World not ready to bid farewell to Iran nuclear deal

Asia Pacific Daily | 作者: Li Zixin | 时间: 2018-07-20 | 责编: Wang Jiapei
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Over the past three years since the signing of the nuclear deal, Iran’s nuclear activities have been limited. Meanwhile, the regional nuclear arms race has been avoided, and the international system of nuclear non-proliferation has been safeguarded. 

Hence, Iran has gained wide international recognition and embraced rare opportunities for economic and social development. People’s living conditions have been improved, with the resurfacing of hopes for national revitalization.

However, the U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and threat to impose sanctions against the Middle-East nation has cast a shadow over all the promising prospects. Trump said his decisions resulted from Iran's ballistic missile programs and the nation’s so-called "support for terrorism," and that the moves aim to safeguard the interests of its own and its allies of Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Is the international community ready to say goodbye to the Iran nuclear deal? Can the Middle East rely on "cold peace" under the influence of external hegemony? The answer does not look optimistic.

Since the Cold War, major powers in the Middle East have developed their respective nuclear weapons programs. Former U.S. president Barack Obama held high the banner of building a "nuclear-free world" and made full use of the rare opportunity when Iran was troubled by both domestic economy and foreign military threats to promote and eventually sign the Iran nuclear deal, which restricted Iran’s nuclear weapons development plan.

But it didn’t exert control over Iran’s ballistic missile technology and its regional military activities. At the same time, thanks to the lifting of sanctions, Iran’s oil dollar has increased rapidly, contributing to both economic and social development, as well as the advance of military technology and the fund to support armed activities in the region. The expansion of Iran’s forces in the region has made Israel and Saudi Arabia uneasy. 

Since his presidency campaign, Trump has chastised the Iran nuclear deal. Over the past 40 years, it has almost become a tradition for the U.S. to suppress against Iran in its foreign policies. Objectively speaking, the Iran nuclear deal is an "interlude." Trump is simply loyal to his allies, his own interests and values. The withdrawal can be seen as the return of the tradition of the U.S. policy.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has repeatedly testified that Iran has not violated any obligations of the nuclear deal. It is the U.S. that has went against the spirit of contract and challenged the rule-based international order.

Moreover, not only Iran's related entities and industries will suffer a heavy blow from the sanction, but all third-country entities associated with Iran will also be affected. Even the EU, the U.S. closest ally, failed to change the sanction or ease nervous minds in the market after rounds of negotiation with the U.S., which threats to introduce anti-sanction measures. 

Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China have all expressed hopes that Iran can deal with the situation in a calm way and do not rashly restart its nuclear activities to avoid the final collapse of the deal. However, Iran has remained a tough stance since its own interests have been badly damaged.

As time goes by, the balancing policies each party can adopt will decrease, and the space left to negotiations fades away. Although we do not wish for it, the possibility to wave goodbye to the Iran nuclear deal is on the rise.

I hope that all countries will exert all political wisdom to deal with this matter. After all, we are not ready to face a Middle East and a world without an Iran nuclear deal.




Li Zixin is a Research Assistant at China Institute of International Studies.


Source: Asia Pacific Daily, July 18, 2018.