KT edit: GCC should have a role in any new deal with Iran

Iran's nuclear programme slowed down but the regime used the money returning to its coffers after sanctions were lifted.

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Published: Mon 10 Jun 2019, 8:15 PM

Last updated: Mon 10 Jun 2019, 10:17 PM

Four years ago when the nuclear agreement with Iran was signed by China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, the world thought the danger from Tehran had passed. The regime's race to a nuclear weapon would be over. The pact capped Tehran's nuclear activity for 10 years and could be termed satisfactory at best. The Obama administration and Europe thought greatly of it. They believed the clerical-military regime's nuclear weapons abilities had been put on the back burner for a decade which would give the negotiating powers more time for a permanent deal to prevent Iran from getting its hands on a nuclear weapon. They were wrong. As Tehran saw it, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) deal was more carrot than stick. It was just the opportunity Tehran was seeking to get back into a conventional weapons race.
Gulf countries led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE warily welcomed the deal back then. They had doubts after witnessing Iran's many covert wars in the region. And they were right. Iran's nuclear programme slowed down but the regime used the money returning to its coffers after sanctions were lifted by embarking on an ambitious missile programme. Some 22 missile tests were conducted. They simply side-stepped the nuclear deal that put little or no restrictions on technology transfers on other weapons of mass destruction. In hindsight, the JCPOA was a no-deal, it was merely a plan that was doomed to fail. The P5 plus China and Russia inked the pact ignoring the concerns of Iran's immediate neighbours, the GCC countries. They were fooled until Donald Trump made it his campaign pitch in 2016 and pulled the US out of the deal last year as president. The JCPOA had one inherent flaw: the Gulf countries weren't on board and their concerns were ignored. With the US exit this pact is just a piece of paper. The GCC must be a signatory if a new deal is to be reached with Iran. Until then it will continue to remain a worthless piece of paper.

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