The Diplomatist, Vol. 2, Issue 3, March 2014
Arun Vishwanathan, Assistant Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies
The interim agreement signed on November 24, 2013 at Geneva by Iran and the P5+1 and its subsequent operationalisation (January 20, 2014) highlights a remarkable shift the situation surrounding Iran has undergone over the past few months. The agreement is being perceived as a major departure in American policy towards Iran and the region in general. However, close observers would be quick in pointing out that such a shift has been some time in the making. The US move to enter into a dialogue with Tehran has largely been the result of a desire to buy more time to address the concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear programme through verification and roll back any probable progress Iran has made in building a nuclear weapon.
The deal also underscores the US’s endeavour to balance its efforts to push back Tehran’s regional rise on one hand,and build bridges of some kind after a hiatus of over three decades on the other. Taking a bird’s eye-view of the overall geo-political scenario, the move stems from the growing dissonance between US and its allies (Saudi Arabia and Israel) on major issues like the Israel-Palestine conflict, Syrian civil war and chemical weapons issue, as well as the handling of the Arab Spring aftermath.