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Iran nuclear deal coming, but not easy

Editor: Zhang Dan 丨CCTV.com

07-01-2015 18:20 BJT

By Li Zixin, department for American Studies, China Institute of International Studies

In coming days, the world will likely witness a great achievement: The Iran nuclear crisis may be solved, or at least it might not be such a precarious problem for another decade. It may yet take a little more time to get there.

The Iran nuclear negotiations have missed the deadline for June 30. Talks between Iran and the P5+1 group of China, Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia and the United States are still in a critical phase. Key questions linger. For example, the P5+1 group proposes Iran accept the International Atomic Energy Agency inspections “anywhere” including both civil and military nuclear facilities. But Iranian leaders have repeatedly declared Iran will never allow international organizations access its military facilities. World powers require Iran agree its experts accept inquiries from the International Atomic Energy Agency, but Iran’s supreme leader has rebuffed this idea several times. For the Iranians, the top priority is getting rid of the sanctions that have crippled their economy. Iran demands all sanctions be removed the moment the final deal is implemented. But the US would prefer to suspend sanctions just in case Iran violates the agreement in the future. All these issues are not easily tackled.

But defying all expectations, a last-minute deal is still possible. Iran has been isolated by the western world since its revolution of 1979. A series of sanctions have hurt the national economy and domestic living standards. A nuclear deal today remains the best opportunity for Tehran to reverse 30 years of relative decline.

The Obama administration is not deemed to have performed much by way of splendid diplomacy in recent years. Its handling of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue and Middle East exit have been criticized domestically and by allies across the world. President Obama wants a chance to tell the world that the US remains the indispensable nation that still takes the lead on global issues. An Iranian nuclear deal might supply such an opportunity.

Setting aside White House intentions, support from Congress would make approval easier but fortunately President Obama can veto any joint resolution of disapproval that rejects the agreement. Support from 151 House Democrats ensures that President Obama’s opponents cannot make the two-thirds majority in both houses to override the presidential veto. That means as long as the final deal preserves and successfully builds on the political framework reached by the P5+1 countries and Iran in Lausanne on April 2, it will go into effect and US legislation is unlikely to stop it.

While the world looks forward to a final agreement with cautious optimism, regional neighbors mainly feel quite the reverse. None of Israel, Turkey or Gulf countries really believe that the final deal is good for moderating regional tensions. The US has to persuade its allies to accept this agreement: While it may not be the best deal, it is also not the worst. By promoting a security system, even a nuclear umbrella for its allies, the US will be much involved in the region. This could be an opportunity for the US to adjust its Rebalance Strategy in the Middle East and enhance its political and military influence in the region.

The Middle East suffers from religious conflicts, political collapses, civil wars and terrorism. Solving the Iran nuclear crisis would rid the region of one issue and might foster greater cohesion in dealing with other conflicts and instabilities. In particular it might help promote joint action by the western world and local countries in fighting religious extremism and terrorism.

A final Iran nuclear agreement is nearing through efforts by all parties, but obviously it was never going to be easy.

 

 

Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

 

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