A Clarion Call

A Clarion Call A Clarion Call

The marathon nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 (five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) have reached a decisive stage. Media reports across the political spectrum suggest that the technical discussions are all but over and now crucial political decisions remain.

We appreciate the Iranian negotiating team, led by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, for their untiring efforts to safeguard national interests and achieve what in actuality could be one of the most important international accords in contemporary history. Similarly we also have a responsibility to extend intellectual support for the delicate talks in the public domain. Iranian expatriates could and should also do their fair share in supporting the ongoing interaction with the world powers at such a crucial juncture.

Hardly does a day pass when we do not hear that hostile powers are trying to undermine the negotiations with the P5+1, something they apparently succeeded in doing once in the past. So, what can be done to tackle international lobbies averse to the progress of the Iranian people?

Can our expatriates, some of whom hold positions of power and influence in Europe and the U.S. form a group to neutralize the damaging effects of such moves? Patriotic Iranians, in light of their positions and professions, who live overseas for professional reasons or otherwise, can launch campaigns to support the country.

Truth be said, many of them have indeed been active on this front, but their voice and space together have had a  limited impact compared to those of the opponents and their minions.

We, as economic experts, believe that everybody should rise in support of the government at this critical moment in the long and extended international negotiations to seal the nuclear deal. This has to be the norm irrespective of political orientation and what opinion we nurture about the government’s performance. Needless to say, differences of opinion on key domestic issues are a norm and a function of every country.

But what we are precisely concerned with and need to address is the economic sanctions — imposed by the UN Security Council over Iran’s uranium enrichment program — that have been hurting the livelihood of every Iranian, particularly the younger generation in search of employment.

Data suggests that five million university graduates will be looking for decent jobs in the next four years. This means the government needs to create more than a million jobs per annum only for the new graduates.

Given that the previous administration failed to generate net jobs during its two terms (2005-2013), we must all have a sense of responsibility toward the young and aspiring job-seekers.         

It is not fair for our people, who have suffered much from the mounting economic pressures due to the sanctions, in particular those at the lower-end of the economic ladder, to pay for the ambitions of international antagonist and unruly politicians.

We also need to be cognizant that the constraints faced by Iran over the past thirty plus years, namely war and sanctions, have hampered the country’s economic performance in this strategic part of the world, paving the way for neighbors such as Turkey, the UAE and Saudi Arabia to fill the void and secure a bigger footprint in regional markets. The prospect of Iran acquiring an economic position compatible with its status is likely to create concern for many of our neighbors. And mind you, they are not worried much about Iran having a nuclear weapon as they are concerned about Iran’s economic and political prowess in the immediate neighborhood and beyond.

Our neighbors are aware that once the limitations imposed on the Iranian traders and industrialists are lifted paving the way for free and fair economic competition, Iranians in and outside the country will call the shots. Therefore, opponents of the nuclear deal between Iran and the six world powers are not only those who cannot bear with Iran as a key political player in the region, but also some neighbors who have economic concerns and have been overtly and covertly demonstrating their ill-will.

By the same token, the huge military-industrial complex too is despondent over the idea of Iran making a comeback to the global political and economic stage because reduced tensions in the region mean a sharp decline in demand for the costly arsenals. Therefore they too love to see the nuclear talks collapse in order to enable them to portray Iran as a threat that will not go away!

We Iranians now face an important test. It is not a gargantuan task for some of us to choose to complain and criticize the government. Needless to say, we believe that the present situation demands the nation set aside anachronistic concerns and honestly support the nuclear negotiators and help the country return to the high pedestal it naturally deserves.