The nuclear deal is now a reality and should be dealt with as a fait accompli. Even before getting into the details of the deal between Iran and the US, we should be aware that significant historical change is looming. The question is: Which direction will it take Iran and take the Arab world to?
Fully understanding and analyzing this deal will take a little time, as it needs considering various aspects. This includes the deal’s consequences on Iran itself and countries in the region. This deal might also ignite an arms race, most probably nuclear. We should assess its impact on the Arab world’s ties with the West and on the ongoing sectarian conflicts. The door behind which Iran was imprisoned by the world is about to open. However, we cannot be certain which direction the free Iran will now take, especially that we had complained about this when Iran was still controlled.
Indeed, it’s wrong to build policies on assumptions and analyze them as proven facts. The agreement may be a victory for the Iranian regime over its rivals within and without, but it may turn out to be a submissive deal. If halting Iran’s nuclear project, for the moment, results in just the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions and setting Iran free to become a major regional power, we will be then embarking on a more serious crisis.
Nevertheless, if halting Iran’s nuclear project results in the freezing of Iran’s militarized nuclear activities, controlled by the lifting of western sanctions, and an end to political antagonism against Iran, then we would be witnessing positive progress. It would mean that Iran has finally surrendered and is poised to become, like any other peace-loving country in the region such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
The difference between the two outcomes is huge. The majority of observers I have talked to tend to expect the first scenario, which means that Iran has accepted to abandon its military nuclear project in exchange for the lifting of restrictions on its armament and conventional military activity: This is the part that worries the Arab countries. As for Israel, it is afraid of the nuclear side. It believes that this deal would stop Iran from building a nuclear bomb, but it does not stop it from remaining “qualified” to acquire nukes in future. This deal allows Iran to keep its nuclear production chain. It will still have the knowledge and tools but it will be under supervision so as not to produce a nuclear weapon.
Iran’s nuclear submission to the West would unleash its confined desires. In order to understand that idea, I will compare the Obama administration’s policy toward the Syrian regime’s crimes. It was against the use of gas and chemical weapons but did not pay the same attention to around a quarter of a million people killed by explosive barrels, guns and tanks. Now, Iran is outside its prison and will be able to buy advanced weapons, build oil facilities, trade in dollars, and at a later stage, it may be partly or fully allied to the West, similar to its cooperation with the West in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This change could open up the appetite of the Iranian regime, which does not need a nuclear bomb to control large key areas. The regime suffers from a “major regional country” complex and might have plans for further adventures.
This deal might enhance its influence on the external level but won’t necessarily serve the regime inside Iran. Ayatollah’s regime has weakened over time. The deal requires the openness of the regime, however Iran is not ready for it yet and could face what happened to the Soviet Union after the deals to reduce its nuclear arsenal and be cooperative with the West: It rapidly collapsed. The other possibility is that the deal serves a regime that has been weakened by 30 years of isolation and is now politically drained; the deal would then give the Iranian regime the kiss of life. But most probably the agreement will slowly change Iran, similarly to what happened in China, where the communist structure governed the country without communism.