Oct 23, 2018, 3:36 PM
News Code: 83076073
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Iran acts wisely about Khashoggi’s issue: US media

Tehran, Oct 23, IRNA – Tehran has opted to play as curious bystander in the unfolding drama between Washington and Riyadh, wrote Lobe Log website.

Iran is basking in the fact that new US-Saudi tensions for the moment have de-centered the Iran “threat', wrote Kaveh Afrasiabi on Lobe Log.

'Saudi Arabia now faces a serious backlash in the international community leading to a boycott of the much-anticipated “Davos in Desert” economic summit. Tehran is calculating the extent of the damage, its longevity, and the direct and indirect ramifications for Iran and the broader region.'

Intent on not giving any excuses to the other side to refocus attention on Tehran, Iranian officials have been tight-lipped about the Khashoggi “affair.” Neither the foreign ministry nor the office of the president has yet released an official statement.

The Iranian media have vastly covered the issue, though.

'A number of Iranian pundits, on the other hand, have predicted a shake-up in the regional geopolitical landscape that might lead to a ceasefire and peace in Yemen, since the crisis has rendered Western complicity with the Saudi-led war in Yemen untenable.'

Not everyone concurs with this interpretation, however. An Iranian foreign policy expert has warned that Turkey has its own calculations in the Khashoggi case; Iran should be careful not to copy Ankara’s attitude, he suggested, and should continue to pitch for normalization of relations with Saudi Arabia.

'Indeed, Tehran is not completely blind to the possibility of a new thaw in Iran-Saudi relations as a result of the new friction in US-Saudi relations, which extends to OPEC and Trump’s recent pressures on the cartel to lower prices and boost production (with at best moderate success).'

Indeed, this “crisis of opportunity” could help Iran extract gains from both sides.

On the other hand, Tehran is skeptical that any damage to US-Saudi ties will be enduring, given the extent of their strategic partnership. Even so, there is no denying the temporary shift of US attention to Saudi misbehavior.

Referring to Mike Pompeo's visit to the Saudi kingdom, Lobe Log wrote, 'This was the first time in many years, perhaps decades, when a US secretary of state visited the region and failed to indulge in Iranophobia. Not only that, Pompeo’s Foreign Affairs piece ends with reference to the need for “negotiations,” which Tehran won’t accept as long as Washington insists on regime change in so many words.'

'Trump’s Iran policy may be working for now, but it has dim prospects. The international community has ostracized Trump’s Saudi buddies, US allies have rebuffed Washington’s unilateral sanctions, and countries such as India and Japan continue to purchase Iranian oil despite the threat of sanctions.'

On his recent visit to Tehran, former UK foreign secretary Jack Straw called the US sanctions policy one of the administration’s worst mistakes.

** Kaveh Afrasiabi is a former adviser to Iran’s nuclear negotiation team and the author of several books on Iran’s foreign affairs.

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