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Iranian Deal – A Win for Multilateralism

Jul 23 , 2015
  • Wu Zurong

    Research Fellow, China Foundation for Int'l Studies

July 14 marked the conclusion of a historic deal on the Iranian nuclear issue in Vienna between Iran and the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany. The hard-won, comprehensive agreement is expected to take effect within 90 days after ratification by the United Nations Security Council at the end of July. The six powers and Iran, after a decade-long marathon of talks, finally clinched the deal, successfully defusing a 12-year dispute and making laudable contributions to defending the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and regional peace. The signing of the Iranian nuclear agreement sets a precedent for the international community to solve disputes through political and diplomatic channels, and is also an example for the success of multilateralism in international issues. The most fundamental driving force for the deal is the profound and deepening development toward a multipolar world.

First, economic globalization has closely integrated the interests of all countries, and the conception of a community of common destiny for all mankind has taken root. Iran is one of the major oil producers and exporters as well as a major developing country in the Middle East, and has its political, economic and security interest in the world. Sanctions imposed on Iran not only brought suffering to the Iranian people, but also damaged the security and economic interest of the US, Europe and Asian countries, and have also been a negative factor to the recovery of the world economy. Facts speak louder. Under pressure from the international community, US President Barack Obama had to admit that sanctions have failed the strategic goals set by the United States. Against the backdrop that companies from the United States and across the world have shown strong willingness in doing business with Iran, sanctions probably will never work.


Second, unilateralism has been proven to be a failure, while multilateralism pushed forward in the multipolar world has prevailed and will continue to prevail. The US failure in Afghanistan and Iraq has proved that any country, even if it is the United States, now the only superpower in the world with military and economic supremacy, will never succeed if it wants to settle international disputes through military means or unilateralism or unilateral group. It has also proved that the only effective way of finding solutions to international disputes is to tap the collective wisdom of the United Nations and joint efforts made by the Eastern and Western countries.

Third, the United States could play its due role in promoting world peace and prosperity only if it seeks to strengthen cooperation with other countries, including Great Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany. The core of the Iranian nuclear issue was distrust and confrontation between the United States and Iran. In the past decades of confrontation and standoff, although the United States and Iran had the desire to improve their relations and solve the nuclear issue, they still failed. With the important, constructive role played by the five major countries, including China, particularly their efforts in promoting peace, in bringing the parties to the negotiation table and in broadening the horizons at critical moments, they all became indispensable factors to the success of the nuclear talks. By bringing their respective advantages into full play and balancing the interests and benefits of all parties concerned, the six major countries all made contributions to the successful conclusion of the comprehensive agreement.

A lesson from the Iranian nuclear deal: Gone was the day when the United States could dominate the world and do whatever it wanted; the development of a multipolar world is reshaping a new international order which is characterized by equality, mutual benefits, win-win spirit and cooperation.

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