November 24, 2013

After years of isolation and days of negotiation in Geneva, the six world powers and Tehran, finally reached an agreement that would limit Iran’s nuclear activities in exchanged for a slight reduction in the crippling effect of sanctions on the Iranian economy. The development is applauded as the best achievement so far, since other attempts made in the past to bring Iran to the negotiating table over its nuclear program, had failed.

Iran has always maintained its nuclear program is for peaceful purpose, but this has not convinced other nations skeptical about the regime’s nuclear agenda, to back away from promoting tougher sanctions on Iran. All negotiations stalled while the former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was in power. The election of Hassan Rouhani a moderate as the new Iranian President brought a glimpse of hope, when the newly elected President had his first conversation with President Obama, after decades of hostile relations between both countries.

In reaching this agreement with the United States and its close allies, Iran has taken the first step that if honestly implemented, would address the troubling concern over its nuclear program. President Obama has long maintained he wished to resolve the Iranian impasse peacefully by giving diplomacy a chance, despite push by Israel and Saudi Arabia for the U.S. to pursue the nuclear issue with a preëmptive strike or more aggressive sanctions on Iran.

With the agreement, Iran will receive a modest relief from sanctions in exchange for halting its nuclear program. The consensus will offer Iran a dignified path towards a new beginning, as long as the nation complies with the terms set under the Geneva agreement. Any failure by Iran would reinstate the sanctions removed and cause tougher sanctions to be imposed as punishment for violation.

The temporary sanction relief as estimated, would give a boost of about $7 billion to the Iranian economy, a chunk out of billions of dollars in revenue its economy had lost, especially, from oil export since the sanctions were imposed.

The deal includes “substantial limitations that will help prevent Iran from creating a nuclear weapon,” according to the White House. It is intended to slow the pace of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting some of the sanctions while a better agreement on Iran’s nuclear aspiration is worked out. As part of the deal, Iran must dilute its stockpile of Uranium that had been enriched 20%. It must halt all enrichment above 5% and dismantle all technical equipment needed for enrichment.

Before end of the initial six months phase of the agreement, all the nation’s stockpiles must be diluted below 5% or converted to a form not suitable for enrichment. Iran must also cut back on building new centrifuges and enrichment facilities, and end essential work on its heavy water reactor in Arak.

The nuclear agreement will not release Iran’s $100 billion in foreign exchange holdings that remains inaccessible due to sanctions. Despite the carefully worded agreement that many considered a step towards peace, Israeli government and the Saudi Monarchy have refused to applaud the deal. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, called the agreement “a historic mistake,” while Saudi Arabia a majority Sunni country, is uncomfortable with the deal in fear that Iran a majority Shiite Arab nation, may establish hegemony in the region.

While it is incontestable the new deal is a moment for cautious optimism, since Iran’s commitment to the agreement cannot be fully determined at this stage, the leadership in Israel must realize the only way forward is through diplomacy. The United States cannot be dragged into a war it is unwilling to fight. In making a deal with Tehran, the U.S., its P-5 allies and the European Union have concluded the only path to resolving the nuclear issue is by coming to the negotiating table with the Iranian government.

Current relief to Iran is reversible if Tehran fails to comply with the terms. If anything Israel should worry about, it is a desperate Iran destroyed by sanctions that will do everything in its power to achieve a nuclear bomb, if the world fails to negotiate. It happened in North Korea and may happen again if the world turns its back on Iran. The United States has incessantly assured Israel of America’s protection of its interests in the region. Together with U.S. allies, a pact made would prevent Iran from ever achieving a nuclear bomb, so, why Israel would not give peace a chance remains unclear.

Dr. Adeyemi Oshunrinade [E. JD] is the author of ‘Wills Law and Contests,’ ‘Constitutional Law-First Amendment’ and ‘SAVING LOVE’ available at Follow on Twitter @san0670.



Categories: Foreign Affairs, Iran, Iran's Nuclear Program

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