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2016年1月20日 (水)

イラン制裁解除 合意履行を中東安定へ生かせ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Use implementation of Iran N-deal to build stability in Middle East
イラン制裁解除 合意履行を中東安定へ生かせ

How to draw Iran into the world community and bring stability to the Middle East, which has been thrown into an increasing state of confusion? A crucial moment lies ahead to tackle this challenge.

Iran and six other countries — the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China — have announced the implementation of a nuclear deal reached last July that called for lifting sanctions by the United States, the European Union and the U.N. Security Council in return for Iran’s downsizing of its nuclear facilities.

Iran has already transferred most of its stored low-enriched uranium to Russia and removed two-thirds of 19,000 centrifugal separators for enrichment. The International Atomic Energy Agency has confirmed this in an on-site inspection.

This would extend the period needed for Iran to complete the production of nuclear weapons from a range of “two to three months” to a range of “one year or more” if the country undertakes it. The IAEA maintains surveillance, and sanctions will be reimposed if violations are found. This can be lauded as a measure to put the brakes on nuclear development to a certain degree.

U.S. President Barack Obama said the world would be “more secure.” To prevent Iran from moving to become a nuclear power after the 15-year period for implementation of the deal ends, it is essential for the United States and other related countries to support Iran’s moderate reform policy line.

Given the release of U.S. citizens, including a reporter, who had been held by Iran, the channel between the two countries with no diplomatic relations has strengthened.

How to use this to end the civil war in Syria and wipe out the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militant group is now the question.

Rebuild alliance

Iran, a major Shiite-dominated Muslim country, supports the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad and has been intensifying its confrontation with Saudi Arabia, a leading country of Sunni Muslims, which calls for the ouster of Assad. Israel is also nervous about ballistic missile development by Iran, a country which is hostile to it.

Washington has announced additional sanctions against Iran over its missile development, but Saudi Arabia and Israel have become deeply distrustful of the United States. Obama must push ahead with reestablishing the alliance with the two countries.

Iran will resume crude oil exports and expand transactions significantly with foreign financial institutions and businesses, which had been subject to a de facto ban due to sanctions imposed by the United States. Crude oil bills said to total $100 billion and other funds, which have been frozen in bank accounts of foreign countries, will become accessible.

Iran’s crude oil reserves rank fourth in the world, and its natural gas reserves rank first. Other countries place high expectations on the country’s market, sustained by its rich natural resources and population of nearly 80 million people.

Japan, which has concluded an investment agreement with Iran, expects diversification of its sources for crude oil procurement, an increase in automobile exports and an entry into plant facilities construction and management. Efforts must be made to promote information gathering and realize participation in the Iranian market.

Of concern is a scenario in which crude oil prices drop further with Iran producing more, thereby causing the worsening of economic conditions in oil-producing countries and global declines in stock prices. If Saudi Arabia and Iran are engaged in a continued struggle for hegemony in the Middle East, neither the abatement of regional tensions nor the stability of the world economy can be expected.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 19, 2016)


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