1. Prologue
  2. Iran-US Deal: Various Names
    1. Salient Features of the Deal
    2. Why Iran and West Agreed?
    3. Indian interest in E3+3 deal
    4. Chinese Interests?
  3. Operation Raahat Fateh Ali Khan
    1. Reasons for conflict:
    2. Features of Op.Raahat:
    3. Challenges in Op.Raahat
    4. Lessons for future


  • Since December 2014 Week1, I’ve been preparing weekly current affairs file in MS-Excel.
  • But these two topics: (1)Iran-West nuke deal and (2) Op. Raahat became too large. It’s inconvenient to read within excel. Hence I’m ‘extracting’ them out into this separate article under diplomacy section.
  • As such this article is not among the best of my work. Due to paucity of time, and lack of teammates, I’ve just organized points from newspapers without doing much research. e.g capital cities, timelines, background etc.
  • This is only meant as quick reference for UPSC interview. This is not a full fledged prelim cum mains cum interview article.
Iran-US Deal: Various Names
E3+3 deal
  • because E3 = France, Germany, United Kingdom;
  • other 3 = China, Russia, USA.
UNSC P5+1 because 5 permanent members of UNSC + Germany
Lausanne agreement because signed in that city of Switzerland.

All of them one and same, meant to control Iran’s nuke program for next 10-15 years, so they can’t produce nuclear bomb.

Salient Features of the Deal

Map Iran Nuclear Sites

  1. Iran can run nuke facilities for civilian / peaceful purpose only.
  2. IAEA to have full inspection powers.
  3. Spent fuel won’t be reprocessed, it’ll be exported.
  4. Overall no. of centrifuges to be reduced.
  5. Only 1 enrichment facility at Natanz.
  6. Fordow facility will be turned into a research centre.
  7. Arak’s heavy water reactor will be modified so it can’t produce plutonium.
Why Iran and West Agreed?
Iran agreed West agreed because
UNSC, EU, USA sanctions will be lifted. Iran can freely trade in international market, borrow loans from AIIB, World Bank etc. Irani influence increased in this region after US exist from Afghanistan and Iraq. So Irani help necessary to prevent spread of ISIS and Huthi rebels
Crude oil prices declined, and given the economic sanction, Iran has not much to export. If sanction not lifted, the resultant economic crisis may have led to another Arab spring like revolution. After Stuxnet cyber-attack on Iran’s nuke facilities, Iranis updated their antivirus software(!) so now very difficult to hack again. And noone wants to launch full-fledged military attack, except Israel.
Danger of aerial attack from Israel. This ‘nuke-peace deal’ means USA will prevent Israel from any military adventure for the time being. if no deal happened then within 3 months, Iran would have sufficient enriched uranium to produce a bomb.

Indian interest in E3+3 deal

Map Iran Bandar Abbas Chahbahar port

  1. Iran can help India counter terror groups Jundullah, LeT, Haqqani, Al-Qaeda, Taliban, ISI and Pak.Army.
  2. India can easily develop Iran’s Chabahar port and gain land route entry to Afghanistan, to counter Chinese influence from Lianyungang port and Silk road / belt initiative.
  3. We can develop Iran’s Bandar Abbas port, and International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) to connect with CIS, Europe, Russia. It cut down time and cost in shipping from Mumbai to Astrakhan, Russia. INSTC was planned in 2000, it has Iran, India, Russia + 9 other countries.
  4. If #3 is done, we can get raw material and export finished goods to CIS and via CIS to EU. (Foreign Trade policy 2015 wants this).
  5. Iran can provide steady oil and gas supply to India, because Iran has world’s 4th largest oil and 2nd largest natural gas reserves.
  6. Indian fertilizer cos can invest in Iran’s gas based plants. Remember Natural gas to CH3 to NH3 to Urea connection.
  7. Defense ties in long term; but with Challenges. Because If we cozy up too much with Iran then Saudi, Israel and USA won’t like it. Not ONE BIT. Therefore, India will have to balance 3 legged three-legged stool — with different sized legs.

Chinese Interests?

  1. They always supported Iran during sanction years, so now time to reap rewards by signing contracts e.g. new oil line from Gwadar Port (Pakistan) to Iran.
  2. China wants Iran to join silk belt/road initiative and AIIB.
  3. Even Pak. Interested to align with Iran instead of Saudi, therefore Pak Parliament recently declined to give military support to Saudi’s campaign in Yemen to fight against Huthi rebels. Because Iran is supporting Huthis rebels.

Operation Raahat Fateh Ali Khan

Purpose: Operation Raahat to rescue Indian citizens from Yemen during March 2015 (week4):

Map Yemen Operation Raahat

Reasons for conflict:

  1. Shia Huthis rebels have ousted Yemenis President AbdRabbu Mansour Hadi. Since these Huthis are allies of Iran (Shia), so Saudi Arab (Sunni monarchy) begins airstrike on those rebels in Yemen.
  2. Initially Pakistan too wanted to send troops to support Saudi Arabia, but now Pak Parliament changed stance, perhaps because of the Chinese interest in Iran.
  3. After E3+3 deal, Iraq asked Huthis for ceasefire while UNSC put arms embargo on them.
  4. Overall, 4k legal Indian workers and 5k illegal Indian workers caught in cross fire, hence the need for Op. Raahat to rescue them.

Features of Op.Raahat:

  1. Minister of State for Overseas Indian Affairs General (Retd.) V.K. Singh to oversee operations from Djibouti port.
  2. INS Sumitra shifted from anti-piracy ops to rescue op in Djibouti. INS Mumbai, Tarkash also supported.
  3. Two IAF C-17 Globemasters and two Air India flights also arranged.
  4. So total 3 ships x 4 planes. (or may be more, who has time to count every ship for exam!)
  5. MEA kept in touch with Yemenis Government and rebels for a safe passage of Indians. Modi calls up the new Saudi king Salman Bin Abdul Aziz to help out.
  6. We saved 500+ civilians from 17+ nations, including Pakistan. Pak also saved few Indians and Modi thanked Sharif for it. This soft diplomacy will help in long run.

Challenges in Op.Raahat

  1. Saudi began air-strikes on March 26, so India should have begun rescue operation sooner. Indian Government says people were warned in advance, but they did not move out quickly.
  2. As such MEA told Indians to leave Yemen in Jan 2015 itself but most did not because
    1. their passports/visas were in custody of their employer
    2. Economic/financial reasons- person doesn’t want to lose job / wages
  3. Logistics and technical issues such as fuelling the ships, getting visa clearances etc.

Lessons for future

  1. India should negotiate for better working conditions of Indians working in Middle Easter nations. So during and after such crisis, their jobs, properties etc is protected or insured.
  2. 60 lakh Indians working in Middle east, and region on constant boil. Therefore, SAARC nations should setup an early warning system and collaborate for evacuation in Middle east.
  3. Indians usually not harmed by either party in most Middle Eastern conflicts because of India’s neutral stand. So, Government should remain cautious not to show tilt towards any party (pro Saudi / Pro Iran / Pro Syria / Shia / Sunni / Pseudo-ISIS apologists) until migrants are evacuated.

For more articles on Diplomacy and international relations, visit Mrunal.org/Diplomacy.