Middle East has always served as a platform of conflict between different geopolitical players, trying to pursue their own interest in the region. Hence, any change happening in this region is essential from the perspectives of international peace and security. These change become more important when they are connected with such a major player as Iran.
Since the Iranian Revolution of the 1979, sanctions have been inseparable part of the policy conducted towards the Islamic Republic of Iran. As a coercive method, sanctions are to force the government of a country to make concessions altering their policies. According to the International Law, sanctions are considered to be the most common method to make a country accountable in case of breaking internationally recognized norms and principles.
If during 1980s the USA was the primary state imposing sanctions against Iran, then the situation changed, from 2005 to 2013, when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became the president of Iran. During his presidency Iran had a great progress in its nuclear program, becoming the 1st nation in the Middle-East with its own Atomic Energy Agency, which although,on one hand increased Iran’s regional status,on the other hand, became the main problem of the state. During this time the policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran led to the adoption of resolutions: 1696(2005), 1737(2006), 1747(2007), 1803(2008), 1835(2008), 1929(2010) by the Un Security Council. Yet, in July 2012, a new pack of sanctions were imposed by the EU.The main component of these sanctions was the oil embargo, exported from Iran to Europe. As a result of this, from the middle of 2012 till the beginning of 2014, the oil’s daily exportation from Iran was reduced twice.
As a result, in 2013 Iran’s economic situationhas experienced drastic fall. In one year, around 1200 companies were closed, increasing the number of unemployed people about 100000 times. Iran’s currency rate decreased rapidly, leading to high prices and striking the common citizens.
In the 1st decade of the 21stcentury, for its economic growth the Islamic Republic of Iran, according to the data of International Bank, was in the 2nd place among the countries of the Middle East and North Africa (states with low or middle profit), yielding only toJordan.But in 2013, Iran had one of the worst economies in the region, exceeding Syria and Lebanon, which currently face very difficult political situation. Though Iran said, it can’t have serious impact on its economy; nevertheless, in the beginning of 2013 even Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accepted the serious strike.
It is obviousthese sanctions had an aim to strike Iran’s economy, increasing a mass dissatisfaction against the leading regime of the country. There were protests in Iran in 2011-2012, the beginning of which acclaimed so called ‘’the day of anger’’,on February the 14th,2011.Nevertheless, no riots were to change the leading regime. So, when evaluating the productivity of sanctions, it is necessary to take the presidential elections into account, held on June the14th, 2013. Hassan Rouhani was elected as a president, with 50.88% of the vote. He was a reformist, former secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is interesting that his most important pre-election promise was the establishment of conversation with Western Nations. It is good to have our centrifuges running, provided people’s lives and livelihoods are also running in the direct position, – said Rouhani during a presidential debate.
Having the Support of Conservatives, the candidate Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf finished second with 16.46% of the vote. It is not that people were voting for Rouhani, they were voting against conservatives, who supported Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2005. At this time Iran faced economic crisis and international isolation: because of the deterioration of the country’s economy and various inserted sanctionspeople were against Ahmadinejad’s policy.Though the sanctions didn’t lead to riots, unable to change the leading regime, nevertheless, they increased distrust among the people towards the conservative’s policy.
The roots of today’s negotiation’s format go back to 2006, when China, Russia and the United States joined the EU -3 Countries, which had been negotiating with Iran since 2004-2005. They formed the P5 + 1 group, which actually comprised the five permanent members of UN Security Councilplus Germany. In recent years, regular attempts were held to make an agreement, both sides offered proposals, but they couldn’t come to an end lately. After presidential elections held in 2013, obvious changes took place in the negotiation process, when Iran was presented with a new team, with supremacy of Minister of Foreign Affairs Javad Zarif. Autumn, 2013 Iran introduced a new pack of proposals, concerning to the steps of both sides.As a result of the two-phase negotiation on November the 24th, Iranian Minister Javad Zarif and Catherine Ashton, leader of the P5+1 negotiating team, signed an agreement, called ‘’The Joint plan of Action’’. This intermediate agreement applies to the 1st round of the program, including six-month period. The agreement can be extended if 2 parties agree to renew it by ‘’mutual consent’’. The program assumes no further advances in nuclear activities and intensive growth of its international nuclear program. In the returncertain relief of sanctions has been assigned. After the departure of the program’s 1st round, positive changes were seen in the economy of Iran. If, as a result of the USA sanctions and UN embargo, the oil exportation from Iran composed daily around 700,000 barrel in May,2013, in return of 2.2 million in 2011, so after the ratification of ‘’The Joint plan’’ that number reached up to 1.38 million barrel n 2014.
Though, previously established terms were being delayed during the negotiations, nevertheless, on April the 2nd,2015 the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action framework was decided and the comprehensive program was ratified on July the 14th, 2015. The introduction of this agreement establishes the peaceful aim of the nuclear program of Iran. According to participants, the full implementation of this program will lead to international peace and security. Iran reestablishes, no matter the situation, it won’t try to develop or obtain nuclear power. The Joint Comprehensive plan of Action will impose sanctions by the UN Security Council, as well as sanctions invested by multilateral and separate countries will be suspended, including steps towardsthe attainability of trade, technology, financial and energy area.
Iran undertakes not todevelop nuclear weapon, as well as to restrict the production of uranium and plutonium. Iran undertakes neither to produce plutonium in the area of the Araq, nor to renovate it for the use of peaceful purposes. Iran also undertakes to restrict the enrichment of uranium up to 3.67% for 15 years, and separate works to enrich uranium will be held in the area of Natanz. In addition, for 25 years the IAEA will monitor Iran’s nuclear objects with the agreement of Iran. And Iran will supply the needed information. The inspectors of IEAE have the authority for entry to the military facility of Iran. However, Tehran can raise objection against this. In this situation this problem can be solved only by the Arbitration Committee.
The embargoarms would be preserved for 5 years in Iran. In case of verification actions by UNSC, however, the supply of arms could be possible.The embargo on import of ballistic rackets technologies could last another 8 years.
In case of not doing the commitments for 15 years of convention’s activity, sanctions could be lifted or reassert automatically. The Supervision of Convention will be implemented by Joint Committee, including Iran andPH+1 member countries. The EU high representative for foreign and security policy will deal with the coordination of Joint Commission.
Note, this whole program couldn’t be done without the agreement of Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Until very recently the Supreme Leader avoided announcing any decision about the Convention on the 14th of July. But the fact that the process was going on witnesses that Rouhani has the Supreme’s support. On Octoberof the 21st,2015the uncertainty ended. In a letter to president Rouhani, Khamenei declares the Convention, at the same time emphasizing that Tehran anticipates the lifting of all the sanctions, otherwise, Iran will reject the implementation of the convention.
Not only non effective governing, but also impose of sanctions greatly promoted to the deterioration of Iranian economy. But after the insertion of sanctions, Iran gradually tried to diversify its economy, exporting electronics,automobiles, building materials and other products to Middle East and Asian countries. Nowadays, around 60% of the Iranian exportation is non-oil and gas, allowing Iran to maintain the status of being middle profit country, even without oil exports. Being in the 2nd place, due to its natural gas reservoirs and in the 4rth place of its oil reservoir, Iran will look for new perspectives to be developed, if sanctions are lifted. According to the World Bank after lifting sanctions the oil profit of Iran will increase around 15 milliard dollars. Besides, foreign investments will help the Iranian economy to develop, reaching 305milliard dollars in few years according to the World Bank. Such changes will promote the growth of the Iran’s economy and the enlargement of its weight in the surrounding area. Attitudes of regional countries towards this may be various. Though, Turkey actively continues its economic cooperation with Iran, nevertheless, having really powerful economy, Iran could also have ambitions to be the 1st in the region, and this is what Turkey aims to reach.Iran’s long-standing enemy Sunni Saudi Arabia, may be represented with Israel as the primary enemy of the convention and even the union of 2 hostile countries is possible against the 3rd enemy,because after the lifting of sanctions, the oil would lose its price and this is, on one hand a really serious strike to the economy of Arabia and on the other hand, there is aconflict between Iran and Arabia. The last scheme, though, didn’t take place: during the meeting between President Obama and King of Saudi Arabia in September, 2015, it was founded that Saudi Arabia expresses their positive support for the nuclear cooperation, hoping that it will promote stability and security in the region.Such position changes, based on the anticipation of imports from the USA Cooperation are not excluded,drawing the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran into shadow. Virtually, after Saudi Arabia’s such position, Israel considers Iran just treaty to its security and remains the main opponent to the nuclear contract. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is sure, that this contract doesn’t prevent Iran from creating an atomic bomb, on the contrary, it opens a path towards it. And he qualifies this convention as ‘’historical fault’’. The Israeli elite is sure, that signing this contract will promote the expansion of terrorism and its funding growth in the Middle East and throughout the world. But even the Israeli Lobby was not able to disturb the establishment of the contract by the USA Congress, because theIsraeli people in America and in Israel have various positions about similar questions.
Concerning to the interest of regulating the relationships between the USA and Iran, then besides the profit of American Cooperation, the intention to support the military Shia community has great importance too. This Shia community struggles against the influence of the Islamic state of Iraq and Levant. Furthermore the lifting of economic sanctions, according to the World Bank may entail to the drop of oil prices around 14%, which is profitable for the USA, because it may make the economic situation of the Russian Federation more complicated. But all this doesn’t mean Iran will start considering the USA as allied state. The proof of this is the statement of Khamenei, in August 2015, where he points out that Iran will continue to be closed for the influence of the USA and will force against its policy in the Middle East. Ultimately, though the relationship between the USA and Iran has changed, nevertheless, the main purpose of Iran is still permanent: to lead position in a secure and stable Middle East and to keep it away from the influence of the West. Throughout the history Iran sought for the implementation of this purpose, being the main counterbalance of the influence of West in the territory.
Thus, after long-lasting decades the contract is nothing, but fact. In front of the world players and international importers, the 2nd biggest market with its 80million population opens in the Middle East. The Islamic Republic of Iran again becomes the full member of the global economy, having its influence on the world’s oil and gas market, at the same time changing the geopolitical position of the whole territory.
- Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action
- Кокошин, Богатуров, Мировая политика:теория, методология,прикладной анализ, 2005,
- Владимир Иваненко, Иран. Итоги правления М.Ахмадинежада и проблемы для нового президента, 2013
Author: Anna Gasparyan: © All rights are reserved:
Translated by Ashkhen Arakelyan