Iran well advised to forge closer ties with EU: scholar
TEHRAN - Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, a professor of global thought and comparative philosophies, believes that Iran must reinforce its relations with the European Union in view of the fact that “Iran and Europe have had a common bond throughout history.”
“Iran is well advised to forge even closer relations with Brussels in all fields,” Adib-Moghaddam tells the Tehran Times.
Following is the text of the interview:
Q: What is the impact of Brexit on British foreign policy, particularly toward Iran? And what is the effect of Trump’s presidency on Iran-England relations?
A: Brexit has already weakened the international importance of the UK. As a lone country on the edges of the European Union, with another independence challenge from Scotland looming, the UK has been trying to reach out to the United States and the GCC in particular to fill the economic vacuum that leaving the EU will undoubtedly leave. The UK is interested in constructive relations with Iran, especially if President Rouhani is re-elected and if the Trump administration retains the JCPOA. Under the current conservative government, one has to analyse the foreign policy of the UK as semi-independent when it comes to crucial, strategic issues because of the emphasis on the special relationship with the United States. Iran needs to continue to position itself as a constructive actor within international society in order to contain any movement towards escalation from Washington. This will ensure good relations with the UK as well.
“Iran needs to continue to position itself as a constructive actor within international society in order to contain any movement towards escalation from Washington.” As indicated in my previous interviews, the Trump administration is erratic, irrational and incompetent. This is the real danger of this Presidency. But at the moment, the administration is seriously weakened because of domestic politics and this will confine the ability of Trump to move against Iran. There is no doubt that this is the weakest administration in power in U.S. post-war history. Hence, the United States has lost its ability to lead effectively.
Q: What is the impact of Brexit on London’s arms sales to Arab states in the Persian Gulf region?
A: The GCC is viewed as a market, a convenient cash reservoir, so weapons sales will continue to be on the agenda despite criticisms of Saudi Arabia in particular. The EU has rather more stringent export rules, than Brexit UK is likely to have, not at least because of the EU human rights guidelines and charter which is at the heart of the European project and which is a document that I have a lot of respect for. Europe has a conscience and it remains to be seen if the UK after Brexit will act recklessly when it comes to arms dealing in volatile regions such as the Persian Gulf.
Q: Can the Trump election affect Iran-EU relations?
A: It has seriously deteriorated the transatlantic partnership, certainly for now. The EU is acting rather more self-consciously with more independence from the United States. Iran is well advised to forge even closer relations with Brussels in all fields. The future is likely to establish Europe as a major power pole in the international system. For now, the EU seems to me as a pillar of world order and a beacon of democracy and pluralism, despite of the challenges by the far-right. Iran and Europe have had a common bond throughout history and it is about time that this is reflected in a strategic partnership with economic, political and cultural breadth.