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EghtesadOnline: The US president is highly mistaken to assume that it can negotiate with Tehran the same way it holds talks with countries such as Saudi Arabia, says a political analyst, who believes that Iran will never be blackmailed.

"[US President Donald] Trump thinks that he can negotiate with Iran in the same style that it negotiates with the Taliban, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. However, Iran cannot be milked like Saudi Arabia," Mehdi Zakerian also told ISNA in a recent interview. 

He maintains the situation in the region will not improve and tensions will not be resolved unless the United States stops denying the fact that Iran is and has always been a major regional power. 

The political analyst stressed that even Iran’s southern neighbors are wrong in not accepting this reality, according to Financial Tribune.

“After the 1979 Islamic Revolution, some countries assumed that Iran could no longer be a regional power as it had lost the support of the United States and the Soviet Union,” he said. 

"But the [1980-88] Iran-Iraq war proved that Iran can stand alone against all threats and pressures." 

 

 

‘Deep-Seated’ Issues 

Zakerian noted that people should not get "overexcited" about the recent prisoner exchange between Iran and the US, as such measures have never resulted in the settlement of problems between the two countries. "Tehran-Washington issues are much more fundamental," he said. 

On Dec. 7, the US and Iran each freed a prisoner in a rare act of cooperation between two longtime foes whose relations have worsened since Trump took office, withdrew his country from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, and reimposed sweeping sanctions on the OPEC producer.

Iran released Xiyue Wang, a US citizen who had been held for three years on spying charges, while the United States freed Iranian scientist Masoud Soleimani who had been charged with violating US sanctions against Tehran. 

Switzerland, which represents US interests in Iran, facilitated the swap.

Trump thanked Iran on Twitter for what he called a "very fair negotiation" that led to the exchange. He said it showed America and Iran "can make a deal together".

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran is ready for a full prisoner exchange with the US, tweeting, "The ball is in the US' court."

The analyst further said the latest development is unlikely to end the impasse over the nuclear deal, particularly because the prisoner swap took place on humanitarian and legal grounds, and was not political in nature. 

"As I said, Iran-US issues are so deep-rooted that they can only be solved if both sides take more important and serious decisions," he said. 

Zakerian said Trump should know that engaging in bilateral talks with Iran is possible but it should offer "bigger concessions".  

"Under conditions where the United States is not honoring its commitments under the nuclear deal, which is endorsed by the UN Security Council Resolution 2231, it cannot expect to hold serious talks with Iran. If dialogue with Iran, even outside the nuclear agreement, is important for it, the US should offer concessions," he said. 

 

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