With the lifting of US and European oil and financial sanctions, Iran’s re-entry into the international system is arguably the most significant West Asian development of the past few decades.
The ripple effects could spread far beyond the region. There is much to applaud—from Iran’s verified dismantling of large parts of its nuclear programme to the benefits for India of its opening for business again.
But questions remain. Will the reduced pressure on Tehran free it to increase its support for militant proxies? Is the path to an eventual resolution in Syria, where the US, Saudi Arabia and Iran are at cross-purposes, any clearer? How will Sunni powers like Saudi Arabia, adamantly opposed to Iran, react—and by extension, what will be the effect on oil prices, one of the main tools in that conflict.
The lifting of sanctions is the beginning of a great deal of geopolitical churn, not the end.