Publishe Date: 4:58 PM - 8/26/2013 | Print

US-Iran: Direct, Transparent and Critical Talks

Politics - Nosratollah Tajik

There are many facts that the US is enacting a containment strategy towards Iran while Western policymakers and scholars don’t reject this notion. Contradictory to this, there are not any facts and intentions of US real policy towards Iran and no one knows how far US decision makers willing to go without putting region at a new war risk. On the other hand Iran has many potential aspects to be as a rising power at least in regional level in the first step and US denies Iran true abilities to project its power in an engagement policy towards region. This means that US is unclear about Iran power and influence in the region and the perception of how much of these will eventually be used in this game or Iranian new role. Although US policy makers believe that it is difficult for US to confirm that does Iran have any willingness to use force to pursue this claim and its ability, but the best approach to this situation for Iran is Direct, Transparent and Critical Talks in a specific subject (DTCT).
So there is a must for US and Iran to begin a confidence building measures (CBM) by pursuing hedging policies. While US will benefit from its relation with Iran in many aspects, but there is a real risk for Iran in its relationship with US, because of its historical mistrust to US. So Iran should spread its relation risk by pursuing two opposite policies towards US. It is normal exercise in international relations; if US carries out two contradictory policy directions simultaneously: balancing and engagement in its foreign policy towards Iran rather than containment, which are straightforward strategic choices.
US can be prepared for the worst by balancing, while also preparing for the best and engaging such as creating binding multilateral frameworks. So both Iran and US could use hedging strategies which encompass balancing or containment, through the inclusion of significant engagement and reassurance components. US needs to substitute its containment strategy towards Iran with a more reliable and short term assured policy to leave nuanced containment policy which is based on American hegemony, financial monopoly, oil security, global governance. Although US policymakers don’t reject the notion of containment and they believe that, it is a kind of policy engagement which could be highly successful in a number of spheres, including Iran foreign trade and financial resources, but it is getting more complicated situation in the world and region.
Thus crucial uncertainly and lack of trust between two countries could be described as structural and functional. In distrust atmosphere between Iran and US there is cultural difference which will have a significant effect on their relations. Iranian foreign policy is relatively difficult to understand; contrast to the US, where foreign diplomats can access US policy intentions in many ways. This is a main source of confusion and policymakers are genuinely uncertain which line to pursue without any facts and intentions that could put region at a new war risk. So they need to enact a policy that could be characterised as hedging policy because of uncertainties. In order to mitigate this policy, the causes of uncertainty in the relationship must be addressed. Some of those are structural and difficult to address, but others are well within the reach of policymakers in trust and confidence building measures such as clear and transparent intention.
Utilisation of a hedging strategy by two countries demonstrates that their policymakers are undecided on whether the other side constitutes a threat or not? Because hedging is not simply defined by a state’s actions, but by its intentions and it is difficult to develop policy without strong knowledge of what the other state intends and this needs Direct, Transparent and Critical Talks (DTCT) in a specific subject for a hedging strategy.

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