Iran has succeeded in concluding a nuclear deal on Tuesday with six major world powers in the Austrian capital, Vienna, thereby putting an end to negotiations that lasted for 21 months.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the High Representative for Security and Foreign Policy in the European Union, Federica Mogherini, have both described the deal as historic.
Mogherini said it provides for a peaceful Iranian nuclear program, and includes measures to ensure that Iran cannot produce nuclear weapons, adding that the joint action plan and its five supplements will be submitted to the Security Council.
She said the deal marks the beginning of a new phase of cooperation between Iran and international parties.
US President Barack Obama praised the deal as a step toward a more optimistic world, and said he would veto any attempt to impede it, while Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the deal proves that constructive dialogue pays off.
Most Arab countries agreed unwillingly, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the deal as a stunning historic error.
The arms embargo against Iran will remain in place for five years, and for eight years with regard to missiles.
Iran will be able to conduct research and development work related to uranium, for its use in advanced centrifuges during the first 10 years of the deal, and will continue research and development related to its enrichment in a manner not allowing the accumulation of enriched uranium, pledging to cut the number of centrifuges used to enrich uranium by two-thirds during 10 years.
Iran has thereby succeeded in showing the West that it does not only support sectarian militias and delivers revolutionary speeches as it is perceived, but that it also possesses diplomacy skills. It has also succeeded in changing the internal political convictions that had prevailed for more than 35 years, about dealing with the West being an act of treason.
The word “negotiation” was a bad term for a revolutionary system that came to alter the equations of the universe and face the Great Satan (America), but ended up being a regional player that deploys sectarian militia in Arab countries to maintain its regional influence at the expense of hundreds of thousands of Syrians, Iraqis and Yemenis.
The international community recognizing Iran as a strong country, at the same time imposing restrictions on its nuclear program, means it has turned from a reluctant state outside the global system to a reluctant state within it, which makes a big difference. It is just like the difference between a political party that seeks change within a legal framework and an opposition group that works outside that framework.
The opposition from within the global system was the posture adopted by several countries, especially those of the South. Egypt under Nasser was one such country, so was Brazil, Venezuela, South Africa and many Asian and African countries. These were different from Iraq under Saddam Hussein when he invaded Kuwait, and Libya under Gaddafi, who fought the global system with terrorism.
Iran will move beyond the deal to become a player in the global system, which is a historic shift greater than the nuclear deal itself, because the international community would then influence the Iranian regime towards moderation through political, economic and cultural interaction.
We could see the joy in the eyes of the Iranian youth after the signing of the deal. They know that it has opened Iran to the world and avoided a devastating war with the West, while still retaining its nuclear program, yet away from producing a nuclear bomb.
It has now become useless for Arab countries to warn the world against Iran in an attempt to hide their own internal deficiencies and their absence of a political project capable of countring Iran’s regional ambitions.
Iran has succeeded because it adhered to a certain model, be it right or wrong. We, Arabs have neither succeeded as revolutionaries like the Iranians, who have been paying for it with 35 years of international embargo, nor as reformers who can build progressive and democratic political systems.
We have to build a model for ourselves before we can influence in the world.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm