Iran Nuclear Deal Mmeans Change Is Coming: The Deal Serves A Regime That Has Been Weakened By 30 Years Of Isolation
04 April 2015
By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed
The nuclear deal is now a reality and one that should be dealt with as a fait
accompli. Even before getting into the details of the nuclear deal between
Iran and the United States, we should be aware that significant historical
change is looming on the horizon. The question remains: what direction will
this take Iran and the Arab world?
Understanding and analyzing this deal will take time, particularly as it can
be approached from multiple perspectives that are difficult to summarize. One
angle is the impact the deal will have on Iran itself and countries in the
region, such as Bahrain, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen, as well as regional
powerhouses like Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The deal may ignite a wider arms
race, most probably nuclear. We must therefore scrutinize the consequences of
the agreement on Arab relations with the West, and whether the deal will
further fuel current sectarian conflicts.
We know we are facing dramatic change; the door behind which Iran was
imprisoned by the world is about to open. However, we cannot be certain of
the direction a free Iran will take, especially as the country has long been
a concern even while it was still restrained.
Indeed, it's wrong to build policies on assumptions and analyze these
assumptions as proven facts. The agreement may be a victory for the Iranian
regime over its rivals inside and outside Iran, but it might turn out to be a
pliant deal. If halting Iran's nuclear project, for the moment, only results
in the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions but sets Iran free to become a
major regional power then we will then be embarking on a more serious crisis
and an era stained with more blood.
Nevertheless, if halting Iran's nuclear project results in the freezing of
Iran's militarized nuclear activities, controlled by the lifting of Western
sanctions, and an end to political antagonism towards Iran, then we will
witness positive progress. This would mean that Iran has finally surrendered
and will become, like any other country in the region such as Egypt and Saudi
Arabia, a peaceful state that defends its borders.
The difference between the two outcomes is huge. The majority of observers I
have spoken to tend to expect the first scenario, which would mean that Iran
has genuinely agreed to abandon its military nuclear project, but only in
exchange for the lifting of restrictions on its conventional military
activity: this is the part that worries Arab countries. As for Israel, it is
still afraid of Iran's nuclear capabilities. Israel believes that this deal
will stop Iran from building a nuclear bomb in the short term, but it will
not stop it from becoming ''capable'' of developing nuclear weapons in the
future. This deal allows Iran to keep its nuclear production going. It will
still have the knowledge and tools to produce a nuclear weapon. Israel wants
to prevent any possibility of Iran developing a nuclear bomb, and not just
censor its actions.
Iran's nuclear submission to the West could unleash its pent up desires. In
order to understand this idea, I will compare the Iran nuclear deal to the
Obama administration's policy toward the Syrian regime's crimes. The US
opposed the use of chemical weapons by Bashar Al-Assad's government, but did
not pay the same attention to around a quarter of a million people killed by
barrel bombs, guns and tanks. Now, Iran is outside its prison and will be
able to buy advanced weapons, build oil capacities, trade in dollars, and at
a later stage, it may be partly or fully allied to the West, which we are
already witnessing in its cooperation with the West in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The dramatic change that the deal will bring about could whet the appetite of
the Iranian regime for greater influence, and it does not need a nuclear bomb
to control key areas. The Iranian regime suffers from a ''major regional
country'' complex and might have plans for further adventures in the region.
This deal might enhance Iran's influence in the region but it won't
necessarily serve the regime inside Iran. The Ayatollah's regime has weakened
with time, where the religious flame has satiated, and security—represented
by the Revolutionary Guard—has improved at the expense of the clerics. The
deal requires the openness of the regime, however Iran is not ready for it
and could face the same fate as that of the Soviet Union after the deals to
reduce its nuclear arsenal and improve cooperation with the West rapidly
The other possibility is that the deal serves a regime that has been weakened
by 30 years of isolation and is now politically drained; the deal would then
give the Iranian regime the kiss of life. But most probably the agreement
will slowly change Iran, as happened in China, where the Communist structure
governed the country without Communism.
Al Rashed is the general manager of
Al -Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-
Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine, Al Majalla. He is also a
senior Columnist in the daily newspapers of Al Madina and Al Bilad. He is a
US post-graduate degree in mass communications. He has been a guest on many
TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.