German expert: "The humiliation that the US experienced in 1979 still permeates Washington’s policy towards Iran”
New US sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran and the strengthening of the military presence in the Middle East are fuelling the conflict with Tehran that has set a course on a tough retaliation having no desire to stick to a number of provisions of the nuclear agreement. German mediator Michael Brzoska shares his opinion on ‘the tense situation’ fearing further escalation. Simultaneously, neither Iran nor the US wants to give up their positions.
Washington clearly formulated where it stands a year ago. The Trump administration is demanding that Iran no longer uses nuclear technology, ceases its missile development program and does not support proxy groups in the region that are waging war in Yemen or representing Shiites in Iraq. "These were the maximalist demands for Iran that it was not ready to negotiate," Michael Brzoska said in an interview with Deutschlandfunk.
Maximum demands are Trump's favorite tactics in negotiations. So far, it remains unclear how much he is willing to reduce them when it comes to negotiations. The expert drew parallels with North Korea. In talks with Pyongyang, the US president also put forward maximum demands that he has not abandoned yet. But, unlike Iran, North Korea, at least, started the negotiations. "Of course, this is a very risky strategy, which the US is guided by in other cases including trade issues. It assumes that such decisive demands will force the other side to compromise," the mediator said.
Washington’s current course resembles the one of 2003 when George W. Bush sent the US troops to Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein and his regime. Nevertheless, Brzoska marks the difference as "Donald Trump actually always showed he does not want to use military force. While after September 11, 2001, George Bush definitely made a bet on the military force."
In the conflict with Iran, there is still hope for detente if there are negotiations, but not only mutual accusations. The expert recalled that the relations between the US and Iran are ‘very emotional’ since the Iranian revolution: "The humiliation that the US then experienced has since actually penetrated Washington’s policy towards Iran.” Much of what the US does with Iran is difficult to explain in terms of rational interests, but it has very strong emotional overtones.
As another reason for the tough US anti-Iranian course, Brzoska cites the relations with Israel. Donald Trump is interested in being regarded as a close ally of the Israeli government.
Europe’s ability to influence the conflict is limited. But Europe can do more than before. ”It comes to the issues of sanctions and how to mitigate the US sanctions against Iran. So far, Europe is keeping a distance. I believe, it is necessary to make clear for the US the impossibility of considering or supporting a military solution to the Iranian conflict. It is necessary to make it clear that such a scenario bears a great risk and will exacerbate the situation not only in the region but also in Europe and the US, ”the expert believes.