Derided by Trump, Iran Nuclear Deal May Fetch Nobel Peace Prize
(Bloomberg) -- The main facilitators of the 2015 accord on Iran’s nuclear program, slammed as the worst deal ever by U.S. President Donald Trump, could be among the top contenders for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, according to researchers who predict potential winners.
Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign affairs chief, and Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, are the best candidates because they convened the process that ended with the easing of sanctions against Tehran in return for nuclear restrictions, according to Henrik Urdal, director of the Peace Research Institute Oslo, which makes a shortlist each year with mixed results.
“The threat of the use of nuclear-arm force is more real than it has been, with North Korea being in play as well,” Urdal said to reporters last week in Oslo. “It’s important to support initiatives that prevent the development and proliferation of nuclear arms.”
Leaving John Kerry out was no criticism of the former U.S. secretary of state’s role in the deal, the PRIO director said, but could be a way of highlighting to Trump -- who has said he’s made a decision on whether the U.S. will continue to abide by the deal -- that it has broad international support.
Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, won the award in his first year in office in 2009. The current U.S. president has also been nominated this time, according to PRIO. Nominations, which include over 200 names every year, are open to academics, lawmakers and non-governmental agencies worldwide. Trump’s odds were 101/1 at William Hill Plc, which estimated Obama’s chance of winning again to be higher, at 20/1.
PRIO’s shortlist also included the White Helmets, formally called the Syrian Civil Defense, and its leader Raed al Saleh, for its efforts to help civilians in the war-torn country. The White Helmets were 4/1 to win the prize at both William Hill and Unibet. The main bookmakers didn’t provide odds for the Iran-deal parties, or for PRIO’s second and third picks:
- UNHCR and High Commissioner Filippo Grandi, amid a record number of displaced people globally and crises spanning from Syria and Afghanistan to the Rohingyas in Myanmar
- Turkey’s Cumhuriyet newspaper and its former editor Can Dundar, who symbolize president Recept Tayyip Erdogan’s crackdown on the freedom of the press
Pope Francis was favorite to win at William Hill with 2/1, followed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel at 3.5/1. The American Civil Liberties Union had the lowest odds at Unibet with 3/1, followed by the Pope at 4/1. Other candidates cited by PRIO, Nobel historian Asle Sveen, or bookmakers:
- The Economic Community of West African States
- Saudi writer Raif Badawi
- U.S. leaker Edward Snowden
- Russia’s Novaya Gazeta newspaper, human rights group Memorial
The prize, along with literature, physics and medicine honors, was created by Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel and first awarded in 1901. Past winners also include civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., the late Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo and Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos, last year’s recipient. The Norwegian Nobel Committee, based in Oslo, selects the peace prize recipient.
The Physiology or Medicine Prize was on Monday awarded to Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young for discoveries that explain how plants, animals and humans adapt their biological rhythm so that it is synchronized with the earth’s revolutions. Prizes in chemistry, physics and literature will be awarded this week in Stockholm while the economics prize will be handed next Monday. The peace prize winner will be announced on Friday at 11 a.m.