x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 25 November 2017

Which Iran signed the deal?

It is time for Tehran to demonstrate that the country is worthy of the world’s trust

Jason Rezaian, an Iranian-American correspondent for the Washington Post, has been held by Iran for nearly one year. Vahid Salemi / AP Photo
Jason Rezaian, an Iranian-American correspondent for the Washington Post, has been held by Iran for nearly one year. Vahid Salemi / AP Photo

US president Barack Obama has been clear that the historic deal signed between Iran and the P5+1 powers over the country’s nuclear weapons programme is based on verification. Despite the goodwill that the deal was predicated on, trust alone is not going to see it create a new pathway to Iran rejoining the international community in good standing.

Now that the deal has been signed and its provisions are being debated across the globe, there are several steps that the Iranian leadership can take to build on its newly minted goodwill. To begin with, Tehran needs to be clear about how it will enforce the deal’s provisions and ensure it lives up to its side of the bargain. Given the multifaceted and often opaque power structures of the Islamic Republic, the international community must be assured that any rogue elements in Iran’s Republican Guard or even in the council of elders will be stopped from sabotaging the full implementation of the deal.

Perhaps by design, there is a perfect place where Iran can demonstrate that the country is run by functioning and transparent laws: the fate of Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian. He has been held for almost one year on disputed charges that he was conscripted to spy on Tehran for the United States. His trial has been held behind closed doors and Rezaian initially had difficulty understanding the charges against him and seeking proper legal representation.

Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said that Rezaian is a fine journalist and expressed hope that his trial would be resolved swiftly. After this historic deal on the nuclear programme, Iran would be well served to bring Rezaian’s trial into the clear daylight to demonstrate that the country is, in fact, run by the rule of law as opposed to intimidation and shadowy behind-the-scenes machinations.

We have a deal in place that will provide checks and balances for Iran’s nuclear weapons programme. Now is the time for Tehran to demonstrate some good will and trustworthiness.