Antonis H. Diamataris/TNH Publisher-Editor
Hundreds of Iranians rushed to greet the Iranian negotiating team at the airport in Tehran, cheering them as national heroes when they returned from sealing a deal with the six powers of the world to ease up on sanctions imposed because of the country’s burgeoning nuclear program.
They were probably put up to it by the Islamist establishment, but they may have included some prudent Iranian citizens who see that their future depends on normalizing relations with the West.
The economic sanctions against Iran have hit its citizens hard. The official inflation rate has reached 40 percent, decimating the middle class.
But the West is also paying a heavy price for the imposition of the measures. The exclusion of Iranian oil from the international market increases the price of the valuable commodity.
After news of the deal, the price of crude began to drop, and bigger reductions are forecast in the coming months as a result of the new developments.
The agreement that has been reached is temporary. But it is important because it has come despite a bitter 30-year rivalry between the two countries. A leap to an immediate agreement was impossible.
Yet, even though it is a temporary agreement, the world is safer. It failed, however, to eliminate the possibility that Iran could produce nuclear weapons that is a necessary condition for ensuring long-term peace in the region and the full integration of Iran into the international system.
And there is no doubt that unless Iran provides tangible proof of good faith, the Israelis are right to ask for the elimination of all the elements of nuclear bomb building.
However, the alternative of increasingly tougher sanctions would have led to the submission of an ancient, proud people and an angry, uncontrolled reaction.
Surely the Israelis feel betrayed by Obama, who went ahead – along with Germany, England, France, Russia and China – with the agreement despite Israeli objections (and the similar reaction of Saudi Arabia.) But Tel Aviv must acknowledge that these countries have interests that have been neglected for many years.
It is difficult for other nations to accept the demand to not explore the diplomatic opening made possible by the change of government in Iran, and to ignore the suffering the sanctions are causing its people
The deal, it must be emphasized, is temporary. If the Iranians implement the accord – and do not doubt that America will fasten keen eyes on them – then more of the economic sanctions will be lifted.
But if they do not go through with it then the penalties will be swift and debilitating, and Israel will have to take the law into its own hands.