'Diplomacy, not sanctions key to securing Iran nuclear deal'

Sanctions didn't play much of a role in reaching the nuclear deal on Iran, as it was a multilateral diplomatic effort that opened the door for talks, former US National Security Advisor and Middle East expert Gwenyth Todd told RT.

On Nov. 24, the P5+1 world powers and Iran concluded a historic deal on Tehran’s nuclear program at talks in Geneva.

Todd said the deal had been made possible due to the recognition by the US and other countries that it was necessary to engage Iran in international diplomacy.

“I’m skeptical when it comes to the benefit of sanctions in at least causing the regime change or significant change in the [Iranian] government’s behavior. There are those who still believe in it and I’m not sure what examples they point to. But I don’t think the sanctions played as much of a role as the recognition by the United States and Britain and other countries that we need to engage Iran, because Iran is becoming increasingly influential,” Todd said.

“The Russians, the Germans, the British and the American were all instrumental. But this is a multilateral effort. Iran is too important a country to ignore. We needed to open the door,” she said.

Veronika Krasheninnikova, director general of the Moscow-based Institute for Foreign Policy Studies and Initiatives, told RT that in such a situation the only way to find a solution was through diplomacy. She highlighted, in particular, the role of Russia.

“Russia recently, in the last month, has become a new leader in solving international crises. Its policy in resolving the Syrian crisis and preventing a military strike showed how constructive a role Russia can play in the world today. And indeed it helped Washington to get out of impasse it got itself into,” Krasheninnikova said.

 Todd said that the Obama administration had to overcome opposition toward the deal with Iran that existed within his administration.

“The Obama administration had been seeking any door that might open up talks with Iran. I suspect that he has had a lot of opposition from within... There was dissent within the White House and National Security Council during the second term, and that there has been a concerted push to find an excuse and a way to bring the Iranians to the table and basically to come to some sort of agreement,” Todd said.

 Krasheninnikova said that Iran showed goodwill and determination to resolve the conflict by peaceful means.

“If we look at the list of sanctions that have been canceled, it’s not such a long list. If only $7 billion out of the $100 billion are being unfrozen, it shows indeed that Iran is willing to go at great lengths to show its goodwill,” she told RT.

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