Kourosh Ziabari: What do you think of the prospect of Iran's nuclear standoff? Will the upcoming U.S. Presidential elections have a serious impact on the course of events related to Iran's nuclear program? Some critics of Iran's foreign policy believe that Iran was lucky that Barack Obama won the 2008 elections because every other candidate would certainly attack Iran if won the elections. What's your viewpoint?Abolghasem Bayyenat: It does not appear that the United States is genuinely interested in having Iran's nuclear issue resolved in any reasonable manner as its current strategy is solely geared to inflicting utmost pain on Iran. Western powers' insistence on unrealistic preconditions for negotiations and not showing due flexibility to recognize Iran's core legitimate interests has allowed no room for optimism for the resolution of Iran's nuclear issue any time soon. The hard-line position of the United States has already drawn the sharp criticism of top American foreign policy experts and veteran Western diplomats who command close knowledge of the issue.
I don't see how the upcoming U.S. presidential elections would contribute meaningfully to the resolution of Iran's nuclear issue. Past experience has shown that changing political circumstances may only effect tactical changes in U.S. policy towards Iran and as long as the root causes of the current stand-off are not addressed no permanent solution to the issue can be perceived.
I also don't think that Iran was lucky Obama was elected as U.S. president. Because the Obama administration has played down the option of a military attack against Iran it has been more effective than the Bush Administration to bring European countries and, to some extent, China and Russia on board to exert some pressure on Iran. As soon as the threat of a military attack against Iran gains more currency within the U.S. administration, this fragile coalition would start to crumble down.
The record of Bush administration on Iran serves as an example for how far a hawkish Republican administration would achieve on the Iran front, had it won the U.S. elections. Besides, the first priority of every American administration would have been addressing domestic problems in light of the ongoing economic recession. Opening any new war front on top of Iraq and Afghanistan, much less one on the scale of a military confrontation with Iran, would have been a recipe for political fiasco for any U.S. president under present circumstances.