Saturday, 15 February, 2020

Reopening the U.S. Embassy in Iran: From Imagination to Reality

By: Vahid Jafarian

After reopening of the British embassy in Tehran on Sunday, some questions have raised on social media about the possibility of happening the same event for the United States.

Since Iranian president Hassan Rouhani took office, he has supported “constructive interaction” with the world except Israel. Therefore, the reopening of the American Embassy in Iran after almost four decades of severed relations is not out of mind.

However, the resumption of relations with United States - unlike the case of the UK - may have some unique complications, requiring some behaviors and conducts by U.S. officials.

The reopening of the UK embassy in Tehran occurred under circumstances that the diplomatic relationship between Iran and Britain was interrupted for only 4 years and the move was originally conducted on the willingness of the British Government not Iranian side, as Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif recently said: “Iran did not close down the British embassy in Tehran and it was the UK itself who decided to do so.”

On the contrary, Iran and U.S. broke off their diplomatic relations nearly forty years ago. So, it is not believed that it would be easy for two countries to normalize their relations anytime soon. Similarly, the reopening of the American Embassy in Iran is not possible yet, requiring some trust-building steps by U.S. Government.

There is a sense of hatred and distrust of Americans among the Iranian people which is rooted in U.S. multiple crimes against Iran during at last 60 years. Some of these crimes include: CIA involvement in the overthrow of Mossadegh at 1953 coup d’état , Support for Saddam during the Iran-Iraq war, Shooting Down Iranian airliner in 1988 and imposing crippling economic sanctions against Iran on the pretext of nuclear issue.

Anyway, such crimes have been stuck into Iranians’ minds. If U.S. officials are interested to restore their relationship with Iran, they have no other choice but to compensate for whatever done against Iran and to change their behaviors. If so, they may be faced with the Iranians’ green light.

Iran’s leadership has repeatedly stated: “There is no eternal animosity with any country. If Unites States changes its behavior, Iran will be ready to establish relationships with that country.”

On the other hand, the recent nuclear talks proved that both sides – Iran and U.S. - have potential to make constructive interaction with each other. If United States complies with the deal and lift the sanctions, Iranians will definitely take a positive look to the future of Iran-America relations.

Although the talks were limited to nuclear issue, Iran was able to verify the other party’s political will and commitment. It is now up to U.S. to determine whether there will be other talks concerning the other issues.

Anyway, the reopening of the American Embassy in Iran and the resumption of bilateral relations is not realistic and practical yet. But if United States takes positive steps, complies with the nuclear deal, compensates for whatever done against Iran over the last years, releases Iran’s frozen assets such as arms bought before the Revolution and changes its behavior, Iranian officials and nation may be ready to consider the issue.

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