Monday, 25 November 2013

Iran-US deal reached, questions remain

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
hugs French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius
in Geneva Nov. 24, 2013
Initial leaked reports indicate that the nuclear deal reached between Iran and Western powers in Geneva on November 24 includes a recognition of Iran's right to enrich uranium and a cessation of oil sanctions, Iran's Fars News Agency reported...Iran will be allowed to sell oil at current levels, and its oil revenues will be released...Other sanctions against Iranian transportation, gold, and insurance industries will also be lifted...US Secretary of State John Kerry said the International Atomic Energy Agency will gain daily access to key nuclear facilities according to a statement...He also said that if continuing negotiations toward a more comprehensive deal over the next six months falter and Iran does not honour the terms of the deal, sanctions could be ratcheted up once again...Some $4.2 billion from these sales will be transferred to Iran, while remaining oil revenues - roughly $14 billion to $16 billion - will remain frozen...The Geneva deal was reached because both the US and Iran believe cooperation is in their interests both now and in the future...US President Barack Obama pushed very hard to sort out the Iranian nuclear program, but in this case the greater consolation came from Tehran...The next six months will be crucial in estimating whether Iran is serious about the agreement or whether it is obfuscating once again to ease sanctions without giving up too much too early...Overall, this deal gambles that small steps now might create political space for Mr Rouhani to agree to more extensive agreements down the road...This first step required only very mild concessions by Iran for sanctions relief...Any next step will be much more difficult and will require Iran to make much more significant concessions...Nonetheless, if the agreement holds it will be a significant geopolitical pivot in the Middle East...However, completing a robust deal with the US could boost Iran’s image in the Middle East, encouraging Tehran to increase its use of proxies like Hezbollah now that the US have shown their hand.

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