15 Jul '15     home | more politics

Iran Nuclear Agreement

Susan Rice, President Obama's national security advisor, describes the agreement just negotiated with Iran, as " a very strong deal that, when implemented, will cut off all of Iran's potential pathways to a nuclear weapon in a fully verifiable fashion." She adds:

This was never about human rights. It wasn't about terrorism. It wasn't about Iran's destabilizing activities in the region, all of which we remain deeply concerned about. But it was about preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon at the negotiating table.

Opponents of the deal are not holding to Rice's stricture. They see removal of the sanctions against Iran as giving Iran more power to do bad things. If Iran commits aggression, aggrieved countries could still form a coalition and strike against Iran militarily, Yesterday's nuclear weapons deal does nothing to inhibit such a move. But opponents of the agreement want to treat Iran as a dangerous enemy on the loose without actually acting militarily, controlling Iran instead with economic sanctions – although the sanctions have not been satisfying in their effectiveness.

If Iran reneges on the deal and moves toward building a nuclear weapon, action could be taken to neutralize the move. The sanctions that opponents don't want to see removed are going to crumble anyway. These sanctions have been supported by various countries that support yesterday's agreement, and they want to start doing business with Iran. This leaves opponents of the deal isolated. They are on the same wave length as their enemy, Iran's hardliners. Their fear and loathing stands apart from the friendliness that comes with the agreement. It is reminiscent of President Reagan's friendliness with Gorbachev of the Soviet Union back when hardliners in the US called Reagan Moscow's "useful idiot."

Yesterday, President Obama spoke of achieving something "that decades of animosity has not." In the streets of Teheran people were parading joyfully. And yesterday in the US Congress, John Boehner, majority leader, was complaining that the deal "will only embolden Iran – the world's largest sponsor of terror."

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