The Iran nuclear deal reflects the changing geopolitical realities in the Middle East and is all set to determine how the regional dynamics play out in the future. Despite strong opposition from Israel, the Arab countries of the GCC and section of US Congressmen, the framework hammered out between Iran and the P-5 + 1, is being seen as a major diplomatic victory by the Iranians. True, the deal prevents Iran from developing nuclear programme further but it doesn't seek to completely destroy its technical capabilities to maintain it, including the ability to create nuclear weapons. Further, this deal is applicable for 15 years only and as a leading oil-producing country, lifting of sanctions against it could mean Iran's economic standing turn around really fast. Add to that the fact that it possesses a credible military force and a network of well-armed proxies, the anxiety of its regional rivals can be well-understood. But, the deal coming in the wake sectarian strife in the region, in which Iran is a major player does raise questions and hopefully offers answers too.
|Sectarian killings in Iraq ( courtsey: nytimes.com )|
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu's relentless campaign against the deal may have lot to do with domestic politics but also concerns about limiting its ability to strike at Hamas and Hezbollah at will. The global community may not share the same concern if it leads to Israel moving towards the two state solution. Israel along with US has been trying to destroy Iran's nuclear technology capability by covert and overt operations even creating the first cyber weapon called Stuxnet which was indeed successful but only in short term, delaying the programme by months.The alternative that Israel fiercely advocated and which also enjoys support of Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia, a US-led airstrike on Iranian nuclear installation is also assumed to be insufficient to destroy Iran's nuclear capability. Worse, it threatened a full scale war which would be disastrous for the region and unaffordable by the US and its allies. It is in US's interest that Iran's nuclear ambition be contained through diplomatic channels. Given Obama's assurances, it is likely that the final deal, to be concluded by 30 June would ensure that the militant groups do not get the upper hand.
|A girl flees airstrikes in Sanaa ( courtesy: ibtimes.co.uk )|
As a matter of fact, if the nuclear deal is indeed reached might depend a lot on how Iran reacts to the situation in the region now. It clearly has stakes in all conflicts raging on in the middle-east, starting from threat to Israel, Syrian conflict, the ISIS and Yemen. Whether it can stick to diplomacy and concessions for its economy instead of giving in to ultra-nationalistic sentiments and regional ambitions would determine Iran's standing in the international community to which it has been a pariah for quite some time. Complete US troops withdrawal from Afghanistan on one side of the border and Iraq on the other side might further create a vacuum. Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners may become first line of defence against emerging VNSE but most likely they still wouldn't go against US decision, the onus would be on Iran to see if there is stability or the region is again plunged into years of bloodshed and destruction.