TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – A former official at the United Nations and professor of international law praised Iran’s policy of resistance against US pressures as “successful so far” and said the Islamic Republic has proven that it will not back down in the face of Washington’s hostilities.
“I believe Iran has effectively made its point that it will not back down in the face of harsh sanctions and other hostile acts (by the US) that are contrary to international law,” Professor Richard A. Falk said in an interview with Press Shia Agency.
Professor Richard Anderson Falk is the author or co-author of 20 books and the editor or co-editor of another 20 volumes. In 2008, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) appointed him to a six-year term as a United Nations Special Rapporteur on “the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967”.
The following is the full text of the Interview:
Press Shia Agency: On Tuesday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei deplored the US’ calls for talks with Iran as a trick and said Tehran will not negotiate bilaterally or multilaterally with Washington at any level. What do you think about Ayatollah Khamenei’s remarks?
Falk: With all due respect, I think that Ayatollah Khamenei’s remarks are phrased in too unconditional language. I believe that it is desirable not to shut the door to what I call ‘restorative diplomacy,’ and thereby avoid any further devastation caused by the current reliance on ‘coercive diplomacy’ by the adversaries of Iran and ‘active resistance’ by Iran. Trump is unpredictable and impulsive, and should not be challenged so directly as he might act irrationally in ways that would be mutually harmful. At the same time, the Iranian religious leader is correct to express the view that Iran will not engage in normalization talks so long as the United States and Israel seek to impose unacceptable restraints on Iran as a sovereign nation.
Press Shia Agency: Iran sees the United States’ calls for negotiation as a trick and part of the so-called “maximum pressure” campaign which has failed to force the Islamic Republic to give in to US demands. How do you assess Iran’s policy of “active resistance” against the US pressures?
Falk: I agree with the view that Iran should not be lured into a negotiation that gives the US a public relations victory by claiming the success of its ‘maximum pressure’ approach, but this should be done by Tehran in ways that also express Iran’s search for an improved regional and global political atmosphere that is geared toward peace and co-existence rather than war and hostility. I believe Iran has effectively made its point that it will not back down in the face of harsh sanctions and other hostile acts that are contrary to international law. Now it can seize the initiative by proposing a constructive approach that shows that it seeks normalization on the basis of sovereign equality, and is not seeking confrontation for the sake of confrontation.
Press Shia Agency: Iran has said the US’ return to the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and the removal of sanctions against the Islamic Republic is the only way that Washington can hold talks with Tehran. How do you see the prospects of open diplomacy between Iran and the US as well as the other parties to the JCPOA?
Falk: Trump has wrongly, and for regressive political reasons, condemned the JCPOA, but would have incredible political difficulty if he now were to affirm it. The motivation for condemning JCPOA had to do with his efforts to repudiate Obama’s diplomacy and to show total solidarity with Israel, and not really about the 2015 agreement, except incidentally. I think Iran should propose to reconvene the countries that negotiated in 2015, and produce a new agreement based on intervening developments, but making it clear that this would not be an acceptance of any preconditions put forward by Washington.
Press Shia Agency: Can we regard the Islamic Republic’s strategy of “active resistance” against the US pressures as successful?
Falk: I think ‘active resistance,’ depending somewhat on how it is defined has been successful so far, but in some ways a dangerous and high risk policy if adhered too much longer. Iran, having made its point effectively, should move to higher ground by proposing constructive deescalating steps such as reconvening the P5 +1 group to come up with a new framework agreement covering Iran’s nuclear program and the ending of US sanctions. The way forward should not be a continuation of the present, but an effort to occupy this high ground of law, morality, and peaceful conflict resolution. It may also be appropriate at this time to propose an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, which likely would be rejected by Trump, but would put Iran in a favorable light internationally as creatively engaging in restorative diplomacy.