By Iran Review
By Behzad Khoshandam*
Despite all efforts made by anti-Iran lobbies, as well as hostile steps taken by US Congress and a group of Iran’s regional rivals, implementation of the Iran deal from the second half of January 2016 will have resounding consequences at international level.
Diplomacy, containment of terrorism and extremism, stability, regional order and convergence, balance of power, future outlook of the nonproliferation regime and the concept of deterrence, renewed increase in power, legitimacy as well as strategic and tactical actions and intentions of international actors are major variables that will be affected by the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The most important international developments from the time that Iran’s nuclear deal was concluded up to the time of its implementation included intensification of proxy wars in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and Libya; spread of extremism; practical realization of Daesh activities in the area of international terrorism through terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015; and the hostile measures taken by US Congress against Iran through adoption of such bills as the new Visa Waiver Program that has affected 38 countries, whose nationals can travel to the United States without obtaining a visa.
The most important short-term effect of the implementation of JCPOA will be the warm welcome that international community has given to normalization of interactions between international actors and Iran, and the impact that reversibility of international sanctions against Iran will have for preventing ethnic tensions and secessionist tendencies as well as containing extremism, the refugee crisis and Iranophobia at international level, especially in Syria crisis. As for the most important challenger and effective actor with regard to Iran’s nuclear issue, that is, the United States, especially when it comes to cooperation between Iran and America for the implementation of JCPOA, this issue must be analyzed from the viewpoint of more serious US interventions in Iran’s peripheral regions and the outcome of US presidential elections in 2016.
It seems that in a bid to manage the Iran issue, Americans are trying to take advantage of internal conditions in Iran in order to set direction of future relations between Iran and the United States. Frequent interviews by US President Barack Obama with various magazines and newspapers, analysis of remarks made by American officials at Congress sessions, and also past history of misbehavior of Americans in the management of the Arab Spring and the experience of efforts made to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Japan, Yemen, and Syria, have all prompted Americans to adopt this behavior toward Iran as well. The behavior adopted by Americans in the management of Iran has led to reclaiming the position of such international bodies as the UN, the European Union, NATO, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council [(P)GCC], the Arab League, and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). Under these conditions, there will be more interaction among Iran, Russia and China within framework of these organizations and bilateral relations will expand with focus on boosting Iran’s defense capabilities through mutual cooperation.
The most important medium-term international outcome of the implementation of JCPOA could be strengthening of cooperation among all actors to destroy the Daesh threat and prevent the rise and activities of similar terrorist groups as well as collapse of nation-states. In this regard, emotional reactions shown by some actors in the Middle East, including Arab states, Israel, Turkey, and Egypt will cause the general atmosphere to move toward regional balance, and despite continuation of temporary tensions, potentials for understanding and more powerful diplomacy will be taken advantage of in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and led to new international moves to overcome the threat of Daesh, instability, terrorism and organized crime. In this way, the conditions in the periphery of Iran (including its neighbors, regional allies of Iran like the Lebanese Hezbollah, the Badr Brigade, and the Islamic Jihad as well as the governments of Syria and Iraq in addition to Turkey and Israel) will inevitably require Iran to take steps to systematically manage challenges and conflicts in its peripheral environment including Western – Arab, Iranian – Arab, Iranian – Western, Iranian – Israeli, Iranian – Russian, Arab – Israeli, Turkish – Arab, Arab – Western, Chinese –Russian, Western – Russian, and Turkish – Russian rivalries.
The most important long-term outcome of the Iran deal will be taking effective advantage of the capacity and participation of the resistance axis to effectively form international strategic stability by making effective use of pacifist assets to create an international order. Under such circumstances, Israel will be mostly affected by the implementation of JCPOA in the long run. Of course, West has pinned its hopes on the management of domestic chessboard in Iran and wants to change Iran’s behavior through bolstering one political faction against other political factions in the course of the implementation of JCPOA. However, the implementation of JCPOA in relation to the role of big powers (including veto right holders at the Security Council, that is, the United States, Russia, the UK, France, and China plus Germany) and Iran’s separate interaction with Asian actors, non-state actors, as well as academic and non-academic figures, personalities and intellectual and executive elites, and synergistic interaction with regional and international trends, currents and developments, will finally thwart the United States’ game with regard to Iran.
Iran in 2016 finds itself at a juncture of time that in the light of the diplomatic ingenuity and strategic patience resulting from the implementation of JCPOA, it is on the verge of a major strategic development. Playing the cards of China, Russia, the European Union and other power blocs in an excessive manner is neither on the agenda of Iran’s foreign policy for the implementation of JCPOA, nor in line with the country’s expediency and national interests. Through its intricate historical transition, Iran has understood that it must put on its agenda the “balance in cooperation with Iran’s partners in JCPOA” for the time being and then, pursue further implementation of JCPOA in next decades through the “negative balance model.” The Iran deal and the Security Council Resolution 2231 in 2015 were steps toward “saving the United Nations Charter” and the “United Nations,” and were aimed to put international emphasis on the need to maintain a collective security system,” and the use of the “forceful measures” bogeyman according to Chapter VII of the UN Charter with respect to the next cases of disarmament and nonproliferation. Just in the same way, controlling international consequences of the implementation of the Iran deal beyond 2016 will give birth to major practical guarantees for the safeguard of the emerging international order, pace and security on the basis of Iran’s action.
Ph.D. in International Relations & Expert on International Issues