Direct Channel Helpful in Defusing Tension With US

Direct Channel Helpful in Defusing Tension With US
Direct Channel Helpful in Defusing Tension With US

A former diplomat said even a next Republican US administration will try to maintain the "direct channel" developed in diplomacy with Tehran over the long course of negotiations leading to the July 14 Iran nuclear deal, as it was key to securing a settlement without resorting to war.

Republicans, who dominate the US Congress, have largely opposed the agreement, which the US Democratic administration negotiated with Iran, alongside five other powers, to place temporary restrictions on Tehran's nuclear program in return for an end to US, EU and UN sanctions.

In a recent interview with Russia Today, Hossein Mousavian said a Republican US president after the 2016 presidential election would most likely toughen policies toward Tehran and this rules out normalized relations anytime soon between the two countries that are bitter foes for decades.

"I think any Republican candidates or even Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, most probably they would have tougher policies against Iran. Nevertheless, we are now thinking about normal diplomatic relations between Iran and the US. It's not going to happen soon."

However, he said, a Republican administration would appreciate the direct diplomatic link with Iran, which was opened via nuclear negotiations and has helped ease tensions and prevent a war.

"The key issue is to prevent a confrontation between Iran and the US. The advantage of diplomacy on nuclear, high-level direct engagement was preventing a war. This is a very, very important issue and I believe the next administration whether Republican or Democratic, they would try to have a direct channel with Iran also. They are not going to close such a channel," he said.  

"Secondly, such a direct channel has helped the US and Iran to resolve some of the bilateral issues, like the financial dispute in The Hague, now the US is going to pay $1.4 billion to Iran, after 35 years of disputes; sailors, coming to Iranian waters, about the prisoners that were exchanged," Mousavian said.

  No Strategic Engagement

"This direct channel would help to bring down the tensions and bilateral conflicts between Iran and the US. We are now thinking and I don't believe it would be realistic to think about Iran-US strategic engagement because of the nuclear deal. Nuclear deal was only about nuclear, preventing a war."

The former diplomat said the move by the United States to impose fresh sanctions on 11 individuals and organizations over an October missile test by Iran typifies Washington's approach that has fueled an Iranian mistrust of the US over the years.

"See, Iranians, they cannot trust the US exactly because of this behavior. We had nuclear deal, we had implementation of nuclear deal, right one day after the US imposed new sanctions on missiles," he said.

"The US Congress is tirelessly looking to impose new sanctions. The governor of Texas is saying, 'I'm not going to implement the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, despite Washington has signed the deal; the fact is, the US is not united about Iran."

Mousavian noted that there's a big cleavage within the US on how to deal with Iran.

"As long as we have such an internal, domestic fighting in the US on how to deal with Iran, I don't believe we would be able to have improvement on Iran-US relations, because every positive step would be rewarded by a negative step of some lobby groups, Republicans or even radical Democrats in the US," he said.