TEHERAN – The head of the Center for Political Studies at the University of Lebanon says the Saudis’ desire to negotiate with Iran is an attempt to forestall a US return to the nuclear deal.
“The Saudi-Syrian normalization is a positive step and the Saudi-Iranian dialogue is an attempt to forestall the US return to the nuclear deal,” said Dr. Talal Atrissi of the Tehran Times.
âSaudi Arabia sees tangibly that all of its bets so far have failed, and I assure you that this step was taken through American encouragement and support, especially since Saudi Arabia failed in the war against Yemen and is trying to get out of the Yemeni swamp today “notes Atrissi.
The following is the text of the interview:
Q: How do you rate the ongoing talks on reviving the nuclear deal with Iran?
A: Most of the declarations, whether from the Iranian or American side, confirm that the negotiations are producing results. The comments are optimistic and the announcement of the formation of committees to investigate the lifting of the sanctions implies that all sides are moving closer to an agreement.
The statements of the Russian, Chinese and even European delegates indicate the progress and seriousness of the negotiations. But that doesn’t mean it will be quick. For its part, the US will not easily lift the sanctions, nor will all sanctions be lifted. It will try to negotiate to lift only part of the sanctions in exchange for Iran’s return to full compliance with the terms of the nuclear deal.
Iran has an interest in negotiating and a direct interest in lifting the sanctions that have caused great damage to the Iranian economy, and it is for this reason that Iran has returned to the negotiating table. But Iran has no interest in extending the talks. I mean, you go back to the negotiating table as if we need a new agreement. In relation to Iran, this is unacceptable as the leader of the Islamic Revolution warned against extending the negotiations, while America wants to force most concessions from Iran before lifting the sanctions.
This is happening today in the successive rounds of the Vienna Talks.
Q: How would the Iranian nuclear pact revival affect the region?
A: If this agreement is reached, it will of course have a positive effect on relations between the countries in the region. I believe that Saudi Arabia’s desire to enter into dialogue with Iran began with American encouragement and not on its own initiative, which means that the new American administration will have some sort of stability in the Middle East (Western Asia) and some easing of tensions between the Persian Gulf and Iran wishes.
The main tensions came from the Israeli side, while the Biden government is looking forward to some sort of stability and dialogue, and this is one of the reasons to consider reviving the nuclear deal with Iran.
The greatest strategic challenge facing the Biden administration is China, and that means the United States is reluctant to re-engage in the Middle East (West Asia). It is also withdrawing from Afghanistan. Afghanistan was a big failure for America and its politics in the world and in the region.
So if the negotiations on an agreement are successful, the United States’ allies, including primarily Saudi Arabia, will return to stable relations and understanding with Iran, and this could help resolve problems in Lebanon, Yemen and others US countries contribute to the region.
Q: What options does Israel have to undermine the nuclear talks in Vienna? Do you think Israel will start a war to block the path to the nuclear pact revival?
A: From the beginning, Israel and the US government were at odds over the 2015 nuclear deal, and Netanyahu viewed the Obama-signed deal as a “historic mistake” rather than a “historic achievement,” as Obama put it. Israel tried to obstruct the deal’s path and worked with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to prevent the pact from being signed, but the deal was reached in 2015.
When Trump came to power in 2016, Israel saw it as a great opportunity to push America out of the nuclear deal.
As for the possibility of Israel conducting any kind of operation or sabotaging Iran’s nuclear facilities in order to change the balance and prevent a possible revival of the Iran-US nuclear deal, I rule out that happening.
First, Israel is facing a domestic political crisis and Netanyahu is accused of failing in the battle for the “sword of Jerusalem” and therefore the victory won by the Palestinian Resistance is a victory for Iran. The resistance in Palestine thanked Iran for its role in supporting Palestine.
Such an option is very difficult for Israel to imagine, especially since Netanyahu has risen into the ranks of the opposition and is no longer prime minister.
Q: How do you read the Saudi-Syrian normalization, especially if we put this alongside the Iranian-Saudi talks? What caused the Saudi policy change in the region?
A: The Saudi-Syrian normalization is a positive step and the Saudi-Iranian dialogue is an attempt to forestall America’s return to the nuclear deal.
Saudi Arabia sees palpably that all of its bets so far have failed, and I’m sure that move was down to American encouragement and support, especially since Saudi Arabia failed in the war against Yemen and is now trying to get out of the Yemeni swamp Costs.
She believes that dialogue with Iran can help him get out of this war, and therefore the return of Saudi Arabia to the negotiating table with Iran and Syria is an indirect recognition of the failure of its previous policies.
I mean, the policy of overthrowing the government in Syria has failed, and the policy of forming an Arab- (Persian) Gulf-Israeli axis against Iran has failed, as has normalization with Israel and the deal of the century after which, what happened recently in occupied Palestine.
So this move by Saudi Arabia is a confirmation that Iran and the axis of resistance are better positioned than before and that the last decade has been a time of steadfastness and resistance to all attempts to ruin the region, Syria and Yemen in particular.
Today, after the battle for Palestine, the axis of resistance is in a position of strength and this is prompting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to enter into a dialogue with the parties on that axis.
Q: What is the significance of the Iran-China partnership for the region and the world as a whole?
A: The importance of the Iran-China partnership is that it opens up broad prospects for Iran at various stages of development in investment, oil and communications. On the other hand, this can even be an alternative to the nuclear deal with the West. Even if the nuclear deal is not revived, Iran can be satisfied with the partnership with China.
Even if Iran fully complies with the nuclear deal and agrees with the United States, it will have balanced relations with the East and West, with China being preferred, especially since China is not a colonial country and has not caused any problems in the region.
So the Sino-Iranian partnership is an important strategic agreement that could block the way for the US to put pressure on Iran.
In addition, as an economic agreement, the Iranian-Chinese partnership is inextricably linked to China’s vision and its historical and strategic project to restore the Silk Road (One Road, One Belt).
Iran will be an important station in this project. For this reason, China is banking on a partnership with Iran and wants Iran to remain a strong and central country in the face of American hegemony, and this is not in the interests of the West and the US in particular.