The U.S. and five other countries including Great Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia have just concluded a temporary deal with Iran that achieves more in restricting their nuclear program than anything we have achieved since we first suspected them of building a nuclear weapon back in 2003. The agreement that has a trial period of 6-months entails the following:
Freezes or reverses progress at all of Iran’s major nuclear facilities
Halts the installation of new centrifuges used to enrich uranium and caps the amount and type of enriched uranium that Iran is allowed to produce.
Iran agrees to halt work on key components of a heavy-water reactor that could someday provide Iran with a source of plutonium.
Iran accepted a dramatic increase in oversight, including daily monitoring by international nuclear inspectors
A Washington Post report also pointed out that “the concessions not only halt Iran’s nuclear advances but also make it virtually impossible for Tehran to build a nuclear weapon without being detected …”
This is significant and if in the next six months this deal pans out and it becomes even more clear that the new Iranian leadership under President Hassan Rouhani is serious about reducing the threat of nuclear weapons being built in Iran, then could it be long for a greater sense of peace to sweep over this region of the world that has known so much hostility for at least the last 60 years?
Well, yes if the Israeli government under Netanyahu and it’s supporters in the U.S. Congress can help it. Based on their unwillingness to settle for anything less than nuking Iran, the military hawks in Israel and the U.S. Congress are condemning this accord before the ink is barely dry. And not with any concrete arguments that justifies such reaction but merely the continuing suspicions they hold, much like the Cold War warriors of another era that were sure that we were being mislead by Gorbachev and Yeltsin as the Berlin Wall fell. Back then there were those skeptics who were certain that Communism would resurface in less than a decade.
Even their conservative hero in the U.S., Ronald Reagan, was willing to trust but verify. But that GOP is a thing of the past. Today the rabid right of Ted Cruz and Eric Cantor want nothing to do with giving Iran a chance under their new President to demonstrate they are serious about easing tensions between our two nations. And for all of their claims, the belief that Iran has gained nuclear weapon capabilities is a weak one at best.
One of the congressional critics of the accord, Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois, says the deal doesn’t “fully freeze nor significantly roll back its nuclear infrastructure” according to a report in the Chicago Sun Times. He also stated that the deal “ignores Iran’s continued sponsorship of terrorism, its testing of long-range ballistic missiles and its abuse of human rights.”
Never mind that since Bush implemented torture tactics, black sites and GITMO following the attack on 9/11, the U.S. is guilty of human rights violations. They also seem to be ignoring the fact that Israel has a nuclear bomb that was never authorized by the 5 atomic powers in the UN. Kirk and his ilk see only what they want to see. Expecting everything to happen all at once too is an unrealistic approach to easing tensions between Iran and the West that have developed over the last few decades.
Bad-mouthing this deal before it has had a chance to show results or not is likely to backfire on the antagonists who want nothing short of regime change in Iran. These were the same critics who expressed outrage when the Obama administration changed directions on sending missals into Syria after the American people railed against such actions. This seems to be where most people are at today. Yet the Cold War mentality that escalated the nuclear arms race in the latter half of last century still persist with ultra-conservatives today.
This constant blustering from the U.S. is what lost us a lot of friends in the lead up to our invasion of Iraq. The fact that we were misled in to taking such action has given the American public reason to refrain from sending our young men and women into harms way yet another time. Netanyahu and the military hawks in Congress need to shut their yaps and wait and watch like the rest of us, hoping that this accord does what most militarist resent – giving peace a chance.
Iran is surrounded by powerful foes. If they seem reluctant to concede on all of the issues the military right wants, it is not necessarily because they are stalling for time as some have claimed. If the shoe were on the other foot the U.S. would also take measured steps to ensure that its long time enemies were not undermining their ability to secure themselves from a blind-sided attack. Trust but verify. But don’t expect trust to materialize from either side overnight.