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Region to feel the effects of Iran nuclear deal 9 avril 2015

Posted by Acturca in Middle East / Moyen Orient, Turkey / Turquie, USA / Etats-Unis.
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The Daily Star (Lebanon) April 9, 2015, p. 3

By Hussein Dakroub, Beirut

Analysts expect wide ramifications, unless U.S. Republicans get their way. A nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers will have far-reaching political, security and economic ramifications on the fate of the volatile region, analysts said Wednesday.

However, no positive or negative results are expected to emerge from the Iran nuclear deal before its finishing provisions are drafted and a final accord is signed by Tehran and the P5+1 by the end of June, they added.

“We are now in a wait-and-see period to see the final shape of the nuclear agreement and how its final provisions will be drafted and whether there are any secret provisions,” Mario Abou Zeid, a research analyst at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, told The Daily Star.

“We cannot determine the results of this agreement before it is finally signed by the end of June,” Abou Zeid said. “We have to wait until the end of June to see any positive or negative consequences.”

“We are now seeing a tug-of-war and political pressure between Iran and the P5+1 in order to improve the terms of the agreement,” he said.

In the meantime, both Iran and the United States are seeking, in addition to promoting the agreement internally and externally, to reassure their allies about its provisions, he added.

“America is seeking to assuage its Gulf allies over the nuclear deal by offering military and political support for the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen,” Abou Zeid said.

However, he stressed that the manner in which the Iranian leadership handles with the nuclear deal would determine the course of events with regard to the implementation of the agreement and its repercussions on regional conflicts.

“The key issue is now drafting the provisions of this agreement and the extent of Iran’s compliance with this agreement when it is finally signed,” Abou Zeid said. “Iran is being engaged for the first time at the regional and international levels by the international community.”

According to Abou Zeid, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s staunch opposition to the nuclear agreement would not stop it. “No one can stop this agreement except the U.S. Congress, where Republicans have publicly said they opposed it,” he said.

Iran and world powers reached a framework agreement on April 2, which will curb Iran’s nuclear program for at least a decade. The initial agreement, after eight days of marathon talks in Lausanne, Switzerland, clears the way for negotiations on a settlement aimed at allaying Western fears that Iran was seeking to build an atomic bomb. In return for these assurances, economic sanctions on Iran are to be lifted.

The framework is contingent on reaching a final agreement by June 30. All sanctions on Iran remain in place until a final deal.

Imad Salamey, a political science professor at the Lebanese American University, also said he cannot prejudge the impact of the Iran nuclear deal on regional conflicts, because it is not final yet.

“I am uncertain about the nuclear framework agreement between Iran and Western powers because it is not final yet and while the region is increasingly polarized,” he said.

“The United States and Iran seem to be making a side agreement without this agreement being comprehensive to accommodate other parties in the region,” he said, in a clear reference to Iran’s regional opponents, namely Saudi Arabia, other Gulf states and Turkey.

In Salamey’s view, the nuclear deal is an “overwhelming victory” for U.S. diplomacy. “The U.S. can claim a diplomatic victory for having dismantled Iran’s nuclear program without resorting to a military confrontation,” he said. “Iran’s capability of militarizing this program has been significantly reduced.”

Salamey noted that the “major sources of tension” between the United States and Iran have been defused as a result of the deal.

“In this way, we could assert that positive development. Nevertheless, the regional opponents of the deal are primarily concerned about removing the economic sanctions on Iran without Iran yielding to any serious political concessions in the Middle Eastern conflict, including concessions in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq,” he said.

“Iran’s regional opponents, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states and Turkey, continue to look at this deal with suspicions, knowing that Iran has not made any political concessions accompanying the nuclear agreement,” Salamey added.

Shafik Masri, a professor of international law at the Lebanese University and the American University of Beirut, said the Iran nuclear deal would have far-reaching political, security and economic consequences in the turbulent region, which has been rattled in the past four years by a wave of popular upheavals and sectarian strife.

“With regard to security repercussions, the nuclear agreement has cooled down the fiery declarations made by Arab Gulf states and Turkey, including Israel’s direct threats [to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities] if Iran succeeded in acquiring nuclear weapons,” Masri told The Daily Star.

Masri said he expected the nuclear framework agreement to reflect positively on the region from now until the end of June.

“Politically, we notice that those concerned with the agreement [the U.S. and Iran] are trying to create a positive political climate as manifested by the visits to Lebanon and the region by U.S and Iranian envoys to inform officials in these countries of the expected political benefits of this agreement,” he said.

“The Gulf states and Turkey have expressed a sort of relative satisfaction with the agreement,” he added.

According to Masri, the U.S. and Iranian sides have launched positive moves aimed at easing the complicated situation in the region. “Both the U.S. and Iran are trying to market the nuclear deal internally and externally. So far, it is a positive and tangible achievement for the Obama administration pending a final agreement by the end of June,” he said.

At the economic level, Masri said the nuclear deal would lead to a wide breakthrough in attracting foreign investments to Iran and regional states. “Once the sanctions are lifted on it, Iran will become a very huge market for all these investments which the Islamic Republic has been unable in the past to exploit,” he said. “Similarly, the oil market will become larger when Iran resumes its oil exports.”

Masri said one of the challenges facing the nuclear deal is the U.S. Congress. “Especially the Senate [motivated by Israel] may stand against this framework agreement,” he said. “Another challenge facing the deal is to what extent will Iran respond to the requests which it promised to honor in this framework agreement [with regard to curbing its nuclear program],” Masri said.

He added that the nuclear deal would not have any immediate effect on the 10-month-old presidential deadlock in Lebanon. “I don’t see the election of a Lebanese president before the end of June,” he said. “The presidential election issue is waiting for a regional green light, mainly a Saudi-Iranian one.”

Asked whether Lebanon would get a low or high priority after the signing of the nuclear deal, Masri said: “The U.S. and European position on Lebanon is that a military explosion is forbidden in the country.”

Masri said the nuclear deal will not embolden Iran, as many in Lebanon and the region fear. “First priority for Iran now is internal restructuring at all levels after years of blockade,” he said. “Iran has already diplomatic and political influence in neighboring states, such a Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Gaza. It has no incentive to accelerate its influence in other regional states.”

Salamey, the LAU professor, disagreed, saying the nuclear deal would embolden Iran. “This deal may actually harden Iran’s position in Lebanon, Syria and elsewhere, knowing that there are no longer any international pressures against its regional role, including intervention through proxies or directly in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen,” he said.

In Salamey’s view, the nuclear deal would not hasten the election of a Lebanese president because it excluded key players like Saudi Arabia and France. “The election of a Lebanese president requires a comprehensive agreement, including the Saudis and French which the U.S.Iranian agreement has not reached out yet,” he said.


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