Alwaght- “I hope the nuclear deal ends to more cooperation between Iran and the US”, this is what US Secretary of State John Kerry said in an interview with the BBC while discussing the nuclear conclusion reached between Iran and the p5+1 in Vienna.
Ever since negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear program resumed in 2013 following the election of President Hasan Rouhani and the first contact between Iran and US heads of states since 1979, Washington has been voicing interest in developing its relations with Iran. But this is probably one of the few times that an official as high-ranking as Kerry expressed a wish to cooperate with the Islamic Republic beyond the nuclear deal.
Already, the Obama administration has proved the Republicans its capabilities. Under Obama’s tenure many accomplishments have been achieved: increased job opportunities, expanded health insurance coverage and shrunken deficit, and last but not least a shot at diplomacy with a win-win nuclear deal with Iran. Further establishing ties with Iran would be the cherry on top that the Democrats are desperate to garnish their 8 years in power with.
Yet, aside from all the media talk, and the publicity campaigns that accompany US elections, what else lies at the offstage of this enthusiasm? Before striking the nuclear deal, was Iran’s nuclear program the real reason that inhibited the US from normalizing diplomatic ties with Iran? Now that the issue of Iran’s uranium enrichment has been cleared out of the way, has the US genuinely set aside old grudges toward Tehran and adopted a policy of blind faith in a balanced relationship with its once arch-enemy?
These questions and many more hover over the dubious American statements of a possible rapprochement with Iran whose Supreme Leader Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei has said there will be no talks with the US outside the frame of the nuclear deal.
“We approved talks with the United States about nuclear issues specifically. In other areas, we did not and will not allow negotiations with the U.S,” the leader asserted.
From the onset, the doubts over Iran’s nuclear program, which is only used for peaceful purposes such as energy and medicine, were presented to impose restrictions on the Islamic Republic’s growing capabilities as a major power in the region stirring fear and competitive attitudes among the Saudis and the Israelis.
Unequivocally, the Americans had always known that Tehran’s nuclear energy program does not pose a threat to the world. Purposefully, however, many contend that the US government along with other western countries has been exerting pressure on Iran in a bid to put a ceiling on its economy and emergence as a rival political power in West Asia.
The sudden “friendliness” on the part of the Americans is not a sign of pure goodwill. The expressed hope for a rapprochement between the two countries and the ensuing nuclear agreement signifies that the US and its allies have found themselves in a position where they can no longer shun Iran from the equation. The nuclear deal is therefore an acknowledgement of vulnerability.
Recent developments in the region, particularly in Iraq and Syria where ISIS has shown that it can pose a major threat not only to Arab states but even to western countries, have unveiled the extent Iran’s power can impact the volatile West Asia.
With all this said, an Iran burdened with sanctions and besieged with the power of economics would best suit the US in ordinary circumstances. But even if Iran’s participation is needed to help battle the growing threats in the region, it is far less likely that the US would concede to a powerful Islamic Republic in the west Asia and put an end to the enmity that has long caused a rift between the two states.
By Al Waght