Geneva Agreement, Only Alternative for Iran and the World
An essay by Hossein Malaek, Iran’s former ambassador to China and an analyst of international affairs
When the US Treasury Department added the names of 16 companies and individuals who they claim violated US sanctions on Iran to their long list of sanctioned parties last Tuesday, protests were heard from Iranian personalities, official institutions, and media outlets claiming that the US had unilaterally violated the ‘plan of action’ agreed upon at the end of November and foreign policy remained still for some time. The Iranian negotiating team also had to leave talks in Vienna and return to Iran. In explaining the situation, Mr. Araghchi considered the US’ behavior to be against the spirit of the Geneva agreement. In the scene of Iran’s domestic policy, forces supporting negotiations were in total shock and the opposing forces strengthened their criticisms of the Foreign Minister, the agreement, and those supporting it. Unfortunately, the supporting forces from among the political and media officials and personalities of the country began to justify the US’ behavior with conservative statements and positions and demanded the continuation of talks. On the other hand, the opposing forces continued to criticize and mock the other side, but they also showed that they have no rational solution or suggestion for this situation. This past week, the country’s political officials finally began to stress their approval of the Geneva agreement and stress the country’s determination in continuing negotiations. It seems that the Foreign Ministry and the negotiating team have been relieved of the initial pressure and political contacts have once again begun to determine the current state of the process and with Mr. Araghchi’s trip to Germany and Brussels, it seems that conditions have returned to their normal state.
Experience of Others
In my private talks with the high-ranking officials of China’s Communist Party during my mission in that country, I had heard several times that, every once in a while, the US decides to create problems for China without any special reason in order to, according to these Chinese officials, make China understand that it is not in the same level as the US. Based on the statements made by these officials, the policies of China with regard to the US approach was not to highlight the issue but to make efforts to present a proper reaction and concentrate on the programs and objectives of China.
This is the experience and method of a country which is considered as the biggest trade partner of the US wherein there are numerous financial, economic and technological dependencies.
1. In a general analysis, the government of Iran does not have the experience of having relations and talking with the US and since more than thirty years ago it has only confronted this country in the scene of operations and in third-party issues and without any bilateral commitments. There is no such thing as Americology in Iran. There are a limited number of experts in this field even among those who have studied political science in the US. The decision-making officials during different years have had different tastes in describing this country and its power which were mainly based on personal and family experiences or limited studies or ideological positions. Therefore, it is very important to study the behavior of a “superpower” which attempts to manage the “world” based on its policies and plans and more importantly its interests.
2. What is obvious is that the US has not deviated from the Geneva agreement by imposing sanctions on 16 individuals and legal institutions. Although this measure was considered by Iran and many of the involved countries in the negotiations and the main international media as an undesirable act and the US was criticized, the fact is that based on the text of this agreement, the US has not violated any legal issue. Nevertheless, their action was inflammatory and belittling.
3. The other point is that the White House Spokesperson has stated that the Iranian party was informed of such cases. If that is the case, which usually the US party has “lied” about less, the Iranian team is responsible for this issue and has somehow ignored this matter. Or why hasn’t public opinion been informed of this issue so that its destructive effects could have been prevented. This shortcoming was also seen in the meeting with the French Foreign Minister before the first round of Geneva negotiation wherein the Iranian team could not predict the future opposition of France in these negotiations.
4. Of course from now on, we will see intelligent and unpredictable behaviors of the US based on the previous complex legal negotiations and only political prudence and legal expertise during the process of negotiation could prevent this type of advantage-taking. It would be wise to study and plan certain policies which could be a suitable response to such behaviors.
5. Iran’s behavior and the positions taken by the western countries following this short stroke showed that both parties view this “agreement” as the only alternative and need it to continue this path. Therefore, it seems that the reformist movements of the world have the upper hand in international politics. This is a very good opportunity for the government of Iran to deeply study its problems.