GRM 2010 GRM 2011

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A de-santioned Iran: Prosperity at Home, Cooperation in the region
Paper Proposal Text :
A de-sanctioned Iran: Prosperity at Home, Cooperation in the Region
Behzad SHAHANDEH, Professor Emeritus, Tehran University
Brexit and GCC Workshop 3, Gulf Research Meeting, August 1-4, 2017
Cambridge University, the UK

Despite current threats to globalization including the prospect of Brexit, the cancellation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other developments, multilateralism is not dead. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as “the Iran Deal”, has revived hopes for opportunities of cooperation in solving global and regional issues. As Federica Mogherini pointed out in The Economist’s The World in 2016 “[the agreement] is putting trust in dialogue, diplomacy, partnership, perseverance, and win-win approach”.
The “Deal” terminated one of the most intractable diplomatic standoffs in international affairs in the 21st century – an agreement that many thought impossible. It overcame enormous technical complexity, entrenched domestic opposition in Iran and the United States, and over three decades of intense hostility between them. The leadership and commitment of both countries were imperative to sustaining and driving negotiations to a successful conclusion.
A de-sanctioned Iran has benefited greatly from JCPOA, first and foremost thanks to the creation of an environment susceptible to dialogue and cooperation. The agreement boosted GDP growth in Iran to 5 % from almost nil in the previous year. Through the lifting of sanctions, it has resulted in a 15 % increase in Iran’s global trade, in particular in oil exports which have returned to pre-sanction levels. Moreover, frozen assets worth some 150 billion dollars have been released.
The economic-friendly atmosphere initiated by the “Deal” has raised confidence in Iran’s capabilities to deal with the outside world as testified by foreign investments pouring into the country. This was against a previous backdrop of an imminent war on Iran as reiterated in 2006 by the then future President of France François Hollande, at a time when all channels of dialogue had been severed! The “nuclear deal” at its inception in July 2015 unfortunately caused some ambiguity and misunderstanding on the part of some littoral states of the Persian Gulf who viewed it as a betrayal by the US administration. The advances achieved since then have rewarded Iran’s efforts to bolster relations with neighboring countries in the region, except for lingering differences with Saudi Arabia. The lowering of the “wall of mistrust” between Iran and the United States, once seen as a daunting task, constitutes a successful multilateral approach to addressing all pending issues in the region.
The purpose of this paper is to discuss how the “Iran Deal” can serve as a model for littoral states to engage in cooperation and solve their own specific problems