It is not very common to hear some good news lately. When we turn on the TV or the radio to have an idea about what is going on in our region, and around the world, all we hear is bloodshed, accidents, suicide bombings, corruption, suicides, and the oppression of Muslims. We have been longing to hear something good about this world.
Finally on July 14th we received the good news that many people have been longing for: Iran’s nuclear deal. Iran signed the agreement with the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) countries with which they have been negotiating for a long time.
It was welcomed with great joy in many parts of the world especially in Iran. Iranians flooded into the streets to show their enthusiasm with the hope of having a brighter future without the burden of sanctions. This deal is considered a great success of diplomacy, as it often seems that these days states do not seem to solve their conflicts through diplomacy but with arms.
How Iran’s nuclear program got started
I’m pretty sure many of you are not aware of the fact that Iran’s nuclear program was first initiated in 1957 via the “Atoms for Peace” project launched by then U.S. President Eisenhower. It is quite surprising to see that it was the U.S. who encouraged Iran to start such a program, which they would then try to block for years until the negotiations began.
After signing a deal with the U.S. government in 1957 for the nuclear program, the first reactor came online in 1967 and Iran became a party of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) the following year. Iran continued its activities until the revolution of 1979, which brought an end to the cooperation between the U.S. and Iran.
In 2003, Iran notified the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that it was ready to suspend its uranium enrichment facilities and ratified additional protocols that would allow the IAEA to have broader inspections in the nuclear facilities within the borders of Iran.
However, the IAEA insisted it was not able to affirm that the nuclear program was solely for peaceful purposes and this resulted in some Western countries trying to force Iran to stop enriching uranium.
Consequently, the deal was annulled in 2005 during the tenure of former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad. It was then Russia who agreed to cooperate with Iran on its program and they signed a deal the very same year for the maintenance and revival of the Bushehr nuclear plant that had been damaged during the Iran-Iraq War.
Since then, the U.S. and the UN began to impose ever-increasing sanctions on Iranians. It is still in our memories that PM Davutoglu, who was then Turkey’s foreign minister, developed an initiative with Brazil to create a reconciliation between Iran and the West vis a vis the nuclear program.
Even though this initiative did not arrive at that conclusion, as it was rejected by the Vienna Group in 2010, Turkey nonetheless managed to bring Iran and the P5+1 to the negotiating table in Istanbul the next year. Turkey has always stood by Iran’s side during its time of difficulties as both countries possess many commonalities in terms of culture and the mutual respect they have for one another.
It is not only the deal that indicates the success of Iran; the whole process of negotiations, which began under President Obama’s tenure was a great success of diplomacy for all sides. It is entirely accurate to say that Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif was the architect of this process and he showed great efforts to give the Iranian people a hope for a better future. He was patient, understanding, compassionate and above all determined; he believed in his people and stated that it was his people’s perseverance that made this happen.
What this new deal will bring to Turkey and the region
Turkey is very pleased with the deal reached by Iran and the West. Turkey, as a strong ally and old friend of Iran, has been very sensitive on the strict sanctions imposed on the Iranians and never partaken in any of them.
Turkey is very cognizant that imposing sanctions on people is very damaging politically, socially and economically as well as psychologically: It is never right to compel a state into doing something by punishing its people. It is not right that its people are unable to breathe fresh air because of the air pollution caused by industrial plants without being able to use foreign filters for the chimneys.
Turkey and Iran have a broad trade relationship where we see that Turkey is purchasing most of its consumed oil and a significant amount of natural gas from Iran.
Being a great pillar of support and a friend during hard times will never be forgotten is the mindset that Turkey will always hold. Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek and Energy Minister Taner Yıldız stated their gratification regarding the deal and added that this will be beneficial for our mutual relations and help to grow the existing projects we are carrying out.
A brotherly union that will bring peace to the Middle East
Iran re-entering the international system will definitely give rise to competition in the region. However, it is not something that will have a negative impact for Turkey as some journalists claim. Since Turkey has proved its loyalty to Iran as a brother and a neighbor, both countries will very likely maintain their current projects and find new ways of cooperation to improve their bilateral relations.
Turkey has a profound love for the Iranian nation and has a strong bond with its people, something that cannot be calculated by mere economics or geopolitics. They are both two strong nations which possess the faith that will turn the Middle East into a most peaceful place, one never been seen before in history. There are no problems that cannot be solved by these two nations working together in friendship and love.
Adnan Oktar's piece on Tehran Times & Indian Muslim Observer: