believes that negotiations will inevitably lead to a complete and gradual surrender.
Abolfazl Zohrevand, Iran’s former ambassador to Italy and Afghanistan, and adviser to Saeed Jalili, former secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, made blunt remarks in this regard.
“We don’t want to negotiate with the U.S. at all. If they want to negotiate, they have to return to the 2015 nuclear deal (known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – JCPOA) and respect their obligations,” showing the regime’s fear of sitting with the U.S. at a table.
“The Americans, with their statements, are attempting to draw the [regime] to the negotiating table and then raise issues concerning missiles and the [regime’s] presence in the region,” he said.
Mildly put, the “regime’s presence in the region” is equivalent to meddling in other countries’ internal affairs, exporting Islamic fundamentalism, and sowing death and destruction throughout the Middle East.
He acknowledged the public sentiment for negotiating with the U.S.
“The public needs to know that there is a reason for not negotiating with the Americans. There is no negotiating with or without preconditions. For what reason even and about what subjects should we negotiate with the Americans? We have previously experienced negotiating with the Americans,” he said.
“When we sit at the negotiating table with the U.S., we will lose a part of our strength. This isn’t anything but a decline in strength and will have no achievement for the country. It will strengthen the other side and allow it to take any measurement against us… Negotiating with this [American] administration is without a doubt a strategic mistake,” Zohrevand concluded.
On the other side of the political aisle, Nozar Shafiee, a former Iranian Majlis (parliament) member, admits that continuing the four decades old diplomatic path of the regime has comes with a high price tag with rare results.
“Due to political immaturity, we are still acting as if we are in the cold war,” he said.
Shafiee acknowledges that the Islamic Republic is suffering from regional and Asian isolation, and reiterates the necessity for Tehran to go to the negotiation table.
“While the [regime’s] issue with Washington is not solved, we won’t have much freedom in our foreign policy. Other countries will adjust their relations with any country like the Islamic Republic, based on their distance with the hegemonic power, the U.S.,” he added.
“At the end of the day, from the huge costs [inflicted on us by ourselves] over the past 40 years, along with unwanted costs forced upon us, we need to come to the conclusion that Tehran has no option but to move towards an open and free foreign policy,” Shafaiee concludes. He knows very well that abandoning the export of terrorism to foreign countries and the crackdown on domestic dissent is the official end of the mullahs’ regime.
Sadegh Maleki, an Iranian pundit, refers to infighting among the ruling elite. “Today, we are in one of the most difficult situations of our history and we need empathy based on reason more than anything else.”
“If there is no possibility of direct negotiations with the [regime] and Washington, Tokyo’s mediation and negotiating with it, or it taking a message [to the U.S.] can help decrease the crisis or can be even considered a sort of direct negotiations,” he said referring to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s imminent visit to Iran.
“Facing a dead-end and with questions resulting from the mood of war vs. peace, the only escape route is talking,” he concludes.
Fearing the consequences of war, Maleki advises Iranian officials: “You shouldn’t fear accusations of cowardice and if necessary pay the price, not with your lives, but your reputation. We shouldn’t accept the viewpoint that considers warring a gift for Iran with our silence.”