Ramifications of the US-Iran nuclear deal

Photo by: futureatlas.com

It was a momentous occasion Sunday as, after days of intense debate held in a tense environment, Iran and six world powers reached an agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for easing economic sanctions against the country.

The powers involved included France, Russia, Germany, the United States and Britain.

The breakthrough came at a time when Israel was pressing the United States and other powers for stricter action against Iran.

Iran’s nuclear program was launched in the 1950s with the help of America as part of the Atoms for Peace program that helped distribute highly-enriched uranium around the world.

The U.S. and Western powers cooperated with Iran in its nuclear program until the 1979 Iranian Revolution that saw the end of the Shah of Iran. With the ouster of the Shah, Ayatollah Khomeini aborted the secretly pursued nuclear weapons research program, as he considered it forbidden under Islamic law and jurisprudence.

Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty and has repeatedly denied it possesses weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) by being a signatory to Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention.

A report published by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 2011, claimed that Iran had initiated and launched experiments tailored towards developing a nuclear weapons capability. Iran responded to these allegations by threatening to reduce its cooperation with IAEA.

The limited sanctions relief is welcomed by Iranian expats as they hope to see it reflect positively in the Iranian economy.

“Iranian currency has lost its value. A dollar is traded at about 10,000 rials. Life is hard in Iran due to these sanctions, and this leniency in sanctions might just bring some respite in the economic war that West has been waging against Iran,” said Ali Reza, a business student.

Economic sanctions have caused living conditions in Iran to deteriorate.

“It’s hard to find medicines in Iran, and if you do somehow manage to find some, they are lowest of the low efficacy drugs. Unemployment is rampant and food costs you a fortune. There are no subsidies on food for the commoners and the people profiting from the sanctions are getting richer by the day,” said Reza Maliki.

On the one hand, where Iranians have welcomed easing of tensions and the prospects of economic growth, Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran’s number one enemy, has expressed unhappiness and discontent with letting Iran get its way. Israel has criticised the move in the strongest terms and condemned the deal, fearing that Iran will never be bound by it.

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani’s policy of constructive cooperation seems to have borne fruit. Years of stand-offs between the West and the Islamic state have finally found a new direction, dispelling fears of a possible U.S. military action against Iran.

According to some, this newly established diplomatic relationship between Iran and the West might also rub the Saudis, who for many years have tried to neutralize Iran’s role in the region, the wrong way.

“Saudi Arabia will surely be following these developments very closely, fearing a shift in the balance of power in the region. For them, a healthy relationship between Iran and the West would mean a strengthened role of Iran in the weakened region, which could further escalate sectarian tensions in the region,” says Turi Turi, a political science student.

For reasons of realpolitik, we might see alliances between strange bedfellows.

“We might also see new alliances surfacing in the projected future. Who knows? Maybe Israel will side with the moderate Sunni states against their common enemy, Iran,” says Bryan Scott, an avid news reader.

The deal is sure to have global and regional ramifications. With Iran finding new strength and enhanced confidence through the loosening of economic sanctions, its role in the region may be far more instrumental.


Politics aficionado with a keen eye on current affairs.


  • Danielle Himbeault
    Reply December 7, 2013

    Danielle Himbeault

    I can see where Israel’s PM is coming from with his reluctance to see this deal as anything binding for Iran, they have not been the most reliable neighbours. But if Israel got their way, Iran would become a defenseless state beholden to Israel’s every desire. There is no deal in the Middle East that could ever leave every side happy, at least not completely. Baby-steps seem to be the only route at this point. Sure, diplomacy can be slow and have small impact, but it usually beats the alternatives.

  • Avatar
    Reply December 8, 2013

    Aasim Raza

    There real worry I guess is that this deal will strengthen Iran’s resolve to commit to similar ventures in the future. Because at the end of the day it was not Iran that compromised on their objectives, it were the Western countries that caved in, but how it all plays out and effects politics of the regions remains to be seen.

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