Speaking on Franceh 24 English, Carnegie’s Karim Sadjadpour said that the Iranian deal reached last week has created is a moment of cautious optimism. The deal is not yet finalized and many details still need to be figured out. There is also still a question about whether the Iranians are working from the exact same document as that announced by the United States.

Karim Sadjadpour
Karim Sadjadpour is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he focuses on Iran and U.S. foreign policy toward the Middle East.
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The agreement exceeds expectations in both the concreteness of the document and in terms of the duration, Sadjadpour continued. So it certainly did exceed expectations of cynics but it’s still unclear whether the Iranians see this deal exactly the same way as Washington does. He added that there is concern about Iran’s transparency and its seeming unwillingness to open up its program and come clean about its past “flirtations” with nuclear weapons experiments. But, he said, one can understand the Iranian perspective—they don’t want to incriminate themselves. And in a negotiated agreement it is not possible to have “perfection.” This is a very solid deal from the P5+1 perspective, Sadjadpour concluded, and finally for the first time in many years the Iranian people are a winner here as well.

In ten to fifteen years, once the verifications in the deal end, there could be dramatic change within Iran, Sadjadpour added. The Iranian supreme leader is 75-years-old; in fifteen years he is going to be 90, if he is still alive. The top generation of revolutionaries will increasingly be out of the scene and Iran will have a population three-quarters, if not eighty percent, of which will have been born after the 1979 revolution. So what is going to happen after verifications end in 15 years should not constitute a major concern now, Sadjadpour asserted.

Sadjadpour added that the Iranian people were celebrating after the deal was announced and this is understandable. Iranian society has been hit hard from two sides. They have been crushed by a repressive regime and crushed by onerous international sanctions. But at the same time the leadership in Iran should manage popular expectations, he warned. The deal is not going to bring about economic deliverance anytime soon. Only a framework was agreed on and not a final deal. But inevitably even if the deal is signed there is going to be disillusionment amongst people who say it did not deliver what they hoped for. 

This interview was originally broadcast by France 24 English.