The Iranian flag waves in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency headquarters in Vienna, Austria. File photo: REUTERS/LEONHARD FOEGER
The Iranian flag waves in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency headquarters in Vienna, Austria. File photo: REUTERS/LEONHARD FOEGER

The Iran nuclear deal is something to celebrate for diplomatic solutions. Iran is a beautiful country and has a great culture. I hope it will help restore peace in the region after so much suffering at tragic human cost.

For more than three decades, Iran and the US have been blood enemies. Their hatred, like the hatred between the Palestinians and the Israelis, has framed the Middle East’s alliances and fuelled terror and war. The interim deal over Iran’s nuclear programme has not undone that — far from it. But through the keyhole it offers a glimpse of a different, better Middle East. It is a vision worth striving for.

Doing anything with Iran is a gamble, but in the short term there is not much for the West to lose. The big face-saving concession to Iran is that the regime is permitted to continue enriching uranium. But the enrichment will be only to the 5% civilian level, and Iran has agreed to daily inspections of its nuclear facilities, to monitoring by cameras and to opening up more of its sites.

If the regime makes a dash for a bomb the world can find out soon enough to take action. If talks break down Iran will not be much closer to having a bomb than it is today, and further away than it would have been without a deal.

Iran is a country of 80-million people with a rich imperial history: it is also the most important Shia Muslim power. If it changes its outlook the whole of the Middle East will change with it. Imagine that Iran one day concluded that spreading mayhem ultimately tends to create trouble at home and began to view its neighbours in terms of opportunities rather than threats. That would do more for the security of Israel and Saudi Arabia than any number of weapons agreements.

It is a fantasy to imagine that more sanctions or harsher negotiations could have produced a deal that was much better than this one. The alternative was not for Iran to abandon its nuclear programme, but for the US to abandon diplomacy. It is already clear that the risks are low and the alternative is worse. 

Samaoen Osman, Crawford 

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