Geopolitical Implications of the Iran Deal and Ukraine’s Security

September 2015
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The signing of the nuclear agreement with Iran, or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as it is known, has already been touted as potentially the most important agreement of the decade. Reminiscent of President Richard Nixon’s strategic decision to accept communist China and engage with Beijing in 1972, the nuclear deal with Iran goes beyond matters of nonproliferation and aims to change the nature of the US and West’s relationship with Tehran, and potentially alter Iran’s destabilizing behavior in the Middle East.

This “opening,” if successfully implemented, could enable Iran to play a more constructive and responsible role as one of the region’s “Great Powers,” while at the same time offering the potential to modify the nature of Iran’s revolutionary regime from within. The successful implementation of the deal depends on the domestic politics of the US and Iran, on the successful technical implementation of the agreement, and on the subsequent steps taken by Tehran in regards to alleviating security concerns of its Arab neighbors and Israel.

If put into action, the deal would entail several implications for Ukraine. First, and most immediately, it could help bring Moscow’s proxy war in Donbas to the top of the American foreign policy priorities list. Second, in the near to long-term, the deal could help Ukraine and Europe improve their energy security vis-à-vis Russia. Third, if the deal results in the stabilization of the Middle East, it will have positive security repercussions for Kyiv. And finally, it offers an opportunity for Ukraine to improve trade and people-to-people interactions with Iran, which not only gives Ukraine a chance to play a bigger role in the Middle East but also strengthens Kyiv’s alliance with its Western partners.1

Not “A Done Deal”

Although the signing of the agreement after two years of intense talks is an important milestone, it is a naive to think that the current agreement brings resolution to the Iran’s nuclear posturing and its confrontation with the US. Instead, it is now that the actual work begins with the approval of the agreement in US and Iranian legislatures.

The agreement will have to go through the review in the U.S. Congress (the Senate and the House of Representatives). Under the deal that Congress made with the Obama Administration in May, known as the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, legislators have until September 17, to vote on a resolution disapproving the deal.  Although technically not a ratification, this procedure was agreed upon as a compromise between the branches that allowed for the deal to be completed. Even if the agreement is disapproved in...

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