Real Progress on Iran Nuclear Issues: Why it is Likely a Final Success!
The Critics Cry “No,” But Peace and Diplomacy Has Gained
Harry C. Blaney III
The announcement of an interim agreement with Iran over its nuclear program is significant and has drawn both critics and supporters. Yet in all the analysis few have drawn the truly long-term implications and just how this stage is key to long-term success. The parameters of this deal all point towards a possible successful outcome after what will be very hard negotiations and many trade-offs. What is clear is that the Iranian government and key leaders would not have gone down this path and agreed to serious restrictions on their enrichment and daily verification if they did not want and were willing to make a long term deal also.
Any good diplomat or negotiator needs to see the perspective and interests and fears on the other side. President Obam and Secretary Kerry were right when they said about both Syria and Iran that they would not have come to the negotiating table unless it was a better option to the likely outcome of the status quo and its consequences. In the case of Iran, getting to the “bomb” would result in possible, even likely, catastrophic outcomes and certainly a strengthening of the sanctions which already have cost the Iranian economy greatly and were likely to do even greater harm.
The new Iranian President clearly had a mandate from the “Supreme Leader” for a deal which inevitably and manifestly had to lead to serious restrictions on their ability to enrich to bomb grade uranium and move to a full nuclear strategic capability. It would do no good to go down this road with the Western negotiators knowing the effort would collapse and with it their economy and invite kinetic responses.
On the other hand a total capitulation to Western demands would have set off a revolt by the hard liners in Iran’s military and conservative groups which was likely equally to be unacceptable. Thus, the long-term outcome likely will be an acceptable compromise which permits strong international inspection and oversight rather than a total dismantlement of the entire nuclear efforts. Clearly there would be strict and key restrictions and intrusive inspections, making it near impossible to move towards a weapon.
Looking down the road, some also think it might open up a wider set of talks on broad regional issues which would bring a measure of stability to the region and might, just might, lessen the Sunni- Shiite conflict and enlist Iran towards stopping their support for terrorists and cooperation on Iraq and Afghanistan. Something would also have to be done to assure the Gulf States that their own security would not be threatened by any deal but would indeed enhance their security. All of this is still a hope and the road is hard and long to get to all of this and events not controlled by any of the actors in this drama.
On the road to a deal also is the stance of those who are opposed almost to any deal. What is most disturbing is the cry from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has it seems, opposed any realistic agreement between the P5 + 1 group and Iran. Indeed, there is a now more lively debate in Israel over the choices that the hard line government has made. Many in Israel and beyond question the wisdom of a unilateral military action by Israel or the long-term implication of opposing efforts for finding both peace and security through diplomacy, and a stance threatening the close relationship of common interests and shared values between Israel and America.
The other threat is here in the United states, as noted in the recent New York Times editorial “Getting to Yes With Iran,” by those who seem bent on any agreement by President Obama on Iran, and I would add a balanced Israeli-Palestinian peace accord. Here the leaders in Congress and in particular the Senate Democrats need to stand firm with the President on not applying now new sanctions. There will be plenty of time to do so if either the interim agreement breaks down or there is no follow-through. That there is a concerted effort to sabotage the president’s effort by Republicans and even some Democrats, to find reasonable and possible solutions to both the Iran issues and the efforts at the Middle East peace is frankly appalling and morally reprehensible. Let’s see what can be accomplished and during Thanksgiving give thanks for the hard efforts of Obama and Kerry, rather than throw stone at the peacemakers.
We welcome your comments!