The Dhow: A Weekly Newsletter from AGSIW

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, July 21, 2015
12:00 - 2:00 pm
1050 Connecticut Ave, NW, Ste. 1060
Washington, DC 20036

PANELISTS Suzanne DiMaggio, Jamal Khashoggi, Nadim Shehadi, Mohammad Ayatollahi Tabaar
MODERATOR Hussein Ibish

*This event is at capacity. Please join the conversation on Twitter at #GCCIran.

The Bridge blog
While a nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 is a diplomatic breakthrough, there has also been a massive realignment of investment and infrastructure targets across the Middle East that has been in process for many months, if not years, in anticipation of this week's announcement. Iran is open for business and many of the good opportunities, as one financial advisor put it, and been "locked up" well before July 14. Sanctions were an effective tool to create a forbidden fruit, kin some ways, stalling economic growth and diversification in Iran, creating a heavy state presence in the economy but also creating a cultural hunger for many of the consumer products and experiences readily available in the Gulf and the West.
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By Hussein Ibish

The strategic impact in the Gulf region of the nuclear agreement with Iran will hinge on the perceptions of Gulf Cooperation (GCC) countries as to whether or not it helps to curb Iranian "adventurism" and, especially, in its support for destabilizing activities in the region. The potential emergence of Iran as a more responsible regional actor holds out the possibility for a major improvement in relations, and even for crafting political solutions to destabilizing Middle East conflicts. There is also the prospect of an expansion in trade between Iran and Arab Gulf countries especially the United Arab Emirates and Oman. But many GCC countries remain concerned that Iran could emerge from the accord enriched and emboldened, with no change in what they strongly perceive to be aggressively hegemonic regional ambitions. These concerns and prospects indicate the pitfalls and opportunities for maximizing the benefits and minimizing the costs of the nuclear agreement in the Gulf region.
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A huge political battle is looming in Washington over the nuclear agreement with Iran. In the short run, Barack Obama will win the fight with his opponents in Congress. But in the long run, the fate of the deal, his legacy, and perhaps the future of American foreign policy, will be decided by forces operating beyond his control.

Anyone critiquing the agreement seemingly has an abundance of riches. It can be attacked as insufficient on inspections, rolling back Iran’s nuclear development, excessive sanctions relief (especially eventually lifting the UN arms embargo), and not accounting for what happens after its restrictions expire. But none of that is sufficient.

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In the Media
In an analysis by the Middle East Eye on opposition within the Untied States to the Iran nuclear agreement AGSIW Senior Resident Scholar Hussein Ibish highlighted concerns over the potential for disagreements in the deal's implementation noting "A deal will not restructure the strategic equation. Rather than ushering in a new era of harmony and cooperation between Tehran and its allies and Washington and the rest of the West, an agreement could quickly give way to an endless and increasingly bitter exchange of accusations over implementation." Ibish was additionally quoted in the Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) analysis, "What does the Iran nuclear deal mean for Iraq and Syria?" Ibish commented on Saudi Arabia's potential reaction to the nuclear deal with Iran, stating, "If the agreement proves to be a broader rapprochement between the United States and Iran that greatly strengthens Tehran without forcing a change in Iranian policy in the region, this would alarm Saudi Arabia greatly."

Ibish was also featured in the Boston Globe's, "Five views on the Iran Deal." Ibish explains that "The delicate balance in Vienna has produced a series of reciprocal but unequal concessions. It seems that Iran has been able to gain an upper hand by exchanging tactical, immediate concessions on its part for strategic, long-range concessions to the American side."

1050 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 1060

Washington, DC 20036

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