Geneva Smiles to Peace and Happy Ending

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Yousef Mowlaei
Tehran University Professor of International Law

Like a globetrotting tourist, Iran's nuclear case has traveled far and wide, has been discussed behind many closed doors and in various circles, has trod many red carpets, and has been negotiated behind different tables with different degrees of decorum. This case has been associated with many secrets, narrations, ups and downs as well as hostilities and reconciliations. It has accounted for the lion’s share of diplomatic negotiations at international level since the beginning of the 21st century and this is why it is full of untold stories and is characterized by many big names that have imparted a great deal of fame to the Iranian nuclear case. [Former British foreign secretary] Jack Straw; [former prime minister of France] Dominique de Villepin; [former German foreign minister] Joschka Fischer; [former European Union foreign policy chief] Javier Solana; [former director general of International Atomic Energy Agency] Mohammad ElBaradei; and [the incumbent EU foreign policy chief] Catherine Ashton represent some of those big names. This case helped ElBaradei to win a Nobel Peace Prize and helped [the incumbent Iranian President Hassan] Rouhani to achieve his great wish. The case is apparently trying to register more big names in the history of world diplomacy as it moves along.

This case enjoys such high potentials for media publicity that even the back pain of [Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad] Zarif turned into sensational news for media outlets. The case has been also marked with acts of mischief which are, at times, very funny and a cause for laughter. No other subject could have made the world people laugh more than kindergarten-grade paintings drawn by [the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu on Iran's nuclear energy program [which he showed to the participants of last year’s annual session of the United Nations General Assembly]. This case still continues to be the greatest nightmare of Netanyahu’s life. He has frankly described a possible nuclear deal between Iran and the world powers as a “bad deal.” If such a deal is actually struck, he would probably declare public mourning for the rest of his life! The Iranian nuclear case has been hosted by many cities around the world with each city hoping to be the place where the biggest diplomatic turning point of the century will come about. However, it seems that the Swiss city of Geneva has been destined to be that place where Iran's nuclear case may finally lead to an agreement.

The second round of nuclear talks under the 11th Iranian administration has been apparently marked with unprecedented achievements and has been able, in its course, to create an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect between the two negotiating sides. The creation of a positive atmosphere following more than 10 years of distrust and suspicion, will pave the way for reaching a final agreement. The main concern of the international community, which is legally represented by the 5+1 group of world powers, is to make sure about the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear activities. To achieve that goal, they have been looking for an effective supervisory mechanism within which they would be able to thoroughly monitor Iran's nuclear activities and be convinced about their transparent nature. On the contrary, Iran expects the international community to recognize its right to carry out peaceful nuclear activities, including conventional enrichment of uranium, and show respect for that right.

The demands and concerns put forth by the negotiating parties are logically remarkable and there is no contradiction among them. The international community, in line with the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), should not only recognize Iran's right to use peaceful nuclear energy, but should also fulfill its commitment for engaging in constructive cooperation with Iran for the transfer of necessary technical know-how to the country. On the other hand, the negotiating parties should be also able to make sure about the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear energy program, again within the framework of the NPT and mechanisms worked out by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Therefore, provided that an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect exists, it would not be difficult to come up with a technical mechanism which will be able to address supervisory concerns of the international community. On the backdrop of an international atmosphere of trust and goodwill, Iran would never consider logical and conventional inspections of its nuclear sites as a threat to or violation of its national sovereignty right. On the other hand, by recognizing Iran's right to engage in peaceful nuclear activities and through gradual lifting of sanctions against the Islamic Republic, the international community will be able to prove its goodwill and obtain Iran's permission for logical and conventional inspections of the country’s industrial and research centers related to its nuclear energy program.

It seems that by presenting a transparent and applicable road map, the Iranian negotiating team has managed to provide strong foundations for further cooperation between the two sides without withdrawing even an iota from its legal rights within the framework of international law. The road map has been probably devised in such a way as to help both sides get closer to their demands, and by fulfilling their commitments, gradually give the opposite party the necessary guarantees that they need in order to make achievement of a final agreement possible. In this way, when the deal is done, the two sides will be able to press each other’s hands with total satisfaction accompanied with diplomatic smiles. As a result of that deal, a big part of sanctions against Iran will be removed and the Islamic Republic will be able to go on with its nuclear activities, including conventional enrichment of uranium, without having to suffer international pressures. Iran will be also able to take advantage of nuclear cooperation with other countries. The international community will continue monitoring, inspection, and verification of Iran's nuclear activities in order to make sure about their peaceful nature. The final outcome of all these developments will be establishment of peace and security across the region.

It goes without saying that when it is evident that rationalism and pacifism are going to win and prevail, those countries, which seek insecurity and unrest in the region, will resort to any tactics in order to make up for their defeat. These are exactly the same countries that used Iran's nuclear case as an excuse in order to isolate the country and have, thus, caused many economic problems and difficulties for both the Iranian government and nation. Therefore, through covert and overt obstructionism, they will be trying to put serious obstacles on the way of a historical agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group. In their effort to do so, they will also bank on uncalculated and emotional measures taken by certain social groups in Iran. Therefore, it is incumbent on the Iranian nation to remain united and support Mr. Rouhani and their country’s negotiating team in their efforts to meet and protect the national interests of Iran. If the road map proposed by Iran in Geneva is accepted as the basis and bedrock of any future agreement, the forthcoming rounds of negotiations will certainly focus on technical issue as well as executive and legal mechanisms. Although this process is marked with special difficulties and subtleties, negotiations could be very encouraging and constructive if they were carried out in the context of creating mutual trust and optimism. Let’s not forget that although the finish line in a marathon match is visible, runners should take calculated, calm steps and keep much of their respiratory capacity for the end of the race. In the same way, in diplomacy, all developments should be monitored through optimism laced with a certain degree of caution.

Key Words: Geneva Talks, Iran, P5+1,  Peace, NPT, IAEA, US, Optimism, Sanctions, Mowlaei

Source: Shargh Daily
Translated By: Iran Review.Org

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