On March 26, world leaders met in Lausanne, Switzerland, to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran that will prevent the Middle Eastern country from further developing nuclear weapons. United States (U.S.) President, Barack Obama, suggested mild approval of this agreement by calling it a “once in a lifetime opportunity,” whereas the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, denounced it as a “bad deal.” Regardless, this historic deal holds out the possibility of ending the ongoing tension in the Middle East and the world.
After working through two nights, the six nations, U.S., Russia, China, France, United Kingdom (UK), and Germany, agreed on a nuclear deal with Iran which included the following important points: Iran will cut down the number of centrifuges, reduce its stockpile of enriched uranium, redesign its facility at Fordow, agree to have its nuclear facilities inspected thoroughly, and the U.S. and European Union (EU) sanctions will be uplifted if Iran abides by its pledges.
Significance of the Deal
Kim Sangjin, Counselor for the Embassy of the Republic of Korea (ROK) in the U.S. claims that the international community is currently faced with a variety of pending issues such as dealing with extreme terrorism, nonproliferation, climate change, and Ebola virus. Among these, nonproliferation, which includes the North Korean and Iranian nuclear problem, has been the biggest topic.
He explains that, “Although we have to watch and see the final P5+1 (UK, China, France, Germany, Russia, the U.S.) – Iran deal, this can still be called a big agreement in that it helped to stop the spread of nuclear arms by suspending Iran’s nuclear weapon development.” He adds, “It carries an even greater importance because it provided the basis for improving relations between the U.S. and Iran through a diplomatic negotiation instead of a militaristic method.”
Despite these implications, Kim says that it is unsure whether the deal will relieve the ongoing tensions between the Sunni and Shia factions, the former being supported by Iran. Nevertheless, the agreement appears to be an effort that resulted from each country’s pursuit of its own benefits. U.S. wants the disarmament of nuclear weapons, which poses a threat to itself and the Israeli government, and Iran cannot watch its economy collapsing any longer, so the deal naturally becomes a win-win situation for both parties.
Implications for Iran
▲ President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani. Provided by news.saanj.net.
The part which has not been specified is the sanction that has been placed on Iran for a long time. Some believe that these sanctions should be uplifted after a final deal has been reached while others claim that Iran’s faithful implementation of the current deal backs up reason to remove sanctions now.
“Whether the removal of the sanctions happens gradually or not, it means a lot to Iran” points out Kim. This can be verified from the fact that Iran, unlike North Korea, depends heavily on international trade and oil exports. Hence, such punishment is very critical to the country's economy.
The U.S. has been keeping Iran’s current situation in mind, and it expects that if deals like this continue between Iran and the U.S., Iran will sooner or later realize that it will be advantageous for it to pursue incorporation into the international economy and disarmament of nuclear weapons rather.
Netanyahu Asks, “Will Iran Keep Its Promise?”
▲ Prime Minister of Israeli, Benjamin Netanyahu. Provided by jta.org.
The Israeli Prime Minister demurred to the deal by calling it a “bad deal,” and he further commented that a better deal could have been reached by the five countries. “His statement is related to the philosophies of how each nation views international issues and how it resolves them. But, personally, I think that what the Israeli Prime Minister really wants is the raise of the white flag by the Iranian government.” Even if a better deal is reached with the Middle Eastern country, only the nation itself knows whether or not it will truly stick to its words.
Another scenario, however, is also likely to occur where the Iranian government abides by its pledge completely. This deal helped the Iranian economy spring back, relieved the anti-U.S. and anti-Iran sentiments, and in response to these effects, the Iranian citizens expressed their support for the agreement. Kim reveals that these immediate results decrease the incentives for the Iranian
government to keep their possession of their weaponry, thus, rendering this hypothetical situation likely as well.
U.S. Congress, Posing an Obstacle for the Agreement
▲ U.S. Senator, Tom Cotton. Provided by arktimes.org.
The right of negotiation which the U.S. executive branch pushed for ultimately belongs to the branch, though the right of approval belongs to the U.S. congress. President Obama revealed that since this agreement is completely out of the jurisdiction of the Congress, there will be no such approval from the Senate and House. However, he did mention that due to the nature of it, the Commander-in-Chief will report the results of the deal and gain support for it.
Meanwhile, the Congress revealed that because this deal is so much related to the national security, it needs the review by the Congress. It further said that during April, it will review the outcomes of the deal and then push for a legislation that opposes the uplifting of the sanctions.
Kim concludes that though the U.S. Congress may not have complete approval rights to the results of the negotiation, the removal of the sanctions, a fundamental part of the deal, cannot happen without the support or blessing of the Congress. He suggests that the U.S. President will have to give his best to gain the support of the Senate and the House if he wishes this deal to pass.