The Iran nuclear deal, a negotiation between Iran and the Permanent members of the UN Security Council- United States, France, China, Russia and United Kingdom along with Germany (P5+1 countries), has been grabbing headlines everywhere for the past one month. According to the deal, Iran has agreed for a long-term limitation on all uranium enrichment related (nuclear) activities. Restrictive sanctions, earlier imposed on Iran because of its nuclear policy will also be removed, making it possible for Iran to enter the global market and considerably boost the growth of its economy.
If the Iran deal is passed by the US Congress in September, it will be a big step forward in nuclear co-operation and eventual disarmament. Iran’s youth is ecstatic about the deal, but Iran’s Middle East neighbours are apprehensive because of Iran’s past reputation of being a terrorist state.
Saudi Arabia has shared a strained history with Iran, because of the Sunni-Shia conflict in both countries. Saudi Arabia believes that this deal will improve Iran’s economic standing, making it possible for it to invest and buy more ammunition for the proxy armies it funds around the Middle East (Hezbollah & Shia militias of Iraq).
For Israel, a major concern is that the deal will make Iran a nuclear threshold state, capable of developing a bomb at short notice. Israel has always been wary of Iran, because a nuclear Iran will endanger Israel’s nuclear program, as it is currently the only country in the Middle East that possesses nuclear weapons. Bahrain is also skeptical of the deal, because its Sunni ruling family believes it will help Iran increase its influence among the Shia majority in their country.
However, in Iran, young Iranians have welcomed the deal. The deal finally marks Iran’s exit from isolation and the opening up of its 78.5 million consumer market to international interest. The scaling back of sanctions will help Iran keep bright students at home, who earlier left to look for better job opportunities abroad. According to estimates, from 2009 to 2013 more than 300,000 Iranians left the country in search of better opportunities abroad. Currently, an estimated 2.5 million to 3.0 million working-age adults in Iran are unemployed and looking for a job. The deal will help create jobs for Iran’s large and relatively educated labour force. Iran’s oil economy will also benefit from the deal, with its entry into the international market lowering crude oil prices by $5-$15 per barrel.
Iran’s decision to participate in a deal that will help in nuclear co-operation throughout the Middle East region, and open up its economy, is a historic step forward for the country, especially for its youth, that can carry forward the values of nuclear co-operation and contribute to the global economy. However, those opposing the deal are opposed because of their historical perception of Iran and the need to protect their own nuclear interests, rather than looking at the current political scenario. While Iran is well aware of the consequences of breaking the deal, the world economy is in need of Iran’s participation. Whether the deal will be accepted by the majority or not, only time will tell.