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Iran deal: Will it stand test of time

Iran and top global powers who got into a complex deal to ease tension in global nuclear and political order yesterday will still have to wait for a spot verification of their actions and intentions. Signing an agreement merely reflects the wish of the situation but whether it can be implemented with the letter and spirit is a million dollar question. This has now divided nations, regimes and parties as whether Tehran will abide by what it promises or this is a mere wait and watch tactic in which either side or both can utilize the occasion to bolster their grand strategy to come back with vigor to defy the order.


The Iranians needed it badly and so as the West wanted to accommodate Iran desperately to tackle many of the problems grappling the entire Middle East and North African region.

The historic agreement is a welcome move. But in political and diplomatic circles all over the world are quite skeptical that whether it can work out on the ground as there are still gaps to evade some of the key parameters.

Historically, Iran is unreliable but Iran too has changed in the recent past under President Hasan Rouhani who wants to end the long isolation of Iran from international mainstream.

Rouhani, a former top diplomat on nuclear diplomacy and national security, has a simple formula to convince the top Iranian clerics “either you see Iran rising or Iran will fall under its own weight due to lack of oxygen.”

Now, Iran which hates US or American hegemony has come to a formal agreement yesterday, along with a host of global powers on the nuclear issue which has marred its relations since 2002.

Indeed, the US and Iran have no diplomatic ties since the 1979 storming of the American embassy in Tehran and the 444-day hostage crisis of 54 diplomats that had ended their relations. Rest is history.

However, foreign ministers of Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States met for about an hour just after midnight on Monday as they struggled to complete the agreement, which has been under negotiation for more than 20 months.

The accord could mark a watershed in Tehran's relations with Western nations, which suspect that Iran has used its civil nuclear program as a cover to develop a nuclear weapons capability which Iran has been denying.

Although Iran will stop low enriched uranium production and halt centrifuge building, Iranian plutonium research will continue.

Among the biggest sticking points in the past week was Iran's insistence that a United Nations Security Council arms embargo and ban on its ballistic missile program dating from 2006 be lifted immediately.

Western nations are loathe to allow Iran to buy and sell arms freely, fearing this would permit it to increase its military support to Shi'ite militias in Iraq, Houthi militants in Yemen and President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

Another major stumbling block was the so-called "snapback" plan to restore the sanctions if Iran violates the deal. It was not immediately clear how those issues were finessed in the final agreement.

Other problematic issues include access for inspectors to military sites in Iran, explanations from Tehran of past activity that might have been aimed at developing a nuclear weapon and the overall speed of sanctions relief.

Iran's secret nuclear program has been a source of tension in the region since its discovery in 2002. As unrest continues in the Middle East, halting the proliferation of nuclear weapons there has become a top priority for major global powers.

But it could be in favor of Iran more than the West in the long run. Iran wants to share a high table with host of nations as Iran’s profile is growing regionally in the entire MENA region.

This is the region which holds key to Iran’s success both internally and externally. Without Tehran having been included in regional security architecture it will not be possible for Iran to invigorate its role.

Although Rouhani had promised its voters to resolve nuclear isolation of Iran, he successfully convinced top clerics that it is time Iran should end its isolation and get accommodated in global system.

This will however boost Iran’s soft power base and counter most Sunni regimes in MENA region. At the same time, it will give Iran access to many defence and industrial technologies from rest of the world.

Iran’s fledgling economy mainly its energy sector can alter the geopolitics and power balance in the region which can create a new situation for which there could be temporary setbacks.