Next US Gov’t Would Seek Direct Engagement

Next US Gov’t Would Seek Direct Engagement
Next US Gov’t Would Seek Direct Engagement

Despite a possible tougher line against Iran by the next US administration, it would still try to have a direct channel of contact, a former spokesman for nuclear negotiators commented.

"I think, any Republican candidate or even Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, most probably 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," Hossein Mousavian added. Mousavian, who is also a research scholar at Princeton University, made the remarks in a recent interview with Russia Today.

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

Pointing to other advantages of direct diplomatic engagement that has been absent for more than three decades, the former diplomat said "it 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. This direct channel would help reduce the tensions, bilateral conflicts between Iran and the US," he said. Tehran and Washington severed diplomatic relations after a group of students overran the US Embassy in Tehran and took the staff hostage months after the overthrow of the US-backed Shah in the 1979 Islamic Revolution, which had already cast a chill over ties.

  Breeding Mistrust

Mousavian said the move by the United States to impose fresh sanctions on 11 individuals and organizations over an October missile test by Iran is in line with Washington's typical policy on Tehran and only breeds mistrust.

"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 later, 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,' even though Washington has signed the deal; the fact is, the US is not united about Iran."

Mousavian noted that there is 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.