September 16, 2019 14:53
News ID: 7485

(Persia Digest) - A university professor in the US believes: Given Trump's propensity for showboating, his goal to meet the Iranian president could be a campaign stunt.

A few hours after the ousting or resignation of John Bolton from the White House, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on 10 September that President Donald Trump could meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the upcoming United Nations meeting, with “no preconditions.”

However, Trump denied it in a tweet on 15 September. But Trump has repeatedly said that he has no preconditions to meet with Iranian authorities, including at a press conference with the Italian Prime Minister on 30 July, 2018.

Hassan Rouhani has said that negotiations can only take place if all the sanctions against Iran are lifted. Although many analysts have said that Bolton leaving is a sign of de-escalation between Iran and the US, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has held Iran responsible for Houthi attacks on Saudi oil facilities. Senator Lindsey Graham even said Iranian oil facilities must be bombed.

Persia Digest (PD) has conducted an interview on the subject with Andrew Bacevich, president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, as follows.

Do you believe Trump and Rouhani should meet under the present circumstances to resolve the issues between Iran and the US?

A meeting right now would be premature. What we need are preliminary meetings, probably held in secret, to minimize the need for posturing. Those preliminary meetings can determine if it is even possible for the two sides to resolve their differences peacefully or at a minimum at least de-escalate.

Read more:

Chances of a meeting between Trump and Rouhani are slim

No plans for bilateral talks with the US

Pressure mounts on President Rouhani not to meet Trump

Are these the right conditions for a meeting between Rouhani and Trump? (Will the meeting take place?)

There are no "right" conditions or "wrong" conditions in a situation like this. A war between Iran and the United States would be a disaster for both countries and the region as a whole. Therefore, there is a need for exploratory talks aimed at determining how to reduce tensions.

Considering the outstanding issues between the US and N Korea (despite a meeting between Trump and Kim Jong-un), will a meeting between Rouhani and Trump help resolve the issues between the two countries or will it serve as a photo op?

Unless there is careful advanced preparation, it will at best be a photo op. Given Trump's propensity for showboating, it could actually be something much worse -- a campaign stunt.

Read more:

President Rouhani’s position on ‘talks’ remains unchanged

If meeting an individual will serve our interests, I will not hesitate

Peace for peace, oil for oil

In your opinion, what is Trump’s biggest faux pas in his Iran policy? How can he remedy this?

Withdrawing from the JCPOA was a massive miscalculation.  Correcting that should be the immediate goal of U.S. policy. Accomplishing that goal will probably require a different president.

Despite Bolton leaving the White House and Pompeo remaining, do you think the maximum pressure policy against Iran will change significantly?

It's too soon to tell. Trump hints at wanting to start a dialogue with Iran. But we can't know if he is serious or just playing games.

Andrew J. Bacevich Jr. is an American historian specializing in international relations, security studies, American foreign policy, and American diplomatic and military history. He is a Professor Emeritus of International Relations and History at the Boston University Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies.

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