After weeks of uncertainty, Pres. Obama has finally clinched the last vote that he needed for the historic nuclear accord with the Islamic Republic of Iran to survive a Congressional challenge. It is a vindication of his determination to find lasting diplomatic solutions in one of the most chronically unstable parts of the world. It justifies the Nobel Peace Prize he received early in his first term, makes huge progress in re-establishing our nation’s trustworthiness and prestige on the international field, and neutralizes the potential threat posed by an active Iranian nuclear program.
Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) provided the final vote to secure passage of the deal. “Some have suggested we reject this deal and impose unilateral sanctions to force Iran back to the table. But maintaining or stepping up sanctions will only work if the sanction coalition holds together” said Mikulski. The senator recognized what so many of her Republican peers refused to acknowledge- that one does not lightly re-negotiate a six-nation treaty, and that to do so would be an enormous blow to our national credibility and international standing, to cheapen the value of America’s word.
The victory is bittersweet considering the colossal efforts that went into undermining this deal. Neoconservative lobbying groups and Israeli hypernationalists have spent millions of dollars pushing to sink the agreement, to creating discord and ultimately keeping the Middle East unstable, weak, and violent – ripe for the picking as the crows circle above. The hyperbole hurled at the Iran deal demonstrates not only an astounding lack of understanding of the Middle East in general but a furious desperation that confirms just how powerful the forces pushing for war in the Middle East are.
The campaign against the deal also has shown us the true colors of the Congressional Republican. From the original forty-seven traitors who bypassed the State Department to send a letter to the Iranians, stating their intention to undo the deal, or Tom Cotton’s recent conspiring with Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu, it is clear that the Republican Party has no loyalty to their nation- not to their president, and not the constituents represent. Such behavior by elected officials would once be considered unthinkable, but the polarization and obstructionism that has come to define the Obama administration has been unprecedented.
The nuclear accord with Iran is the right thing to do. It returns Iran to the international community at large, a potential new ally at a time when our old allies are behaving rather unfriendly. It will boost the Iranian economy and remove a crushing burden from that nation’s burgeoning middle class; as it grows, the calls for democratization and liberalization will grow stronger and stronger, organically and in a uniquely Iranian fashion. While Iran and the United States have many differences, we also have many common interests, and having the pragmatism to accept that is exactly how a superpower behaves. The blind ideological dismissal from the right-wing is immature and distasteful, and we should be thankful that their efforts have been stymied.
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.