It has been almost a week since the historic deal between Tehran and the West was agreed upon in Vienna. However, it only took a few hours after the deal before those opposed to it would voice their concerns. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated on CBS’s Face the Nation “I think this is a very bad deal with a very bad regime. It’s not good for anyone’s security.” In addition, members of the Republican caucus also showed disdain for the agreement. Regarding the agreement, Senator John McCain a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee stated “Ultimately, the problem with this agreement is that it is built far too much on hope — on the belief that somehow the Iranian government will fundamentally change in the next several years, such that it can be trusted with a growing arsenal, a huge influx of cash and the infrastructure of a nuclear program.” Even members of Obama’s party are not quick to jump up and support the deal, Nancy Pelosi is one of the few democrats who have backed the agreement.
In addition to lawmakers and foreign dignitaries showing their displeasure for the talks, Republican presidential hopefuls such as Jeb Bush raised the alarm saying America’s security is now at greater risk. Senator Marco Rubio has championed a petition against the deal. Even before the agreement can be implemented it appears that there will be a hurdle here at home to get this deal passed in the House.
However, before labeling the agreement as weak and a pathway to a nuclear weapon, one must observe the history between the two nations. Seeing that history, one may develop a different view to the agreement. In 1953 the United States with the British would help and support a coup in Iran of their first democratically elected prime minister Mohammed Mossadegh for the Shah. As a consequence of the coup, the Shah would increase the number of political prisoners and violate the basic human rights of the Iranian people with deep repression. The outcome of the coup would only be seen 26 years later with the Islamic Revolution and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei taking the lead role in the country’s affairs.
Another blunder in American foreign policy in the Middle East, would be during the Iran-Iraq War. The United States would go ahead and provide weapons, including chemical weapons to former dictator Saddam Hussein. Those very same chemical weapons would be used on the civilian population of Iran. Ironically, the United States would topple the Iraqi dictator after its invasion in 2003.
However, Iran is not innocent of creating mistrust with the United States as well. Iran in the past and in recent times has arrested foreign travelers and charged them with crime of spying for a foreign government. The Iranian government also sponsors Hezbollah and more recently Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Essentially, this agreement is a new beginning between the West and Iran. Currently, the West and Iran have a common enemy, and that is ISIS. In Iraq, Iran has military advisors in the country and some reports have surfaced that members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard have partaken in operations with Shiite militias in the Anbar province as well as with Iraqi forces. The agreement can help by placing a much greater focus on how to combat the militant group that continues to grow and spread throughout the Middle Eastern region.
Those opposed to the agreement wanted one where Iran completely dismantled its nuclear program. However, those who argue against the deal should acknowledge that at-least Iran came to the table. With this in mind, turning the attention to the Asian Pacific, North Korea has made it publicly known that they are in possession of nuclear weapons. The North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has also stated that he plans to increase the number of warheads to one hundred by 2020. Under the young Korean leader, political prison camps have increased under fifty percent. On the subject of Kim Jong Un, he has sentenced members of his military staff to death and would have his uncle killed and immediately fed to dogs. However, the same uproar that we hear on Iran is only miniscule to that on North Korea.
First of all, the deal cuts Iran’s chances to develop a nuclear weapon in a significant way. They are barred from the development of advanced centrifuges that allow for the development of enriched uranium to be used for a nuclear weapon. This part of the agreement will only be in place for ten years and after that would be lifted immediately. Secondly, within the agreement, Iran has agreed to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) wherever and whenever. However, a notice would be issued to the country 24 days prior to their visit. Thirdly, the deal allows for an arms embargo and a missile ballistic embargo to be lifted in five years for the former and eight years for the latter. Lastly Iran has agreed to get rid of 98% of their onhand stockpile of enriched uranium. In exchange for compliance with the deal the sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy would be lifted.
A possible consequence with the lifting of sanctions on Iran, the country would now be exposed to trade and take part in business ventures that previously were blocked by the sanctions. During the placement of the sanctions the Iranian rial suffered a sixty percent dropped and inflation was at a rate of forty percent. The cost of living in the country was very unsustainable for the average Iranian. With this opportunity, Iran would now generate growth at a rate of eight percent GDP by the end of 2016.
Society in Iran will now be able to reap the benefits of a more inclusive Iran to the world economy. By becoming a major player in the world now, Iran will be “pressured” to assure that basic human rights are being followed. Furthermore, as the people of Iran feel less of a squeeze from the economic sanctions once placed, the Iranian population can now be focused on pressing their government for more political and basic freedoms. After the election of President Rouhani, and his appointment of ministers who have western education have propelled their country in the nuclear talks and may be the reformers that lead Iran to what many westerners do not see possible, a somewhat inclusive Islamic Republic. Speaking about the social impact of the deal Time magazine would state “Scaling back sanctions will also help Iran keep its best and brightest at home. From 2009 to 2013, more than 300,000 Iranians left the country in search of better opportunities abroad. Today, 25 percent of Iranians with a post-graduate education live in developed OECD countries outside Iran. This is, by some estimates, the highest rate of “brain drain” in the world. According to the World Bank, the Iranian economy loses out on $50 billion annually as talent looks elsewhere for work. Removal of sanctions will persuade some educated Iranians to take their chances at home.”
Lastly with Iranian oil being able to flow into the markets the price for crude oil may see a decrease of five to fifteen dollars. This is a result with the mass production by OPEC nations as well as the United States, creating the overabundance of oil and now adding Iran will actually help the American consumer and driver.
In conclusion, the Iran deal may provide an opportunity for the Islamic Republic to develop a nuclear weapon. However, North Korea who has been handed the most stiffen of sanctions has still been able to produce a nuclear weapon. Furthermore during the post war years of World War II the west made every effort to prevent the Russians from obtaining a nuclear weapon. As we all know that goal was unattainable. Thirdly Iran has signed a Nuclear Proliferation Treaty something that North Korea has yet to do and Israel itself has abstained from signing such a treaty. Those who oppose to the deal will say we were cheated but were we? We have halted their nuclear ambitions for ten years compared to the possibility of them obtaining one in a year or less, if they were pursuing a weapon. The mistrust that both sides have created over the years can now be reset with this deal and future cooperations in the region. Before we go and dismantle the deal before it is even implemented maybe we should give it a chance and focus on a collaboration to push back ISIL.
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