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January 27, 2015 3:56 pm

How to Achieve a Nuclear Deal With Iran

avatar by Behrooz Behbudi

Opinion

From the Oval Office, U.S. President Barack Obama speaks on the phone with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sept. 27, 2013. Credit: Pete Souza/White House.

In Washington, President Obama is opposing a new push by Republicans and Democrats in Congress for another round of sanctions on the Iranian economy. In Tehran, President Rouhani is desperate to get the existing sanctions removed.

“I will veto a bill [for new sanctions] that comes to my desk,” President Obama said in response to a question at a joint news conference with visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron. He also reiterated this pledge during the State of the Union. Obama has said that he wants to continue with the current negotiations “until they play out.”

The latest threat to the success of a nuclear deal with Iran comes on the heels of the Paris atrocities, which have once again shown how the bloody Middle Eastern politics and conflicts are now spilling over into Western capitals.

It goes without saying that the type of terrorism that the world is now facing has its roots in state sponsored ideologies, with the Iranian regime as one of its instigators.

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With its heavy military involvement in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and North Africa, the Iranian regime regards itself as the bastion of “revolutionary Islam” in opposing the influence of the conservative Arab Sunni states.

The general view in Washington is that with President Hassan Rouhani in power, the Western world has found a political partner in Iran who is willing to bring peace, and make a compromise on the nuclear issue.

Perhaps it is true that Rouhani, in fear of an economic collapse of the Islamic Republic under the sanctions, might be willing to make such a compromise. However, he only represents one faction of the Islamic Republic. The other faction, led by the Supreme Leader Khamenei and his close ideological associates among the top brass of the Revolutionary Guard, see an eventual nuclear deal with the West as the beginning of the end of their political power in Iran.

A close look at the record of Rouhani’s government so far tells us that he has not been able to deliver any major social or economic reforms to the Iranian society because of Khamenei’s opposition. “The post of President in Iran is nothing more than a subordinate of the Supreme Leader,” former reformist president Mohammad Khatami once said in justifying his own failures.

With this reality, even if Obama succeeds in reaching a “deal,” there is no guarantee it will last.

World powers need to ensure that any such deal, once agreed to, will also be signed by Ayatollah Khamenei and the commanders of the Revolutionary Guard. It is only then and there that these true holders of power in Iran can demonstrate their commitment to peace in the Middle East, and prosperity for the Iranian people.

Dr. Behrooz Behbudi is the founding president of both the Centre for Democratic Iran (CDI), a non-profit organisation whose mission is to promote and pursue an independent, peaceful and democratic Iran, and Global Unity Partnership, a Canadian-based nonprofit body that provides humanitarian relief to the people of countries affected by war or natural disasters.


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