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Zarif Well Suited to Challenge Trump at UNSC

"Iran has the upper hand (given the US exit from the nuclear deal) and Iran's stance is stronger than that of the Trump administration from the legal, logical and moral point of view, Tehran can use this opportunity and turn the session into a diplomatic
Members of the United Nations Security Council sit during a meeting. Members of the United Nations Security Council sit during a meeting.

A foreign policy analyst says Iran's chief diplomat is the best choice to represent the country at the UN Security Council meeting to be chaired by the beleaguered US president later this month and can help turn the key session into a "diplomatic victory" for Tehran.  

The US presides over the Security Council this month, and President Donald Trump will chair a special meeting on Iran on September 26 to spotlight Tehran’s  alleged "violations of international law" during the annual gathering of world leaders in New York.    

In an interview with ISNA published Sunday, Reza Nasri, an international affairs expert, said Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif can and should represent Iran at the meeting given his position, extensive diplomatic experience, command of the English language and deep understanding of American political culture and the UN Security Council regulations.    

  Exceptional Opportunity

It is the first time in four decades that a representative from the Iranian government can meet face to face with a US president at a Security Council meeting, Nasri said.

“Participation in the meeting will provide Iran an exceptional opportunity to have its representative assert its stance using the platform of the most important  international organization."  

The analyst said, "Iran has the upper hand (given the US exit from the nuclear deal) and Iran's stance is stronger than that of the Trump administration from the legal, logical and moral point of view, Tehran can use this opportunity and turn the session into a diplomatic victory. That is why it is crucial to take part in the meeting."

Trump in May withdrew from the nuclear accord between Iran and six world powers and ordered the reimposition of economic sanctions suspended under the deal despite Iran's compliance. European powers and Iran have been struggling to salvage the historic accord.  

  Saying No to Boycott    

Responding to observers who have argued that Iran should boycott the UNSC meeting in a symbolic move to avoid legitimizing it, the political analyst said such a decision would only deprive Iran of an opportunity to express its views.

"Symbolic moves are always open to media interpretations," he said, adding that Iran should get its message across.  

Asked about the potential consequences of the meeting for Iran, Nasri, an international law expert from Geneva's Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, said it is highly unlikely, from the legal perspective, that Trump would get an anti-Iran resolution passed during the session.    

Other members of the Security Council would probably censure Washington's pullout from the 2015 nuclear agreement, he said, noting, "I personally believe that even in the US some have come to the conclusion that the session will fail to help them achieve the desired publicity results."

  US Agenda

On the motives behind the US decision to hold the meeting, Nasri said one reason may be that the Americans want to continue and even step up the psychological warfare against Iran with the aim of destabilizing the Iranian market. The Trump team may also want to use the UNSC platform to warn other countries against potential cooperation with Iran ahead of the second round of US sanctions.    

The first round of sanctions, which included rules cutting off Iran and any businesses that trade with the country from the US financial system, went into effect on August 7, throwing Iran's economy into turmoil.

The US has asked buyers of Iranian oil to cut imports to zero starting in November to force Tehran to negotiate a new nuclear agreement and curb its influence in the Middle East.    

Nasri said another possible scenario is that Trump is just seeking to chair a UN Security Council meeting simply because his predecessor, Barack Obama, had done  the same before. 

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