Time for a Mideast Grand Bargain

Time for a Mideast Grand Bargain
Time for a Mideast Grand Bargain

Former diplomat Seyyed Hossein Mousavian says he believes it is the time that Iran, the United States and regional Arab states strike a "grand bargain" with the aim of improving the critical security situation in the region because the current mechanisms and alliances have failed to defuse tensions.

"In the last 60 years, there have been many different alliances among the US, western countries, Arab countries and Israel. In the past 35 years, the entire focus of this continuously shifting triangle has been fighting Iran, confronting Iran, isolating Iran and weakening Iran. The outcome of this policy is the rise of terrorism and crises in the Middle East, and a powerful and stable Iran," Mousavian wrote in a recent article for Defense News, adding, "We are witnessing a collapse of the Arab world with the Arab League becoming irrelevant. Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, Iraq and all major Arab powers are either failed states or on the verge of becoming ones with their critical domestic problems .Even the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC) states are vulnerable to this wave of terrorism and takfiris, where Muslims accuse other Muslims of apostasy."

He went on to say that those policies toward Iran have failed because it is now among the most stable and powerful countries in the region, emphasizing that following the same strategy of the last three decades would only "continue the deterioration we have already witnessed."

He argued that interaction between Tehran and Washington and the creation of a "regional cooperation system" between Iran and Arab states can help find solutions to regional crises.

He said, "The path is through US President Barack Obama's strategy of engaging Iran."

"We need to work on real engagement between Iran and the US because these two are the key players. As long as Iranian-US hostility continues, the situation will deteriorate and lead to a failed region."

He said, "We (also) need to create a regional cooperation system among the (P)GCC states, Iran and Iraq. This would lead to excellent relations with NATO, the US, China and Russia."

"The P5 + 1 nuclear talks (the talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) have proved engagement can produce good results," Mousavian said, adding, "Iran and the US are the leading forces in the battle against the Islamic State. While the US is leading in the air, Iran plays the leading role with the ground forces. Amid Islamic State threats, Iran and the US are playing constructive roles."

In conclusion, he said, "That's why I advocate a grand bargain between Iran and the US, Iran and the region, to establish a cooperative system and remove hostilities between the two big players."

Mousavian was Iran's ambassador to Germany from 1990 to 1997 and served as a top nuclear negotiator from 2003 to 2005. He is now a research scholar at Princeton University and is believed to have close connections with Iran's foreign ministry and diplomatic circles.