The United States has led the P5+1 in reaching a historic framework agreement with Iran over the future of its nuclear activities. UN and other sanctions will be lifted, in sequences yet to be determined, in return for measures and guarantees that will restrict to at least a year Iran’s so-called “breakout” capability, i.e., Iran’s ability to break its international agreements (including the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty, to which it is a party) and race to build a nuclear weapon.
The “framework agreement” signed on April 2, 2015 does not resolve all questions, but includes agreement on many major issues. The parties have set themselves a deadline of June 30, 2015 for reaching a final, definitive agreement.
One of the most significant aspects of the last year of negotiations has been a growing relationship by which problems can be addressed through serious discussions. Slowly, the parties are learning to trust each other while dealing effectively with critics at home and abroad.
The interim agreement builds momentum for reaching the final agreement, which if consumated would constitute President Barack Obama’s greatest foreign policy achievement since assuming office in January, 2009.
The timing of the agreement is doubly propitious.
The celebration of Nowruz or the Persian New Year takes place for 13 days following the vernal equinox, which this year was on March 21 in Iran. It is a celebration of “out with the old and in with the new”. Evil spirits are exiled from the home, new clothes are worn, and Persian families visit each other at each others’ homes throughout the period of celebration.
In the West, Easter is celebrated as a time of hope and redemption.
Both are celebrations of life and hope for the future, as Spring in the northern hemispere begins.
For Iranian reactions to the agreement, see
(1) “Iran-P5+1 agreement seeks removal of sanctions, not suspension: Rouhani, Press TV (Tehran), April 5, 2015 (1:3PM).
(2) “Iran top general hails nuclear success in talks with P5+1,” Press TV, April 5, 2015 (3:27PM).
“A senior Iranian military official has heaped praise on the country’s negotiating team for emerging successful in talks with the P5+1 group in Switzerland, expressing hope that a final agreement would be reached soon.
“In a message to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on Sunday, Iranian Armed Forces’ Chief of Staff Major General Hassan Firouzabadi said the 1979 Islamic Revolution’s progressive movement is continuing “strongly and successfully” thanks to the Leader’s guidelines.
“He congratulated Ayatollah Khamenei and the Iranian nation on the breakthrough and praised efforts by President Hassan Rouhani and Iran’s nuclear negotiating team led by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.”
(3) “Iran, P5+1 joint statement calling for removal of all anti-Iran sanctions,” Press TV, April 2, 2015 (5:38PM).
For details of the agreement and how it is being portrayed at home by both sides, see
Michael R. Gordon, “Outline of Iran Nuclear Deal Sounds Different From Each Side,” New York Times, April 4, 2015.
With this hopeful development, perhaps thbe world’s leaders can now turn their thoughts from visions of war, which have dominated their thinking in recent years, to visions of peace and how to turn them into reality.
The Trenchant Observer