Jun 17, 2019 / 10:38

Unavoidably failed mediation

The Hanoitimes - They could not succeed because they were not fully selfless, the US and Iran are still miles away from being ready to sit down and talk with each other about scaling down the tension and solving the conflict.

The confrontation between the US and Iran is escalating and any mediating efforts are welcomed. So Germany and Japan made them. While Germany sent its special envoy and foreign minister to Tehran, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe personally visited Iran. Their main mission was the same, namely to mediate between the US and the Middle Eastern country.
 
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani shakes hands with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, during a welcome ceremony in Tehran, Iran, June 12, 2019. Photo: Reuters)
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani shakes hands with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, during a welcome ceremony in Tehran, Iran, June 12, 2019. Photo: Reuters)
Their intentions were good and kind because the US and Iran are now only some steps away from military crash and war could not be surely ruled out. The situation between the US and Iran is now like an extremely dry forest in an extremely hot summer and a small spark would be enough to set a terrible wildfire inferno. But both Germany and Japan failed.

Their failure was unavoidable from the beginning. Mediating is a very special art of diplomacy. Successful mediation depends on three prerequisites. First, all parties involved want the conflict to be mediated. Second, the mediating people are accepted by those parties and have no other interests but deescalating the conflict, that means they don't pursue any own interest and are selfless, or in other words, they must be the right persons. Third, the mediation must take place at the right time in the right place.  

Traveling to Iran, both the mediators, the foreign minister of Germany and Mr. Abe, were aiming at convincing Iran not to leave the agreement already signed with the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany in 2015 on the solution to Iran's nuclear program named JCPOA (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Actions) and agree to talk with the US, even though the US unilaterally left the program last year. That means accepting the talk offer of US President Donald Trump. Germany's main goal was the salvage of JCPOA because being among the signatories of this agreement was one of Germany’s greatest diplomatic achievements until now. Mr. Abe's aim was first of all that Japan could again buy Iran’s oil.

Their mediation this time unavoidably failed. It could not succeed because they were not fully selfless, the US and Iran are still miles away from being ready to sit down and talk with each other about scaling down the tension and solving the conflict. It failed because the US and not Iran had created the conflict and therefore the mediators should have normally gone to the US, instead of Iran, to persuade Mr. Trump adhere to JCPOA again.

Their mediation was foreseen because they were the wrong persons at the wrong time in the wrong place.