Sunday, 5 April 2015

Iran nuclear deal: the viewpoint from the third side

By Hamid Taqvaee
2 April 2015

The Iran nuclear talks ended in a deal 48 hours after the deadline of 31st March, resulting in a joint statement by the two sides. This statement is a political understanding and a framework for the comprehensive accord to be signed by the Islamic Republic and the P5+1 by the end of June 2015. Both parties have called this initial deal a breakthrough, and each one, as is the norm in diplomatic deals, has described it as a victory for itself. The Islamic Republic’s Foreign Minister Zarif, together with the other Iranian negotiators, insists that all sanctions will be lifted and Iran’s nuclear efforts won’t stop. The USA and the other negotiators emphasise that all the paths to Iran’s acquiring a nuclear weapon will be blocked, the number of centrifuges will be cut by two thirds and Iran’s nuclear efforts will be subjected to inspection more than any country in the world.

However, from the viewpoint of the people of Iran, and as far as their interests are concerned, the results and criteria are completely different. From this viewpoint, the lifting or any easing of sanctions should translate into a reduction in poverty, unemployment and inflation and a rise in people’s living standards. People of Iran have long been opposing the nuclear project and the government’s slogan “Nuclear energy is our certain right” with their own slogan: “Welfare and dignity are our certain rights”. So, from the viewpoint of the people, any deal on the nuclear issue should lead to a rise in the "welfare and dignity" of the people. However, this will not be an automatic result of a deal between states, but only the outcome of the struggle of the people for a rise in pay, which currently is several times below the poverty line, against unemployment, inflation and economic insecurity. There is no doubt that with any opening in the state of the economy, the regime will try to tighten up the austerity belts with such excuses as reconstruction, recovery, etc. What is also certain, implementing the austerity policies and recommendations of the World Bank and the IMF - on which all factions of the regime have been in agreement - in order to attract financial credit and domestic and international investment, will more than ever come on the agenda of the regime. For the working people, this means nothing but further erosion of their rights, more economic insecurity and the greater tightening of the belts, while fresh opportunities will be opened up for the gangs inside the regime for more swindles and rip-offs.

Confronting such a situation can only be achieved by stepping up the struggle for "welfare and dignity". Politically, too, a deal on the nuclear project will pave the way for people’s protests. On the one hand, the excuses of sanctions, confrontation with the ‘Great Satan’ and the siege economy will be gone, making the regime the direct target of people’s protest. On the other hand, the nuclear deal will mean that the balance of power will tilt towards the Rouhani-Rafsanjani faction, while the Khamenei-fundamentalists faction will be weakened. This will in turn deepen the internal factional fights in the regime, creating a new opportunity for people to launch a challenge to the whole regime. However, the repercussions of a deal with the West go far deeper than the nuclear issue. Any rapprochement with the West will question the anti-West and anti-American ideological identity of the Islamic regime, and, strategically, further undermine its position within Iran and in the Middle East region. This process has already started, and will accelerate in the next few months with the conclusion of a comprehensive accord - if that happens. The totality of these conditions means the creation of a more favourable economic, political and social situation for the rise in the struggle of the people in all areas: the fight over pay and better conditions, for women’s equality, for political and civil rights, and for cultural liberation and a happy and modern life. Before, and rather than, indicating a success for any one of the negotiating parties, the nuclear deal will open the way for the advance of the ‘third party’, the people, who are yearning for "welfare and dignity".


First published in International, a Farsi-language weekly of the Worker-communist Party of Iran, 3 April 2015. Translation: Bahram Soroush