Canada out of Iran-U.S. nuclear deal

Larisa Tamjidi said many Iranians are happy about the new deal passed last week between the United States and Iran to freeze Iran’s nuclear program and lift some sanctions.

The UNB student from Tehran, Iran said many of her friends in Iran and at UNB see this deal as beneficial.

“I know many Iranians are so happy, not just for having this deal but because Iran finally talked to the U.S.,” she said. “They hope life as an Iranian will get better.”

St. Thomas political scientist professor Shaun Narine agrees the deal is a “win” for Iran.

“I think the Iranians are looking at this in the long term. If things work out well over the next six months, then they will presumably get their money back and have other sanctions lifted and also along the way create a much better relationship with western powers.”

The new deal will give Iranians about seven billion dollars. More than 100 billion dollars of its money is still frozen by sanctions.

Overall, Narine thinks the United States got more out of this deal than Iran.

“Basically, what the Iranians have agreed to do is freeze their nuclear program where it is and convert the relatively small amount of uranium they have, now about 20 per cent, into an oxide form that cannot be used for generating nuclear power and to leave their enrichment between three and five per cent. On top of that they have also agreed to very intrusive inspections, daily inspections.”

Since U.S. president Barack Obama has taken office he has been sending letters to the Iran president Hassan Rouhani, which made the deal possible.

“One of the reasons that the deal will survive in Iran is because Rouhani is behind it. I think the bigger question is whether or not the deal will survive in the U.S.,” said Narine.

Last year, Canada cut all ties with Iran. Narine said this was not good.

“The decision to cut ties with Iran was ill decided and poorly thought out and made absolutely no sense from a diplomatic point of view.”

Canada’s foreign affairs minister John Baird told the Globe and Mail last week he thinks the new deal between the U.S. and Iran is not smart and Iran will get nuclear weapons regardless.

Narine disagrees with Baird. He thinks it’s important to have diplomatic relations with Iran.

“I’m not saying Iran is a nice country. Iran has a brutal regime. It has a terrible human rights record. On the other hand, Iran is a major power in the Middle East and it is going to be present for the foreseeable future.”

Narine said the Harper government, including Baird, is incompetent when it comes to foreign affairs.

“If you’re going to cut diplomatic relations with a country, which is a pretty severe direction to take, then you should have a really good reason. For Canada, in this case, they don’t.

“Canada has lost all credibility in the region and so even if we had an opportunity to be even a minor player, this will remove us even further from the picture.”

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