Tehran agrees to curb its nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief after lengthy negotiations.
Two major events in the history of the Islamic Republic of Iran have occurred this very month. The United Nations Security Council resolution 598, which was adopted unanimously in July 1987, called for an immediate ceasefire between Iran and Iraq; and now, a peace-deal, or what is called a nuclear deal agreement, has been made between Iran and the global powers.
“Today is an historic day. It is a great honour for us to announce that we have reached an agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue,” declared EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in a joint statement in Vienna.
While Americans are enjoying their summer holidays camping, fishing, or travelling – this deal with Iran means very little to many of them. Iranians, on the other hand, are receiving this news with total jubilation. For them, this deal represents peace and the hope for a better future for their nation.
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The nuclear agreement has opened a new page in the Islamic Republic’s chapter of diplomacy after many decades of acrimony and suspicion towards Western powers that have often been seen as plotting against the Iranian political system.
A country which once represented one of the leading modernised nations in the region, with a booming economy during the Shah’s time (pre-1979), were suddenly downgraded to a “state sponsoring terrorism” and taking on a destabilising role within the region. As a result, the nation endured crippling sanctions for years.
The negotiations have been ongoing for over a decade – albeit intermittently – but when it became clear that both Iran and the US were willing to compromise, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accepted the negotiations. However, he chose to repeatedly emphasise that he ultimately cannot wholly trust the US and their interests.
But between war and peace, peace won out – for both Iran and the United States – irrespective of their differences.
An agreement was reached in which Iran agreed to limit its controversial nuclear programme, and in return, the sanctions will be lifted.
This nuclear deal, which Iranians are immensely proud of, will strengthen the country’s economy, and open up the possibility for its politicians to participate internationally. Ultimately though, their potential to enter the political “big leagues” is dependent upon how Iran chooses to behave regarding this agreement in the near future.
The Iranian regime has refused to engage in any talks with the US other than those regarding the nuclear issue. But, in the very last days of the talks in Vienna, they asked for the arms embargo to also be lifted along with the sanctions implemented by the UNSC. Russia and China backed Iran on this.
According to the diplomats involved at the negotiations, Iran, Russia and China’s last minute effort to pressure the delegation, during the final stage of negotiations did not produce a complete result. However, negotiators agreed that the UN arms embargo would instead be lifted gradually over time.
Now, finally, the Iranians can sleep in peace and find solace in the hope that the UNSC resolution will make life a little easier for them and that no military confrontation can immediately threaten their nation.
sent this message to Iranian negotiators while he was speaking with a group of students in Tehran: “I have always said that the negotiators are only allowed to negotiate on nuclear-related issues. They are not allowed to talk about anything else and they wouldn’t. The other side [the US] has interest to talk about regional matters, Syria and Yemen et cetera but we are saying we don’t have anything to say about these issues and we won’t talk about it.”
Iran’s regional behaviour has always come under scrutiny and the deal will perhaps provide the Western powers with an opportunity to assess Iran’s regional behaviour in the coming months.
The eventual removal of this arms embargo will allow Iran to buy weapons from Russia and potentially from the United States as well through indirect arm-dealers.
The sense of happiness and relief – created by this nuclear deal – could only be compared to the announcement of the ceasefire between Iran and Iraq. Simply put, Iranians all across the world were ecstatic. The nightmare of bombings and missile attacks was finally at an end and we began to entertain the notion that our post-revolution difficulties may disappear.
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Today, the population is twice the size it was during the war with Iraq and the new generation does not have any first-hand memory of that time. That said, they must still live with the fear of a possible confrontation with Western powers.
Now, finally, they can sleep in peace and find solace in the hope that the UNSC resolution will make life a little easier for them and that no military confrontation can immediately threaten their nation.
Of course, the nuclear deal is a big step towards a path of having better relations with Western nations, especially the US, even if those relationships are not built immediately.
Now, the deal will be sealed if the US Congress signs the agreement within 60 days from the day the documents are to be submitted.
But within 10 days or so, Iran is willing to take on a resolution which had been agreed to in Vienna with the Security Council in New York to lift all the sanctions related to the Iranian nuclear programme.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who today is Iran’s top negotiator, also had worked on the UN ceasefire resolution that ended the war with Iraq in 1987, and this is the second time he is having a hand in such an important issue for Iranians.
The implementation of the Vienna agreement is to be signed sometime in September when the US Congress gives its final approval for the deal. Perhaps all of the parties will meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York to sign the document together – lending even more solidarity to this auspicious moment in history.
Camelia Entekhabifard is an Iranian journalist, TV commentator and author of Camelia: Save Yourself by Telling the Truth – a Memoir of Iran.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.