We may feel as if we have missed the opportunity to discuss something as important as the nuclear deal the six world powers (the US, Germany, the UK, France, Russia and China) have signed with Iran. Perhaps we got somewhat lost among the photos from Geneva filled with Ashton and Kerry’s hugs and kisses and the smiling face of the Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Perhaps the agreement has implications that go far beyond what is immediately apparent. It may well be President Obama’s first big achievement following the evident failure of his health reforms. A milestone that has its origins in the speech Obama gave at the international conference on 4th June 2009 at Cairo University, where he announced his determination to ‘find a new relationship between the United States and the Muslim world’.
In fact, not much was done in Geneva (or Washington, for that matter) aside from signing an agreement which senior officials and Iranian and American nuclear experts had secretly been negotiating for months in Oman (even before Hassan Rohuani’s election last June, to the office of Iranian president). It is an agreement in which the European Union and its High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, therefore played a rather minor part.
Obama initially wanted Secretary of State Kerry to capitalize on the agreement, thereby pre-empting the national and international reaction. While the reaction from the far right of the Republican Party was to be expected, with their knee-jerk criticism of the Obama administration for supposedly caving in to Iranian demands in return for nothing, the harsh words of the Israeli Prime Minister were something of a surprise. Netanyahu stated that if in a few years from now someone were to detonate a nuclear suitcase in a European capital it would be directly due to the concessions made to Iran in 2013. Even more surprising were the thinly-veiled criticisms of the Saudis. For once they were in agreement with Israel (presumably since they were surprised by the fact that for a start the agreement unlocks $7,000m of Iranian-owned property and will ease certain sanctions on its crude oil).
All this in a year when the Gulf States went on the largest re-armament spending sprees the world has ever seen; the year in which Syria established itself as being capable of destabilizing the region with echoes of the Cold War and the role played by Russia and the United States itself; and the same year that Iraq bled from the open wounds of a war between Shiites and Sunnis.
Against this turbulent backdrop, labelling the nuclear accord with Iran a typical ‘historic agreement’ falls short of the truth. The Obama administration has had the determination to negotiate with Iran and has signed an agreement that will have consequences beyond the Iranian nuclear industry and far beyond Iran itself. The entire region and the main international actors are trying to understand what those consequences might be and how they affect each of the states ‘concerned’. We may find it difficult to appreciate, but Obama has caused a genuine revolution that dismantles the geostrategic makeup of the area we have become used to these last fifty years. And he has done so in the belief that the agreement ‘opens a new path to a safer world’.
It appears it is down to us to add our own emphasis and find a way to answer these questions. After all Catherine Ashton and Mohammad Javad Zarif didn’t get to kiss one another.
Article publicat a: http://www.international-view.cat/#