In a landmark victory for peace and cooperation, President Obama and a coalition of world powers have agreed to a lasting accord with the Islamic Republic of Iran, halting their nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of the economic sanctions that have been crippling the Iranian economy. “We have stopped a cycle that is not in the interest of anybody!” proclaimed Iranian foreign minister Mohammed Javad Zarif.
The deal involves the reduction of Iran’s uranium stockpile by 98% for fifteen years and the shuttering of two-thirds of its centrifuges, which number in the thousands. A robust monitoring program will be put in place to ensure the Iranians keep their word; President Obama did not rule out military strikes if they did not comply, and certainly the sanctions would be re-imposed. As it stands, if the Iranians follow the terms, the international community will lift the sanctions that have been draining their economy and helping the ruling mullahs keep the democratic-minded middle class repressed. Prosperity and growth of Iranian civil society can only be a positive development as they start to push for more and more freedoms, a progressive movement which made its presence clear in their most recent elections.
It is a resounding win for diplomacy and the foreign policy of the Obama Administration in the face of a concerted effort by a Republican Congress that shamelessly panders to the hawkish paranoia of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Their foolish and short-sighted attempt to derail the talks with an open letter to the Iranian Parliament was met with scorn and ignored. It would appear the Republicans would prefer to get the United States involved in another unnecessary war in the Middle East rather than risk offending the Jewish vote, which is largely displeased with Netanyahu’s election hate-mongering anyway.
For months, the Republican Party has been berating the President for “giving in” and “making America weak” by not blindly thrashing about the grace and tact of a drunken lumberjack, which is apparently the only approach to foreign policy the right wing has to offer. President Obama warned Congress to not interfere: “If Congress kills this deal, not based on expert analysis, and without offering any reasonable alternative, then it’s the United States that will be blamed for the failure of diplomacy, international unity will collapse, and the path to conflict will widen.” Of course Congress Republicans like Bob Barker (R-Tenn) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill) have already proposed bills in an attempt to sabotage any attempt at a deal, with wild and offensive comparisons to appeasement to 1930’s Nazi Germany.
President Obama has shown that he is deserving of his Nobel Peace Prize for his commitment to diplomacy and peaceful solutions, for his ability to see the big picture and bring the international community together. It is vital that rational minded Americans ignore the weeping and the moaning and the gnashing of teeth coming from our paranoid and delusional Congress, who are proud and unrepentant in their ignorance of Middle Eastern politics. But instead of obsessing over the absurd statements the Iranian government makes to appease the religious right (something the Republican Party should be very familiar with), our President recognized the genuine Iranian desire to be rejoin the world and negotiate as equals. President Obama has rid the world of the specter of a nuclear Iran, brought them back into the international community and re-established a successful precedent of rational negotiation. Despite the relentless efforts of the Republican party, America is improving her image in the world and showing that we aren’t blindly driven by hostility and fear. Now we just have to keep our Congress from unraveling the whole thing.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.