THE BLOG

Pact With Iran -- Now That the Dust Settled

The agreement reached between the P5+1 and Iran is no longer claiming a place on the front pages of websites and newspapers. As the clamor dissipates, surprising diplomatic details are emerging from the agreement.

These details lend a more realistic understanding to the tone and tenor of the agreement. Most importantly, Iran has not only been brought out of the proverbial dog house, Iran is now top dog. Orders for new oil imports from Iran are surpassing expectations.

Hindustan Petroleum, a Fortune 500 company owned by the government of India, has announced that its insurers are now covering the vessels and the transport of oil from Iran to India. The announcement included a statement saying that the importing of oil from Iran will begin shortly.

Not only will Iran's oil industry thrive because of this agreement, but its diplomatic cachet is also on the rise. London has announced that its new charge d'affairs has already visited Iran. British Foreign Secretary William Hague informed the world that Ajay Sharma made his first trip to Iran with the intention of setting up new relations between the two countries. Ajay Sharma added his own message by tweeting that relations between the United Kingdom and Iran will improve one step at a time.

This is a huge step for any Western country. It is a real normalization of diplomatic ties. I am curious to see what the UK gains from this unprecedented change in diplomatic status, what Iran gets is obvious and enormous.

The United States wants in on the excitement of courting Iran as well. The US is establishing relations with Iran on two separate fronts. An Iran/US Chamber of Commerce has already been created and will officially begin functioning with the next few weeks. The news was presented in Iran by Abdolfazl Hejazi a member of Iran's Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture and a member of the newly created Iran/US Chamber of Commerce. The announcements were made public in a press conference and publicized to the English language press in Iran Daily. It went like this: "Iran / US Chamber of Commerce will be launched in less than one month."

And direct flights between the United States and Iran will be instituted in the near future. The flights will arrive and depart only from the Island of Kish, an international tax-free trading zone. As such, United States citizens will not need Iranian visas.

Iran is reveling in the attention and economic and diplomatic uplift it is receiving from world powers. But it is not relying on others to do its work. Iran is working independently to achieve its own goals of once again becoming the most significant player in the Middle East and one of the "go-to" countries in the world. To that end, it tried a significant move at the recent OPEC meeting.

Until now the Iranians have been marginalized at OPEC, especially because of the Western sanctions against them. But at this meeting things were different. Iranian leadership went into the meeting hoping to reassert its role as a world oil player. Saudi Arabia interpreted the move as a frontal assault against its position, and not only because Iran actually attempted to get one of their delegates into the position of chairman.

This process of normalization with the West is racing ahead at breakneck speed. Even the interaction between the United States and Iran is moving ahead very quickly. While there are no official relations yet, at this rate I do not imagine that it will be too long before official diplomatic relations are established and there is an exchange of ambassadors.

Before we all get too carried away, let us take a moment to reflect on the true Iran. Let us not forget what happened in 1979. That is the year Iran took 52 US diplomats hostage -- and kept them for 444 days.