Thursday, July 16, 2015

Lessons from Iran’s Nuclear Deal with 5+1 Powers

Lessons from Iran’s Nuclear Deal with 5+1 Powers

Ali Asghar Kazemi
July 15, 2015

After almost 12 years of vicissitude, finally on July 14, 2015 a Comprehensive Nuclear Agreement was reached by Iran and the 5+1 powers in Vienna.[1] Negotiations that had started about the same time as Iran new president Hassan Rohani took office[2] lasted almost two years and several rounds of arduous talks. The agreement was supposed to be a win-win non-zero-sum with positive outcome for all parties. At the end,   the comprehensive nuclear agreement was described   as a landmark for Iran and 5+1 powers and as a model for settling a dangerous situation that could lead to conflict and war through the instrument of diplomacy.
Revolutionary regimes usually care little for peaceful dialogue and diplomacy for achieving their objectives and national goals. They often choose unusual means such as hostile slogans and coercive measures for the furtherance of their ideals. Iran is no exception of this unfortunate approach. But, how comes that this time Iranian diplomats were able to keep their partners at the negotiating tables to the last minutes of quid-pro-quo talks? What are the lessons to be learned from this unique case?

For a student of international relations diplomacy is the major tool of foreign policy by which a state can achieve objectives, realize values and defend national interests. Governments have the function to communicate through their diplomatic agents with those whose actions and behavior they wish to influence, deter, alter or reinforce.[3] This process requires a clear definition of a state’s objectives, rationalizations for them, threats, promises, and the setting up plans and strategies to tackle with problems and contentious issues.

Thus, in its widest meaning the task of diplomacy is fourfold:

1) It must determine state’s objectives in the light actual and potential power available for the pursuit of these objectives;
2 ) It must assess the objectives of other nations and the power actually and potentially available to them for the pursuit of their objectives;
3)  It must determine to what extent these different objectives are compatible with each other;
4) It must employ the means suited to the pursuit of its objectives.[4]

 One of the major impediments of Iran’s foreign policy, almost four decades after the establishment of the Islamic Republic, has been the continuing persistence on its revolutionary nature. In fact, this characteristic has created a strong barrier before Iran’s national objectives and aspirations in setting clear criteria for determining friends and foes. Perhaps many unfortunate events and vicissitudes during the lifespan of the Islamic regime so far are geared to this very important dimension of the revolutionary Iran.[5]

Among the many factors that paved the ground for reaching the comprehensive agreement between Iran and the 5+1 powers the followings could be more decisive:
1)      Security Council Resolutions adopted with almost unanimity under Chapter VII of the UN Charter Article 41 regarding various economic, financial and banking sanctions against Iran;
2)     Effective enforcement of the Article 25 of the UN Charter that that requires all members of the United Nations to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the UN Charter. It is well to remember that the United States was the prime overseer for the application of this article.
3)     Iran’s earnest desire to get rid of horrible sanctions that had impeded this country to have access to oil revenues that caused terrible damages to the economy and the well-being of the people;
4)     Iran’s fear that its revolutionary and defying stance  vis-à-vis the world community might put into serious jeopardy the  whole existence of the Islamic regime;
5)     Effective and sincere commitment of educated, talented and zealous Iranian diplomats who engaged in the negotiations, despite all pressure and negative impacts from opposition groups inside and outside Iran;
6)     Sincere commitment of the American president Barrack Obama to settle the nuclear issue during his time at the White House in spite of Republican pressure from Congress and Israeli lobbyists.
7)     Positive atmosphere of the world public opinion and international media and market in favor of settling Iran’s nuclear issue for the benefit of  the parties involved and the international community as a whole.                                          
  One may add other factors to the ones listed above. There is no doubt that the substance of the comprehensive agreement has no inherent values unless all parties to the deal feel legally and morally committed to its enforcement with “Good Faith.”[6]     
As I said elsewhere[7], Iran should be conscious of the fact that only portions of sanctions imposed upon it relate to its nuclear undertaking and in order to lift all sanctions it should come clean on questions related to human rights and other pending issues. For that matter, Iran should not hesitate to enter into direct dialogue with important world power on matters related to the Middle East, the Persian Gulf and international community as a whole./               

[1] Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) runs to 109 pages, including five annexes.

[2]Presidential elections were held in Iran on 14 June 2013. Hassan Rouhani won with a landslide victory, elected in the first round of voting with 50.88% of the vote The

[3] 1 Cf. K.J. Holsti, International Politics, A Framework for Analysis, Prentice –Hall of India Private Limited, New Delhi, 1981, p.183

[4] See: Hans J. Morgenthau, Politics Among Nations, The Struggle for Power and Peace, Alfred A. Knopf. New York, Fifth edition, p.517-518  
[5]   See my paper, The Dilemma of Iran’s Foreign Policy : Identifying Friends and Foes, in   Middle East Academic Forum   
[6] See my article “Good Faith” is Key to Iran’s Nuclear Deal with 5+1 Powers
[7]  See Ibid

* Ali Asghar Kazemi is professor of Law and -International Relations in Tehran-Iran. Students, researchers, academic institutions, media or any party interested in using all or parts ‎of this article are welcomed to do so with the condition of giving full attribution to the author and the ‎Middle East Academic Forum. ©All Copy Rights Reserved.‎

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