Tehran’s Role Vital to Restore Regional Peace

Tehran’s Role Vital to Restore Regional PeaceTehran’s Role Vital to Restore Regional Peace

The July nuclear deal with major powers demonstrated Iran's willingness to play a "positive" role that, if recognized by the West, could be built on to help effectively address regional conflicts, a former nuclear negotiator maintains.

"Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has consistently approved diplomatic engagement to prove the peaceful nature of Tehran's nuclear program, including subjecting it to verification measures," Hossein Mousavian said in an article recently published by Al-Monitor.

He, however, added, "What Ayatollah Khamenei rejected was Iran giving up its legitimate right to enjoy the benefits of nuclear technology, and in particular, uranium enrichment at the levels required for peaceful purposes, such as generating nuclear energy."

  Turn for the Better

Mousavian noted that while negotiations had failed under the two presidential terms during 2003-5 and 2005-13, after the current President Hassan Rouhani took office and a more professional negotiating team took over, the political climate of the talks took a turn for the better. He added that it was then that the Leader authorized direct talks with the US on the nuclear issue.

"The diplomatic process that resolved the 12-year nuclear impasse between Iran and the West demonstrated the positive, constructive and definite role Ayatollah Khamenei is willing to play if world powers recognize the legitimate rights of Iran," Mousavian said.

"If western decision-makers carry over this mentality into regional issues, they will be able to utilize the strength of Iran's Leader and the capability of Rouhani's moderate government to resolve many of the current crises in the region."

The former diplomat said there could be great progress if the West demonstrates its recognition of Iran's role in maintaining peace and security in the Persian Gulf, its exportation of energy and its need for strategic relations with neighbors such as Afghanistan and Iraq.

Mousavian said Iran's role cannot be ignored in efforts to find diplomatic solutions to the regional crises, citing US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who has said it is "hard to imagine a solution to the Syrian crisis" without Iran.  

"The current crises in the Middle East, whether in Syria, Yemen, Iraq or Afghanistan, can only be solved politically, through negotiations that incorporate all of the relevant regional players, including Iran … The reality is that none of the conflicts currently tearing the region apart can be resolved without the presence and help of Iran."