The interim nuclear deal signed in Geneva in November between Iran and six world powers (the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany) was a momentous breakthrough after many years of tensions, threats and stalled talks. It represents the first formal agreement between long-time rivals Washington and Tehran in no less than 34 years. The deal itself is a win-win for both sides. Iran gets to continue enriching uranium and maintain its nuclear programme, while getting sanctions relief to the tune of $7bn, which will help its struggling economy. The agreement leaves room for further relief and benefits in this regard, depending on successful implementation and cooperation from Tehran.

The potential for a complete lifting of international and unilateral sanctions would be a tremendous economic boost not just for Iran, but also for western companies that have long been forbidden from doing business with a country that possesses great potential wealth, and represents a large and relatively untapped market.

The agreement also paves the way for a thawing of relations between Tehran and key western powers, which have been strained since the Islamic revolution of 1979. Crucially for the West, Iran has committed to halt uranium enrichment above 5% purity, well below the threshold required for weapons-grade material (more than 90%).

In this month’s edition of the magazine, Sharif Nashashibi looks at the implications surrounding the historic Geneva deal.

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