Nuclear deal with Iran is a game-changer
By The New Indian Express | Published: 26th November 2013 01:13 AM |
The interim pact the US and its negotiating partners have reached with Iran in Geneva on Sunday has temporarily frozen much of Iran’s nuclear programme. It gives the two sides six months’ time to negotiate and, if possible, roll back the Iranian programme. Cash-starved Iran is assured of a sanctions relief of $4.2 billion. The amount is a portion of the Iranian oil revenue that has remained frozen in foreign banks. Named the Joint Plan of Action, the agreement specifies the steps Iran would take to constrain its nuclear effort and the financial relief it would get from the US and its partners. By itself, the pact does not foreclose either side’s main options or require many irreversible actions. Small wonder that Israel has negatively reacted to the development.
For the world at large, few other developments in the recent past have been as confidence-inspiring as this one. The pact signals a game-changing rapprochement that has the potential to ease the risk of a wider Middle East war. Significantly enough, the deal has the blessing of Iran’s clerical Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The deal includes improved verification of Iran’s nuclear programme and constraints on its installation of new centrifuges. Iran is also expected to dilute its existing stock of uranium enriched to 20 per cent or else convert it to oxide, a less readily used form.
The pact is a vindication of India’s stand that the solution to the problem of Iran’s nuclear ambition was not stricter sanctions but a negotiated settlement. Since the sanctions imposed on Iran will remain till a partial or final agreement is reached, India, which is one of the largest buyers of Iranian oil, will not have any immediate gains from the agreement. Nonetheless, it can look forward to benefiting from the deal, as it builds trust and confidence between Iran and the international community. If it finally leads to a durable and long-term settlement of the nuclear issue, it will definitely boost New Delhi’s energy ties with Tehran and West Asia will remain a more peaceful region.