by Zafar Bangash (Editorials, Crescent International Vol. 44, No. 6, Shawwal, 1436)
It has been described as “breathtaking,” “game changer,” and a “new chapter in international relations.” It is all these and more. Some comments about the process and content of the agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries are in order before we discuss its implementation procedure and the broader implications. There have also been negative comments from the Zionist regime and their newly exposed Najdi Bedouin allies who have finally come out of purdah. Zionist puppets in the US Congress, especially those belonging to the rightwing Republican Party have also come out swinging against the deal. Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer had the gall to tell members of the US Congress to reject the deal. If the ambassador of any other country had made such a demand, all hell would have broken loose but the Zionists can do no wrong, and far from condemning such interference in their affairs, American congressmen and the media simply shrug this off as “business as usual.”
Talks between Islamic Iran and three members of the European Union — Britain, France, and Germany (the EU3) — were held since 2003. A deal was struck whereby Tehran agreed to intrusive inspections in return for not taking the matter to the UN Security Council and for relief from a raft of sanctions. This was called the Additional Protocol, an unprecedented measure that only Iran was subjected to but despite this, the Europeans reneged on their part of the deal. In 2005, Iran ended its adherence to the Additional Protocol because of the EU3’s refusal to lift sanctions.
When the negotiations resumed in 2006, the EU3 was expanded to the P5+1. This included the US, Russia, China, and the European Union representative under whose auspices the talks were held. The negotiations went nowhere because each side talked past the other. With the election of Hassan Rouhani as president and appointment of Dr. Javad Zarif as Foreign Minister who was tasked with leading the negotiations, they gained momentum and in November 2013, an interim deal was signed. It was also agreed to finalize a comprehensive deal in a year’s time. While this deadline was extended several times, the fact that senior officials from most participating countries, especially the US, were also present created hope.
The process was never easy and those of us following negotiations from the outside often felt frustrated at the illogical and insulting demands of the P5+1 representatives, especially the Americans and the French. One can imagine the frustration the Iranian negotiators must have felt but to their credit, they not only kept their cool, they also steered the negotiations to successful conclusion.
True, Iran did not get everything it wanted, especially the immediate lifting of all sanctions, which are illegal anyway, but Iran forced the P5+1 group of countries to recognize Iran’s legitimate rights to uranium enrichment as well as research in return for opening its facilities to international inspection. It is revealing that the agreement says its conditions will not apply to any other country. It is clearly meant to shield the Zionist regime from opening its nuclear facilities for international inspections. The Zionists have more than 200 nuclear bombs; only Muslims must not think of having this technology!
Further, verification of Iran’s compliance with its agreement obligations has been left to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an agency that has a checkered history and has repeatedly shown hostility to the Islamic Republic. While its inspectors would only be from countries that have diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic, that does not preclude the possibility of Zionist agents acquiring European passports and sneaking into Iran on a sniffing expedition. The Islamic Republic has to be extremely careful in this regard. The IAEA could easily stretch the process and unless it certifies Tehran’s compliance, sanctions would not be lifted. The other drawback is that any member of the Security Council could re-impose sanctions if it felt there was some minor infraction of the deal. There is a dispute resolution mechanism but its decisions can still be overridden by any P5+1 member country that throws a tantrum for whatever reason. Even the Security Council’s unanimous approval of the Joint Agreement through a resolution on July 20 would not prevent this.
Beyond the hitches, what the agreement signifies is that the world has been forced to recognize Islamic Iran as a regional power. Its rights to enrich uranium and to carry out research are included in the agreement. Even the American Secretary of State John Kerry admitted that sanctions had little effect on Iran’s economy and that its nuclear program had advanced much further despite them. Any visitor to Tehran would also have confirmed that far from being cowed by sanctions, Islamic Iran has made major strides in virtually all fields. It has not been brought to its knees as were countries like Libya and Iraq.
So the question we must ask is: how has Islamic Iran withstood these pressures when others buckled? The first and foremost point is that Iran has muttaqi leadership that is not seeking personal or group interest but follows the pristine principles of Islam. Second, the overwhelming majority of masses have been solidly supportive of the Islamic Revolution. When the masses are with the Islamic system, no power can subvert it. By entering into this agreement with Iran, the P5+1 group of countries as well as the European Union have admitted this reality.
The leadership of the Islamic Republic must guard against the greedy powers undermining Iran’s indigenous industries developed under difficult circumstances during sanctions. Local products must be protected even as the Islamic Republic welcomes foreign investment and goods. The greatest danger is in the cultural field: the West’s hedonistic culture must not be allowed to undermine Islamic values in the only Islamic state in the world today,
“O you who have made a firm commitment to Allah! If you help [the cause of Allah], He will help you and will make firm your steps…” (47:07).