JCPOA-Style Diplomacy Peace Model for Middle East

Barack ObamaBarack Obama

US President Barack Obama said various Mideast conflicts are resolvable through diplomatic efforts, pointing to the July 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers as a feat of diplomacy.

“Just think about what we’ve done these last eight years without firing a shot,” Obama said, listing a deal between the US and Russia to remove Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile as well as efforts to prevent nuclear materials falling into the hands of terrorists.

“We’ve rolled back Iran’s nuclear program. That’s not just my assessment, that’s the assessment of Israeli intelligence, even though they were opposed to the deal,” he said, according to a transcript posted on the White House website.

The outgoing president was speaking to troops at an air base in Florida on Tuesday, in his final major national security address, which primarily focused on the threat posed by terrorist organizations.

The nuclear pact, or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, came after two years of negotiations between Iran and P5+1 (the US, Britain, France, China and Russia, plus Germany) to solve a 12-year dispute over Iran’s nuclear work.

Before the deal, the western governments were accusing Iran of pursuing nuclear weapons, while Iran was insisting that its atomic program has been meant only for civilian purposes.

Iran’s insistence was verified by numerous inspections by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Under the accord, Iran committed to limit its program, in exchange for the removal of UN, US and EU nuclear-related sanctions that were tightened in 2011 and 2012.

“Those are the result of diplomacy. Sustained diplomatic efforts, no matter how frustrating or difficult they sometimes appear, are going to be required to resolve the conflicts roiling the Middle East, from Yemen, to Syria, to Israel and Palestine,” Obama said.

With Obama leaving office on January 20, the future of the pact has been surrounded with uncertainties, as the next US president, Donald Trump, had vowed in his electoral campaigns to dismantle the pact.

Trump has also made other contradictory statements about the deal, making it difficult to guess what he will actually do to a deal enshrined in UN Security Council resolutions.


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