A week ago, I suggested that the U.S. was moving closer to Iran by the negotitations, perhaps closer to Iran than Saudi Arabia and Israel, two of Washington's regional allies.
These concerns became much clearer now, once the Iran deal was signed. If you missed it, the deal should make it easier to inspect the nuclear sites in Persia. However, it has pretty much explicitly allowed Iran to enrich the uranium – up to 5 percent or so but the freedom to keep the capability is essential – and it will suspend most of the sanctions.
Washington and London may claim that the deal is balanced but it's clearly not according to the reactions. Israel considers it a "historic mistake". Saudi Arabia formally says the deal is OK but it is revising its doctrines and prepares to fight to oppose Iran's regional hegemony.
Iran's negotiators were greeted as heroes. Iran clearly considers the deal to be a victory. It will allow them to fix the greatest imbalances caused by the sanctions so far and this will allow Iran to undergo a new wave of sanctions in the future when the nation goes "openly rogue" again. Moreover, the six months of "truce" implied by the Geneva deal with make it even harder to strike Iran afterwords, regardless of its violations of the deal.
Czech nuclear watchdog Ms Dana Drábová stated that Iran is a large/great and proud nation that couldn't have surrendered in "all topics". Well, I surely understand where she's coming from. I know some (fine) folks who were born in Iran and I understand their opinion that Iran is intrinsically a modern and progressive country that wants to determine a lot in the region, regardless of their disagreement with the leaders (all this modernity and technology was introduced by the Shah, someone who never seems to get the proper credit, but that's another story).
It's likely that the Iranian leadership is so stubborn that it would simply accept no deal that wouldn't legalize their enrichment. But in my opinion, that does not mean that the West should have okayed the enrichment, something that used to stand behind a red line. (The restrictions on the enrichment seem completely reversible to me.) Instead, it may mean that the time became ripe for a military intervention.
I agree with those who say that the deal exposes the U.S. as a superpower in retreat. The country is suddenly OK with the evolution that allows its key "foes" to acquire a regional hegemony – something that its allies clearly dislike. The underlying theme beneath this "green light" is America's apparent inability to prevent Iran from getting this status.
Iran's new legitimacy and "green light" will allow the country to change the balance in many regional and perhaps global questions including the Palestine issue, the situation in Syria, and others. Peace whatever it costs may sound attractive to some folks but peace, under some circumstances, is just a ticket to worse losses in a looming war.
The greater picture is that America is betraying its allies in the Middle East (Israel and Sunni Arab states) and allowing Iran, an aggressive country with some anti-freedom philosophy, to become the main driver in the region. In this sense, I do think that the deal is qualitatively analogous to the Munich Pact although I do acknowledge that the Geneva deal has some "strings attached" (from the Iran's viewpoint) which the Munich Pact didn't have. Investor's Business Daily compares the appeasement to the new deal, too.
It seems to me that Saudi Arabia plus a few Arab allies couldn't beat Iran in a regional war. Iran's army is too formidable. However, if the Saudis managed to buy a few nukes from Pakistan, the counting could be very different.
Israel could do better and a more or less scrambled Israel-Sunni coalition could beat Iran but it's a very subtle scenario to consider. At the end, I – as a person in Central Europe – care about the power balance in the region for a simple reason: Iran ultimately is the only country that has the desire to expand and influence an ever greater territory, perhaps including Europe at some moment, and I think that the influence is or would be highly undesirable, to put it very diplomatically. I am scared of the idea that some bigots and cranks who believe medieval religious superstitions could gain the power to influence the public discourse, what is OK or not OK to say. And worse things.
Barack Obama who has been fawning over the mullahs has shamefully attacked the critics of the deal – making it clear whether it is the mullahs or the Republican senators who is closer to his heart. "It's always easy to talk tough." Well, it's obviously not easy for you, Mr Obama, except when you talk to freedom-loving folks in your own country who don't have any credible tools to remove you.