EghtesadOnline: The opportunity provided by President Hassan Rouhani's visit to New York to end the deadlock between Tehran and the West was not missed, because the Iranian delegation left the door open for diplomacy, an observer says.
"Iran's diplomatic team and Rouhani, who delivered a speech at the United Nations General Assembly from the position of strength, indicated that the path to negotiations with western countries with the aim of having the US sanctions lifted is open," Hamidreza Jalaeipour also wrote in a recent article published by the Iranian Diplomacy website.
In his speech during the annual gathering of world leaders, the president called on them to return to justice, peace, law, commitment and the negotiating table.
He also proposed the Hormuz Peace Endeavor, an initiative aimed at promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the Persian Gulf region, which Jalaeipour called a wise move because it reiterated Tehran's desire to cooperate with regional Arab governments, according to Financial Tribune.
According to Rouhani, the plan explores "various avenues for cooperation", such as security of energy supply, freedom of navigation and free transfer of oil and other commodities to and from the Strait of Hormuz and beyond, based on the principles of mutual respect, non-aggression and non-interference.
Jalaeipour, a sociologist and university professor, said Britain, France and Germany backed the United States and blamed Iran for an attack on Saudi oil facilities in order to goad the Iranian president into negotiations with his US counterpart, Donald Trump, while sanctions are still in place.
"However, Rouhani stood firm on his fundamental stance and that of the establishment, which calls for the lifting of sanctions before any dialogue. At the same time, his speech and the remarks of Iran's diplomatic team indicated that the door to diplomacy and negotiations with the six major powers who signed the nuclear deal with Tehran remains open," he said.
Trump last year pulled out of the 2015 nuclear agreement, which assured Iran’s access to global trade in return for curbs on its nuclear program, but has since then reimposed and sharply tightened sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Tehran has responded by exceeding some of the limits on the accord and promised to scale back its nuclear commitments further unless the Europeans keep their promises to shield the Iranian economy from US penalties.
Jalaeipour said some analysts argue that Rouhani missed the opportunity of getting the sanctions removed because he did not meet with the US president.
"However, such an analysis is not correct for three reasons. First of all, there is no guarantee that Trump would fulfill a promise to lift the sanctions after negotiations," he wrote, adding that dialogue under sanctions would tarnish Rouhani's track record given the unpredictability of the US leader's decisions.
He noted that the second reason is that Rouhani did not close the door to diplomacy—a stance which could lead to the lifting of sanctions in the coming months if pursued from the position of strength.
Thirdly, he added that Rouhani's administration has proved over the past year that it can manage economic crises to a considerable extent despite the sanctions.
"So, from the economic perspective, Iran is in a position to advance its agenda of getting the sanctions lifted before any negotiations,” Jalaeipour said.
“The best solution to existing challenges is to pursue talks with the US and other western countries from a strong position.”