Détente in the Neighborhood?: Tentative Iran deal may open up new vistas for Armenia

The negotiations in Lausanne, Switzerland, on a framework agreement with Iran over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program were completed successfully on Thursday, with Armenia swiftly hailing the progress made at the talks between its neighbor and the world’s leading powers.

The deal provides for the reduction of Iran’s nuclear program by two-thirds in exchange for a gradual lifting of crippling international sanctions.

The marathon talks in Switzerland between Iran and the Big Six (China, Russia, Germany, France, Britain and the United States) have already been called historic. Many analytical articles in the world press suggest that the deal means that much is going to change not only in the region, but in global politics as well.

First of all, it may mean a new lowering in international oil prices. However, the transformation is likely to be much deeper. Analysts say Iran may take up the place of the West’s leading partner in the region, the place that has so far been occupied by Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

For Armenia, this means a significant change in the geopolitical environment. It is for a century now that Armenian policies have been completely dependent on the Russian-Turkish agreements supported by the West. But now in Turkey, Russia and even in Azerbaijan they realize that the West is pursuing a policy of containment against them. And that could lead to the possibility of denouncement of the Russian-Turkish agreements, including those on Armenia.

Such a prospect appears particularly relevant on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide committed in Ottoman Turkey. Ahead of the April 24 commemorations Armenia reaffirms that it “remembers and demands”. Experts have already drafted a list of claims against Turkey, which, however, can be pursued only after the denouncement of the Russian-Turkish agreements. This is possible if the demands of Armenia are supported by such giants as France, the United States and Iran.

In its turn, for Iran that will open up to the world after the lifting of the sanctions Armenia can become a reliable way for communications. More investors may show interest in the construction of the Armenian-Iranian railroad.

After learning the news from the talks with the Big Six, many people in Iran went to the streets of their cities to celebrate the progress, hoping that the longstanding isolation of their country will end soon and Iran will again occupy its due place in the world.

The agreement on Iran is to be finalized on June 30, but the international community is likely to start removing the sanctions already now.