US allies in Asia should welcome the Iran deal

Most Asian countries were surely relieved at news of the landmark July 14 deal between Iran and a US-led six-nation coalition after months of often acrimonious negotiations to halt Tehran's nuclear development programme. For many countries, Western and Asian, the deal will allow a swift normalisation of business and diplomatic ties with a large and potentially important trading partner.

But analysts who have suggested the Iran deal could be a possible template for resolving the nuclear standoff with North Korea are likely to be disappointed. The Pyongyang regime now looks set to become the world's only rogue nuclear proliferator.

For Asia, far removed from the reach of Iran's missiles, the protracted standoff between Iran and the West was always less about concerns over nuclear proliferation in one of the world's most unstable regions than about Asia's economic bottom line.

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