Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The P5+1-Iran Interim Deal, a Historic Step Forward

Every sovereign country has a right to develop better capabilities for its defence, yet discouraging/stopping the development of deadly weapons of mass destruction is vital to the economic prosperity and peace of the world.

Similarly, Tehran’s controversial nuclear program is also seen as a threat by its neighbors and the world powers. The US-Iranian confrontation lasted for a little over three decades giving a severe headache to the regional players. Therefore, a big bundle of sanctions were imposed on Iran by the UN, US and the European Union.

For a last little while, President Obama has been in touch with the newly elected leadership in Tehran on the issue.
Fortunately, there is some relaxation now in the ongoing tense scenario: There is hope ahead - for stability in the Gulf and Mid-East region after successful talks between Iran and the P5+1 (China, US, Russia, France, UK, and Germany). An agreement has been reached, whereby Iran and the P5+1 would move forward during six months to “comprehensive solution” as planned.

In return, Iran appeared to be taking necessary action to keep the deal on track and has agreed to a series of measures as well.

Following are the significant points of the historic Nuclear Deal:

1. Iran accepted to stop enriching uranium beyond 5% neutralising its stockpile of uranium enriched beyond this point
2. Iran accepted to give greater access to inspectors including daily access to its key nuclear sites namely Fordo and Natanz.
3. Iran agreed to stop further development of the Arak plant believed to be capable of producing plutonium.

1. There will be no new nuclear-related sanctions for six months provided Iran maintains the accord.
2. Some sanctions will be suspended on trading in gold and precious metals, on Iran's car-making sector and its petrochemical exports.
3. Frozen oil sale assets will be transferred in instalments, bringing in some $4.2bn of extra revenue.

President Obama was happy with the deal saying it would help prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon.
But, some Gulf countries including Saudi Arabia see Iran as a threat and trouble maker in the region.

On the other hand, Iran has survived despite the tough sanctions that shackled its economy, yet a future without sanctions means a lot for its people; other nations would benefit too.

Pakistan has welcomed the understanding reached during the Geneva Accord. Being a brotherly neighboring country of Iran, Pakistan has always underscored the importance of a viable solution to the issue as it would contribute towards stability of the region.

If the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project is allowed, it would also help stabilize the region.
Nevertheless, there are countries that did not like the interim deal; they have their own reservations:

Canada is not happy with the historic pact and would not be able to reap any benefit of the deal despite its major rescue effort for freeing the American hostages through issuing fake Canadian passports during the US Embassy Ordeal in1980.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the interim deal was a historic mistake because “the most dangerous regime in the world took a significant step toward obtaining the world’s most dangerous weapon.” He announced that an Israeli team would travel to Washington for talks on the deal."This accord must bring about one outcome: the dismantling of Iran's military nuclear capability," he said.

Under the interim deal, Iran would receive around $7bn in limited, temporary, targeted, and reversible sanctions relief, while a permanent agreement is sought. Moreover, the interim agreement with Iran - the world's fourth-largest oil producer - prompted a fall in oil prices in early Asian trading with Brent crude falling by more than 2%.

Following the talks, Iranian President Rouhani reiterated via a nationwide broadcast last Sunday that his country would never seek nuclear weapons. The Iranian people won as the biggest beneficiary through this deal.
The prevailing tough sanctions, however, were intended only to hit the Iran ruling elite. According to reports, the sanctions against oil and gas exports were instituted to restrict the government finances.

Beyond doubt, the sanctions have caused much more damage than planned making the Iranian people suffer who wanted a quick escape from isolation. They hoped for an improvement of economic conditions through relaxing/removing sanctions by electing Hassan Rouhani as President as new leader.

Indeed, Iran is in the interest of all players in the region. “The US has its interests — because, Iran is a lucrative market. Iranians need a lot of infrastructure for rebuilding that could generate billions of dollars for US and UK oil companies,” said Abdulateef Al-Mulhim, a retired Saudi navy commodore (Arab News). Europeans also want a slice of the expected lucrative oil and gas contracts.

Though, this deal does not scrap the Iranian “uranium enrichment program,” the intent remains to curb the said enrichment, because it has been irritating the concerned West.

The experts’ view: Developing a nuclear device does have implications far beyond weapons proliferation in a war-torn region which is highly obstructive to the world oil and gas supplies, of course.

Iran has six months to satisfy the World that its nuclear technology is for non military purposes only.

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