(Persia Digest) – Yesterday, Donald Trump said he was ready to talk with Iran without preconditions. Previously, Mike Pompeo had outlined 12 points as a new US strategy for talks with Iran. Under the circumstances, is it in Iran’s national interests to negotiate with the US?

Dr Sadegh Zibakalam, Professor of Political Science at Tehran University, told Persia Digest in an interview that he believes the circumstances are not right for Iran to enter talks with the US.

He said: “I believe that Iran has two strategies ahead. One is to negotiate with the US and resolve the issues between them. But the second strategy in which I believe is for Iran to partner with the Europeans rather than talk with the US. Trump has shown with his tweets that he is mostly seeking to be seen. If Iran agrees to talks in practice, many ifs and buts will be expressed by the United States.”

He continued: “Even if we assume that the US will enter negotiations with Iran without preconditions, I still believe that this will not be in Iran’s national interests; because, the two parties are not on par and Iran is undergoing a deep economic crisis among other issues.”

He added: “Of course, like Trump, I believe that de-escalation between Iran and the US is good for both sides and the region. The military expenses wrongly spent in this region can go towards its development. Hence, I have no doubts that if the US enmity with us is resolved, it will be in Iran’s national interests. But Iran is currently in a place where the US sees no need to give it any concessions. It would be best for Iran to put the present economic crisis behind it with EU help before entering talks with the US.”


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The Persia Digest reporter told Zibakalam: “It seems negotiations with the US will currently benefit Iran in three ways. First, Trump has proved that he is keen to prove himself against previous US politicians and past presidents and say he is better than them. He wants to prove that his ways will have better outcomes. As such, he needs to negotiate with Iran. Secondly, Trump has no ideological background and is not a politician. He is a businessman who is willing to negotiate, and he may be easier to reach an agreement with. Thirdly, Iran has trump cards in the region that it can use in talks with the US President. Taking the above three points into consideration, do you still think talks with Trump are not advised?

Zibakalam answered: “I accept your first two reasoning. Reaching an agreement with Iran after North Korea would be a huge political achievement for him, and he is worried about this. The second reason is also correct. Trump has no ideological outlook. He is more practical and is willing to negotiate. But I don’t agree with the third reasoning, because Iran has no trump cards in Syria, the Lebanon, and Yemen.”

He continued by saying: “Iran invested heavily in Syria and now it is being forced to leave. So, what trump card does Iran have in Syria except a complete exit? Therefore, this third reason is not a strong point in negotiations with the US. Even so, despite the first two reasons, I still believe that it is not to Iran’s benefit to enter negotiations with the US at present.”

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