The ‘Big Six’ powers have finally brokered a deal with Iran, halting there nuclear weapon programme and dramatically easing sanctions. Although it may only be a relatively small step, it is certainly laid foundations for further progress to be made. It is not only of benefit to all concerned states- but also a huge victory for diplomacy.
Britain, U.S, France, Germany, Russia and China, collectively known as P5+1, this week finalized a deal with Iran in Geneva which saw Iran finally ‘suspend’ its nuclear weapon ambitions, in return for an easing of sanctions. The deal not only represents a huge stepping stone for stability in the volatile Middle East, but also for all future crises as a whole.
For years, there have been continuous rumours coming from Washington that the U.S. would ultimately support an Israeli air strike on Iranian nuclear sites. Although these may only be the ever present ‘hawks’ screeching, it was certainly a cause for concern. Any military action would have ultimately upset the very fragile peace in the region, and could have plunged it into a multi-state war. Luckily, for the world however, diplomacy and rapprochement came first.
The deal that was struck has a number of important factors. For one, Iran promises to stop enriching uranium beyond 5% and to also neutralise its stockpile already enriched beyond this point. There will be almost daily access for inspectors at most nuclear sites, a cease in production at the Arak plant (thought to be able to produce plutonium), a promise of no further sanctions on Iran, and sanction relief of almost $7 billion.
Naturally, Israel has rejected the deal, arguing that it is a “historic mistake”, contending that the world has become a “more dangerous place” as a result of the easing of sanctions on Iran. The fears are also shared by Saudi Arabia, who also hold much concern about the region’s stability. However, the reaction internationally has been much warmer. David Cameron declared it an “important first step”, and President Obama argued that diplomacy had “opened up a new path towards a world that is more secure, a future in which we can verify that Iran’s nuclear programme is peaceful and that it cannot build a nuclear weapon”. Both leaders are entirely correct in there assertions, for a number of reasons.
First of all, all participants are winners as result of this deal. Crude Oil dropped by nearly $2 a barrel in the immediate aftermath of the deal, and is expected to fall even lower if further steps are taken, an after-effect that will significantly aid global economic growth. For Iran, the sanctions that have truly had a stranglehold on their economy will be eased, significantly easing the pressure on the Iranian people. Furthermore they will continue to have access to nuclear energy, which as a sovereign nation, they have an inalienable right to pursue. Israel and Saudi Arabia, although may be at first sceptical, will eventually be able to trust their neighbour, easing security fears.
Diplomacy therefore, has, and will continue to fuel prosperity and ensure security for all involved. One can only point fault at how long it took to get to this point. Prominent U.S. libertarian Ron Paul strongly advocates diplomacy in foreign policy and has encouraged a negotiation process with Iran for years, arguing that “we should just talk to the Iranians”, highlighting how the United States maintained almost cordial relations with the Soviets, all while they had “thousands of missiles pointed at us”. One can only argue that if libertarians were given more credence in foreign affairs, the world would most certainly be a much safer place.
With regards to Iran, the deal has certainly laid foundations for further progress to be made. However, we must hope it has a much wider influence, setting a precedent for further instances, thus allowing for diplomacy to continue ensuring both peace and prosperity for all.