There is more hope for stability in the Gulf and Middle East after successful talks between Iran and the P5+1 (China, US, Russia, France, UK, and Germany) reached agreement on a six month interim period during which the P5+1 and Iran will move forward to a planned comprehensive solution over Tehran’s controversial nuclear programme.

The key to success will be Iran’s offering enough transparency to prove to the world that it does not have nuclear weapons, nor the desire to make them. It will be difficult for Iran to regain international trust after decades of prevarication and deliberate confrontation, so there will be a high level of duty on Iran to make clear that it is genuine about its peaceful intentions.

Late on Sunday, Iran and the P5+1 agreed that in return for about $7 billion of sanctions relief, Iran would halt uranium enrichment above 5 per cent, dismantle any equipment that can be used for such enrichment, reduce its stockpile of near 20 per cent uranium, and not develop any more of the 3.5 per cent enriched uranium during the interim period. In addition, Iran agreed to stop work in its Arak facilities, and allow unprecedented transparency and intrusive monitoring of Iran’s nuclear programme including its facilities at Natanz and Fordow.

The tight conditions imposed on Iran are no hardship if Iran comes out clean about its nuclear programme, and it was important that the talks in Geneva included some discussions of what an eventual comprehensive deal would include. It is important that all parties understand each other, so that they are not deflected by the fierce opposition that this deal will attract.

Looking ahead, it will be vital that talks with Iran should move beyond the narrow focus of Iran’s nuclear programme. If Iran wants to be taken seriously as an involved part of the Gulf and Middle East region, it must respect its neighbours more, and stop its attempts to spread its sectarian agenda. It has to stop trying to destablise neighbouring countries, and it needs to stop funding militias and movements in the Arab world.

Courtesy Gulf News.