The mild reaction of Iranian authorities to President Erdoğan's declaration can perhaps be explained by their wish to keep a low profile while negotiations over the nuclear deal were continuing
A surprising, comprehensive deal has been reached in Ouchy, Switzerland, between Iran and the P5+1 countries, meaning the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, namely China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, plus Germany. The place, Ouchy, which is the suburban residential part of Lausanne, by the lake, is famous for having already accommodated a number of important international agreements and treaties, not least the Ouchy Treaty of 1912 between Italy and the Ottoman Empire, where the empire virtually lost Libya and the Dodecanese islands on the Aegean.
The deal is historic in the sense that it opens for Iran the possibility to reintegrate into the international community for the first time since the Islamic Republic was established in 1979. Obviously, the deal is only a first step and Iran's nuclear research will be closely scrutinized until June, but, in a nutshell, it gives Iran a long-awaited life jacket for its economy and social stability.
Two important development lines should therefore be examined closely: Firstly, Iran has become a pariah state for more than 35 years and it will take months, if not years, before it recovers. The infrastructure of the country has gone back to the Stone Age; the Abadan refinery, which was the world's biggest back in 1955, has become a relic of the past and Iran can today refine only 60 percent of the fuel it needs for local consumption. It will need time and know-how to regain its past luster and international contacts.
Secondly, how will Iranian ruling elites accept and digest this new situation and perspectives? The population has enough joy to explode onto the streets of Tehran after the announcement of the deal. Still, among high-ranking clerics and hard-liner military commanders, any rapprochement with the U.S. is an extremely sensitive issue. The divergence between President Rohani and Ayatollah Khamanei, who has been silent for a long period, can go deeper and tensions may arise. Anyhow, the gradual lifting of the embargo will not mean the total liberalization of Iranian society. There, perhaps, domestic tension can grow more than expected. Iran has a coerced economy, which the Pasdaran has a very important influence over. Normalization will also mean that monopolies over some economic sectors, in the hands of the military wing of the regime, could be lost.
A final issue is the foreign policy of Iran, which, as explained in our previous articles, has consistently ignited and exported instability to the region. Will this approach change durably, and how? Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has almost declared that he will see the deal, if ratified, as a big mistake and a very dangerous threat to Israel's survival. Up until now, Netanyahu was easily demonizing Iran to justify his intransigent policies. How will this change? What would Israel's new policies be, if there are any?
Last but certainly not least, Turkey will probably have to examine carefully its relationship with Iran. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has made a very strong warning to Iran over the situation in Yemen. The "mild" reaction of Iranian authorities to president Erdoğan's declaration can perhaps be explained by their wish to keep a low profile while negotiations over the nuclear deal were continuing. Now that it is over, how will Erdoğan's next visit to Iran be handled by the Iranian authorities?
The nuclear deal obviously opened a gate for Iran to normalize its relations with the international community. A similar opportunity was offered by Turkey to Bashar Assad's Syria 10 years ago, with the total mishandling by Assad of such a normalization period, leading to a terrible tragedy. It is perhaps too early to rejoice over a peaceful transition of Iran's foreign relations.