My Personal opinion on Iran’s Nuclear Deal
On the surface, the deal for most Western leaders looks good. The West has nothing to lose but everything to gain from this deal. The major nuclear suppliers and corporations which are housed in the West gain money and business. There is no risk involved as the inspection standards are pretty strict. The West also gets to clean up its image of being anti-Muslim. It also gets a strong hold in the Middle East as Iran is close to Afghanistan and Pakistan, gets to check Chinese and Russian presence in the region and above all make huge amounts of money.
Iran on the other hand gets to keep its nuclear program, albeit a limited one. Also, Iran acquires first rate technology, improves its energy security and currency reserves and gets a tremendous boost in its economy.
For Israel, Iran does not have a very good track record when it comes to nuclear technology as it has in the past tried to build bombs by importing technology from all sorts of rogue nations like Pakistan and North Korea. Plus Iran’s major population is Muslim and Israel is always wary of that because it thinks that after all, Iran’s support to Arabs may put Gaza and Israel at stake. More… and to a number of Israelis in leadership position, a nuclear Iran is an existential threat to the Jewish state as Iran has warned Israel numerous times in the past of “total obliteration”.
For Saudi Arabia, the deal effectively changes the balance of power in the Middle East and makes Iran a major player. The deal also empowers Iran to directly challenge the Gulf countries at large and Saudi in particular regarding their oil exports thus hurting their respective economies. Also classic Shia-Sunni rivalry. Iran is majority Shia and Saudi is majority Sunni. For some time India and China continued buying oil from Iran bypassing the dollar but with time the sanctions started to hurt. Late 2010, Iran exports fell drastically. Now the removal of these sanction puts Iran back in the race. No wonder why the Saudis hate this deal.
For Iraqis, they think the Iran nuclear deal will mean unchecked Iranian influence in the country. Those favoring the deal – mostly Shia Muslims – suggest that a better relationship between Iran and the United States would improve security in their own country, where competition between US-backed Sunni and Iran-backed Shia proxies often contributes to instability. Detente between Iran and the United States – Iraq’s two strongest allies – could allay sectarian conflict and unify resistance to the Islamic State, their argument goes. And those opposed to the deal – most often Sunni Muslims – argue that the agreement gives Iran the right to interfere in Iraq without any US opposition.
What worries me most?
It is really how Iran could use its windfall.
If Iran follows the same status-quo path as in the past, the vast majority of its windfall would be used for domestic purposes, but some greater proportion could also be spent on foreign adventurism. Over the past few years, Iran’s decision makers have put billions of dollars into their drive for regional influence despite being tightly constrained by sanctions, showing the high priority they have placed on that goal. Perhaps their priorities will change once a nuclear deal is reached, but that assumption is more than a little optimistic.
Iran is a substantial economic power that has developed inexpensive ways to challenge the US-aligned camp, from soft-power broadcasting and bribes to low-cost tools of war such as terrorism and extremist militias. Therefore, the constraints on its foreign policy have not been, and are unlikely to be, primarily economic.
Tehran’s calculations about whether to be even more assertive abroad are less likely to be influenced by economic calculations than by the prospects it sees for political success of one form or another, e.g., increased influence in the countries where it intervenes or domestic reinforcement of the leadership’s position.
Bottom Line: Majority Persian Iran has cast an enormous shadow on the neighboring Arab world, in part by playing on the centuries-old split between Sunni and Shiite Muslims.
It has a powerful proxy militia in Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah group, which it arms, funds, trains, and guides. This has helped Lebanon‘s Shiites — who enjoy a plurality over the Sunni Muslims, Christians, and the Druze — rule the country with an “iron fist”. It has kept Syria’s Bashar Assad — whose minority Alawite sect is a Shiite offshoot — in power by direct financial backing and by having Hezbollah fight alongside his forces.
I hope the next US President in the making is aware of all the nuances still undercover.
God help us all.