Iran-US ties: Past, present, future

Iran-US ties: Past, present, future... 18/08/2016 History

Keywords:#2015, #Afghanistan, #Africa, #American, #Arab, #Asia, #Barack_Obama, #Britain, #China, #Cold_War, #Constitutional_Revolution, #Director_General, #IRNA, #India, #Iran, #Iranian, #Iraq,, #Islamic, #Islamic_Republic, #Islamic_Republic_News_Agency, #Islamic_Republic_of_Iran, #Islamic_Revolution, #JCPOA, #Joint_Comprehensive_Plan_of_Action, #London, #Middle_East, #Mohammad_Reza_Pahlavi, #Mordad, #Nations, #News, #News_Agency, #North_Africa, #Obama, #Olympics, #Pahlavi, #Pakistan, #Peacock_Throne, #Persian, #Persian_Gulf, #Petersburg, #President, #President_Obama, #Prime_Minister, #Revolution, #Reza_Pahlavi, #Reza_Shah, #Security_Council, #Shah, #Soviet, #Soviet_Union, #St._Petersburg, #Taliban, #Tehran, #Tehran-Washington, #Tobacco_Uprising, #UK, #US, #United_Nations, #United_Nations_Security_Council, #United_States, #WWII, #Washington, #Western, #White_House

Tehran, Aug 18, IRNA – An Iranian expert on the US affairs believes that Tehran and Washington share certain interests and concerns despite their conflict of interests in the Middle East region.
Touraj Shiralilou, Deputy Director General for Foreign News at the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) also says it appears the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States of America have started to move towards a ‘turning point’ to develop a new form of relations in certain fields.
He made the remarks in an article appeared on IRNA Persian outlet on Wednesday on the eve of the 63rd anniversary of US-UK coup in Iran which toppled the popular government of the Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadeq.
Excerpts of his article follow:
Anniversary of historic events which have proved influential on political fate of a nation is an opportunity to review those developments and examine existing perspectives related to them. Accordingly, the anniversary of the US 1953 coup in Iran (locally known as the 28 Mordad coup), seems to be a timely occasion to be reviewed in order to focus on the history and present situation of Tehran-Washington relations so that their future ties can be assessed based on the existing and emerging realities.
Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution had gathered its eternal power from a long history which was founded on two fundamental characteristics. One was to fight against external colonialism represented by St. Petersburg, London and Washington, and the other was to fight against domestic dictatorship which had previously emerged in form of movements such as the Tobacco Uprising in 1920 (against tobacco concession granted by the Shah to Britain), the Constitutional Revolution (1905-1907), the Nationalization of Iran Oil Industry Movement (1951) and the public uprising in 1963 against the capitulation concession.
During a 50-year period before victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran (1979), the US government stepped out of a self-imposed isolationism and gradually played a more active role in its foreign relations and moved beyond the Western hemisphere. This new role became more serious after the WWII, particularly among former Soviet Union satellite countries.
During the Cold War era (1947-1991), the White House considered Iran as a barrier to stop former Soviet Union’s influence to the southern oil-rich regions of the Persian Gulf and the Middle East. The White House leaders also considered Iran as a gas station for the US war machine in the region.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Iran’s defunct Shah and the son of Reza Shah, repeated the mistake of his father and knotted Tehran’s national interests to those of Washington by changing the county into a military base for the US.
However, the conflict between Iran’s national interests and the regional and international strategies of the governments in the White House eclipsed the not many cases of mutual interests between Iran and the US. Eventually, it led to separation of relations between the Peacock Throne and American Eagle after victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran.
Since 1979, severance of diplomatic relations between Islamic Iran and the United States were intertwined with series of unpredictable developments including expulsion of US military advisors from Iran, seizure of US embassy in Tehran by revolutionary students which led to the severance of diplomatic ties between the two capitals, hatching military coups against Iran which were aborted, assassination of Iran’s military and political figures, freezing Iran’s assets in the US, supporting Iraq’s Ba’ath regime during its imposed war against Iran, attacking Iran’s offshore oil terminals, shooting down Iranian passenger plane, imposing continuous sanctions against Iran and opposing Iran’s peaceful nuclear program.
These were clear examples of US encounter with Iran which were carried out with a combination of security policies including different scenarios of pressures, restrictions, sanctions and threats.
The outcome of US foreign policy and its foreign economy for reaching a major strategy to get rid of problems from dependence on the oil coming from the Middle East and the vicious consequences of supporting non-democratic rulers in the region, has led to adoption of a two-sided strategy known as “Pivot from Middle East” and “Pivot to Asia” which means re-balancing of US interests from the fragile Middle East region toward East Asia.
This approach of the US democrats is based on two fundamental conceptions which are to get rid of consequences of clashes in the Middle East region and to channel existing strategic interests to contain China by strengthening all-out relations with India.
As for Iran, it was time to examine the ‘contain and engagement’ (contagement) policy which was recommended by the US think tanks, a number of which are playing an advisory role for the US administration in the field of foreign policy.
Based on those recommendations, US President Barack Obama and his statesmen have concluded that it is the time when Tehran and Washington have to withdraw the “unstable” condition in their relations. Therefore, they (US officials) decided to devise a comprehensive policy for replacing sanctions against Iran’s peaceful nuclear program by political and economic pressures and open the door for bilateral talks to resolve the nuclear dispute.
Finally, in July 2015, after months of shuttle diplomacy as well as breathtaking and intensive negotiations with the world’s six major powers (known as the P5+1) and after signing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran succeeded to maintain its enrichment right which was opposed by Western countries led by the US. Tehran also secured the start of lifting the imposed sanctions and nullifying all resolutions adopted by the United Nations Security Council against the country.
A brief look at the past will make it clear that Iran won the best possible agreement in win-win game with following the change of US approach under the term of President Obama and his contagement policy which was followed by Tehran’s smart tactical change based on the new US policy.
If one believes that it is necessary to review the past developments in order to find a better understanding of the present situation, and if we hold that mulling over the present situation will help us find a better estimation of the future developments, then it would be clear again that it is essential to examine the historical developments.
The diachronic approach of the present paper by briefly reviewing different historical junctures of Iran-Us unstable relations as well as its synchronic line of discussing the latest major developments including the JCPOA, will provide us with a future-oriented outlook for a sound conclusion.
On 18 August 2016 which marks the anniversary of the 28 Mordad coup, it seems that Iran and US have started to move toward a “turning point” in making a new form of diplomatic relations in certain areas. However, there are some realities such as the differing nature and structure of Iran and US political systems which add some ambiguities to the time and nature of reaching that point.
Complicated factors determine the form and final level of Iran and the US relations as two countries with a deep and repeated history of conflicts such as the 28 Mordad coup and other examples of conflicting interests.
Sixty-three years after the 28 Mordad coup, 38 years after the Islamic Revolution and one year after the landmark nuclear deal, it is expected that Iran-US conflict of interests will continue in the field of regional issues. Iran and the US have not been following the desired security goals of the other side in a complete or even incomplete ways.
However, Tehran and Washington share some interests which are not necessarily identical or overlapped.
Restricting the Taliban’s extremism in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the outlook for the second wave of the Arab Awakening which seems set to overthrow the Persian Gulf kingdoms after the fall of life-time republics in the North Africa, and joint efforts to maintain wrestling as one of the sports at the Olympics top the list of joint interests and concerns of Tehran and Washington regardless of which party would run the White House.
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