USC and ITAM Spring 2016 Conversation Group 1

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    Hello everyone here is the topic and instructions. Please post your answer before the April 4th.

    Thank you.

    Topic: How might the Iran nuclear deal alter regional relations?

    In two paragraphs, answer the question and explain why your answer is correct (why you have reached that conclusion) using language and concepts of your course.

    Please limit your answer to no more than 300 words. Obviously, this gives you VERY little space to make your argument, so you must be brief. One approach would be to use bullet points to list the evidence to support your argument. But ensure that each point is sufficiently detailed so your points are perfectly clear for your colleagues and instructor. Keep in mind that the purpose of this written portion of the assignment is to create a foundation for your upcoming face-to-face conversation. Do not think of it as your fully developed argument but instead as an introduction to it that your counterparts will read to get a sense of your views before the group conversation.


    Jenna Futch

    Tri-polarity within the region:
    • Russian Iranian Syria: is trying to leverage development to increase influence within the region
    • Arab group (sauids, Egyptian, Jordanians, etc): torn
    • Israel and the west: trying to create stability

    There is increasing influence from Iran because they are no longer restrained by economics and politics. Now other countries are recognizing their power and are bidding for projects for development work that Iran now has the funds to support. With money to spend they can upgrade their infrastructure and develop their economy (currently 50 billion in liquid assets). Not only do they get their assets back due to the deal, but they get to start selling their resources and trading. They are experiencing substantial constraints on developing nuclear weapons, but what they can do is increase conventional arms and intercontinental ballistic missile. This could pose a threat to regional enemies because of their increasing power.

    On the other hand this deal lowered the risk of conflict between Israel and Iran. If the deal had not happened the risk of military confrontation between the two states would be extremely high. With Iran developing nuclear weapons Israel threatened to invade due to the threat it posed to peace within their country.

    Reason this is supported by Europe us and Russia was the benefit was that they would not be within months of having a nuclear capability. Additionally, as they are welcomed back and no longer ostracized there is the opportunity to influence behavior in the future. By eliminating the isolation that has accomplished nothing we are giving them the tools and opportunities to succeed.

    Arab nations in the region are now having to unite due to this deal, not yet working cohesively, but now Saudi Arabia and others are now threatened by Iran.

    Martin Hernandez

    The Iranian nuclear pact will alter Middle East relations only in the measure it may affect the domestic political scenarios on Iran. Being able to strike a deal with the U.S. tells us quite a bit about the general direction towards Iran is moving. A deal requires credibility and willingness and previous Iranian governments lacked either the willingness to achieve a deal or the credibility; in contrast, the new government has both and this has allowed it to pursue new strategies. What has changed between the previous and the current government? Probably its position within the political spectrum, with the current government being more moderate. As such, the real question is not how the deal might affect regional relations, but how the introduction of a moderate Iran might affect the region.

    Iranian influence over the region during the last decades has depended on having a relatively radical government, willing and able to support allies such as Hamas or the Syrian government. The continued support of these allies has put Iran in a rivalry with Saudi Arabia and, to a lesser degree, Turkey. These allies, however, are an obstacle to the ability of the Iranian government to engage in credible commitments and a moderate government might not be as willing to support them. In a sense, this might decrease Iranian influence, but also its rivalry with other Middle Eastern countries. However, a moderate Iran might become a more attractive ally to a wider set of groups and countries both within and outside the region, which might contribute to intensify the current rivalries.

    Leilah Rodriguez

    Pre-Nuclear Deal Iran was completely isolated in the middle east and was severely crippled economically, militarily, and in overall clout in the region. One may assume that bringing it out of its isolation would help the region economically as well as involve another actor to help get rid of the ISIS problem that is overwhelming its neighbors. This, however, is a poor assumption. Instead, it has and will continue to increase tensions between states in the region as well as have the potential to hurt the middle east economically.

    First, the way in which it will hurt the territory’s need for peace is that its neighbor, Iraq, has seen Iran as a great enemy for some time, and blames Iran for the setbacks it experienced after the Iran-Iraq war. Giving Iran more room to get involved in the international spotlight will only antagonize and already volatile Iraq. It is not only Iraq that will have qualms, however. Every country that has an interest in exporting oil will see damage to their economic well-being. Entering a new competitor into the market will incite competition as well as devalue oil, thereby lowering prices. Many of the regimes that are most well-know for their reliance on oil exports, Saudi Arabia being the first, are commonly associated with the Monarchy and Oppression Effects. This means that these states keep their civilians placated through the power of the government, which lies in its economic stability. If that stability is compromised through drops in oil prices and therefore drops in GDP, the countries will lose power and weaken the hold on their people.

    Jorge Muniz

    Iran, just like the empire it used to be centuries ago, is looking to have a dominant role in the region. The deal signed last year, in which the economic sanctions to this Asian country would be lifted as long as it followed certain rules regarding its nuclear program, will give Iran more economic power. This new reality will probably be used to enforce its influence in the area. One of the ways it can do it would be financing Shiite populations in different countries, supporting proxies, and backing Assad’s regime with the new money it will have. The Arab Gulf States could be destabilized if the Iranian government promotes Shiite conflicts in the region.

    Iran already sends weapons to Lebanon, more specifically, to Hezbollah.The goal of this is to attack Israel. Iran’s hatred against the Jewish State has been expressed several times by Iranian leaders since Israel’s creation. Iran is Hezbollah’s primary benefactor and with more money, it could support it even more. As a result, this organization would be stronger and would be able to push back against Lebanese social and political movements. This group could also give more money to militias in Yemen and Iraq expanding its influence. Although the deal’s main focus is to postpone Iran’s nuclear program for a decade, which could be seen as a way to release the tension in the Middle East, it seems that it might destabilize the region more.

    Kajal Khurana

    Prior the Nuclear deal, Iran was a struggling power in the region because of the crippling effects of the sanctions imposed on them by the US and the EU.
    However, the agreement will now give Iran access to billions of dollars and additional benefits from the lifted sanctions. This will allow Iran to slowly build up their power and influence in the region once again, but may also cause more strenuous relationships with other Middle Eastern powers, such as Saudi Arabia and Iraq. This is because Iran will once again have the ability to fund extremist programs in neighboring countries, which will lead to rising tension in the region. For example, Iran has always been a prominent financial and ideological backer of Bashar Al-Assad’s regime in Syria and of Hezbollah in Lebanon in their fight against the Israeli forces. Even under the domestic turmoil caused by the sanctions, Iran has consistently contributed billions of dollars to the survival of both those regimes, for example by funding and training military units. It can be assumed that Iran will increase the amount they provide to the insurgencies. A more financially-supported Hezbollah can then pursue regimes in other Arab countries and expand their already existing ones, such as in Syria by supporting Shia militants.

    On the other hand, the deal could potentially be beneficial for its relations with other countries in the region because they were able to strike a deal with the US in a diplomatic fashion rather than through coercion. This suggests that the extremely radical Iranian government of the past no longer exists, but rather a more “moderate” and reliable government has taken over. The Gulf States hope that the deal will slow down the arms race and make Iran a more responsible and credible regional actor to ensure that their rise to power does not destabilize the Arab world by supporting various Shiite extremist groups.

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