A bad deal with Iran is better than no deal

Some say that France played the role of bad cop during last week’s P5+1 meeting with Iran in Geneva

Camelia Entekhabi-Fard

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As soon as French President Hollande landed in Israel on Sunday for an official state visit, he said a nuclear Iran poses a threat to Israel and to the entire world.

According to the Iranian press and diplomats, France played the role of bad cop during last week’s P5+1 meeting with Iran in Geneva. The issue of contention was the nuclear file, France opposed a deal in its final stages.

There is a large possibility that Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, Russia, China, U.S., France, UK and Germany, will reach a deal on Nov. 20.

It is prudent to speculate what will happen if such a deal is not reached, and if the talks fail.

France apparently expressed Iran’s Arab neighbors’ concerns, and also Israel’s, when it opposed the near-agreement concerning Iran’s nuclear program.

Still, we do not know of Iran’s Arab neighbors’ concerns were sincerely expressed by France. If the negotiation fails, the only option left on the table for Iran and the United Sates is nothing other than confrontation.

Any war in our region can damage the financial growth of booming economies such as the UAE’s, Qatar’s and Saudi Arabia’s and affect the entire region.

The eight years of the Iraq/Iran war were enough to damage the region’s economy and tourism sector. Any new war would jeopardize the tourism sector in the UAE and Qatar, both countries rely on this as a source of income.

However, for Israel the case is very different. Actually the best deal for them is nothing but war! Israel’s main concern is Iran’s nuclear program, but their other concern is the possible resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians.

For Israel, a U.S. war with Iran means Obama’s administration would be occupied for at least a couple of years

Camelia Entekhabi-Fard

For Israel, a U.S. war with Iran means Obama’s administration would be occupied for at least a couple of years. Even if the Americans only decide to target Iran’s nuclear complexes, the U.S. would still be swamped with the consequences for a long time to come.

A two year occupation of Iran means Obama would run out of time and he would not be able to oversee the resumption of Israeli/Palestinian peace talks before the end of his presidency.

The U.S. administration and Israel went as far as to openly accuse each other of dishonesty over Iran’s nuclear file and policy making. Perhaps for President Obama nothing is more important than his country’s national security interests and I suppose the Nobel Peace Prize which was given to him during his first year in office. He has to leave the White House with a good justification for holding such a prize.
Once Obama is finished with Iran’s nuclear file – a status he wishes to achieve peacefully – he would be free to see that peace talks resume.

Iranian oil

No one wishes for war in the region, no matter how they see the negotiations with Iran going, but oil producers may be worried that Iranian oil will come flooding back into the market.

Internationally imposed sanctions reduced Iran’s oil imports to less than half of what they were a year ago. Furthermore, Iran’s production has fallen from 2.5 million barrels per day in 2012 to less than one million per day without any major impact on the oil market. If the West makes a deal with Iran this week and all the sanctions on its oil industries lift overnight, it will take years for Iran to recover from all the damages the sanctions brought about for them.

Investors are lined up at the starting line waiting to invest in Iran, Benjamin Netanyahu told CNN, but in reality it will take the country years to recover to a point where real profit can be made.

An agreement with Iran may be a bad deal for Netanyahu, but not necessarily for the whole region. It seems like the region prefers peace and prosperity rather than destruction, even if it comes at the price of a “bad deal.”


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.