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History has been made, but will Iran turn a page?

President Obama has the deal with Iran and now his task is to sell it to the U.S. Congress

Camelia Entekhabi-Fard

Published: Updated:

President Obama has the deal with Iran and now his task is to sell it to the U.S. Congress. Iran and the six negotiating world powers succeed in reaching the final agreement on Iran’s nuclear program on July 14 and put an end to almost two years of tough negotiations. The two lead negotiators of Iran and the U.S., Mohammad Javad Zarif and John Kerry, camped in Vienna for more than two weeks to make the deal possible.

The agreement came when Iran finally agreed to accept the NPT fully and gave access to the IAEA inspectors whom are requesting that particular sites be inspected. These inspections of military sites was a main sticking point, along with the arms embargo.

Now history has made and it’s up to Tehran to seize the opportunity

Camelia Entekhabi-Fard

Despite Chinese and Russian pressure to lift the arms embargo along with the other sanctions imposed by the U.N. Security Council, they didn’t succeed.

Surprise

Many observers were surprised when they heard Iran agreed to the continuation of the arms embargo for five years and missile embargo for another eight years. The deal reduces the number of Iranian centrifuges by two-thirds. It also places bans on enrichment at key facilities, and limits uranium research and development at the Natanz facility.

Secretary Kerry held a long briefing for the media on Tuesday mainly to satisfy this deal’s opponents. In Iran, with the same goal but a different type of opponents, President Rowhani mainly concentrated on the good portion of the deal which was the removal of all sanctions.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action includes Iran’s own long-term plan with agreed limitations on Iran’s nuclear program, and will produce the comprehensive lifting of all U.N. Security Council sanctions as well as multilateral and national sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear program. This also included steps on access in areas of trade, technology, finance, and energy.

“The relief from sanctions will only start when Tehran has met its key initial nuclear commitments – for example, when it has removed the core from the Arak reactor; when it has dismantled the centrifuges that it has agreed to dismantle; when it has shipped out the enriched uranium that it has agreed to ship out. When these and other commitments are met, the sanctions relief will then begin to be implemented in phases.” Secretary Kerry said.

He also mentioned the U.S.’s key allies - the Gulf countries - and Israel whom accordingly had been opposing the nuclear deal with Iran due to fears they had of Iran’s regional expansion and its possible aggression in a post-nuclear deal Middle East.

No frills

Kerry says this agreement is only about the nuclear issue and nothing else: “From the very beginning of this process, we have considered not only our own security concerns, but also the serious and legitimate anxieties of our friends and our allies in the region… And that has certainly been the case in recent days as we worked to hammer out the final details.”
The world welcomed the Iran nuclear deal with caution, especially Iran’s neighbors as they want to see what will happen in the coming months. There are some hopes that with the implementation of the nuclear agreement, Iran may shift its regional policy to a different and more cooperative path.

Now history has made and it’s up to Tehran to seize the opportunity to open a new chapter or remain on the same page as the opportunity has been given.

“No part of this agreement relies on trust. It is all based on thorough and extensive transparency and verification measures that are included in very specific terms in the annexes of this agreement. If Iran fails to comply, we will know it, because we’re going to be there – the international community, through the IAEA and otherwise – and we will know it quickly, and we will be able to respond accordingly.” Kerry said at the Austria EU press center on Tuesday July 13.

Zarif, upon his departure from Austria to Iran, told a group of Iranian reporters: “If the U.S. doesn't honor its commitment, they will lose a great and historic opportunity…”

The deal caps uranium enrichment at 3.67 percent and limits the stockpile to 300 kg, all for 15 years. The agreement reached is to be taken to the U.S. Congress for the final approval.

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Camelia Entekhabi-Fard is a journalist, news commentator and writer who grew up during the Iranian Revolution and wrote for leading reformist newspapers. She is also the author of Camelia: Save Yourself by Telling the Truth - A Memoir of Iran. She lives in New York City and Dubai. She can be found on Twitter: @CameliaFard

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.