Analyst: No breakthrough yet in US-Iranian relations
Trend News
Elena Ostapenko

U.S President Barack Obama will extend the “emergency situation” toward
Iran despite their improving ties. It is not time for a breakthrough,
U.S. foreign policy expert at the Finnish Institute of International
Affairs Barbara Zanchetta wrote Trend News in an e-mail today.

Obama’s Iranian policy has shown some marked differences from the past,
the overall state of U.S.-Iranian relations remains at a stalemate,”
Zanchetta said.

This week, Obama must decide whether to extend
the “emergency situation” for another year, which was adopted by
President Jimmy Carter 30 years ago. The 1979 decree declared a state
of emergency, deeming Iran a threat to national security and the U.S.

U.S.-Iranian relations were hostile during the previous
White House administration. President Obama has set a policy to
establish relations with Tehran. He proposed launching a dialogue, and
the first debates ensued over Iran’s nuclear program. The president
even released an unprecedented video to the Iranian people and
government on the eve of the Novruz holiday.

But despite the
friendly gestures, Zanchetta said Obama extended the “emergency
situation” in March due to Iranian threats against the U.S. economy.
The step was made with the approval of Decree No. 12957, which was
initially issued by former President Bill Clinton in March 1995.

“On Iran, Obama seems to be proceeding on two tracks, and is likely to continue to do so in the coming weeks,” Zanchetta said.

cites the following fact as an argument. A number of Obama’s advisers
support the use of military force against Iran. U.S public opinion also
plays a role, with many Americans critical of the current Iranian
regime. But the issue nonetheless remains disputable in the U.S.

“emergency situation” decree was signed by Carter after U.S. citizens
were taken hostage in Tehran 30 years ago. All official Iranian assets
in the U.S., including accounts in U.S banks and their foreign
branches, were blocked. These were the first punitive economic measures
against Iran, followed by a break in diplomatic relations in 1980. An
exports and imports embargo was imposed. Later all U.S. presidents only
tightened the economic sanctions against the country.

Today the
the U.S. and Europe accuse Iran of developing nuclear weapons under the
guise of a peaceful nuclear energy program. Tehran rejects these
accusations, stating that its nuclear program is aimed to meet the
Iranian demand for electric power. If it is impossible to reach an
agreement to freeze Iran’s uranium enrichment program, the West will
impose new sanctions.

It is not worth waiting for a direct answer from the Iranian regime to extend the “emergency situation, Zanchetta said.

added that there might be rhetoric and harsh statements about the lack
of specific changes in the Obama administration’s foreign policy
compared to previous presidents’. US policy has always been assessed by
Tehran as hostile. However such statements from Iranian officials on
the US are frequent.

“The state of tension and latent, if not
open, hostility has for decades been characteristic of the U.S.-Iranian
relationship and it is not likely to change in the near future,” she