A Nobel Peace Prize for Iran Nuclear Deal Architects?

by PATRICK GOODENOUGH October 6, 2017

With the controversial Iran nuclear deal under the Trump administration's microscope, there has been growing speculation that Norway's Nobel peace prize committee may have decided to award this year's prize to two or three of the agreement's chief negotiators.

The 2017 prize recipient will be announced in Oslo Friday mid-morning local time.

Although similar conjecture was proven unfounded in 2015 and 2016, the Peace Research Institute Oslo, an independent Norwegian think tank, has put Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini at the top of its annual shortlist of predicted winners.

PRIO director Henrik Urdal said the bulk of the credit for the deal - and what he called "the peaceful and successful resolution of the Iran nuclear dispute" - must go to Zarif and Mogherini.

In Mogherini's case, he added, the achievement "also represents the first major conflict successfully mediated by the E.U." since her position was created in 2009.

Interestingly former Secretary of State John Kerry, who led the U.S. team in the negotiations that delivered the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015, does not feature on the PRIO list.

Last year, Kerry and Zarif were thought to be strong contenders for the 2016 Nobel peace prize, but it went to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos for his efforts to end the drawn-out civil war in his country.

President Trump has called the JCPOA "one of the worst deals" he has ever seen. He looks set next week to certify that Iran has not been complying with its commitments under the accord.

The notion that this year's award for peace could go to a representative of a regime that abuses human rights at home and sponsors terror abroad has raised eyebrows but controversial decisions by the Norwegian Nobel Committee are far from unprecedented.

It has been criticized over the decades for decisions seen as politically motivated (global warming campaigner Al Gore in 2007), premature (President Obama in 2009, less than a year into his first term), or simply inappropriate (PLO terrorist leader Yasser Arafat in 1995, and ardent chlorine gas warfare exponent Fritz Haber in 1918.)

Asked Thursday whether the White House was aware of the possibility JCPOA negotiators could be named Nobel peace prize winners, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders replied, "I think we've been very clear what our position is on the deal. That hasn't changed just because some people may receive an award for it."

Iran has one Nobel peace prize laureate, former judge and human rights campaigner Shirin Ebadi, who won the award in 2003. Ebadi, who lives in exile, has long been a critic of the regime in Tehran.

This year there are more than 300 nominees for the peace prize, although many names are not made public.

Other prominent ones include the U.N. High Commission for Refugees for its work in dealing with the biggest refugee crisis since World War II, and the secular Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet and its exiled editor, targets of Islamist President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's crackdown on dissent.

Another is the White Helmets, a volunteer rescue group working in rebel-held areas of Syria. The State Department has credited the group with having saved more than 40,000 lives during the conflict; the Assad regime and Russia call its people terrorists posing as humanitarians.

The prize is handed out on December 10, the anniversary of the 1896 death of the award's founder, Alfred Nobel.

Courtesy of CNSNews.com 

Patrick covered government and politics in South Africa and the Middle East before joining CNSNews.com in 1999. Since then he has launched foreign bureaus for CNSNews.com in Jerusalem, London and the Pacific Rim. From October 2006 to July 2007, Patrick served as Managing Editor at the organization's world headquarters in Alexandria, Va. Now back in the Pacific Rim, as International Editor he reports on politics, international relations, security, terrorism, ethics and religion, and oversees reporting by CNSNews.com's roster of international stringers.


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