Muscat, Oman – After two years of principled diplomacy and negotiations, International Community (comprising the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China) along with the European Union, have achieved a comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran. The historic nuclear deal concluded on July 14, 2015 between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the world powers is basically a non-proliferation agreement and surely a triumph of diplomacy.
Legacy of the Green Movement in Iran allowed the Hassan Rouhani to be elected as President in 2013, despite the fact he was not a favorite candidate of the supreme leader of the country. SaeedJalili, a hard line conservative was more favored candidate by the supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei.
Sanctions would have unlikely swayed him to compromise and the regime would have continued emphasizing the confrontation with the United States and the West. But the regime was cautious of falsifying elections that would have led to repeat of popular upheaval of 2009. Being a former nuclear negotiator himself, after coming to power, Rouhani managed to persuade the supreme leader that the people of Iran would be better off with the deal and withdrawal of sanctions.
As per the Text of the deal, the comprehensive nuclear deal is to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapon and to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program will be strictly for peaceful civilian purpose. Through the proposed inspection scheme, it allows the Vienna based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to inspect all nuclear facilities of Iran. This historic accord is aimed to end decades of economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear program.
Making a nuclear bomb requires either enriched uranium or weapon grade plutonium. This deal aims to block four potential pathways of Iran’s fissile materials producing facilities. But many questions are being raised with regard to grey areas of the deal. It failed to integrate the ballistic-missile issue into the talks. It also raises authenticity of the proposed inspection scheme. Under the deal, Iran requires twenty four hours advance notice for inspection by IAEA, instead of allowing IAEA inspectors to collect sample of evidence, it will be collected by Iranians using their own equipment, Only seven samples will be provided from mutually agreed upon areas, instead of giving inspectors access to facilities, only photos or videos will be taken by Iranians themselves. Furthermore, Iran has large stockpile of enriched uranium to make a hundred bombs, any loopholes in inspection and unchecked stockpiles, the number will grow exponentially. It appears, the entire deal is built on trust but without verification and credibility of evidence the trust may be misplaced.
The accord will however end decades of economic sanctions against Iran, it gives Iran what it wants. Lifting sanctions will enable Iran to unfreeze of about USD 150 billion, allow exporting its oil freely in international market, entire global market will be available for them and domestic market will attract foreign investments. Obviously hundreds of jubilant Iranians took the street to celebrate the announcement of this historic nuclear deal. Importantly the deal has significantly strengthened the hand of reformists and expected to enhance their influence in the country.
The proactive diplomatic efforts of Tehran and the West as well as open supports of some Gulf Countries particularly Qatar, Oman, have helped the nuclear deal to happen. The Iran nuclear deal, in many ways, can be compared with Nixon-Mao agreement in early 1970s which helped to transform relationships between two powerful nations.
A quick look at history will reveal, Iran’s democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq was overthrown in 1953 by the CIA with the help of the Britain and the Shah was installed as their puppet. Had they not overthrown a democratically elected prime minister in 1953 and installed a hated dictator, the 1979 revolution would not have happened. The Shah was one of the most brutal dictators in the history of the Middle East. The religious fundamentalists were the only ones who were willing to challenge the Shah’s rule. The Shah was so hated, most Iranians supported that revolution. Jimmy Carter’s support to the Shah of Persia’s autocratic rule caused the revolution in Iran putting Khamenei in to power. Had Iran been treated fairly, it could evolve into one of the best friends of US in the region. The present government of Iran, under the influence of Khamenei may not be the one who US would like. So this Iran deal nowhere helps near normalization of relationships between the US and Iran because conflicting ideology and competing interests of the two countries are not going to cease immediately. It may however, prove to be a major step forward and open up various channels for discussions and dialogues.
Iran has enough nuclear material to make a hundred nuclear bombs. Why have they not done so? The answer may have some logical explanations. Iran never liked the fact that Israel was allowed to have illegal nuclear weapons. Israel and North Korea are equivalent in their illegal nuclear capability. Israel already has Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) while North Korea is still working on to acquire that capability. Israel’s nuclear weapons should also be termed as illegal. It is illegal for the US to give Israel foreign aid and military assistance. Iran has campaigned for twenty years against such favor to Israel. Now through its own nuclear program, Iran seems to draw the world’s attention to Israel’s illegal nuclear program.
By 2050, Iran may become one of the most powerful nuclear nations in the world. If the petroleum age continues long enough, considering the vast reserve the country has, Iran may become one of the richest country in the world. They have good human resources, intelligence and they are proud of scientific prowess. Population explosions and lack of water are serious problems for them. They clearly have the ambitions to control the Middle East and the desire to be a world power.
So there are reasons that Iran wants nuclear weapons because it would give them a nuclear balance of power against Israel. That is a very valid reason as far as Iran is concerned. However, this will create an arm race in Middle East, probably will lead to acquiring nuclear weapons, as many other countries may not like dominant role of Iran in the region.