EghtesadOnline: Intensified French efforts to ease tensions between Iran and the United States are unlikely to result in de-escalation as disagreements between the old foes go beyond the nuclear issue, a political analyst says.
"Despite all the efforts being made, I believe that no great economic opening can be envisioned for Iran and the reason is plain and simple. The Islamic Republic's only problem is with the United States, not Europe, Japan, Russia or China," Mohsen Jalilvand also told the Iranian Diplomacy website in a recent interview.
"So, Iran and the United States should change their policies toward each other. Otherwise, it does not seem likely that any country, even France, would be able to take a significant, tangible step toward reducing tensions in Tehran-Washington ties," he added.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made a flying visit for talks with host France at the G7 Summit in Biarritz on Sunday, as Paris is leading efforts to end the present impasse, a dramatic diplomatic move that the White House said had surprised them, according to Fionancial Tribune.
European leaders have struggled to tamp down the brewing confrontation between Tehran and Washington since US President Donald Trump pulled out of Iran's internationally-brokered 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions on the OPEC producer.
"Road ahead is difficult. But worth trying," Zarif tweeted, adding that in addition to meeting French leaders he had given a joint briefing to officials from Germany and Britain.
French President Emmanuel Macron had also met the chief diplomat on Friday in a closed-door session with the aim of discussing proposals that could ease the crisis, including the idea of reducing some US sanctions or providing Iran with an economic compensation mechanism, Reuters reported. Zarif said the talks had been productive.
Dialogue Prospects Dim
Jalilvand, an expert on international affairs, painted a grim picture of prospects for improvement of Iran-US ties in the short or medium term, stressing that problems between the two countries are deep rooted.
"I believe that Trump is not ready to change its stance toward Iran even for a short period," he said, adding that recent developments in the Persian Gulf have changed the situation for the worse.
He was referring to Iran's downing of a US military surveillance drone in the Persian Gulf in June and the US decision to set up an international military coalition to safeguard shipping in strategic waters off Iran and Yemen, following tanker attacks in the Persian Gulf. Washington has blamed the tanker attacks on Tehran, but Iran denies any involvement.
Jalilvand said Washington's problems with Iran are not limited to its nuclear activities and are "too complicated, deep rooted and serious" to be resolved through the ongoing diplomatic efforts.
He added that Trump, who is determined to curb Tehran's regional influence, wants to negotiate with Iran "from the position of strength". "This is while Iran has flatly rejected any offer of dialogue with the United States."
Iranian authorities have repeatedly said that they will not hold any talks with the United States unless sanctions are lifted.
"What is clear is that if the current situation prevails, we will be witnessing an escalation of tensions in Iran-US relations," the expert said.