25 October 2013, 01:52

Rouhani forces West to abandon skepticism about negotiations with Iran

Hassan Rouhani

Hassan Rouhani

Hassan Rouhani

President Hassan Rouhani's policy forces the West to abandon skepticism regarding negotiability of the Islamic Republic. Iran announced their decision to stop enriching uranium to 20 percent, which was one of the key demands of the international community for Iran's nuclear program.

Western experts are trying to understand what is behind this. According to the optimists, this gesture demonstrates peaceful aspirations of the new Iranian president Rouhani, compared to his predecessor Ahmadinejad. Rouhani is seen as an inveterate liberal, which of course is not entirely true.

Less than six months ago Rouhani restarted the process of finding a mutually acceptable way out of the negotiating dead end. Apparently, the West was not quite ready for that. The first surprise was replaced by doubts about the sincerity of Rouhani. Many experts assume that we are dealing here with a tactical ploy and that the strategic goals and objectives of Iran remained the same. Leonid Gusev, a senior researcher at the Institute of International Studies of MGIMO in Russia comments on that:

"Since the election of Rouhani only two and a half months passed. Therefore, it is too early to say that Iran's image has changed dramatically. Although within the first few months at power Rouhani has brought a new push to relations with the West. After conservative Ahmadinejad, Rouhani is percieved as completely another kind of politician. Despite the fact that Rouhani is older than Ahmadinejad, he is much more moderate than his predecessor. He does not go for confrontation, rather tries to find a compromise."

Rouhani is not in a vacuum, he is acting within an already established Iranian society and establishment. In Iran there are different forces. There are those who genuinely want to improve relations with the West. As it was stated by different specialists, Rouhani belongs to this part of the Iranian establishment. But on the other hand, there are those forces inside Iran who do not want that. Most of them are associated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. It all depends on how further harmonization of domestic interests go. But international sanctions that damage Iran will likely force the Iranian leadership to start cooperation with the West.

Rouhani wants to achieve the cancelling of sanctions and bring the economy out of a spin. And for this there is no other way but to establish relations with the United States. Unfortunately, this outcome is limited not only by the political views of the new Iranian president. Elena Mylkymyan, professor of Modern East in the Russian State University for the Humanities states:

"Iran's image is changing. Although this process is complex and long. Rouhani who is a completely different man than Ahmadinejad contributes to these changes. But on the other hand, the head of Iran's Supreme, Ayatollah Khamenei is still there. And he remains the same. So for those people who are very well aware of what is happening in Iran, these changes are superficial."

Israel is sure of that. He holds anti-Iranian position, coinciding with Saudi Arabia on that. For different reasons, these two countries need from Iran not compromise and concessions, but economic collapse, military defeat and unconditional surrender. Only in this case, the Israelis and the Saudis will feel more or less peaceful.

Finding solutions out of this situation is not an easy task. But it is worth is. Iran's reintegration into the global environment is beneficial not only by the Iranians, but also by the United States. If the Americans can persuade Israel to soften its stance, it is possible that after that the Saudis will express their willingness to compromise. In the end, the removal from Iran the social outcast stamp is in the interest of regional security, which no matter whether in the Middle East or in Europe is the same for everyone without exception.

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