EghtesadOnline: The Trump administration could either strike a bilateral deal with Iran based on respect for international law, or address its issues with Iran's nuclear and other policies within a regional framework, a former diplomat said.
In a recent article published by Middle East Eye, Hossein Mousavian, who was the spokesperson of Iran's nuclear dossier from 2003 to 2005, said there is a way out of the current US-Iran impasse, particularly now that US President Donald Trump has forced out John Bolton, his warmongering national security adviser.
"Trump has repeatedly lamented the nuclear agreement as a terrible deal, saying his chief concern is to ensure that Iran does not obtain a nuclear bomb. Yet, the Trump administration has destroyed the nuclear deal and other world powers do not have the capacity to revive it," he said, referring to Washington's exit last year from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, according to Financial Tribune.
"If Trump is looking for a big deal to address nuclear and regional issues, he can initiate a regional cooperation and security system with Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain."
Mousavian maintains that such a system would enable collective cooperation to fight terrorism, commit all to a zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, and maintain peace and stability in the Persian Gulf region and the Middle East.
For such an initiative, Trump should invite Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and the other heads of states as well as the permanent Security Council members, he added.
Respect for Int'l Law
Mousavian, a Middle East security and nuclear policy specialist at Princeton University, added that a "bilateral deal" with Iran can also be achieved "if the US respects international law on non-proliferation as the basis of any potential agreement."
He believes that the current deadlock between the long-time adversaries is the product of three important factors.
"Firstly, Trump sought to hold direct talks with Iran while pursuing the policy of pressure and sanctions. By pulling out of the nuclear deal, he left the negotiating table," he said, adding that Washington's recent decisions to sanction the Leader and designate the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps as a terrorist organization killed any chances of negotiations.
Secondly, the main US actors and policymakers, namely US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Trump's former national security adviser, have actively pursued a regime change policy with respect to Iran, the article read.
"Thirdly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been trying to push the US towards military confrontation with Iran," he added.
Mousavian says it can be forecast from the current circumstances in the region that the Trump administration will not return to the nuclear deal and that Iran will not uphold it unilaterally.
He argues that Tehran should abandon the nuclear deal altogether and simultaneously suspend its membership of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty instead of its current policy of a gradual, step-by step exit from the agreement.
Then, there could be an opportunity for negotiations with Trump on "nuclear rights versus commitments" within the NPT framework, the expert said.
Such an agreement would require the US to abolish all of its nuclear-related sanctions against Iran in exchange for Iranian nuclear commitments within the framework of NPT, he added.
Mousavian said three potential outcomes can be expected, if Trump and Rouhani meet and reach an agreement.
"The NPT will regain its status and credibility in the international community; there will be an end to the nuclear discrimination that Iran has been facing since 1979; and Trump's dream of forging a 'better deal' with Iran will come true," he said.
Nevertheless, most signatories and experts believe the current nuclear deal, howsoever flawed, is better than taking the risk of dumping it for another deal that may, or may not materialize.