Wed Jan 8, 2014 2:23PM
US President Barack Obama
US President Barack Obama

Press TV has conducted an interview with James H. Fetzer, professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth, about US lawmakers pushing a bill to impose additional sanctions against Iran, despite objections from the White House and foreign policy experts.

What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.

Press TV: Professor Fetzer, immediately after this nuclear deal was reached between Iran and the P5+1 we saw this immense campaign, so to speak, especially by US lawmakers for a need for new restrictions and sanctions on Tehran.

One question that a lot of people at least here in Iran are asking is why should there be such an attempt when there is a deal and when the negotiations are underway to implement that deal?

Fetzer: Well because Israel and its allies in the Congress want to undermine the negotiations. They are trying to do everything they can to provoke Iran to withdraw.

The fact that there are 48 co-sponsors in the Senate is on its face troubling, but I have no doubt that the Obama administration would veto any such legislation were to pass Congress and that they would be unable to override the veto.

I think it is completely fascinating that The New York Times had a lead story that the US and Iran face common enemies in the Middle East and that John Kerry, our Secretary of State as recently as Sunday, has stated that he could envision a role for Iran in the peace conference on Syria.

This suggests to me that there is a considerable change in attitude involving where American influence in the Middle East is waning, Iranian influence is growing and there maybe, an attempt here to realign forces against common enemies in the Middle East which I would view as very promising. 

Press TV: But do you think that the Iranians or the Iranian government can trust the United States? I mean a lot of people here in Iran say, based on our past experiences with the US, even if we do reach a deal with the Obama administration or any US government, we cannot trust the US when it comes to the implementation of any deal. Do you think that is a valid argument?
Fetzer: Well that is the argument being made by Iran’s opponents here that we cannot trust the Iranians. There has been emphasis on claims that Iran has now activated a new set of centrifuges to increase its capacity to produce enriched uranium.

My view is that Iran not only is entitled to enrich uranium for peaceful nuclear purposes but it is perfectly entitled to possession of nuclear weapons which of course our own intelligence agencies in 2007…concluded was not the case and of course the entire world knows that the official policy of Iran is nuclear energy for all, nuclear weapons for none.

So the fact is that however uneasy may be the level of trust, there is no alternative to going forward which I believe at this point is in the interest of both nations.