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A slick future

A slick future
Highlights

Iran has ceased to be a pariah State given its emergence as a major regional power, thanks to the latest certification by UN nuclear watchdog IAEA, which opines that there was nothing to suspect or worry about in the country’s nuclear programme. 

Iran has ceased to be a pariah State given its emergence as a major regional power, thanks to the latest certification by UN nuclear watchdog IAEA, which opines that there was nothing to suspect or worry about in the country’s nuclear programme.

It has been such a credible go-ahead that the US and the EU did not hesitate to lift the freeze on its global assets that are estimated at $100 billion. In a way, this is a significant success for back-channel diplomacy that has been spearheaded by US President Barack Obama.

Not surprisingly, the developments have drawn the ire of US’ trusted allies like Israel and Saudi Arabia, more so the latter. Bolstered by the ease in hostility, the much-relieved Iran President Hassan Rouhani declared the momentous occasion as a ‘golden page’ in the country’s trouble-torn history.

If he reaffirms that this will open new windows for engagement with the world, he is merely expressing the delight at the end of decades-long angst following sanctions and global isolation. As things stand, Tehran is no longer seen as a spoiler of Middle East peace even as Washington sees political and economic dividends from the new world order.

Rattled by the inroads of IS into Turkey and Syria, US and EU are counting on Iran’s pivotal role to contain IS that seems oblivious of the bombardments by US, Saudi-led coalition and Russia. In hindsight, the US will benefit immensely from Iran’s crude oil exports, which are expected to add to the global gut with 5 lakh BPDs a day, as US shale oil producers are literally bleeding.

The win-win situation will, correspondingly, relieve the nation of any dependence on Saudis. For Rouhani, who insists on peaceful uses of their nuclear programme, it is nothing short of achieving a diplomatic coup. Moreover, his peace overtures come in complete contrast to the hawkish stance of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Implications of this new geopolitics are major for a country like India, which has been saving billions of dollars. While exports continue to shrink in the gloomy global economy, Indian consumers stand to benefit. Prices of fuel, tyres, paints, air tickets can be slashed further in the days ahead.

Exports may not improve as the world’s second largest economy went for nearly 2% devaluation of Yuan against the dollar. The rupee’s fall to a 28-month low of 67.59 against the dollar provides India a little cushion, though, and rightly there is a clamour to let further slide of the rupee.

Additionally, unshackling of Iran might prod India to expedite the development of Chabahar port to circumvent Pakistan and reach out to land-locked Afghanistan and thereby Central Asian oil exporters.

Not only would India’s energy security be thus assured, but even its fertiliser needs can be met as a urea plant is envisaged at Chabahar. The 2,700-km Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline, grandiosely called ‘Peace Pipeline,’ may also see the light of the day, as Tehran will nudge Islamabad and New Delhi to move closer.

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