September 18, 2021

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U.S. needs Iran’s cooperation to fight terror in Afghanistan: ex-UK diplomat 

U.S. needs Iran’s cooperation to fight terror in Afghanistan: ex-UK diplomat  – Tehran Times

TEHRAN – Peter Jenkins, the former UK ambassador to the IAEA, says the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan makes it desirable for Washington to cooperate with Afghanistan’s neighbors including Iran.

Jenkins tells the Tehran Times, “It would seem that this makes it desirable for the United States and its allies to have relations with Afghanistan’s neighbors, including Iran, that lend themselves to counter-terrorism cooperation.”

Many criticize the failure of the U.S. to collaborate with its foes on common issues like fighting terrorism. For example, Iran as a neighbor to Afghanistan can play an important role in counter-terrorism efforts.

Afghanistan’s recent developments and the Taliban takeover and the initiation of a dialogue between Iran and Saudi Arabia may push the Americans to talk with Iran as a regional power that has an undeniable role in restoring stability to the region.

The former British ambassador is also of the opinion that the situation surrounding Afghanistan following the U.S. exit from the Central Asian country coupled with talks between Saudi Arabia with Iran and new leadership in Tel Aviv may encourage the Biden administration to rethink its conditions for re-entry into the Iran nuclear deal.

According to some leaks from the Vienna talks, the American side has been setting conditions for the U.S. return to the pact. 

Jenkins says “these conditions include an Iranian commitment to engage in subsequent talks on its missile program and on its regional policies and practices, which the United States likes to characterize as ‘malign’.” 

Following is the text of the interview:  

Q: Given the United States’ withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear pact under the Trump administration, who is to blame for undermining the deal? Why does nobody talk about punishment for the violating party or any compensation mechanism?

A: Of course, the United States is to blame for undermining the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA in 2018 lacked any rational justification. The goals that the Trump administration proclaimed when withdrawing were totally unrealistic. At the time Iran was in full compliance with the commitments it had made when it entered into the JCPOA in 2015.

That said, the United States was entitled to withdraw. It is questionable, therefore, whether it deserves punishment for doing so – beyond the loss of soft power that has resulted from the damage to U.S. prestige that unjustified withdrawal has caused. In any case, the international community lacks the will to punish a state whose military power has been unrivaled for the last 30 years. That’s Realpolitik.

Q: Apparently the U.S. is trying to embed new conditions into the nuclear deal including Iran’s missile program. Don’t you think such an effort may derail the course of nuclear talks?

A: Many nuclear non-proliferation experts, valuing the JCPOA, are critical of the Biden administration for having failed simply to take the United States back into the JCPOA and do whatever was needed to bring about full U.S. compliance.
 Instead, as you imply, leaks from the talks in Vienna suggest that the U.S. negotiators have been setting conditions for U.S. re-entry into the agreement. These conditions include an Iranian commitment to engage in subsequent talks on its missile program and on its regional policies and practices, which the United States likes to characterize as “malign”. The U.S. negotiators may also be insisting that Iran concede an extension of some of the JCPOA’s provisions and they may be quibbling about the sanctions that must be lifted to comply with the JCPOA.

Personally, I cannot imagine the JCPOA being revived in the absence of U.S. willingness to compromise on those points. Is that likely? I’m in no position to judge, but I wonder whether three recent developments could have an influence on U.S. thinking. The first is the initiation of a dialogue between Iran and Saudi Arabia: perhaps this could lead to reduced Saudi pressure on the United States to insist on Iran conceding missile and regional talks. The second is the departure of Netanyahu, who refused to listen to Israeli experts who advised that the JCPOA serves Israeli interests. The third is the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan: it would seem that this makes it desirable for the United States and its allies to have relations with Afghanistan’s neighbors, including Iran, that lend themselves to counter-terrorism cooperation.  

Q: Why isn’t there any control or investigation when it comes to Israeli nuclear arsenals?

A: The formal position is that Israel neither confirms nor denies that it possesses nuclear weapons. This makes it possible for the United States and its allies to pretend that they do not know whether Israel has a nuclear arsenal. This profession of ignorance would be enough to justify U.S., UK and French vetoes if ever a member or members of the UN Security Council were to propose a UN investigation into alleged Israeli possession of nuclear weapons.

In addition, Israel, like India and Pakistan, has taken care never to become a party to the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Consequently, it has never assumed an international legal obligation to refrain from manufacturing nuclear weapons or to conclude a comprehensive safeguards (inspection) agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). So, legal justification, in the form of an alleged breach of a legal obligation, for international action is lacking.



Original News : https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/464863/U-S-needs-Iran-s-cooperation-to-fight-terror-in-Afghanistan

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