History has been made, ensuring a cherished place for US President Barack Obama for taking the biggest diplomatic gamble of his presidency by defying sceptics and going ahead with the Iran nuclear deal. The deal signals an end to Tehran’s international isolation, with Mr Obama underscoring that it wasn’t just trust that drove him into a path-breaking rapprochement with Tehran, but the operative mantra of verification that underpins this historic moment that could remap the geopolitical landscape of the volatile Middle East.
In his address on the Iran-P5+1 Deal, President Obama said the deal has paved a New Way Forward and hailed in a messianic tone that the step represented the journey towards a “more hopeful world.” In a similar vein, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani struck an optimistic note, saying that the deal proved that “constructive engagement works”.
“This deal offers an opportunity to move in a new direction,” Obama said, adding: “We should seize it.”
The deal envisages the lifting of sanctions imposed on Tehran by the United States, European Union and United Nations in return for Iran delivering on long-term curbs on a nuclear programme that has been suspected by the West of creating a nuclear arsenal in a volatile region.
Mr Obama said that every pathway to a nuclear weapon is cut off for Iran and stressed that this deal was not built on trust, but on verification. Taking a subtle dig at the US Congress, he said this is not the time for politics or posturing and he wouldn’t hesitate in vetoing any measure that prevents the deal.
“As Iran takes steps to implement the agreement, sanctions imposed by the United States and U.N. Security Council would be lifted. If Iran violates the accord, sanctions will “snap back,” the president said. While welcoming a debate in the Congress on the deal, the President of the United States said it would be irresponsible to walk away from the deal. He also added that it is in the nation’s security interest to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and that without a diplomatic solution, the likelihood of a war in the Middle East would only escalate, as other nations would be interested in pursuing their nuclear programmes.
While Iran would take steps to implement the agreement, the sanctions would be lifted by the UN, but Obama warned Iran that any violation of the deal and the sanctions would be snapped back again. The deal is seen as Obama’s biggest Foreign Policy legacy till date and if it passes through the Congress, history would judge Obama for changing the course in Middle East and a victory for diplomacy over war.
(Sridhar Ramaswamy contributed inputs for this article)
- Manish Chand is Founder-CEO and Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network (www.indiawrites.org) and India and World, a pioneering magazine focused on international affairs. He is CEO/Director of TGII Media Private Limited, an India-based media, publishing, research and consultancy company.