Dr. Mohammad Nazrul Bari
Within four months of his tenure, Hassan Rouhani as sixth President of the Islamic republic of Iran resolved the controversial issues of the nuclear developments very intelligently. He fulfilled his promises about the nuclear issue of Iran. Before the election he announced that he would solve the problem based on the national interest. Finding a proper way to end this issue was one of his slogans. However, three meetings have been held by the Iran and west within 120 days.
The preliminary deal with Iran over its nuclear program puts it back in business, at least for the next six months. The US has already unfrozen $7 billion of Iran’s assets, said the IRNA news agency, quoting an Iranian government spokesperson. The US estimates that assets of nearly $7 billion will be unfrozen over the next six months, compared to the $100 billion frozen worldwide. Easing on gold, petrochemicals, shipping, banking, energy, and insurance will also follow Iran’s promise of a nuclear thaw.
The negotiation was among Iran and P5+1. P5+1 is a group of six world powers. They are United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, France and Germany. The word P stands for the permanent membership of these countries in UN Security Council. Foreign minister of Iran, Mohammad Javad Zarif and Catherine Ashton (High Representatives of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for the European Union) were the representatives of both sides.
To become a regional power Iran always tried to increase its strength in all the aspects of development. Irans nuclear program was launched in 1950s, surprisingly by the support of US and western European countries during the regime of Shah. This program was stopped after the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979. The reason was both Islamic and Communist revolutionaries were not interested in nuclear development. They had two reasons to stop the nuclear development. The first one was ideological and the second one had material perspective.
They believed that Iran has lots of crude oil and therefore there is no need for nuclear energy. But it seems the reason was more ideological than material. However, due to hostile attitude of the USA and closeness of Arabs and Israel to each other, the State of Iran realized the importance of nuclear energy and started to develop its program. But this time it was Russia that supported Iran. The reason was that after 1979 Iran changed her diplomacy towards west. Before the revolution, the Shah always made sure to obtain his relations tied with US, but Ayatollah Khomeini and his regime had a different view and therefore for almost 34 years, Iran- US political relation was at the minimum level of diplomacy. Iran considered Israel as the major threat for himself. Moreover Israel is the closest alliance of the US and therefore this issue was one of the major problems in their relations.
Israel and west projected Irans nuclear program as a threat for the whole globe but in reality it would give upper hand to Iran in the geo-politics of West Asia. USA and Israel with indirect support of Saudi Arabia successfully convinced the world community that Irans nuclear program is not for peaceful purpose and Iran is trying to develop nuclear bomb while Iran denied this allegation continuously. Israel always threatened that it may use military force to stop the program. Whereas USA has emphasized on diplomatic approach but made it clear that military force as an option to stop Iran from doing it.
President Khatami was the fourth President of Iran for 8 years. During his tenure he suspended enriching uranium beyond levels needed for use in power stations. He was not able to negotiate with the west because his party did not enjoy absolute majority in majlis (parliament of Iran). Secondly Iran-Iraq war was still fresh in the mind of people and it was considered taboo to talk US and his allies. But when Mahmood Ahamdinejad came to power as the next President, he started the program with more vigour without paying any attention to concerns of the worlds powers. Iran was not responding to the pressure of western countries and was not willing to ensure them that his program is for peaceful purposes. As a result, USA launched heavy economic embargo and managed with other countries to boycott Iran which created lot of economic problems for Iran. One of these sanctions was against the Central bank of Iran which stopped Iranians from doing trade with other nations. According to the US Treasury, sanctions have cost Iran $120 billion in lost revenue since 2010, when the western powers imposed major hurdles on Iran and countries that engaged in trade with the Persian Gulf state. Therefore dealing with western powers to solve the issue was one of the biggest agenda of the recent presidential election of Iran (almost 4 months ago). However, in the view of Milad Alimoradian, an expert on international relation that the sanctions and boycotts were not the reason which the new President is eager to solve the nuclear issue and have a deal with US. According to him Iran could resist for a longer time against the sanctions but it was the new strategy of the Iran to revive its age old international relations.
In fact the international relations of Iran reached to its nadir due to its nuclear program. India and Iran always had a good mutual relation. Iran is one the best oil provider for India and they were also very flexible for the payment from India. But the sanctions made their relations a little hostile due to the US pressure on India and finally India reduced its oil purchasing from Iran. Of course when the sanctions will be fully lifted we do hope that the two ancient nations will again revive their old commercial relations.
Out of the countries of P5+1, US, France, UK, and Germany are in the same boat and trying to force Iran to have minimum developments in this regard. Especially France tried its best to fulfill the interest of Israel. In the second negotiation, it was France that didn’t allow the deal to be concluded, and announced that we must be sure that there is no danger for Israel. And therefore the negotiations were extended for one more meeting. It is important to keep in mind that both in Iran and US camps, there are countries/groups which are against this deal. They do their best to stop this deal.
In Iran these groups are radical and consider US as an ideological enemy (the center of all evils) and those who gained lots of material benefits due to the sanctions by importing material in the form of trafficking. Here mention may be made about revolutionary guard of Iran. In the group of US, those who are in the lobby of Israel tried their best to protect the interest of Israel in his favour. Israel is worried that this deal will give more time to Iran in order to create atomic bomb. Prime minister of Israel called it a historical blunder.
Thus, Iran has successfully established its regional superiority in west Asia by resolving two biggest issues without involving in any war. It will definitely make her stature big in size in world politics and the politics of Middle East.
Firstly, the recent political crisis in Syria was solved by the direct involvement of Iran including the pressure from Russia and China. Iran may be right in her observation that the military action in Syria would perhaps never turn into reality. USA is now more interested in perpetuating civil wars rather than starting new wars in west Asia (according to the study that the world spent $1735 billion in 2012 on war while it would take approximately $135 billion totally to eradicate poverty). Secondly, resolving the controversial issue through negotiation which will help her to grow more independently.
Last but not the least, Iran now realized it that to have a long lasting stability in West Asia there is a need of sharing good relation with other neighboring Arab nations, including Saudi Arab, Qatar, Bahrain etc. And Iranian diplomats are now already started visiting to these Arab nations to cultivate a meaningful future of Middle East.
(Author is associated with School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Central University of Karnataka as an Assistant Professor.)