"There will be a revival of the nuclear deal because both sides want it for their own reasons," the U.S Professor Karl Kaltenthaler told in an exclusive interview with ILNA news agency.
Kaltenthaler who specializes in international security issues and the politics of the Middle East and South Asia believes that it was going to be easy to arrive at a deal between the US and Iran over the nuclear weapons issue is not aware of how tough it was to arrive at the JCPOA in the first place. He continued that if there is a successful conclusion to the negotiations, sanctions will be lifted. He is a Professor of Political Science and Director of Security Studies at the University of Akron. He specializes in international security issues, violent extremism, and the politics of the Middle East and South Asia.
You can read his interview with ILNA news agency as follows:
Q: A new Iranian government has become firmly established. In such circumstances, one can hope for the continuation of nuclear negotiations?
A: Anybody who thought it was going to be easy to arrive at a deal between the US and Iran over the nuclear weapons issue is not aware of how tough it was to arrive at the JCPOA in the first place. Moreover, this time around, it is even more complicated and difficult. There is a great deal of mutual distrust and the shadow of both countries’ domestic politics. These are tough negotiations and they will continue to be tough negotiations. There is no complete guarantee of success. Some of the things both sides want from the other are likely unachievable.
Q: Will the seventh round of nuclear talks Lead to the revival of the nuclear deal?
A: It is more likely than not that there will be a revival of the nuclear deal because both sides want it for their own reasons. But getting there will be very difficult. The Trump administration put sanctions mechanisms in place that are difficult to simply erase. The devil is in the details in these negotiations. The details of what each side wants cannot be ignored or wished away.
Q: The United States has expressed its readiness to lift many of its sanctions on Iran at the Vienna nuclear talks. Will the US lift all sanctions?
A: If there is a successful conclusion to the negotiations, sanctions will be lifted. Will it be all sanctions that the Iranian government wants lifted? That is hard to say. But it is more likely than not that the nuclear deal will be revived
Q: Is there a determination to keep the nuclear deal alive?
A: Yes, I believe both governments, at this time want to get back to a working nuclear deal. Could that change in the future? Yes, it could change as people in government change or if circumstances change. But right now, the prospects for a deal seem somewhat positive because of the desire of both governments to reach a nuclear deal.
Q: but some believe that the Israel's lobby can block the agreement.
A: Israel definitely has significant concerns about the US returning to the nuclear deal with Iran. This is because Israel does not believe Iran is sincere in saying that it does not intend to develop nuclear weapons and Israel fears that lifting sanctions will give the Iranian government funds to build conventional weapons and arm proxies that both threaten Israel’s security.
Q: How will Iran new president affect the nuclear agreement?
A: It could to some degree, but what matters most is what the Supreme Leader thinks about the nuclear deal issue. While he is profoundly distrustful of the US, he does seem to think the deal is worth it to get out from under sanctions.
Q: Will the US-Iran relations ever normalise?
A: It is more likely than not that we will see an improvement in US-Iran relations compared to where they were during the Trump Administration. Keep in mind that is a pretty low bar. The Biden administration does not trust the Iranian government. It is unlikely that any US administration would have much trust in the Iranian government. Nor does the Iranian government trust the United States. There is a possibility that some of that distrust may diminish a little, but it will not disappear.
Q: How do you analyze Biden’s decision to leave Afghanistan?
A: I think both Biden and Trump knew there is very little appetite in the American public for continuing direct American participation in the war in Afghanistan. That seems to be the major factor that drove their decisions to pull US forces from the country. From a national security standpoint, the risk for the United States is not small. If the Taliban once again takes power or even conquers a significant portion of Afghanistan, the US will have limited capabilities to deal with Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. My fear is that the decision to pull out may make good political sense in domestic American politics but might be regretted in the not too distant future.
Q: A Taliban victory might actually end Afghanistan's bureaucratic dysfunction, bring its ungoverned areas under centralized control; Where does such a situation lead the region?
A: There are certainly governments in the region that view the situation in Afghanistan with alarm. First, there is the issue of a likely heightened flow of refugees out of Afghanistan and into neighboring countries. Second, there is the issue of terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State growing their presence in Afghanistan as a consequence of the diminishing capabilities of Afghan security forces. In the case of Al Qaeda, it is allied with the Taliban, so it will have much room to operate in the country that it has had since 2001.
Q: What is role of Iran and Pakistan for peace of region and Afghanistan?
A: Iran and Pakistan have some ability to try to bring stability to Afghanistan but not as much as some would think. Both countries’ government wanted to see the United States leave Afghanistan. That has been achieved. The tough part for both countries is dealing with the growing instability and conflict brewing in Afghanistan. That will instability will have negative effects on both countries.