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Rouhani’s Opportunities At UN General Assembly Too Narrow To Be Fruitful

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The terror attack on an Iranian military parade over the weekend has changed the diplomatic calculus for Iran, regional countries and the United States.

Tensions have risen mainly due to incessant Iranian accusations against the U.S. and its regional allies and constant threats to avenge the attack.

Perhaps Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani will feel the impact of the attack more than anyone else during his trip to the New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly.

Rouhani has said that he would use his upcoming speech at the UN General Assembly meeting as an “opportunity to expose US breaches of international regulations”, Iran’s official news agency IRNA reported on Sunday September 23.

This looks like an early warning that a translation of his speech humming into the headsets of jet-lagged diplomats at the meeting is likely to contain his usual complaint about the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Tehran.

If before the September 22 attack there were murmurs of a possible meeting between Trump and Rouhani, that seems to be out of the question now.

The IRNA report says that “meeting with some leaders” are also on Rouhani’s agenda. This comes while hardliner MP Javad Karimi Ghodousi, has warned Rouhani and his Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif not to hold “any planned or accidental meeting or phone conversation with the “evil” president of the United States, and not to accept any role as mediator” for talks with others; possibly in an allusion to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s comment about President Trump’s readiness to hold talks with Khamenei.

There is at least one European leader who would definitely meet with Rouhani. French President Emanuel Macron is slated to hold talks with Rouhani while prospects for the two countries’ relations are darkened by a delay in dispatching France’s new ambassador to Tehran as Paris did not like the news of an Iranian plot to attack a gathering of Iranian opposition group Mojahedin-e Khalq, aka MeK in France in July.

On the other hand, Iran is not happy about several French companies leaving its market, fearing they might be targeted by US sanctions, while France and other European states may not be able to do much to help Iran as long as the Iranian parliament does not approve the bills that would make Iran committed to abide by international financial conventions such as the FATF.

The second round of renewed US sanctions will target Iran’s oil exports and international banking operations, while President Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Sunday that new sanctions would be awaiting Tehran if Iran fails to change its regional policies.

“The president’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal has had a profound effect on Iran and the region as a whole. And with even stronger sanctions coming back in November, we think we have disrupted their efforts to impose their will in countries around the region,” Bolton told Fox News on Sunday.

Bolton also spoke about the possibility of more sanctions being imposed on Iran: “We think these new sanctions coming in will have a significant economic and political effect inside the country. And that’s what we want. We want massive changes in behavior by the regime in Iran. And if they don’t undertake that, they will face more consequences, because we will find more sanctions to impose and other ways to put maximum pressure on them,” he added.

Meanwhile, according to an ISNA report from Tehran on Monday, Chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s Foreign Policy and National Security Committee, Morteza Saffari Natanzi has suggested that Rouhani should talk about Saturday’s terror attack in Iran in his speech in New York.

Rouhani accused the US, and Iran’s neighbors in the Persian Gulf region, which he described as “Little mercenary states,” of being behind the attack in comments he made before leaving Tehran for New York.

Denying any US involvement in the attack, US chief diplomat at the UN, Nikki Haley said, “I think what Rouhani needs to do is he needs to look at his own home base,” adding that Rouhani “should look in the mirror” rather than blaming the United States for the attack.

However, the political dynamics surrounding the attack could have changed Iran’s position from one of sponsor of terror to a victim of violence, but by accusing the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, as well as all of the Persian Gulf states and some European countries of being behind the attack, Iranian leaders seem to have effectively ruined their own chance of taking advantage of it for a publicity stunt in New York, while some Iranian media, including the IRGC’s own daily newspaper Javan, have blamed flaws in security arrangements and breach of security by the Iranian military intelligence units.

Disclaimer

The opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Iranians Global Network.