Al Jazeera Centre for Studies (AJCS) hosted a roundtable discussion about recent developments of the crisis between the United States and Iran September 4, 2019. The speaker was Dr. Seyed Mohammad Kazem Sajjadpour, head of the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Centre for International Research and Education. Several AJCS fellows, Aljazeera news shows hosts and staff were in attendance.
Sajjadpour addressed several key points to understanding Iran’s foreign policy in dealing with both Trump’s military threats and calls for negotiation with President Rouhani and foreign minister Mohamed Jawad Zarif. Dr. Sajjadpour commented on two main points in the Iranian position: what is fixed in history and related to geography, and how Tehran formulates its geostrategic options. The second point the areas of flexibility, or what he termed as ‘fluctuations’, depending on the shifts in the regional and global balance of power, as well as the opportunities and challenges facing Iranian decision-makers.
The speaker also highlights the Iranian vision of a number of regional and international dossiers, including Iran’s relations with the United States and their defining moments from a comparative perspective between the Iran policies of the Obama and Trump administrations. He addressed the emerging mediation efforts by French president Macron to find a middle-way rapprochement between Tehran and the White House during the recent G7 summit in Biarritz, France. He also explained how Iran is in a better position strategically than Saudi Arabia. He argued, “the United States will take this strategic position into account when thinking about achieving security and stability in the Gulf region.”