Dr Mohammad Jamshidi, assistant professor, Faculty of Law and Political Science at the University of Tehran, said that at the Group of Seven summit meeting various issues were raised, but two of them, namely international trade and US-China relations and Iran were the most important ones. It seems that the French President Macron’s plan on Iran has been finalized with the members of the Group of Seven and they have reached a conclusion. IRI Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s trip to France and his presence at the venue of the G7 Summit shows that a breakthrough has been achieved.
“The main point is that the negotiations they are talking about and the agreement that is being spoken of is not about reviving the obligations of the American and European sides towards the Iran Nuclear Agreement (known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) but about getting new concession from Iran in return for a limited credit line.
“The reality is that the other side intends not to return to the JCPOA framework, maintain pressure on Iran, while at the same time putting an end to Iran’s response to the breach of West’s commitments and eventually forcing Iran to give new concessions to the foreign party.
Jamshidi pointed out that recent statements made by Bolton and Pompeo imply that they say if Iran agrees to give lots of concessions (including accepting the 12 conditions set by Pompeo) and join a comprehensive deal, then they can meet the American side. In other words, he said, holding a meeting for them is tantamount to accepting the agenda of submission. Even if we do not interpret it that way, we can say that the meeting they are looking for to happen between Trump and Rouhani is just for the sake of taking a photo and saying that Iran has been brought to the negotiating table, but in fact, the agenda is something else.
He added: “After that, we cannot say that we forced the American side to return to the JCPOA,” he said. The agenda is to make Iran agree to more concessions. In these circumstances, the negotiations will certainly come to a standstill, but they would portray a failed image of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its strategy before the international community and take advantage of it.”
“The United States does not seek to lift its pressure on Iran, and in the proposals, they have presented there is no evidence to seek to ease the sanctions or shake or weaken the pressure structure on Tehran or create a significant change in the economic situation of Iran,” the university assistant professor said. Even Macron and Merkel have made it clear that Europeans welcome the US maximum pressure policy and see it as a positive trend. Macron has made this clear in a press interview.”
He said that some people were looking at these developments in a wishful way of thinking but the reality is that if we are not careful about these talks and possible bilateral talks that are raised, Iran would get nothing. Instead, it could make the situation worse economically and would force Iran to give away more points.
Jamshidi added: “Concerning the duration of the JCPOA deal, they say this deadline should be removed and the deal should be permanent or long-term. They say Iran should give up its regional policy. But these are not US commitments to the JCPOA, and none of them will bring about economic recovery for Iran, but rather a wider containment of Iran and increasing threats against Tehran.
“We need to be realistic in analyzing the situation because when we look at the events, these are the positions that the European, the American and French sides have put forward and their experts are talking about these positions,” he said, adding that the Islamic Republic of Iran supports any action that may lead the other party to return to its obligations; there is no doubt about it, but the point is that the other side should sit at the negotiating table with the agenda being fulfilling its commitments. But that’s not the case now!
The analyst added: “The Islamic Republic of Iran has fulfilled its commitments in the years after the JCPOA was signed, but not only the US and Europe have not fulfilled their obligations but have increased the pressure on Iran. If the outcome of the negotiations or a possible deal with hardliners or moderates in the US is to make matters worse, that would not be a good deal. The JCPOA was the same thing; it was supposed to improve the situation, but because of the American failure to commit to its obligations, the economic situation after that was worse than before. There is a principle in a strategic debate that says one has to agree that the period after the agreement is better than the period before the agreement. We don’t have that right now. So it doesn’t matter what system the US dominates, whether it is hardliners or moderates.
Jamshidi said: “We made a deal with the Democrats, but the situation has come to the point where they have maintained and institutionalized pressure structures against Iran, but the economic situation has not improved. There is no need for us to take another step in this direction. At least we can stop right there or change policy and move on with a clear and assertive agenda, but moving forward under a wrong policy seems to be the worst advice.”
Commenting on some of Macron’s remarks that Rouhani and Trump could meet in the coming weeks, he said: “My impression is that if this bilateral meeting were to take place, it would be a complete loss for us because of the existing facts. Such a visit would only serve the interests of the United States and is not beneficial to us. The United States would then get closer to its goal of intensifying the internal divide in Iran. This is not in the interest of the country and I doubt this would happen”.
The university assistant professor further cited the results of the G7 summit on China’s trade relations, saying the Trump administration had threatened to resort to law for the exit of US companies from China on the grounds that China was manipulating its currency but Washington virtually abandoned that harsh policy and raised the possibility of re-negotiation and dialogue.”
“One side of the story is Trump’s negotiation tactics, which are usually very fast-paced and change course suddenly, and his ultimate goal is to force the other side to negotiate; he does not seek complete confrontation. He uses pressure policy as a tool. On the other hand, the global economy and the European economy are not doing well; even the German economy is in a downturn, and the Chinese economy and oil prices are indicators that show that if the confrontation between the US and China is to be real, all international parties will be challenged. So the Europeans were reluctant to go along with China’s confrontational US policy. China also has the tools of pressure against Europe and the United States, and it can make it more difficult for them. Recently, China reduced the value of its national currency, a move that will affect the Western side of the economy and reducing the effect of tariffs the US has imposed on China.
Jamshidi also commented on Trump’s decision to allow Russia back into G7 despite European dissatisfaction and said the United States is seeking to improve relations with Russia and lift US sanctions on Moscow. But Putin has stated that Russia does not need to be reinstated as long as their policy is against Russia and confrontational.
He said Russia was expelled from the G7 after the Ukraine-Crimea war and Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, adding that Russia’s priority was Ukraine and its strategic and security interests, and Moscow would not benefit from attending a meeting of the G-7.