Iran's relations with Europe will expand quickly: Shireen Hunter

July 21, 2015

TEHRAN - Shireen Tahmaasb Hunter, a professor of political science at Georgetown University, predicts that relations between Iran and Europe will improve rapidly now that the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program has come to an end.

On July 14, Iran and the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) agreed a final deal on Iran’s nuclear program.
On Monday, the UN Security Council was set to endorse the landmark nuclear deal and adopt a series of measures leading to the end of UN sanctions against Iran.
“Iran's relations with Europe will expand quickly because they do not have the same sensitivity in Iran as does relations with the U.S., ” Tahmaasb Hunter says.
In an interview with the Tehran Times, Hunter says, “Hopefully after the deal a more logical and just regional order would prevail.”
Following is the text of the interview:
Q: How do you assess the nuclear agreement between Iran and 5+1 group?
A: The deal was the best that both sides of the negotiations could have hoped for. Both sides made some concessions and got at least the most important of their objectives. Iran's right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy was recognized and the international community put in place a strong system of verification, in order to ensure that Iran does not use nuclear energy for military purposes.
Q: What will be the effect of the agreement on relations between Iran and the Persian Gulf Arab states?
A: The deal already has had positive impact on Iran's relations with its neighbors not just in the Persian Gulf but also elsewhere. The king of Bahrain congratulated Iran's president and the Pakistani minister of energy said that Iranian gas will flow to Pakistan in 2017. These are the results of the deal. Saudi Arabia, too, will have to be more cautious in dealing with Iran. It would make the reaching of compromises on regional issues easier.
Q: Can the agreement open a new phase in ties between Iran and West?
A: Iran's relations with Europe will expand quickly because they do not have the same sensitivity in Iran as does relations with the U.S. But even here if the trend of dialogue on mutually beneficial areas continues and the two sides gradually build more trust in their relation even relations with the U.S. could return to normal.
Q: Which countries are the biggest losers of this agreement?
A: All those countries which wanted that the U.S. should attack Iran and thus help their regional ambitions are the losers. All the other countries in a vast region from the Caucasus to Morocco and India will benefit either economically or from a security perspective of this agreement.
Finally, Iran's isolation was an anomaly that distorted many aspects of regional policies. Hopefully after the deal a more logical and just regional order would prevail.