The US and Iran share an interest in defeating the “Islamic State” (IS, aka ISIL, ISIS or Daesh), but Iran is desperately concerned to maintain and even enhance its role in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, which the US opposes, Edward Haley, a US international affairs expert, believes.
“The two countries’ different viewpoints towards the regional issues are not an impossible impediment to all cooperation including trade and investment, but it complicates everything,” Haley, who is W.M. Keck Foundation Professor of International Strategic Studies (emeritus) at Claremont McKenna College.
The expert further said the temptation for Iran to try to divide the outside powers by offering trade concessions also will hurt US-Iran cooperation.
“One of the main reasons Iran signed the nuclear deal is to increase foreign trade and investment, all the more crucial now because of the crash in oil prices,” Haley added.
After several months of talks, on July 14, Iran and the P5+1 (US, Russia, China, France, UK, and Germany) announced a final accord, curbing Iran's nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of most international sanctions.
Following the deal some Iranian politicians have expressed interest to cooperate with the US in regional issues, in particular in fighting terrorism.
Iran also has announced readiness for trade cooperation with the US.
At a meeting with managers of the US trade, economic and industrial enterprises in New York last week, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that economic cooperation can bridge gaps between Iran and the United States, adding Tehran sees no obstacles to the presence of the US firms in Iran.
Commenting on the Iranian president’s remarks, Haley said Rouhani is trying to enlist American business on Iran’s side in the controversy over the future of sanctions.
“I expect many conservatives in the US Congress to oppose lifting sanctions against Iran and to attempt to force presidential vetoes,” he added.