EghtesadOnline: Iran should not engage in dialogue with European powers in the current unfavorable atmosphere, as it may be forced to make substantial concessions, an expert on international relations said.
The Europeans are becoming increasingly demanding and hostile, and are seeking to exploit the economic hardship facing Iran, Nozar Shafiei also told ISNA in a recent interview.
Iran has been under "maximum pressure" from sweeping US sanctions since May 2018 when the US reneged on the 2015 nuclear deal, effectively hindering Tehran’s trade with many countries, Financial Tribune reported.
Referring to the recent remarks by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei who did not dismiss negotiation with non-Americans "from a position of power", Shafiei said, "The element of power plays a vital role in international relations, a country's position of power figures high in the negotiations."
France, Germany and Britain have recently launched the nuclear accord's dispute resolution mechanism, initiating a months-long process that could bring about a settlement whereby Iran reverses cuts in its nuclear commitments, or ultimately lead to a so-called "snapback" of global sanctions against Tehran.
Commenting on European inaction when it comes to fulfilling their obligations stipulated in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the expert said, "Europe has sided with the US. Europeans have employed soft power as opposed to the Americans' use of hard power, which complement one another."
According to Shafiei, Iran's economic vulnerability caused by heavy US sanctions has encouraged the European signatories to the nuclear deal to trigger the mechanism aimed at compelling Iran into making concessions.
Retaliating against the US assassination of Major General Qasem Soleimani, Iran's top military commander, by attacking two Iraqi bases housing American troops, and holding impressive memorial demonstrations attended by millions in honor of Martyr Soleimani across the country are examples of such deterrent measures.
Although the moves have given Tehran room for maneuver, the time for negotiations has not arrived yet, Shafiei said, stressing that there should be clear signs that guide Iran on the right timing for talks.
According to the expert, although the Europeans are willing to negotiate, they are not offering Iran anything in return.
France had previously offered Tehran a $15 billion credit line in return for Iran coming back to full compliance with the JCPOA, which offer is not currently on the table now.
Shafiei concluded that "we need negotiations, but the circumstances are not yet favorable", suggesting that Tehran needs to bide its time for holding talks on an equal footing.