EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton (3rd L), delivers a statement during a ceremony marking the deal between Iran and the six world powers in Geneva, Switzerland, on November 24, 2013.EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton (3rd L), delivers a statement during a ceremony marking the deal between Iran and the six world powers in Geneva, Switzerland, on November 24, 2013.


Thu Dec 5, 2013 5:50PM GMT


Amir Dabiri Mehr


Despite the fact that nearly two weeks have elapsed since a historic nuclear deal was sealed between Iran and six world powers, there are still some who are incapable of grasping the significant dimensions of the deal.

In a major twist and turn, this group prefers to analyze the subtext rather than the text of the agreement. In other words, margins are more preferable to them than the body.

An outstanding feature of international accords clinched based on a win-win approach is that both parties feel victorious and therefore either party may imagine that the other one has been defeated. But the fact is that in a win-win game, both parties give grounds on what is insignificant for them and in return receive concessions on important issues. In this article, we review Iran’s nuclear deal with the six world powers – the United States, France, Britain, Russia, China, and Germany – from a win-win perspective.

Iran’s agreement with the world powers on November 24 is a four-page text which has kept supporters and opponents busy. But for the Islamic Republic of Iran, the subtext is much more important than the legal and technical text. Similarly, the Sextet attaches greater significance to the text than the subtext and it claims victory.

To further clarify this issue, we explain what we mean by text and subtext.

1. Text: The text of the agreement says both parties will strive for six months to build mutual confidence. The important thing for the Sextet, specifically the US, is to win serious guarantees about non-diversion in Iran’s nuclear activities to military use. They consider guarantees on this issue as a concession from Iran. But for the Islamic Republic of Iran, which has made clear on many occasions that it only seeks to develop peaceful nuclear energy without any intention to acquire atomic bomb, offering such guarantees would be easy and would not be considered as any strategic concession. To that effect, Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency – as a reference and legal organ – have had good cooperation. Therefore, those who are worried about any blow to Iran’s peaceful nuclear program after this accord takes effect are mistaken because, for example, Iran has never needed to enrich uranium to 20 percent purity, but by mastering this technology, Iran has shown off its scientific breakthrough and boosted its bargaining power in nuclear talks. Now, Iran can scale back its enrichment to five percent before increasing it if need be.

2. Subtext: The subtext of the agreement includes the gains Iran has made in these talks. These achievements have been ignored while the recent talks owe more than 80 percent of their significance to the subtext. But more than 80 percent of focus has been on the text whose significance is merely 20 percent.

Here are Iran’s most important achievements enshrined in the Geneva accord:

1. For the first time since World War II, big and bullying powers sat on the table with a powerful country in the Middle East region. The outcome of talks did not benefit exclusively the world powers, and a win-win deal was sealed. Diplomatically speaking, this achievement can boost the international prestige of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

2. Countries hostile to the Islamic Republic of Iran, particularly the US and Britain, recognized for the first time the national sovereignty of the Islamic Republic and implicitly opted for interaction with Iran while acknowledging the ineffectiveness of their past hostilities. This achievement places the seal of approval on Iran’s politically decisive influence in the region.

3. Peaceful nuclear program is the absolute right of every nation and it does not need to be recognized by others, but world powers had refused to accept this right in the case of Iran for political reasons since ten years ago. But the Geneva accord does recognize this right for Iran to exercise peaceful nuclear activities.

4. Throughout the talks leading to the Geneva deal, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s arch-foe, Israel, was pushed into isolation – to the surprise of all observers. Even the United States ignored Tel Aviv’s requests and some remarks by US officials are only aimed at consoling Zionists. Today, the Zionist regime’s officials are not in a good mood because their unfounded allegations about Iran are no longer effective.

5. The Geneva talks showed that the E3+3 did not enjoy a permanent unity and their relationships were extremely fragile. A clear example was the division between France and the US in the first round of Geneva talks which ended inconclusively. The emergence of a rift among the six governments negotiating with Iran has encouraged every one of them to scramble for a large share of opportunities of cooperation with Iran. This division and rivalry between the world powers gives further chance to Iran to move ahead with its policies.

6. This agreement means recognition of Iran’s position as the top regional power. Some Arab countries like Saudi Arabia would not be pleased with such a status for Iran and that is why the Saudi regime reluctantly took position vis-à-vis the deal. Iran’s status as top regional power has always been hindered by the US, but from now onwards, with US cooperation, Iran’s position will prove constructive and strategic. That will serve Iran’s national security as well as regional security, not to mention undermining the US presence in the region.

7. As Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said, the Geneva deal blunts the impact of sanctions which have been the main tool in the hands of the West to ratchet up pressure on Iran. The agreement also shows that despite Western allegations that the sanctions pushed Iran to sit at the negotiating table, the ineffectiveness of sanctions persuaded the Western governments to reach out to Iran. In this context, Western companies also pressured their governments to interact with Iran. Unique opportunities for investment in Iran, particularly in the energy sector, will trigger a wave of interaction with Iran and subsequently the cruel sanctions regime will become totally ineffective in the long-term.

Although the text of the agreement is seriously focused upon, the aforesaid seven subtext achievements are of much more importance. Therefore, Iran has emerged as the winner of this game.

Last but not least, as long as politics is concerned, victories and defeats are ephemeral and the important point would be to take the next steps with vigilance and strength with a view to achieving more victories.



Dr. Amir Dabiri Mehr is an Iranian political commentator with over ten years of experience in mass communication and politics. Dabiri Mehr holds a PhD in political science. More articles by Dr. Amir Dabiri Mehr