06:14 GMT +321 March 2018
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    A picture taken on January 18, 2016 shows vehicles driving on a street in front of the Azadi Tower in the capital Tehran

    Still in the Deep Freeze: No Immediate Thaw in Sight Between US, Iran - Analyst

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    As relations between Washington and Tehran continue to remain tense US President Donald Trump has extended the national emergency with Iran that has been in place since1979. Radio Sputnik discussed with Seyed Ali Alavi, a political analyst and specialist in Middle East politics, the current state and prospects of US-Iran relations.

    "Our relations with Iran have not yet normalized, and the process of implementing the agreements with Iran, dated January 19, 1981, is ongoing," Trump said in a formal notice to Congress, referring to the deal that ended the 1979 hostage crisis.

    In 1979, the US broke diplomatic ties with Iran after a group of Iranian students seized the US embassy in Tehran taking 52 diplomats hostage. They were released in 1981 following a deal between the US and Iran, under which Washington had to unfreeze Tehran’s assets and promised not to meddle in its domestic affairs while Iran was obliged to pay its external debt to the US.

    The 1979 crisis was a "turning point" in relations between the US and Iran, according to Dr. Seyed Ali Alavi, a teaching fellow with the Department of Politics and International Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.

    "There have been various sanctions [against Iran], specifically political and economic ones since 1979. They’ve also been reinforced and highlighted by different [US] presidents from the Democrats and the Republicans," Alavi said in an interview with Radio Sputnik.

    At the same time, he noted that the implementation of the 1981 deal should not be related to the 2015 deal on Iran’s nuclear program, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Actions (JCPOA), or any new sanctions by Washington.

    READ MORE: Iran's Supreme Leader Slams US as Tehran's Number 1 Enemy

    Commenting on the current state of US-Iran relations, the analyst pointed out "ideological differences and disagreements" between the two.

    "From Tehran’s point of view, the US is acting as a hostile force and interfering in its domestic affairs. From Washington’s point of view, Iran is sponsoring groups that are against the US and Israel," Alavi said.

    He also said that the further development of those relations depends on both Washington and Tehran and on what the two nations are ready to do on their path to reconciliation.

    "However, it is not that easy because the best moment was after the nuclear agreement. It could have opened up some windows but after President Donald Trump assumed power he promised not to go ahead with normalization," Alavi said, adding that his forecast for the development of Washington-Tehran ties is rather pessimistic, taking into account recent developments.


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