Deal Implementation a Test of US Sincerity

Deal Implementation a Test of US SincerityDeal Implementation a Test of US Sincerity

Cooperation between the United States and Iran on fighting terrorism in the region could be possible if the US fulfills its commitments in the Iran nuclear deal to lift sanctions, President Hassan Rouhani's chief of staff says.  

"This nuclear negotiations and agreement serve not only for the purpose of putting aside this obstacle, but also serve as a test whether this line of negotiations can bring about some level of confidence and trust between two sides," Mohammad Nahavandian told Al-Monitor.

"And it was mentioned by the Leader [of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei] as well that this nuclear issue is a test for us: to see how the other side is sincere in following up and in the true implementation of what is being agreed."

"We have to see whether the implementation stage can bring about some level of trust," Nahavandian said.

A US-educated economist, Nahavandian has previously served as president of Iran's Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Mines, as deputy secretary of the Supreme National Security Council under Ali Larijani and as deputy minister of commerce. He spoke to Al-Monitor in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

US Secretary of State John Kerry has said the United States would like to discuss Syria with Iran.

"I view this week as a major opportunity for any number of countries to play an important role in trying to resolve some of the very difficult issues of the Middle East," Kerry said on Saturday before his first meeting with Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad Zarif since they reached the final Iran nuclear deal in Vienna on July 14. "We need to achieve peace and a way forward in Syria, in Yemen ... and I think there are opportunities this week, through these discussions, to make some progress."

Nahavandian said the Iranian government would be looking to the first phase of implementation to see if the other side fulfills its obligations. "For the Iranian people to see the lifting of sanctions can bring about some tangible results. That would be a show of sincerity," Nahavandian said. "So that does not need to take that long."

He said, "And there are some issues of mutual interest, especially in the region. The position of the Islamic Republic of Iran has always been that fighting terrorism should come as the first priority for regional issues. And that can be another platform if the sincerity of all sides can be shown in action."

  Costly Threats

Nahavandian said Iranians have been watching the US debate about the deal and the US presidential campaign with a mix of bemusement and concern.

Regarding threats by some Republican presidential candidates that they would tear up the accord, Nahavandian said such threats are costly for the United States, and not just in Iran.

"Nations don't make jokes in their international relations," Nahavandian said. "If there is an agreement between two big nations… people would count on those agreements. And if things can suddenly change, then the whole calculation in relations between nations has to be reviewed."

"I think the cost of that kind of abrupt change of policy would be huge for the whole international community," he said. "Let's assume that kind of nonsense would not prevail."