I am really very pleased at the agreement reached with Iran. Coming as it does against a background of widespread and Western exacerbated Sunni/Shia conflict, it is one of very few hopeful recent international developments.
Liberalisation of Iranian society continues to go forward at an achingly slow pace. The human rights situation, role of the military and theological power structure remain, frankly, appalling. But insofar as there is movement, it is for improvement. Normalisation of its international situation will certainly help.
Taking the long view, Iran is the classical case of a great culture perverted to destruction by western power interference and the reaction to it. But I believe the enormous potential of the Iranian people will now start to reassert itself.
The danger of course is the Zionist militarists in Congress and the US media who will do all in their power to scupper any peaceful move. But for once, Bush’s extension of executive power might do some actual good. There is a parallel danger in Iran. The Iraq War was totally unjustified and illegal, but Saddam Hussein might nonetheless have evaded it had he boxed a bit more cleverly and allowed some foolish inspectors to wander around his palaces prodding at the teaspoons. Yes the inspections regimes will be galling, even humiliating. But patience will have its rewards. There is real danger though that the hardliners on the Iranian side will be able to muster sufficient local points of power to hamper inspections, thus giving the US and Israeli hardliners an opportunity.