Mar 27, 2021, 10:45 AM
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Mousavian: US return to nuclear deal without negotiations needed

Madrid, March 27, IRNA – Former nuclear negotiator and top analyst at Princeton University, Seyyed Hossein Mousavian said on Friday in a webinar sponsored by Beirut’s I-Policy Institute: America left the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) without negotiations and needs to return to it the same way.

According to the IRNA correspondent in Madrid, at the webinar in which a former Lebanese interior minister Ziad Barod, the strategic planning manager of French Foreign Ministry Manuel Rapenwil, US Development think-tank analyst Brian Catholis, and Iranian former diplomat Hossein Mousavian participated under the Lebanese highly anti-Iranian chairwoman Roqayyah Darqam, Mousavian mainly focused on Iran-Arab world relations.

“The Middle East has been the shared home for the Iranians and the Arab nations for many centuries. Unfortunately, this shared home has become the center for numerous international crises, including terrorism, internal wars, sectarian disputes, and governments engaged in confrontations with their own nations. The root causes for the prevailing crises in the Mideast are miscellaneous, of which I will refer to five major ones,” said Mousavian.

1. Foreign interventions

2. Outbreak of numerous wars, such as Iraq’s invasion against Iran, US invasion against Iraq, and the Saudi invasion against Yemen

3. Incompetent and corrupt dictators

4. Occupation of Palestine by Israel

5. Iran-Arab countries’ competitions with an ocean of misconceptions, miscalculations, and deviations

There are meanwhile two factors that contribute to the restoration of regional peace and stability:

1. Justice-oriented resolving of the Palestinian crisis

2. Improvement of Iran-Arab world relations

Keeping in mind that the Persian Gulf is the shared home for Iran and seven Arab countries, I have in my new book ‘New Structure for Cooperation, Peace and Security in the Persian Gulf’ proposed that we should start interacting with each other by establishing a shared structure for cooperation, peace and security in the Persian Gulf region, in which antagonist interactions will turn into amicable collaborations, said Mousavian.

“This system must be based on such fundamentals as mutual respect, shared interests, refraining from interference in each other’s internal affairs, respecting the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of each and every country, clearing the region of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), arranging a justice-oriented system for conventional arms of member countries, negating sectarianism, joint operations against terrorism, negating hegemony of each country over the region or a regional country, and ensuring security for energy transfer and peaceful naval navigation,” he added.

The Lebanese chairwoman said: But Iran, by the establishment of such non-governmental groups as the Lebanese Hezbollah, has breached the national sovereignty of Arab countries, and then you speak about mutual respect? Hassan Nasrallah has officially started the first Hezbollah’s top priority is Iran, and Lebanon comes next.

Mousavian replied: Firstly if Iran is present in Iraq, or in Syria it is based on the official invitation of the governments of those countries and aimed at assisting them in their anti-terrorism campaign. Secondly, the Lebanese Hezbollah is not a non-governmental group, as it is a part of the Lebanese government and also has representatives at the Lebanese Parliament.

“Besides, Lebanon needs Hezbollah’s military branch for effective encounters with Israeli invasions. The Hezbollah was established in 1982 to encounter the Israeli occupation of a major part of Lebanon’s soil, which would have continued for years if Hezbollah had not ended it. Therefore, Iran’s support for Hezbollah is aimed at boosting Lebanon’s security, territorial integrity and national sovereignty,” added Mousavian.

Chairwoman: National mobilization is needed to save Lebanon and every country emphasizes the need for that, but Hassan Nasrallah is opposed to that proposal.

“If an international mobilization of forces to save Lebanon is supposed to take shape the UN National Security Council (UNSC) must initiate it, because it is the highest international political apparatus commissioned to safeguard the world peace and security. But we are under such conditions that the UNSC permanent member countries are themselves threatening one another,” replied Mousavian.

America is engaged in an economic and diplomatic campaign against China and Russia; the EU has threatened to sanction Russia’s gas pipeline to Europe, and the UNSC member countries are responsible for internal disputes and encounters among themselves, added Mousavian.

“How can they be trusted for the establishment of an international mobilization force to save Lebanon then, which is a hollow propagation? If an international plan will be approved by the Lebanese government though, Iran, too, will naturally support it. But under the prevailing conditions, there is neither any international plan nor the approval of the Lebanese government. So, why are you trying to find faults with Iran? What is it to Iran at all? Said Mousavian.

The former Iranian diplomat also said in response to the charwoman’s question on the existing problem for the establishment of the Lebanese government and Hassan Nasrallah’s proposal of a plan to resolve the problem, and if Musavian is aware of that.

“I don’t know about that, but I know that Hassan Nasrallah has officially announced that if the president and the prime minister will agree on the establishment of a cabinet, Hezbollah, too, will approve of that decision. Therefore, do not pretend that Hezbollah is an obstacle in the way of the establishment of the new Lebanese cabinet,” he added.

The chairwoman asked Musavian’s viewpoints on three major issues for saving Lebanon:

1. Resolving the economic problems, since so long as the economic crisis is not resolved solving the other numerous problems will be impossible

2. Supporting the international initiatives, such as the Marshal Plan, aimed at saving the Lebanese economy

3. Establishment of an international mobilization force, in which the Lebanese government will play the pivotal role with the presence of influential regional countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, in which the final decision-making will be up to the Lebanese people, themselves.

She also asked Mousavian if he is optimistic about the US's return to the nuclear deal and improvement of the Iran-US relations now that President Joe Biden is in the White House.

“I am not optimist, because the US administration and the US Congress are engaged in internal disputes and the Congress is imposing pressure against the president, while Israel’s lobby, too, has intensified its anti-Iranian activities. Biden is seriously weakened inside the country and is not brave enough for decision making and a clean US return to the JCPOA,” he said.

But I believe the improvement of Iran’s relations with regional countries is of greater importance than the improvement of ties with America. Therefore, the regional countries should not be waiting for the improvement of the Iran-US relations before improvement of their own ties with Iran, he added.

“For instance, Iran and Saudi Arabia are two major regional countries and can resolve their problems in bilateral negotiations, such as their difference of opinion on Yemen war. IRI and KSA have a security agreement and can revive it. The Saudis should not seek Tel Aviv’s contentedness for improving their disputed relations with Iran, but should instead enter negotiations with Tehran,” he set an example.

The chairwoman referred to Mousavian’s proposal for the establishment of a joint security apparatus for the Persian Gulf in his new book, inclusive of Iran and the other Persian Gulf littoral countries. “Under the prevailing conditions, how could the Saudis believe Iran’s goodwill and how can Tehran gain their trust?” she added.

“The new regional security and cooperation apparatus that I have proposed in my new book is the final result of a series of regional negotiations and cooperation, reiterated Musavian, adding: To begin, practical trust-building on all sides, such as ending negative propagations, cooperation in the campaign against the Corona pandemic, and ensuring safe transfer of energy and naval transportations can be good proposals for cooperation.

“Trust-building cannot begin with disputed issues and in controversial debates,” he further stressed.

The chairwoman said it is not acceptable for the Saudis to cooperate with Iran so long as Iran is providing the Houthis with long-range missiles that target their oil facilities.

“Iran, too, says the Saudis should end their military intervention in Yemen first and the western countries, including America, too, must end providing arms and munitions for Saudis so long as they are involved in Yemen war aimed at fully destroying all of Yemen’s infrastructures, cities, and citizens. That is the reason why I say cooperation should begin with non-disputed issues,” replied Mousavian.

The chairwoman referred to the French and American participants in the webinar, who had argued that before the US return to the JCPOA Iran should prove its goodwill and that America claims that nuclear negotiations in the absence of the regional countries, including Israel and Saudi Arabia, had been wrong from the very beginning, asking Mousavian’s viewpoint respectively.

The former nuclear negotiator said: Mr. Manuel Rapenwil in this webinar found faults with Iran for the existing crisis in JCPOA. That is while if any country should be blamed initially it is America, not Iran, that kept on observing the JCPOA restrictions and commitments for three whole years, while none of the other sides were doing so, and America unilaterally left the international agreement.

“The second side to be blamed is the EU trio since it only kept on chanting slogans, without absolutely taking any practical step to save the JCPOA after the US unilateral exit, and also breached the UNSC respective resolution, 2331, whose observation was obligatory for all UN member states.

But if Mr. Catholis argues that holding the nuclear negotiations minus the regional countries had been initially wrong, if there is anyone to be blamed respectively it is the Americans and the Europeans, he said, adding: During Mr. Ahmadinejad’s tenure, Iran proposed that the nuclear talks will be inclusive of the talks about the entire regional disputes and inclusive of all regional countries, said Mousavian.

“But both the Americans and the Europeans resolutely objected to that proposal insisting that the talks should be restricted to Iran’s nuclear program. Today, too, the full implementation of the same nuclear agreement should be the meter stick, and if there is any side to be blamed for the emerged dispute, it is the Americans and the EU trio,” he concluded.

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