With Iran’s President Rouhani hinting at wanting dialogue to lift sanctions, it was clear that sanctions were taking a toll, likely dire enough that the “mullocracy” felt at risk of being ousted by the hurting and angry Iranian people.
With that, the P5+1 took to the stage. This was a great opportunity to courageously press P5+1’s obvious advantage by playing diplomatic hardball, demanding proof of Iranian bone fides that it was abandoning its nuclear WMD agenda before lifting any sanctions.
Instead, the Obama-led P5+1 cravenly chose to play softball to come up with an interim deal, the terms of which are well known and which, notably, ignore Iran’s Islamic terrorist export business.
Israel, Saudi Arabia, Canada and representatives from both U.S. political parties have damned this deal. Some critics call it a sucker’s or Munich deal, recalling Chamberlain’s 1938 Munich “peace in our time” deal with Hitler. They charge that trusting Iran to abandon her nuclear WMD ambitions is wishful thinking, given Iran’s perfect track-record of lies, deceit, obstructionism and unswerving determination that enabled her to get around or endure the UN and multilateral sanction regimes, bringing Iran to within a stone’s throw of achieving her obvious objective.
Along with Israel and Saudi’s concerns and the certainty that Iran can only be strengthened by lifting sanctions, these critics say this interim deal makes a Mid-East war and all its dangerous ramifications far more likely than not.
Skeptics, however, are unfortunately in the minority. See: Iran nuclear deal: One agreement, wildly different reactions. This divided reaction is not a matter of optimists vs. pessimists.
P5+1 and supporting nations, who praise this deal as good for all, including Iran, who declare that war and its dangerous ramifications will be averted, and that peace will reign, are seeking to disguise their true motives.
Within the limitations of UN and multilateral sanctions, international trade with Iran has continued. Iranian oil is a big part of that trade with China and the EU for instance. Import-export trade has continued in many other commodities allowed by sanctions. Relaxing sanctions increases trade and investment opportunities with Iran, bringing mutual economic reward as well as opportunities to establish beneficial influence, political and otherwise, with Iran. Many nations and parties, including oil companies, reportedly are already taking steps to that end.
P5+1 thus seized the opportunity Iran handed them to advance their own self-interest at the expense of a few, namely Israel and the Saudis. The diplomatic softball strategy P5+1 chose was to avoid pushing the Iranians into a precipitous war and delay dealing with such a likely war, only if and when it happened. Until then, the P5+1 and supporting nations have set themselves up to reap the rewards this interim deal affords them.
With the exception of the U.S., the P5+1, while recognizing Israel’s right to exist, have largely paid lip service to concerns for Israel’s rights, interests and security needs. Advancing their interests at Israel’s expense thus is unsurprising.
For the U.S., being supportive of Israel, it takes far more for America to ignore Israel’s concerns (and, in this case, the Saudis’) in order to advance America’s interests. There is however, far less in this interim deal for America’s self-interests than for Obama’s.
Given Obama’s badly flagging credibility, prestige and influence at home and abroad due to his policy failures outweighing his successes and the scandals plaguing him and his administration, he desperately wanted some success – any success – that he could crow about to shore up his battered reputation, stroke his ego and enhance his legacy. And crow about this deal is exactly what he has done in his shamelessly self-congratulatory White House address wherein he proudly declared that he is keeping his word to America and the world that he will not allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon.
Obama has pointedly assured Israel and the Saudis that this interim and the final deal it presages are and will be good for them and that he will never allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon. Obama’s assurances, like his insistence that the military option is on his table, lack credibility. Israelis and Saudis surely know far better than Obama what their interests and concerns are and what Iran is capable of.
If the P5+1’s gambit to further their own interests proves successful, the sanction regime will collapse, even if Iran again demonstrates they cannot be trusted. Reinstating sanctions in that case will be impossible just as it is to get toothpaste back into the tube, especially when that tube is thrown away.
The P5+1, the UN and the EU have demonstrated that if, to further their own interests, they have to embrace an enemy and piss on friends, i.e. Israel and the Saudi Arabia, so be it. They are perfectly capable and willing to do just that.