Defining Moment

Defining Moment Defining Moment

For all practical purposes the most critical time have come in the marathon nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 in Vienna. All sides are, for understandable reasons, in agreement to not let this opportunity pass. Oman's Deputy Prime Minister Fahd bin Mahmoud was on the mark when he said in Muscat that the nuclear talks and efforts for finding a solution is a “smart and wise” approach.

Historically, Iran has a great civilization and its people a sense of historic importance. Small wonder they will not and cannot accept being ignored or pushed by the big powers.

However, after the 1979 revolution in Iran the United States on more occasions than one  tried to ignore and belittle Iran, but to no avail. In actuality, this approach by Washington lies at the root of the long and extended animosity between the two countries.

The US should realize that Iran has many advantages, including internal potential, and is well positioned to have a positive in?uence on its neighbors in this strategic part of the world. If Iran emerges as an economic power in West Asia, countries in the region and beyond will benefit.

Now we are at a critical juncture. In institutional economics, this translates as antecedent conditions that allow contingent choices set a specific trajectory of institutional movement and consolidation that is difficult to reverse.

Acemoglu and Robinson, two of the world's leading experts on development economics, in Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty, call their points of origin “critical junctures.” They explain that critical junctures “are major events that disrupt the existing political and economic balance in one or many societies.” Critical junctures launch nations down their respective dependent paths. It is a critical juncture not only for Iran and the region but also for the world.  

Advocates of peace and stability hope Iran and the US will come to some sort of a permanent agreement in the nuclear talks. Should this not happen in the near future, there it is highly likely that the already chaotic MENA region will slide into further turmoil the  consequences of which will touch countries far and beyond.

History is a great teacher. It will narrate whether or not Iran and the six world powers involved in the nuclear talks were able to change the world for the better at this critical juncture. Whatever the cost, both sides should have the courage to bear it or else we will be left with plenty of regret and disappointment.