Another meeting of the «big six» with Iran is drawing near. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araqchi announced that the next round of talks on the country's nuclear program would be held in Geneva on December 17 to include direct contacts with the US delegation. True, the negotiation process boils down to the stand-off relationship between the United States and Iran. The format of «5+1» or «big six» is used for sorting out the bilateral problems.
The US-Iran contradictions constitute the main hindrance on the way to finding a solution to Iranian nuclear program. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a statement saying that Israel played a crucial role in torpedoing the peaceful settlement. This is just one of the reasons why the United States is not ready for productive result of the talks. There are other reasons as well. Israel and another opponent of the agreement – Saudi Arabia – act behind the scenes as they are not part of the international mediators’ team. Washington could ignore the opinion of its allies if it wanted but it’s not the case. The US has other reasons to stick to these tactics and they have no relation to Tehran.
The pressure exerted on Iran should be considered as part of broader strategy. To some extent the uncompromising stand of Iran had met the US interests until recently. The emergence of Iranian nuclear problem evoked concern among many other states. It gave the United States a pretext for increasing the pressure on Iran in accordance with its interests. One of the goals was a regime change. Besides, the hostile attitude of Iran was of advantage because it strengthened the Washington’s position in the relationship with Israel and the monarchies of the Persian Gulf reluctant to see Iran getting stronger. The Iranian nuclear problem was used by the United States to disguise the plans to deploy the elements of global missile defense system along the Russia’s borders. Now there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Iran may stop being a nuclear threat to undermine the whole US strategy in the Middle East.
The stand-off between the United States and Iran has been lasting since 1979. But today it’s not the only factor to determine the bilateral relationship. The Middle East is going through important changes. Washington realizes that it cannot shoulder the whole responsibility for what is happening there alone. The US administration has to acknowledge that the absence of relationship with Iran is a big strategic flaw. In any case, the enmity does not help to maintain the balance of forces created some time ago by the United States itself.
Egypt tends to distance itself from America. After many years it has started to develop military cooperation with Russia. The Washington’s plans to shortly topple the ruling regime of Bashar Assad in Syria have been frustrated. The joint actions of Moscow and Tehran prevented a military operation against Damascus in 2013.
Turkey did not support the oil embargo against Iran. In 2010 it voted against the introduction of anti-Iran sanctions in 2010 (the resolution N1929). Contrary to the US expectations, Ankara wants no confrontation with its eastern neighbor. The Turkey’s membership in NATO does not guarantee it will stick to the principle of Trans-Atlantic Solidarity in its relationship with the United States. The war in Iraq cost billions of dollars and the death toll is estimated in thousands of American lives. The overthrow of Saddam Hussein only strengthened the position of Tehran. It is impossible to find a peaceful solution in Afghanistan without the participation of Iran.
It’s not an occasion that the Obama administration has started to be interested in finding a way out of the vicious circle of its enmity relations with Iran. Washington considers the «5+1» format talks on the Iranian nuclear problem as a good platform for launching a negotiation process with Tehran. There seems to be no alternative to the process, besides, the contacts don’t evoke strong rejection neither on the part of Obama’s opponents nor on the part of Iranian President Rouhani. But US negotiators try to add a lot of other issues to the agenda of nuclear talks. Iran believes that it complicates the process. Iranians say the US-imposed «excessive conditions» that have no direct relation to the nuclear program constitute the main hindrance of the way to reaching an agreement.
Washington keeps on insisting that the would-be agreement should encompass the Iran’s missile program as well. US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy R. Sherman makes reference to the United Nations Security Council resolution N 1929. It was adopted on June 9, 2010 when Iran refused to stop the activities aimed at uranium enrichment. Now the situation is changed. The agreement under discussion presupposes only peaceful use of nuclear power. Iran considers the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as the main United Nations body to monitor nuclear activities and closely cooperates with it.
The Tehran’s stance is supported by Moscow. Russia has many times underscored the fact that Iran has a right to the peacefully use of nuclear energy. A new Russia-Iran nuclear cooperation agreement has been recently signed to include the construction of the second and third units at the Bushehr nuclear power plant. These projects demonstrate that Russia trusts Iran and its promises to guarantee the peaceful use of nuclear power.
Russia stands for normalization of US-Iran relationship. It has no intent to build the strategic cooperation with Iran on the anti-US basis. «In our opinion, a full-scale political dialogue between Tehran and Washington, including on issues of regional security, is long overdue,» said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. «We are convinced that the improvement of relations between the two countries would benefit stability in the Middle East and beyond the region, while helping to resolve the situation around the Iranian nuclear program as well as increasing the effectiveness of the fight against global terrorism and drug threat,» the Minister said.
There was some concern voiced in relation to the possibility of Iran sacrificing its good neighborly relations with Moscow in case Russia helps it to normalize the relations with Washington. We believe that there is no ground for such apprehensions. The Islamic Republic will never agree to be an American vassal. There is no possibility of equal partnership between Washington and Tehran – it is excluded by the very rules that America plays by. At that putting an end to international isolation will make Iran an influential regional power. It meets the interests of Russia taking into consideration the existing balance of power in the Middle East. Moscow and Tehran are mutually interested in close interaction. This relationship of lasting nature is on the rise. The economic ventures of large dimensions have been added to the process of extending trade and economic cooperation. Tehran and Moscow have recently signed projects worth of seventy billion euros to develop their trade and economic ties.