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An End To A ‘Manufactured Crisis'

22 August 2015

By Tariq A. Al Maeena

The people of Iran seek to join the rest of the world community in pursuit of a normal life and it is up to the Iranian leadership now to provide them that

The Iranians have often referred to the brouhaha over their nuclear energy programme as a "manufactured crisis". The chief proponent of this branding is none other than the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been tirelessly trying to drum-up support for an air strike on the Iranian heartland, using the arsenal of the United States.

But the P5+1 (US, Britain, France, Russia. China plus Germany) have disagreed. Smarting over the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq that has left the country in tatters and created terror groups that today operate far beyond the country's borders, these major powers have finally concluded an agreement that should prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons with strict on site supervision of its nuclear facilities. In return, Iran is expected to enjoy the relaxation of economic sanctions that have left the nation on the brink of economic despair.

The deal has been met with a degree of optimism in this part of the world. In his televised address, US President Barack Obama stated that "History shows that America must lead not just with our might, but with our principles. Today's announcement marks one more chapter in our pursuit of a safer, more helpful and more hopeful world".

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani welcomed the historic nuclear deal with the six major powers that was clinched after more than 20 months of negotiations. "Today is the end to acts of tyranny against our nation and the start of cooperation with the world. This is a reciprocal deal. If they stick to it, we will. The Iranian nation has always observed its promises and treaties. Iran deal proves constructive engagement works. With this unnecessary crisis resolved, new horizons emerge with a focus on shared challenges."

In the UAE, the signing of the agreement was welcomed, with one official stating that it could turn a "new page" for the Gulf region. "Iran could play a significant role in the region if it revises its policy and stops interfering in the internal affairs of countries like Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen," he added.

In neighbouring Saudi Arabia, an official source said that the country supported the agreement, but emphasised the importance of a strict inspections programme and the ability to re-impose sanctions. He also added that sanctions relating to terrorism and violation of international arms treaties would remain intact.

He also expressed hope for an end to Iran's regional "interference". "Given that Iran is a neighbour, Saudi Arabia hopes to build with her better relations in all areas on the basis of good neighbourliness and non-interference in internal affairs. Iran's nuclear deal with world powers will mean ‘a happy day' if it brings to a complete halt the country gaining a nuclear arsenal, but the agreement would prove bad if it allowed Tehran to wreak havoc in the region."

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) said that the Iranian nuclear deal will usher in stability and security to the region. Eyad Madani, the OIC chief, expected that the agreement will be adhered to in letter and spirit and it would move forward a new political standard in a region currently full of strife and unrest, resulting in a "threat to peace and security of the region and the world".

Security and stability

Madani also called on the six powers to "pursue with the same spirit as was adopted for the Iranian deal to force Israel to join the NPT [Nonproliferation Treaty] and put its nuclear programme under full and comprehensive supervision of the United Nations. Efforts should also be exerted towards establishment of a nuclear-free armament zone in the Middle East for the sake of peace, security and stability in the region and the world".

In Cairo, the Arab League said that the historic nuclear deal between Iran and world powers was "a first step to ridding the Middle East of weapons of mass destruction". The League's head also called on the international community to put pressure on Israel to allow unrestricted inspection of its nuclear facilities. "It's time for the international community... to stop its policy of double standards and to undertake its responsibilities by pressuring Israel to join the nonproliferation agreement as a non-nuclear state," he added.

The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, termed the agreement a "stunning, historic mistake", adding that Israel would not be bound by the agreement and that it leaves the option open for a military strike as a means to "always defend ourselves".

An eerily similar argument was used by the Israelis prior to George Bush taking his military adventurism into Iraq. Netanyahu's comments were quickly dismissed by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who said that "Netanyahu kicked up a fuss as he is upset that Iran managed to get sanctions lifted and prevent a manufactured crisis".

The people of Iran are today rejoicing as the agreement signals an end to a stifling economic boycott that had disrupted their lives in a rapidly changing world. They seek to join the rest of the world community in pursuit of normal life. It is now up to the Iranian leadership to provide them that. It comes with a commitment to honour agreements and peacefully engage with their neighbours. This is their moment.

Tariq A. Al Maeena is a Saudi socio-political commentator. He lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. 


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