Why Nuclear Negotiations Resumed?


Decision theory is among theories developed in academic International Relations. Foreign policy of many states is comprehensible and analyzable in terms of this theory. The basic point embedded in this theory, especially manifested in works of such theoreticians as Allison and Snyder, is the place of rationality of decision makers. Absolute rationality emphasized by Snyder became of more utility for analysis of the states’ foreign policy thanks to Allison’s further references to bounded rationality. It was by employment of this theory that many events happening during Cold War era between the Superpowers could be well explainable. Emphasizing the role and place of human agent in foreign policy decisions of states, the theory prioritizes human agent to structure in binary of agent-structure. In evolved example of the theory retraceable in thoughts and ideas of Allison, bounded rationality and decision-making based on non-absolute rationality and non-maximal interests are regarded the main parameters in policy making of decision maker agents.

According to the theory, the foreign policy decision maker, considering the maximal interests of its respective government as well as domestic and foreign limitations, is in practice after achieving accessible and not maximal interests. In other words, in actual conditions of international politics, the policy makers, due to states’ possibilities and impediments, cannot always realize maximal interests for their government and since pursuit of such interests in many cases will be associated with security threats in different levels of physical, normative and even ontological to the states, the diplomats and decision makers suffice to sufficient and available amount of interests and consolidate the survival of their system by adopting a pragmatic approach and optimal behavior. Resumption of nuclear negotiations between Iran and the West is also analyzable in terms of this theory.

There have been many analyses on the contributors to resumption of the nuclear negotiations. The first group of analyses mostly deals with domestic condition and policy of negotiating parties; some, referring to current issues in the US and EU and multiple economic crises in the West, believe that interesting market of Iran for western companies as well as Iranian unique position in Middle Eastern equations have brought the West, especially the US, to the sense that the single way out of the current impasse is to negotiate with Iran without preconditions. Some others, in contrast, highlight the role of sanctions and structural pressures on Iranian nation and their subsequent difficulties for Iran’s economy to be accounted for resumption of negotiations.

There is a factor shared by both analyses: withdrawal of one side of the negotiations. Believing in increasing difficulties of the West especially with regard to economic issues, the first analysis insists that ignoring the capacities within Iran not only do not contribute to a way out of the current crisis but also exasperates it. Apart from mere economic issues, this analysis has also highlighted Islamic Republic of Iran’s role and place in the Middle East and especially in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bahrain, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine. Hence, the West, perceiving Iran’s significance, has abandoned some of its demands in order to bring Iran to the negotiation table. The second analysts as well, emphasizing Iranian domestic problems especially in terms of economy, believe that it was Iran who modified some of its earlier positions in order to persuade the West to resume previous unfinished negotiations. They gather that Iran has deserted its previous positions and abandoned its rights from the position of weakness and influenced by expanded sanctions. In the meantime, there is a third analysis that mainly pivots around common interests of Iran and the West in many issues inclusive of nuclear case. From a pragmatic perspective, non-continuation of the negotiations has brought, and will bring, nothing of interest for the two sides. Along these lines, Iran and Western parties have come to the conclusion that fair negotiations will bestow relative bounded utility on both sides. Iran which had expressed from the very beginning its willingness to continue the negotiations, dispatched its diplomats to negotiation table upon perceiving change in western behavior and removal of unfair preconditions.

Both Iran and the West are well aware that cut off of communication channels will be of no positive implication for the flow of negotiations. The western countries active in Iran’s nuclear case have come to conclusion that Iran will never retreat from pursuing its absolute right. In the meantime, considering the current circumstances of Western economy and domestic problems of many of these states as well as use of this opportunity by their rivals, senior decision makers and active diplomats in Iran’s nuclear case have concluded that conformance with Zionist Lobby’s policies in this case not only has brought no benefit for them, but also originated their lag in breathtaking competition of international politics. Moreover, a general belief has dominated Western public opinion and especially American and European senior decision makers that continued current state of affairs will impose more harm on their interests. In such a condition and despite repeated oppositions from Zionist officials, their Western counterparts expressed their willingness for continuation of the negotiations. Welcoming any measure to develop the negotiations, Iran, like the Western side, accepted to apply some changes, although tactical, in priorities of its foreign policy based on bounded rationality with an optimal approach

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