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Erdogan’s visit to Tehran triggers American questions on the arms deal

April 9, 2015 at 9:46 am

The Arabs and Muslims of the world will not have to wait until 30 June to witness the repercussions of the historic nuclear arms deal between Iran and the P5+1, for these consequences have begun and there are more to come and we must be prepared for the outcome. We must be prepared to adapt to the outcomes of this agreement because it has become quite clear that there are many surprises in store for us.

The first repercussion of the Iranian nuclear deal can be seen in the statements made by US President Barack Obama to Thomas Friedman of the New York Times in which the US president said that the Gulf countries do not face external threats, but internal threats because of the political marginalisation of their youth and their increasing levels of poverty and the deterioration of their human rights policies. However, Obama reassured the Gulf States in this interview that America will not abandon them but continue to stand by them. Obama was also keen to reassure Israel by saying that Israeli security is an integral part of American policies towards the region. Yet, despite his re-assurances, it is also clear that what Obama is hinting towards is the beginning of a greater shift in the region.

The most strategic and political event to occur after the nuclear deal is Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Iran as the head of a large Turkish delegation. During his visit Erdogan was keen to discuss the political and economic implications that the agreement would have on the two countries. Yet, what is even more curious was that prior to his trip to Iran, Erdogan is said to have met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Nayef who, according to Turkish media, came to Turkey to discuss the current crisis in Yemen and potential political solutions. Pakistani President Nawaz Sharif also visited Turkey and emphasised his lack of interest in pursuing a policy that provokes Iran and said that the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is due to visit Oman and Pakistan in the coming days.

We have begun to see the repercussions of the nuclear deal unfold as major powers in the region begin to search for alternative ways to solve current Middle Eastern crises. While relations between Iran, the major powers and the international community will not go back to the way they were prior to the agreement, there will undoubtedly be significant economic, political and cultural developments in the phase that will follow the signing of the final agreement.

Insiders who are following American and Iranian developments in Beirut have predicted that this agreement will have many important developments but that they may not take place right away as the agreement itself may take some time to implement.

But the questions that remain are: Why do Arabs and Muslims continue to keep up with the implications of the nuclear deal? Will they continue to engage the conflicts that are affecting them while the rest of the world searches for a solution to the problem?

The responsibility to keep up with the nuclear deal and its implications is a joint Iranian-Arab-Islamic responsibility as the Iranians are trying to ensure the countries and peoples of the region that they are not trying to implement hegemonic policies to establish an Iranian empire within the region. Meanwhile, the Arabs are trying not to refer to Iran as the enemy or the root cause of devastation in their countries.

The mistakes that Iran has made in terms of its policies in the region cannot be overlooked; however, we also cannot hold Iran responsible for all of our problems and we also cannot ponder the possibility of engaging in a destructive war with Iran after we already tried that devastating experience during the Iran-Iraq War, which lasted seven years and led to the utter destruction of two countries, the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and resulted in the loss of billions of dollars.

As Professor Munir Shafiq stated at the Islamic National Conference: “We are in need of an Iranian-Egyptian-Turkish-Saudi dialogue to discuss all the issues and problems within our region because we cannot solved solve our problems without having the proper discussions.”

Perhaps Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent visit to Tehran and President Obama’s recent statements regarding the Gulf States were the beginning of what marks a new logic in both regional and international policy regarding Iran and the nuclear deal. We must take advantage of this opportunity and not miss it again.

Translated from Arabi21 8 April 2015.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.