Aug 11, 2019, 1:11 PM
Journalist ID: 1842
News Code: 83433364
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Think Tank: White House extremists ruin mediation efforts

New York, Aug 11, IRNA – Director of Iran project of International Crisis Group Ali Vaez told IRNA that US President Donald Trump's tweet against his French counterpart Emanuel Macron indicates the US extremists' attempt to sabotage the French mediation efforts and increase cost of the diplomatic efforts and negotiations.

There is no doubt that Trump is hunting for negotiation with Iran, said Ali Vaez said.  

It is a great achievement for Trump if he were able to reach a better or more comprehensive deal with Iran, Vaez said.

He has repeatedly said that Iranians are brilliant negotiators and also he has an image of himself as an apt negotiator, he thinks that he can reach a better deal with Iran better than that of Obama or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

The idea of negotiations with Iran is really intriguing, but there is no one with the same idea in his national security team;. There is no doubt that National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are seeking regime change or military clash with Iran, and people like James Mattis, the former US secretary of defense, and James Clapper, the former US director of national intelligence, who could pull the plug on this administration have been cashiered from the team.

So, there is now just Trump and a bunch of extremists that have no interest in negotiating with Iran, said Vaez. 

Answering a question about why Trump didn’t negotiate with Iran when Rex W. Tillerson was the secretary of state if he were willing to hold negotiations, he said the reason is most probably his approach; he was used to the approach he had had as a man who had been working in construction in New York.

Vaez said that Trump's method is pressuring the other party, creating instability and increasing the danger of clash, hoping to destabilize the other party's status and driving them toward giving concessions.

Many people suggested that Trump had better invest on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action instead of maximum pressure on Iran; they even, almost, reached an agreement, but suddenly Trump went back to the technique he had used and had found successful in New York real estate business, he said.

Bolton and Pompeo facilitated the affairs; the three say that they have worsened Iran economic conditions so Tehran will give in soon and negotiate with Washington.

Experts believe that long-term sanctions cannot be effective, he said, the economic conditions are worse than what Trump's critics would have thought and even worse than the time of Obama, but not only Iran has reduced its JCPOA commitments, but the tensions in the region has worsened, which indicating that the present condition is both a success and a failure.

Trump thinks that Iran will sooner or later use up all its resources and will have to yield, but, the situation may have changed a bit in the region, which has pressured some US allies too; Emirates no longer supports maximum pressure on Iran, he said.

Vaezi also said that compared to the maximum pressure on Iran, the incidents of the past few weeks, apart from the RQ-4 drone that was shot down in Iranian airspace, have not been costly for the US.

He added that the only hope is a mediator, but most probably there won't be any talks in the remaining year and a half.

What's more, the US thinks that they need to keep the danger and threat of the sanctions fresh, so that they are psychologically effective; now, that because are using up all their sanctions targets fast, they have tuned to sanctioning top-ranking officials.

Asked about the consequences of military clash with Iran, he said the extremists in the US often underestimate the consequences of conflict and overstate the danger of the country they want to attack, as it was done about Iraq.

Conflict with Iran would be wider than what the people can imagine before the catastrophe. They think that conflict will be very short and limited, but they are wrong. Military clash between Iran and the US will set fire to the entire region, he said.

Vaez said that Trump prefers negotiations in the form of photo shoot like those with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, but, Iran prefers closed-door talks, which is not intriguing for Trump, adding that Iran is interested multilateral talks, but the US prefers bilateral ones.

Considering these differences and the kind of team that Trump has gathered around himself, direct talks between Tehran and Washington are almost impossible, so, he should accept a mediator or appoint a special envoy who is not pertaining to Bolton-Pompeo team.

The director of International Crisis Group said that the role of Macron is of great significance.

However, US President Donald Trump has accused Macron of sending “mixed signals” to Iran over possible talks with Washington.

"Iran is in serious financial trouble. They want desperately to talk to the US, but are given mixed signals from all of those purporting to represent us, including President Macron of France," Trump tweeted on August 8.

"I know Emmanuel means well, as do all others, but nobody speaks for the United States but the United States itself," Trump wrote.

He speculated that on the sidelines of the G7 meeting (August 24-26), Macron will suggest a package to Trump; if Trump accepts the package, then he would try to gain Iran's confirmation for the package too to get his suggestion to a point on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Vaez said that it is of course say to say, but when Japan's Prime Minister Abe Shinzo was to visit Tehran, the US sanctioned a part of Iranian petrochemical industry only to make him fail in his mission. 

Trump's team is seeking to form a coalition to pressure Iran, whereas Trump himself is by no means interested in that; he prefers to solve problems bilaterally, he said.

The international affairs analyst said that all the contradictions one hears from Washington should be analyzed taking into account different ideology of Trump and his team at the White House.


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