Analysis: An Iran deal could have broader implications

As world powers edge toward a possible nuclear deal with Iran, the debate has been dominated by the question of whether it leaves an opening for Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon. But an accord could have another profound impact: Is this the beginning of the Islamic Republic’s broad acceptance by the community of nations?…

…In the region, Western-allied and oil-rich Sunni-ruled Gulf states deeply distrust the non-Arab Shiite powerhouse and see its hand in destabilizing their part of the world by backing armed groups from Lebanon to Yemen to Iraq. That distrust fuels sectarian divisions that course through many of the region’s conflicts and get exploited by extremist organizations including the Islamic State group, which considers Shiites heretics.

A deal could worsen those tensions. Arab powers like Saudi Arabia and Egypt might conclude Iran has been allowed to stand on the threshold of a nuclear weapon and decide that they, too, must have nuclear programs — further inflaming the world’s most combustible tinderbox…

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