DENVER - A tentative agreement designed to curb Iran’s ability to manufacture nuclear arms is being hailed as a triumph for diplomacy.
The Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver, Professor Nader Hashemi, told 7NEWS that if the tentative deal can be translated into a comprehensive, longer-lasting deal 6 months down the road, “then I would argue that Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama would be deserving of a Nobel Peace Prize, because let’s not forget this has been one of the most difficult issues at the top of the international agenda for the last 10 years.”
Hashemi called the deal “a historic setback for Iranian foreign policy and for their ambitions to pursue a nuclear program and have the option of developing a nuclear weapon.”
Under the agreement hammered out by the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France, Germany and Iran, the Middle Eastern nation will suspend all enrichment of uranium above 5 percent. It will dilute or convert its entire stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium and will not manufacture centrifuges beyond those that are broken. Iran will also submit its nuclear program to unprecedented monitoring.
In return, the powers will lift some of the economic sanctions against Iran.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calls the agreement a historic mistake.
He told members of his cabinet that the world has become a more dangerous place as a result of the deal, because Iran’s nuclear infrastructure is still in place. He also said that Israel is not bound by the agreement.
Hashemi says that argument doesn’t make sense.
He says “Iran’s nuclear program is now under extensive international inspection.”
Hashemi believes Netanyahu is voicing his opposition for another reason.
“Now that the Iranian nuclear problem is on its way to being resolved,” Hashemi said, “the focus will then shift to Netanyahu and the Israel-Palestine conflict. And he doesn’t want to give concessions to the Palestinians.”
Dr. Shaul Gabbay, an expert on Israeli Middle East relations, has a different take. He says that “sometimes Israeli leaders and the United States will disagree. He says Israel’s main concerns are about trust, and rightly so because of Iran’s previous declarations about the destruction of the Jewish state.
“We have to remember that trust is like an egg,” Gabbay said. “Once it breaks, you can put it together somehow, but it’s never going to be the same.”
Gabbay said Iran has a lot to lose in this process if it is found untrustworthy.
Gabbay also says the good thing about this agreement is that it may foster others.
He notes that Iran sponsors terrorist groups and says that as trust rebuilt with the Muslim nation, that sponsorship should be the next goal in talks.
When asked why Iran came to table after all this time, Hashemi said, “They had no other choice. Their economy was effectively headed for collapse.”
The DU professor told 7NEWS, “I think more moderate leaders convinced Iran’s Supreme Leader and the senior clerical oligarchy that controls the Iranian regime, that ‘unless we compromise, unless we strike a deal with the United States, the future of our country is in doubt.’”
Hashemi told 7NEWS that it’s not an ideal agreement, but says it’s better than the alternative.
“The alternative is war,” he said. “I don’t think that’s a realistic option.”