How can you assess Iran's nuclear deal? Is it really a historic decision?
"The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action between the US, EU, Russia, China, and Iran is indeed a major step forward. It paves the way for Iran to develop economically and socially while providing security for the world over the next 10 to 25 years against Iran gaining nuclear weapons. Iran certainly regards it as a historic agreement for it begins to reintegrate Iran with the global community."
What will happen to anti-Iranian sanctions after this agreement?
"Sanctions against Iran for its previous nuclear activities will gradually be removed--especially the economic and technological ones. Embargos against conventional military weapons will still be in place for the next five years and embargoes against ballistic missile technology remain for the next eight years. Separate sanctions against Iran for terrorism and human rights violations are not part of the current deal and so will remain in place as well."
How will the region benefit from this deal?
"The two major benefits to the region will be reduction in military tensions and a boom in trade producing much more cash flow."
How can this deal influence on Iran's energy policy in the Caspian region?
"Iran can be expected to return to being a major player in the oil and gas exports of the region and of the world."
Some argue that this agreement will harm the interests of such energy producing countries as Russia, Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan. What do you think about it?
This agreement will certainly make the energy markets more competitive and may push prices down. While reduction of prices would impact the foreign earnings of Caspian and Persian Gulf countries, the enhancements in trade plus lower energy costs will benefit the global economy and therefore benefit the regional countries by spurring development, investment, and commerce.
The current deal does not involve Azerbaijan directly, but as a result of this deal the existing tensions between Iran and Azerbaijan should lessen and cooperative ties between the US and Azerbaijan should improve as well as the US becomes more involved socio-economically in the Caspian region.
Is it possible that Iran and Azerbaijan take part in a joint energy project?
"The deal and its removal of energy-related sanctions opens the door for bilateral Iran-Azerbaijan energy projects and for multilateral energy projects involving both those countries and others in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East."
By the way, Iran was always stood against the Europe-led Trans-Caspian pipeline project linked to export of Caspian energy to the West. Can we expect any changes in this position? May Iran join this project?
"Now that Iran can participate, its position toward the Trans-Caspian Pipeline project may very well change. It will be in Iran's interests to work with Caspian neighbors on joint energy extraction and delivery projects, not as sole leader but working together cooperatively. Iran and Azerbaijan can both benefit economically from this deal and from the reduction of political tensions that the deal brings about."
Jamsheed K.Choksy also is a member of the US government’s National Council on the Humanities.