5-year delayed reconciliation with Iran and its impact on Syria - YASIN AKTAY

5-year delayed reconciliation with Iran and its impact on Syria

Iran, 5 perpetual members of the UN and Germany came to an agreement related with Iran's nuclear program. It seems that with this agreement, which caused great excitement in the international community and is evaluated as the most important diplomatic success after the Cold War era by many observers, will pave the way for Iran's inclusion in the diplomatic processes.

We can shortly summarize this agreement as; loosening of implemented sanctions by the Western world in exchange for Iran's compensations in the nuclear program. The history of the international process related with Iran's nuclear program is not that old.

In August 2002, after one the prominent opposing names of the Islam regime, Alirıza Caferzade from the Iran National Resistance Front, shared the indications, which reveal Iran's secret nuclear studies, with the international community in his press meeting, all the attention of the international community concentrated on Iran.

As the speculations increased, towards the beginning of 2003, the President of Iran, M. Hatemi, announced that his country is conducting nuclear fuel cycle studies. Meanwhile, the President of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in that period, Ali Baradey, stated that Iran violated the NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty) by hiding their studies in Natanz and Arak. As the IAEA inspectors found enriched uranium in some facilities, Iran voluntarily agreed on signing the additional protocol of NPT. However, this didn't end the arguments over Iran's nuclear program.

Despite many negotiations between the Western world and Iran from that day on, no reconciliation was reached. The fact that the first reconciliation, which was acceptable by Iran and the Western world, was presented by an international initiation, which Turkey is a part of, is quite meaningful and remarkable in the sense of recognizing Turkey's foreign policy vision.

If you can remember, on May 17, 2010, Iran, Brazil and Turkey reached a consent over the document commemorated as the “Tehran Declaration” and announced it to the international community. According to this declaration, Iran accepted preserving 1200 kg of their enriched uranium in Turkey. As long as this fuel was preserved in Turkey, it was going to be kept under Iran's ownership. Through this agreement, Iran and IAEA were able to assign observers in order to monitor the conservation of this fuel in Turkey. Iran accepted to send the fuel they possess (1200 kg) to Turkey within a month.

Within the frame of the same agreement, the Vienna Group was required to procure 120 kg of fuel, which was necessary for Iran to continue their peaceful nuclear program, within a year. In the act of not meeting the conditions of this declaration, Turkey was obliged to immediately return the fuel back to Iran. As a part of this reconciliation, Turkey and Brazil were going to defend Iran's “peace-purposed nuclear enrichment” right. However, the declaration couldn't be implemented.

At this point, we should underline the fact that; the Tehran Declaration, which had been presented with Turkey's and Brazil's efforts, provided Iran's grip on the international system. In other words, if Iran and the P5+1 managed to reach a reconciliation, then the impact of Turkey's approach, which paved the way for diplomatic processes and reinforced the belief in diplomatic processes, is quite high.

Thus, the question that should be asked at this point – as stated by Obama – is; “while an agreement based on confirmation, rather than trust, can be found acceptable by the international community, why was Turkey accused of an axis shift for conducing an agreement based on confirmation?

It took five years for the Western world to reach the same point as Turkey, on the matter of Iran, and these five years prevented the formation of a stable secure zone in the region and the development of a stable regional cooperation mechanism. Eventually, it's quite important to reach an agreement; however, it's clear that 5 years has been lost in reaching a nuclear agreement with Iran. Even so, this agreement is quite valuable for the future of the region. Iran's agreement with Germany and 5 perpetual members of the UN might slightly open the doors to new cooperation fields, regionally and globally. A new political process, where Iran pursues a more constructive attitude towards Syria, might start.

This is also suitable with Turkey's policies directed at the region. Within this frame, we can say that Turkey is pleased with this agreement, more than anyone else. After all, it seems that, in the region, only Netanyahu was annoyed with this agreement.

Fundamentally, the complications, which are formed in the region due to the power gaps created by civil war in Syria, can be cured with a mutual cooperation between regional countries. For example, if Iran puts away their irreconcilable attitude on the matter of Syria and takes initiatives for the resolution of the issue, this might cause relief in political, economic and security fields in the region in a short time.

After the agreement, President of France François Hollande's speech, which stated that they've received messages that Iran might develop cooperation with the Western world on the matter of Syria, like in the matter of nuclear negotiations, is quite important.

At this point, Germany's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Frank Walter Steinmeier also made a suggestion that should be taken into consideration. Steinmeier's statement, which stated that the countries, who solved the nuclear crisis, can solve the Syria crisis and Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran should be on the same table in order for such an initiation to be formed, might provide the formation of a brand new opportunity in the Syria crisis that continues for over 4 years. The nuclear agreement with Iran, even though delayed for 5 years, can be the first step of the international initiation underlined by Germany's Minister of Foreign Affairs. Of course, in order for this to happen, Iran needs to put more effort into developing dialogues with other regional countries.

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