Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a news conference at the Ministry of Defence in Tel Aviv, Israel, April 30. Photo: Reuters/Amir Cohen
Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a news conference at the Ministry of Defence in Tel Aviv, Israel, April 30. Photo: Reuters/Amir Cohen

Iran’s nuclear deal was signed in 2015 by seven nations. Under the deal, Iran had to halt its nuclear program and the West had to remove economic sanctions on Iran. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has confirmed that there has been no any evidence of violation from Iranian side. Even the US Congress has not confirmed any violations yet.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently gave a PowerPoint presentation that persuaded US President Donald Trump to withdraw from the deal, something he had promised during his election campaign. On Tuesday, Trump announced the US withdrawal from the deal.

Trump has also given an indication of tight economic sanctions on Iran. In recent history, we have witnessed that sanctions have not been effective. They merely increase the suffering of common citizens.

There exist many factions in Iranian politics, some of them hardline, some moderate and some liberal. However, not all of these factions are  on the same page with their national agendas. But sanctions will affect all of them equally.

The other option might be military action, which could be even more disastrous. Already the Middle East has been suffering for several decades. Whether the conflict was in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen or Afghanistan, the civilians and common citizens were the victims. If Iran is attacked, again the victims will be Muslims.

On the other hand, Iran has announced that it remains committed with the remaining five signatories to continue treating the deal as valid and will not opt for developing nuclear weapons. Those five nations are also in favor of continuation of the deal.

But what will be the impact of America’s withdrawal from this deal? If economic sanctions are imposed, what will be the impact? If Iran is attacked, again, what will be the impact? There are many opinions from various experts. Some of the possibilities are listed below.

The Iran nuclear deal may not survive after the US withdrawal. Tehran may find ways and reasons for developing its nuclear program just as in the pre-2015 era, which is not desired at all.

US economic sanctions on Iran may worsen the domestic situation in Iran and the common man may suffer. They will also do harm to the regional economy and affect neighboring countries. Iran, being an energy-rich country, was meeting the energy requirements of much of the world, especially the industrialized/developed countries. The oil price will rise sharply. This will harm the global economy, which is also not desired.

Use of force would be even more disastrous and would complicate the situation much more. It might initiate World War III, a total disaster and the most undesired outcome of all.

The United Nations, the international community, and all individuals of conscience must exert pressure to avoid any disaster to humanity. Both sides may cool down and let diplomacy play its due role, and humanity may be rescued from disaster. May God save all of us.

Zamir Awan

Professor Zamir Ahmed Awan is a sinologist at the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) Chinese Studies Center of Excellence, Islamabad, Pakistan. Posted to the Pakistani Embassy in Beijing as science counselor (technical affairs) from 2010-16, he was responsible for promoting cooperation between Pakistan and China in science, technology, and higher education.

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