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Iran-US Cold War

Interview with Dr. Nasser Hadiyan, University Professor and Iran-US Affairs Analyst
Source: Iranian Diplomacy; translated by: Iran Review

Q: The United States has asked Iran to take a constructive approach to NPT Review Conference. Is the conference a good opportunity to discuss the current situation of negotiations and interactions between Iran and the United States?

A: Relations between Iran and the United States cannot be easily improved and possibility of d├ętente is not on the horizon as a reward structure exists in both countries which encourages severance of relations and punishes those who want to improve the situation.

As long as that structure has not changed, there won't be serious hope for better relations. At present, there is a Cold War raging between the two countries with occasional ebbs and flows.

Political determination of both countries is necessary to bring about a change and, at present, such a determination does not exist in either country.

Q: American politicians talk about international consensus against Iran and internationalization of Iran's nuclear program. What is your opinion about it?

A: The United States pursues its goals toward Iran through a large-scale policy which, in my opinion, includes both containment and selective relationship. I believe that this policy has been followed since Robert Gates was appointed Secretary of Defense by President Bush and still continues.

Since Bush Administration had lost international credibility, it was not successful in pursuing this policy. However, international popularity of Obama has provided US diplomatic apparatus with great capacities to apply the policy of containment and selective relationship to Iran better than any time before.

That policy consists of many parts. The United States is trying to isolate Iran politically while enforcing more economic sanctions against the country. The military part of that policy calls for containment of Iran and promotion of defense systems of the United States regional allies.

Q: To what extent has the United States been successful in forging international consensus against Iran and internationalizing the nuclear case?

A: Under President Obama, the United States enjoys more capacities to contain Iran, but to assess Washington's success in achieving its goals, certain criteria should be taken into consideration. If the criterion is to change Iran's behavior, the United States has not been successful. If the criterion is to halt uranium enrichment in Iran, the United States has not been successful too because enrichment is still in full swing.
If US aimed to discourage Iran's support for Hamas and Hezbollah, that support still continues. If US meant to align Iran with the Middle East peace negotiations, Tehran is still staunchly opposing Arab - Israeli peace talks.

Therefore if a change in Iran's behavior is taken as criterion for assessing success of US policies, those policies have not been successful. However, if the criterion is the ability of the United States to forge an international consensus against Iran, then Washington has been largely successful.

About Iran Review: Iran Review ( is the leading independent, non-governmental and non-partisan website - organization representing scientific and professional approaches towards Iran's political, economic, social, religious, and cultural affairs, its foreign policy, and regional and international issues within the framework of analysis and articles.

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