Editorial: l'entente persane - shuttering hopes
As a historical accord was agreed in Vienna to lift US sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran , Brent crude fell to its lowest point since 2003, bottoming out at a paltry $27.67.
Confirmation from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that Iran had taken the necessary steps to halt progress towards nuclear armaments has proved enough to extirpate almost forty years of fiscal castigation heaped on the most populous Western Asian nation.
The United States has maintained a sanctions regimen of fluctuating stringency since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, with an extreme tightening in 2005 attributed to the country’s uncompliant nuclear programme.
Lifting of sanctions will mean a thawing of the billions in Iranian assets frozen in international banks, and the flooding of an already oversupplied oil market with an extra 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude. Economic relief to the 78 million-strong nation will be palpable, transforming it from a "pariah state" into an "emerging market"almost overnight.
Yet despite this landmark mollification, all is not rosy in the Washington-Tehran relationship. Barely 24 hours after members ofthe Iranian establishment and the so-called "P5+1" shook on the nuclear accord, the US Treasury Departmenthad slapped sanctions on 11 entities linked to Iran’s ballistic missile programme.
Even the most optimistic of souls would doubt that enmity will transmogrify into any kind of geopolitical affinity in the long-term, especially with Iran’s continued position in regional conflicts from Yemen to Syria, and the antagonism currently playing out between Tehran and US allies in Riyadh.
Could this international rapprochement actually paper over a growing regional discontent that could envelop Iran’s erstwhile allies and even strike at the heart of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)?
I feel safe in the prediction that the 16th year of our second millennium will be the most interesting yet….
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