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Iran gains the upper hand

By Parviz Esmaeili, Tehran Times Editorial Column

TEHRAN, May 29 (Mehr News Agency) -- Yesterday, Iran-U.S. talks on Iraq, which officials from the occupied country also attended, came to a conclusion with the sum total of reports indicating that the Iranian delegation had higher morale and gained the upper hand by proposing creative plans to improve the security situation in Iraq.

A few points should be noted in regard to these negotiations, which will be continued, according to the U.S. ambassador:

(1) Following the United States' repeated unofficial requests for talks with Iran, which were made through various diplomatic channels, Iran stated that only an official request would be studied. The U.S. then submitted such a request through the Swiss Embassy in Tehran. Given that Iran conditioned the negotiations on two points -- a strict focus on Iraq's security and the presence of Iraqi officials as the third party -- in practice it was Iran that set the agenda. Thus, Iran forced the U.S. to turn its "need" for talks into a "will".

(2) It is clear from the statements of U.S. officials, including the article by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns published in the Boston Review yesterday, that the main reasons for this "need" are the U.S. entrapment in the quagmire of Iraq and Afghanistan, internal disputes in the U.S. government, Israel's humiliating defeat in its 33-day war against Hezbollah, and other regional and international problems of the United States. The acknowledgment of the stability of Iran's political system in upcoming decades and the need to alter regional policies through the establishment of diplomatic relations with Tehran by the occupants of the White House came as a surprise. These are the same people who failed in their use of sanctions, military threats, and international pressure meant to undermine Iran.

(3) Iran's wise decision to insist on the presence of Iraqi officials in the negotiations proved that Iranian foreign policymakers disdain from cutting bargains over the security and national interests of neighboring countries and Muslim nations of the region, including Iraq. The fact that Iran, after avoiding direct talks for 28 years, sat at the negotiating table with the United States, indicates the importance of Iraq's stability and security for Iran. Although Iran's position in the region is different than other countries', it emphasized the importance of cooperation between Muslim countries of the region to ensure regional security.

(4) Iran also has a greater goal. The stability of Islamic countries would weaken the position of Israel because the Zionists can only secure their interests by fomenting disputes among Islamic countries and entangling them in wearisome insecurity. In addition, the stability of Muslim nations would lead to a greater awareness of Tel Aviv's conspiracies.

(5) By accepting the U.S. call for negotiations, Iran has also responded to the frequent requests of various Iraqi parties and political, religious, and national figures. Iran could not remain indifferent to the increasing insecurity and economic problems of Iraq and the fact that the Iraqi people have been unable to lead normal lives. The frequent expressions of appreciation by Iraqi officials, including the fact that Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki thanked Iran yesterday, prove this.

(6) Through its dominant presence in the four-hour negotiations in Baghdad, Iran showed that it has no fear of talking with the United States. If the members of the U.S. delegation adopt a fair approach and commit themselves to negotiations on an equal footing, and, instead of the usual U.S. posturing, engage in real negotiations and speak as clearly as the Iranian negotiators, then additional meetings would also be possible.

(7) Contrary to the views of Western analysts, in these trilateral talks with the U.S., Iran deliberately avoided discussing Tehran-Washington problems because linking the problems of the Iraqi people to Iran-U.S. disputes would undermine regional trust and Muslim unity. Indeed, Iran-U.S. disputes are so vast and diverse that discussing these matters would require many prerequisites, including a decision by the White House to end its hostile policies toward Iran.

(8) Although the wall of Iranians' mistrust of the U.S. can be breached, it is so high that it can not be destroyed through a single session of talks and the exchange of a few smiles. People like Mr. Nicholas Burns should acknowledge that writing an article is not a solution for their "need". In order for the two countries to sit at the negotiating table in the future and settle their disputes, there is one major prerequisite: the U.S. government must take concrete steps to end its covert and overt plots against Iran's national interests.

... Payvand News - 5/29/07 ...

... Payvand News - 5/29/07 ... --

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