Expert: Israel, Saudi Arabia could buy into final US-Iran nuclear deal

Iran Materials 9 December 2013 16:14 (UTC +04:00)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 9

By Saeed Isayev - Trend:

Barack Obama's recent statement means that the U.S. can take a tougher stand on certain issues but could lead to an Israeli as well as a Saudi buy in into the final (nuclear) deal, Senior fellow at Nanyang Technological University's S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, James M. Dorsey told Trend.

Obama held a question-and-answer session at Brookings Institution forum last week, and spoke about Iran and its nuclear program, AP reported. Obama noted that the probability of reaching a common solution with Iran on nuclear program as "more than 50-50".

"The devil is always in the detail and both Obama and Rouhani have hardliners and vested interests to deal with," Dorsey said. "Nonetheless, I would agree. The upside for all parties outstrips the downside. This does not mean that there will be difficult and tough negotiations."

Iran signed a nuclear deal with the P5+1 group in Geneva on Nov. 24, which signals first positive action step taken in recent years. Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Reza Najafi said previously that Iran and the UN nuclear agency will hold new round of talks on Dec. 11 in Vienna.

The U.S. and its Western allies suspect Iran of developing a nuclear weapon - something that Iran denies. The Islamic Republic has on numerous occasions stated that it does not seek to develop nuclear weapons, using nuclear energy for medical researches instead.

Speaking of "some significant tactical disagreements" with Israel, that president Obama mentioned in his speech, Dorsey said the sides are currently working on this issue.

"In a very significant move, Israel has shifted gear from denouncing the interim agreement to working with the Obama administration constructively on key issues that a final settlement needs to include.

"An Israeli delegation is in Washington at this moment to work on these issues," Dorsey explained. "The could mean that the U.S. takes a tougher stand on certain issues but could lead to an Israeli as well as a Saudi buy in into the final deal."

Obama also said that if a deal with Iran can't be reached in 6 months, the sanctions will get reinstated and even tightened, if Iran doesn't make a final agreement. Dorsey believes such statement raises the stakes for achieving final agreement within six months.

"The key point here is not allowing Iran to buy time. It is a test of their sincerity. If they are serious, they will not be speaking to buy time," he said.

Commenting on some regional countries, as Saudi Arabia, being concerned about U.S.-Iran engagement leading to shift of balance of power in the region, Dorsey said there is no doubt that a return of Iran to the international community will change the balance of power.

"It's a fact of life. Iran has proven that even as a pariah and outcast it can be a game spoiler and a threat," he said. "Saudi Arabia will ultimately prefer Iran as a constructive player. A U.S. decision by the U.S. to strengthen Saudi Arabia's position as the regional hegemone on the Arab side of the Gulf could make that easier."

Dorsey noted that the U.S. is backing a Saudi strategy to use military integration within the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) as a way to achieve union among the Gulf states.

"That is a risky strategy among other things because it involves militarization," he said.