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I don't write about Iran or Middle East foreign policy a whole lot. That's mostly because I can't make up my mind about it. I waver back and forth between thinking we should have nothing to do with the Middle East at all, and thinking we should continue to fight the radical Islamists. Because writing noncommital, two-minded blog posts wouldn't be very interesting, I've been shying away from the subject.
But I do know one thing for sure - I don't want Iran to have nuclear weapons. I don't want any country that has 'Death To America' for a slogan to have nuclear weapons. In other words, I have a survival instinct. As the outlaw Josey Wales said, "dyin' ain't much of a livin', boy". When it comes to Iran and nukes, you could say I'm pro-gun control.
This leads me to the nuclear deal with Iran:
Iran and six major powers [including the United States] agreed early Sunday on a historic deal that freezes key parts of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for temporary relief on some economic sanctions.
The deal, intended as a first step toward a more comprehensive nuclear pact to be completed in six months, freezes or reverses progress at all of Iran’s major nuclear facilities, according to Western officials familiar with the details. It 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 also agreed to halt work on key components of a heavy-water reactor that could someday provide Iran with a source of plutonium. In addition, Iran accepted a dramatic increase in oversight, including daily monitoring by international nuclear inspectors, the officials said...In return, Iran will receive modest relief of trade sanctions and access to some of its frozen currency accounts overseas, concessions said to be valued at less than $7 billion over the six-month term of the deal. The sanctions would be reinstated if Iran violates the agreement’s terms.
I'm elated about this deal, because it's the first sign of progress after decades of anti-progress. Other than Israel bombing Iran's nuclear facilities about 30 years ago, and the mysterious killings of a few Iranian nuclear scientists more recently, there has been litttle to show for all our sanctions against Iran. At least this deal is something, which, you know, beats nothing. Kudos to the Obama administration. Kudos to Secretary Of State John Kerry and the other nations involved, including the new Iranian government. Hopefully, they really are going to be more moderate. That would be wonderful, but only time will tell.
The curious thing is, a lot of people are complaining about this deal with Iran. Israel hates the deal, thinks it's a sham, and vows to do "whatever is necessary" to protect Israel. I certainly understand Israel's mistrust of Iran, but why not take 'Yes' for an answer from Iran, at least for now ? Israel can call the deal 'mistrust but verify'.
It isn't only Israel complaining. Some Democrats and Republicans in Congress are complaining too:
...critics are calling [the deal] a dangerous setback instead of a success...A group of top senators from both parties vowed Sunday to impose more sanctions on the isolated Middle East country. “A nuclear weapons-capable Iran presents a grave threat to the national security of the United States and its allies and we are committed to preventing Iran from acquiring this capability," the group said. “We will work together to reconcile Democratic and Republican proposals over the coming weeks and to pass bipartisan Iran sanctions legislation as soon as possible.”
The group of 15 senators included Democrats Ben Cardin of Maryland and Bob Menendez of New Jersey, as well as Republicans Bob Corker of Tennessee and John Cornyn of Texas.
Corker, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told “Fox News Sunday” that Iran was celebrating because its deal overnight with the U.S. and the five other world powers allows it to continue to enrich uranium while getting billions in crippling sanctions lifted.
“[The Iranians are] spiking the ball in the end zone,” Corker said.
Huh ? This deal, the first step forward after a decade of negotiations, is somehow a "dangerous setback", according to these critics ? Am I missing something here ? I don't get it. Before the deal, we were nowhere. Iran was on the path to a bomb. Now, we might be getting somewhere. As President Obama said, 'Simply put, [the deal] cut[s] off Iran's most likely paths to a bomb." I agree with the President (haven't said that for a while). The idea is to deter Iran from acquiring a bomb. This is a step in the right direction.
If Iran holds up it's end of the deal, Obama is correct and things improve. If Iran doesn't hold up it's end, then the hawks can have at it, and Iran will have provided them with sufficient cause by reneging. I'm all for this deal.
CORRECTION - 11/25, 5:00pm - In this post, I wrote that Israel bombed Iran's nuclear facilites about 30 years ago. That is incorrect. Israel bombed Iraq's nuclear facilities in 1981, not Iran's. My mistake.
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