By Jayantha Dhanapala* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint
KANDY, Sri Lanka (IDN) - Even cynics must admit that the time comes in international relations when long frozen situations suddenly thaw causing positive change for international peace and security. Examples of such “game-changers” are many but outstanding are (in chronological order): U.S. President Richard Nixon's 1972 visit to China; the 1978 Camp David Agreement on the Middle East; the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 signifying the end of the Cold War; and President Willelm de Klerk’s release of Nelson Mandela in 1990 leading to the final dismantlement of apartheid in South Africa in 1994.
We have been fortunate to witness two of such dramatic events in quick succession in 2013. There was, in September, the agreement on Syria’s chemical weapons and although the Syrian civil war continues its bloody course the worst is seemingly over and we are headed towards the Geneva II Conference announced for the end of January 2014.
By Robert A. Manning* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
WASHINGTON (IDN | Yale Global) - The debate over the nuclear deal with Iran may obscure an intriguing new reality: Iran approaching a “Gorbachev Moment.” Of course, the skeptics may be right. It could all be a ruse, with Iran pocketing the benefits and biding its time. But is it just possible that the logic leading Iran to temper its nuclear ambitions is the result of a perfect storm of sanctions wrecking a grossly mismanaged economy, internal political shifts and Persian Imperial Overstretch?
The interim accord restricts Iran’s enrichment to 5 percent; neutralizes its stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium, easily refined to weapons grade; halts key elements of construction of Arak, its plutonium-producing facility; and provides adequate International Atomic Energy Agency verification, though that needs to be more intrusive in a final agreement, lending confidence of early warning in the event of any nuclear breakout. The accord offers Iran only modest sanctions relief, maintaining incentives for a comprehensive deal. This may be all the political traffic will bear.
Some would resist any deal that doesn’t completely dismantle Iran’s nuclear program. But there is also danger that, if the US is viewed as rejecting a reasonable compromise, the global coalition putting the sanctions in place could unravel.
By Said Khaloozadeh* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
TEHRAN (IDN | Iran Review) – The signing of the agreement between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the member states of the P5+1 group of world powers, first of all scored a victory for a negotiated and diplomatic approach over the policy of sanctions and mounting pressure.
Foreign ministers from six major world powers – the US, the UK, France, Germany, China, Russia – and Iran reached the conclusion in the morning of November 24, 2013, that it was better for everybody to sign an agreement, which would put an end to ten years of difficult diplomatic confrontation between the two sides. It seemed that everybody had won.
By Richard Johnson | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
BRUSSELS (IDN) – The Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND), a regional network, working in 12 Arab countries with seven national networks, has criticised the 28-nation European Union’s response to democratic transformations in the Arab Region.
The EU had launched a set of initiatives to support transitions in the Arab region, thus reassessing its previous policies, “which turned a blind eye to dealings with authoritarian and repressive regimes and sacrificed the values of freedom and democracy in order to maintain security and stability and energy resources”, ANND said in a statement.
By Abbas Maleki* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
TEHRAN (IDN | Iran Review) – The Islamic Republic of Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) reached a historical agreement on Iran's nuclear energy program in the early hours of November 24, 2013.
By Zachary Fillingham* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
TORONTO (IDN) - A preliminary deal has been reached between the P5+1 parties and Iran, establishing a series of restrictions on the country’s nuclear program in exchange for a partial reduction of the sanctions that have decimated the Iranian economy. The agreement represents a breakthrough in U.S.-Iranian diplomacy since the 1979 Revolution, and the new normal it envisions could have a profound impact on not just the geopolitical reality of the Middle East, but the global economy as well.
The deal was helped along by secret talks between U.S. and Iranian representatives – another exceptional event given the disregard and mistrust that generally passes for bilateral exchange between the two countries.
By Manish Rai* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
NEW DELHI (IDN) - While efforts are underway to make a peace conference on Syria possible, the surrounding atmospheres are not encouraging as opposition groups in the Syrian conflict seem to still have reservations and preconditions.
The Western-backed Syrian National Coalition (SNC), the main opposition group in exile, threw a monkey wrench into the planned peace talks in Geneva saying that it won't attend the Geneva II peace conference unless there's a strict timetable for President Bashar al-Assad to leave power.
By Jaya Ramachandran | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
BERLIN | TEHRAN (IDN) - France is concerned about its declining influence in the Middle East and fears economic competition from the U.S., Britain and Germany if relations between Tehran and the West are normalized for the first time since the 1979 Iranian revolution. This, according to a senior Iranian analyst, is the reason French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius appeared to adopt a tough stance in Iran’s talks with the P5+1 – the UN Security Council’s permanent members, the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China along with Germany – on November 9-10 in Geneva.
By Alireza Noori* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
TEHRAN (IDN | Iran Review) - Although the idea of possible re-establishment of Iran's relations with the United States is still at the stage of early speculations and does not seem to be realized even in the medium term, the mere mention of this issue has been followed by different analysis about the possibility of an Iran-U.S. détente and its outcomes. Among all other issues, relations between Tehran and Moscow will be certainly affected by such a development.
By Hassan Beheshtipour* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
TEHRAN (IDN | Iran Review) - The fourth round of negotiations between representatives of Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers (USA, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany), which ended on October 16, 2013, was a great leap ahead for both sides and a solid measure aimed at mutual trust building.
The two-day talks in Geneva were very remarkable for the Iranian side because serious negotiations had gotten underway again after a hiatus of several months. By offering a new proposal which was too attractive for the Western states to reject, Iran proved that it is ready to reach a comprehensive and complete understanding with the West over its peaceful nuclear energy program.
By Nasser Saghafi-Ameri* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
TEHRAN (IDN | Iran Review) - After nearly 35 years of estrangement between Iran and the United States, a short phone call between President Rouhani and President Obama on September 27, 2013 culminated into a marathon diplomacy which started few days earlier at the United Nations and following the blessing of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei in what he qualified as 'Heroic Flexibility'.