HTS 2041: The Modern Middle East

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The Iranian Nuclear Deal

The Iranian Nuclear Deal

The big question on the world stage in the past few months has been what will happen with the Iranian nuclear program if the current deal goes through. The deal seeks to reduce sanctions on Iran in exchange for Iran giving up capabilities to create nuclear weapons. In an oval office interview, president Obama stated that the deal is the best option for preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. President Obama stated that bombing Iranian nuclear facilities would simply slow them down for a few years and start another war in the Middle East.  He continues on to state that increased sanctions would lead Iran making “more progress” with their nuclear program as has been the case with previous sanctions. In a Fox News interview, Nile Gardner, Director at the Margaret Thatcher center at the Heritage Foundation and an expert in trans-Atlantic relations and security issues, expressed that by 2030 a sunset clause in the current deal would allow Iran to pursue nuclear weapons proliferation. The clause would force Iran to keep its nuclear program where it is for a period of time in the double digits, most reports hinting at approximately ten to twenty years, before the restrictions are lifted. Gardner also expressed concerns that allowing Iran to gain nuclear weapons would spark an arms race in the Middle East.

The Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, says that Iran will comply with the terms of the deal saying “We can cooperate with the world.” The Iranian people, including Rouhani are excited about the deal. Some even quoting a Persian proverb that reads: “A good year is determined by its spring.” Iranians are hopeful that the deal will ensure a successful year to come. I would expect Iran to have many bountiful years to follow if the deal passes as economic sanctions would be lifted and nuclear energy would be more easily researched in Iran.

On the other hand, Israel is not excited about the deal. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, has expressed great concern over Iran achieving a nuclear weapon given its past statements about eliminating the state of Israel. Netanyahu feels that the deal will not dismantle any facilities or centrifuges, and therefore not limiting Iran’s nuclear ambition in a significant way. Netanyahu continues that increased economic prosperity due to reduced economic sanctions will give Iran a solid monetary footing to fund its nuclear and military expansion, ultimately leading to a nuclear weapon and the destruction of Israel.

President Obama also acknowledged Iran’s statements regarding the destruction of Israel saying “We are powerful enough to be able to test these propositions without putting ourselves at risk.” President Obama feels that the United States is powerful enough to test the proposed deal with Iran, regarding its nuclear program, in that the United States can put Iran in check if they exceed the bounds of the agreement.

I do agree with President Obama that compared to bombing Iranian facilities and simply hoping that sanctions will prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, the deal is the most promising option for peace with Iran and preventing more nuclear weapons. However, looking back historically, this situation seems to mimic that seen in Europe with the rise of Germany in the early 20th century. Germany continually pushed the bounds of what was allowed of them following post war agreements of WWI and repeatedly, no one put them in check. Appeasement policy was tried in the case of early 20th century Germany and proved to be a monumental disaster, leading to WWII, the ramifications of which forever changed the world. Iran has already pushed its limits with nuclear research by not being cooperative with inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). For example, say Iran breaks the deal and immediately develops a nuclear weapon; what action will be taken? President Obama say military action is still “on the table” but how? Military action could lead to nuclear war if Iran had a nuclear weapon. Economic sanctions have proven to have had little effect in slowing down Iran and another possible outcome; would Iran sell nuclear weapons to terrorist groups acting in Iran’s interest? I would like to think that Iran’s intentions are noble but it is very difficult to trust a nation that, at its highest levels of government, expressed a desire to eliminate Israel and also gave pushback on previous nuclear verification attempts by the IEEA to ensure Iran was not outstepping its bounds with its nuclear research. Which is what was clearly seen with the underground facilities and testing seen in the past decade. President Obama has assured that the plan will rely primarily on verification rather than trust but reaching a deal by late June that can account for all loopholes seems ambitious to say the least.  I also feel that it is an excessively arrogant, and irresponsible statement to make that “We are powerful enough to be able to test these propositions without putting ourselves at risk.” This sounds like blatant disregard for the lives of the men and women who are called upon to defend our nation and its allies if the deal with Iran is broken. President Obama and the other members of the committee in charge of seeing this deal through need to tread very lightly and be very careful not to make any promises that they are unable to keep as well as to not overlook any key details that could allow Iran a loophole to attaining, developing, or selling a nuclear weapon or the technology required to create a nuclear weapon. I see no reason that Iran should not be permitted to pursue nuclear energy for the purposes of an alternative energy source but in no way do I want to see nuclear weapons proliferation continue in the Middle East or any other part of the world.




  1. ashumway3 says:

    I believe that it is good to finally come to a mutually beneficial deal with Iran. As for those concerned that Iran will not hold up their end of the deal, they will have to if they want to get the benefits and sanction reliefs that we are offering. If they don’t cooperate and it seems like they are working towards building nuclear weapons, they are breaking the rules of the agreement and we won’t support them with our end of the deal. It seems silly that some people would want to continue these tensions between nations and restrictive sanctions damaging the Iranian economy when we have a clear plan for peace laid out in front of us that is conditional on participation and honesty on both sides.

  2. wcarter31 says:

    I agree with President Obama’s statements on this policy. It seems that it’s possible that bombing the facilities might cause them to want nuclear weapons even worse, so nonviolent negotiations are the best course of action. The parallel between WWII Germany and modern Iran was also very interesting, I had never thought to make that comparison.

  3. lmoghimi3 says:

    I also would like to see this deal end in a mutually beneficial agreement between the US and Iran. For almost the past 40 years all of our harsh sanctions and strict policies with Iran did not stop the growth of their nuclear program and currently Iran has a breakout time of a few months. I think now would be a good time to change tactics and talking to them about it face to face and limiting their nuclear program seems like a good strategy to try.

  4. khospedales3 says:

    I looked a little deeper into this supposed desire of Iran to “wipe Israel off the map” and it all seems to link back to one hotly contested quote from former President Ahmadinejad. At least to me, it appears fairly loose translation of his statements introduces this english idiom in a manner not quite consistent with the original phrasing, changing the meaning of his statement altogether. It seems the former President more accurately expressed dissent for the Zionist regime and anticipates it will collapse on it own, not by any intended military action from Iran. The debate about this statement is interesting to read into for sure.

    That debate aside, I do agree that America can’t be careless in these negotiations. Developing that mutual trust and keeping Iran in check at all times is certainly important, because even if Iran doesn’t want a nuclear weapon just to eliminate Israel, any sort of uprising of nuclear weaponry would be dangerous.

  5. jackjenkins2015 says:

    I hope that the agreements between Iran and the UN can actually work out, and that both sides will hold up their end of the deal. It seems unlikely to me that Iran will actually attack Israel, since the US will immediately retaliate. However, I can definitely understand the concern that it is possible, or that nuclear weapons may make their way to terrorist organizations who are much bolder than a government. I hope that the trust given is well earned and that Iran is able to become a modern country that has good relations with all its neighbors, and not such hostility towards anyone (namely Israel).

  6. nsumi3 says:

    While your concerns are definitely valid–nobody wants a nuclear armed state who has a history of favoring terrorist groups–but the absolute worst way to handle the situation is to do nothing. Intentionally running the country into the ground economically, which is the effect of the broad sanctions, can only possibly be justified if viable comprimises are willing to be made. I would also argue that Obama’s comments are not inaccurate: the US and its allies hold incalculably more diplomatic, economic, and military power than Iran that gives them as much confidence in their diplomatic experimentation as can be expected. Trust has to be built, and that building has to start somewhere, and it is nonsensical to prolong sanctions that affect millions of civilian Iranians to no end.

  7. cryan3232 says:

    I think that a nonviolent negotiation was the best result we could have hoped for in this situation. Even if Iran does not hold up their end, it shows that the US is doing all they can to avoid conflict. Obviously allowing a country that is viewed as volatile to continue their nuclear program will worry people, applying sanctions on the program would have only raised tensions in the region.

  8. jjacob7 says:

    While I agree that further sanctions will do nothing to halt Iran’s nuclear program, it is hard to deny the effect they’ve had in bringing Iran into negotiations in the first place. Broad sanctions have taken a toll on Iran’s economy and have been a significant bargaining tool in coercing Iran to agree to a deal, to the point that Ayatollah Khamenei is now saying Iran will not sign a deal unless sanctions are lifted wholly.

  9. zhu64 says:

    I don’t believe Iran is in any position to wipe out Israel even if they developed a nuclear weapon. United states and Israel has the capability to shoot down such a missile. Also use of nuclear missile will spell doom for the whole country of Iran. Europe and United states will bring hell down on them. I think most of the talk about wiping out Israel is just Iran’s way of playing politics with the west.

  10. jenglish7 says:

    It will probably be spun somehow in the US political world, but this deal is probably for the best. Given the alternatives, both sides get to walk away with something concrete and of value. Personally I believe Iran is too dedicated to their nuclear program to throw it off the table, and it is clear that the question is no longer “if” they achieve nuclear power, but “when”. Controlling this reality, rather than refusing to acknowledge it, is the proper course of action here.

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