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15/07 – “Historic” agreement between P5+1 and Iran on nuclear programme

The agreement reached yesterday between the P5+1 and Iran on the country’s nuclear programme makes the headlines of several newspapers including FAZ, La Croix, Le Monde, El País, La Repubblica and the INYT today.

In return for the lifting of international sanctions, Iran will significantly reduce its means of nuclear production, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will check if Iran fulfills its commitments for the next 10 years – several people like German Foreign Affairs minister Steinmeier actually stress that the treaty is not based on trust, but on transparency and control.

The WSJE notes that the lifting of sanctions could help Iran’s economy expand by 7% to 8% annually for years to come. In an interview with El Mundo as well as several Italian media, EU High Representative and EC Vice-President Federica Mogherini hailed the deal, claiming that Europe is “one of the biggest beneficiaries” of the Vienna agreement, describing the deal as “strong” and “easy to implement.” She added that none of the participating countries would have actually caused the talks to break down because the alternative to a negotiated solution would have been “military escalation” in the Middle East. She highlighted that the agreement would likely improve safety and stability in the region and will increase international trust.

According to the Huffington Post in Italy, EP President Martin Schulz said that the EU and Ms Mogherini were credible and honest negotiators, while Matteo Renzi and Italian President Sergio Mattarella praised Ms Mogherini’s capacity to contribute to the peace process. On the US side, the INYT comments that the deal culminates 20 months of negotiations on an agreement that US President Obama had long sought as the biggest diplomatic achievement of his presidency. Mr Obama actually made it clear that he would fight to preserve the deal from critics in Congress who are beginning a 60-day review, declaring, ”I will veto any legislation that prevents the successful implementation of this deal.”

Among commentaries, a Guardian editorial describes the deal as a “victory for patient diplomacy”, and urges the Western powers to seize the opportunity to reintegrate Iran into the international community. In an interview with Le Monde, French Foreign Affairs minister Laurent Fabius also believes the agreement may facilitate a normalisation of Iran’s international relations, which is why it can be considered “historic,” a word also used by his German counterpart on ARD to qualify the deal.

La Croix‘s editorial comments on the determination and hard work used to reach an agreement. Libération’s editorialist Marc Semo speaks of an “undeniable personal victory” for both Barack Obama and Hassan Rohani, adding that it is a necessary wager because there is “no other way” – La Croix also speaks of “a wager on the future, a wager on peace.” Público’s editorial says the agreement is a victory for every party: not just the US, but also Iran, which can demonstrate the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and all the other countries involved.

In an interview with Le Figaro, former French ambassador to the US and IAEA member François Bujon de l’Estang considers that Iran realised it had “more to win than to lose” by reconnecting with other countries. He adds that the deal stems from both sides’ “realism and pragmatism”, which deserves to be praised. In Süddeutsche Zeitung, Paul-Anton Krüger describes the agreement as “one of the rare pinnacles of diplomacy,” also highlighting that the EU’s actions have illustrated that in standing firm, patient and unified, one can exert political influence. Rainer Hermann in FAZ adds that the agreement is “an example” for future treaties of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons with other emerging countries.

On a more negative side, Le Monde and the INYT stresses that opponents of the Vienna agreement fear that it will only delay Iran’s access to nuclear power. In Hospodářské noviny, Daniel Anýž says that signing this agreement is just the beginning of a complicated process and believes it does not guarantee any certain answers. Only the months and years to come will show whether this deal will become a milestone, he says.

Several newspapers also mention that the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu declared the agreement was a “catastrophe,” (Huffingtonpost.com) or a “historic mistake”. Zbyněk Petráček in Lidové noviny argues that since “Iran cannot be trusted,” it is hardly surprising that countries such as Israel, Turkey or Egypt are not satisfied with the deal.

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