Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept. 30
By Umid Niayesh - Trend:
Hardliner elements in both Iran and the United States will eventually recognize that, regardless of mutual suspicions and hostilities, they need to work together, Stephen Zunes, a US expert on Middle Eastern issues said.
Moderate elements in both governments are beginning to recognize this already, Zunes, who is professor of politics and coordinator of Middle Eastern Studies at San Francisco University, told Trend Sept. 30.
Iran is a major regional power and the United States is a major international power, so when there are areas of mutual interest, cooperation is necessary, even if they continue to compete in other areas, he said, adding Syria can be a situation where the responsible elements might be able to come to the fore.
After several months of talks, on July 14, Iran and the P5+1 (US, Russia, China, France, UK, and Germany) announced a final accord, curbing Iran's nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of most international sanctions.
Following the deal some Iranian politicians have expressed interest to cooperate with US in regional issues in particular in fighting terrorism.
Mohammad Nahavandian, who heads the office of Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said last week that cooperation between the US and Iran on fighting terrorism in the region could be possible if the United States fulfills its commitments in the Iran nuclear deal to lift sanctions.
However the Islamic Republic's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the last word in the country has emphasized that the two parties' co-op will never go beyond nuclear issue.
Russia will continue to be an important player in the Middle East
Zunes further commented on the latest developments in Syria saying it is in no one's interest to allow the violence, suffering, and instability in Syria to continue.
"It is threatening the security of the entire region. It is wrong for the people of Syria to continue to suffer as proxies in international intrigues in a struggle that no side can win militarily."
He further said that despite the desires of the United States and some other Western countries to the contrary, Russia will continue to be an important player in the Middle East.
Concerned about the way the United States and other Western powers have taken advantage of political turmoil in the Middle East in recent years, the Russian president Vladimir Putin appears to be reasserting perceived Russian interests in the case of Syria, Zunes said.
"However, whatever outside powers may try to do, the fate of Syria is primarily in the hands of the Syrians themselves. Indeed, throughout the region, the ability of foreign governments to significantly impact internal struggles is far less than it used to be."
The expert believes that, empowering Syrian civil society and the original nonviolent pro-democracy forces, which launched the uprising in 2011, is the best way to bring peace and security to the country. They should be included in whatever negotiations take place.
Edited by CN
Umid Niayesh is Trend Agency's staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @UmidNiayesh