EghtesadOnline: Donald Trump's offer of dialogue with Iran is more of a political "maneuver" than a fundamental change of approach, says a political analyst, who believes that the US president needs a breakthrough with Tehran to use as a springboard for reelection.
"It seems unlikely that Trump has changed his stance toward Iran. He is in fact trying to maneuver," Rahman Qahremanpour also told ISNA in a recent interview.
"Trump wants to achieve a breakthrough with Iran before the 2020 US presidential election so that he can tell Americans that he could gain more and better achievements than the previous US administration with Iran at a lower cost," he added.
In late August, Trump told a news conference at the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France, that it was realistic to envisage a meeting with the Iranian head of government in the coming weeks to try to end a nuclear standoff. Both leaders are scheduled to attend the United Nations General Assembly this month, Financial Tribune reported.
President Hassan Rouhani said Iran is always ready for dialogue, but will not talk to the United States until all sanctions imposed on Tehran are lifted.
However, the US leader said he is not open to compensating for losses suffered by Iran by lifting sanctions on its economy, which have been imposed by Washington after pulling out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal with world powers.
"Some observers believe one of the skills of leaders like Trump is that they keep changing their words, but can easily swim through the sea of flip-flops," Qahremanpour said.
Concessions for Iran Unclear
The political analyst noted that the sitting US president can easily "magnify" the concessions gained by his administration.
Qahremanpour said it is not clear whether his meeting with Iranian officials could lead to some concessions for Iran, including the renewal of oil sanctions waivers.
The United States in April demanded that buyers of Iranian oil stop purchases by May 1 or face sanctions, which was aimed at choking off Tehran's oil revenues. Subsequently, crude prices increased to six-month highs on fears of a potential supply crunch.
The US reimposed sanctions in November on Iranian oil exports, but eight economies, including China and India, were granted waivers for six months. The major buyers of Iranian oil had expected those exemptions to be renewed.
The political analyst said UN General Assembly developments would show whether a long-term agreement on the implementation of the nuclear deal could be worked out or not.
Asked why Iran has agreed to France taking the lead in Europe in trying to salvage the agreement and defuse tensions between Tehran and Washington, Qahremanpour said the French mediation should be seen in the context of European developments and politics.
"Britain could not have taken a neutral stance due its relations with the United States and would not have concentrated on this issue because of the Brexit process," he said, adding that Germany prefers to not get too much involved in Middle East-related issues out of fear of domestic opposition.
“It seems that Iran chose a European country over Japan because Rouhani's administration believes that the Europeans have a deeper understanding of America and its officials,” the political analyst said.