Iran Deal: Vienna Agreement, JCPOA

Following on from our two recent posts (The Iran Deal: Diplomacy Update and Iran Nuclear Deal: Challenges and Opportunities) it is worth noting that the text of the germane Vienna Agreement (or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)). We take the present opportunity to apprise our readers about this hugely important instrument of change in the international world order. As we saw in our series of posts, the deal between the United States, Germany, Britain, China, Russia, France, the European Union and Iran – which ambitiously aims to draw the poison out of the West’s relations with Iran – can be quite misunderstood. Those who want to wreck the deal think that Tehran has been given carte blanche to propagate fundamentalism and to expand its support of terrorism. However, the mood is decidedly different in Iran itself because hardliners – who see the pact as dovish capitulation – accuse their government of ceding too much ground. In fact, president Hassan Rouhani and foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif are internally under attack for appeasing the Americans (the Great Satan) and making overtures to evil Europeans. For example, it is proving hard for Rouhani and Zarif to justify placing two-thirds of their country’s 19,500 centrifuges in storage and it is equally difficult to pacify the hawks about why Iran should be compelled to export 98 percent of its stockpile of low enriched uranium under the JCPOA. Iranian hardliners are at pains to understand why their country’s interests should be made usufruct to the wider regional hegemony of the West. However, Iran and the UK reached a milestone when British foreign secretary Philip Hammond reopened the British embassy in Tehran on 21 August 2015 almost four years after it was trashed by a Basiji mob of Iranian students who burned the Union Jack and vandalised diplomatic premises. As he said about Iran:

What I’ve seen is a perfectly normal, bustling dynamic, entrepreneurial, thrusting, middle-income developing country that clearly has enormous potential, not a regimented, disciplined society under the thumb of the authority.

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