On November 24th in Geneva, Switzerland the US, alongside the other four permanent UN Security Council members: Russia, France, Great Britain and China, reached a 6-month nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Obama’s act of diplomacy has been applauded by some and criticized by others, but it’s important to say that, without this deal, war might have been the only other option.
The short-term deal will:
1. Cap Iran’s uranium enrichment below 5%. This inhibits Iran’s capabilities to enrich highly potent uranium that would be needed to produce a nuclear weapon.
2. Mandate that half of Iran’s existing uranium that is 20% enriched will be used as fuel, while the other half must be diluted to no more than 5%.
3. Forbid Iran from setting up any new locations for uranium enrichment.
4. Give access to the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) to all of Iran’s nuclear plants for daily inspections, as well as specified reports about Iran’s nuclear sites and operations.
In return the US and EU will,
1. “Pause efforts to further reduce Iran’s crude oil sales, enabling Iran’s current customers to purchase their current average amounts of crude oil.” This essentially allows Iran to continue to sell oil to their current customers without US impedance. This does not allow Iran to sell their oil to the EU or US as was prohibited under the most recent rounds of sanctions.
2. Suspend sanctions on Iran’s petrochemical, precious metal, and transportation industries. The combination of the lifted sanctions and unfreezing of Iranian assets is estimated to amount to $7 billion, or 1.5% of Iran’s GDP in relief.
Furthermore, the parties involved with the interim agreement have agreed to meet again within the 6-month time frame to develop a long term “comprehensive” deal.
In reaction, former Deputy of Defense under President Bush, Paul Wolfowitz, said in an interview with MSNBC host Chris Hayes, “we’ve made too much of vague promises that can easily be reversed.” He went on to compare the Iranian deal to the North Korean nuclear deal made in 1994 and emphasized that there was no way we could trust the Iranian regime.
Mr. Wolfowitz fails to see the fact that without this deal, there would be no other option besides war. The Israelis would undoubtedly take military action if Iran’s nuclear program wasn’t curtailed. That would undoubtedly lead to the US stepping in in support of Israel. Another war? As the President of the NIAC (National Iranian American Council) Trita Parsi said:
“It is difficult to imagine that the American public would be so ferociously opposed to a relatively minor military engagement in Syria, but favor a potentially unending war and invasion of Iran.”
This is the most important aspect of this deal. The fact of the matter is that without this deal, we would be going to war. It would be a bloody, drawn out-war that would siphon the life out of America’s resources and would have a tremendous human toll. It would lessen, just as the Iraq war did, America’s influence and power on the world stage. It would be a disaster, as all wars are.
In Iran, the hardliners are calling this deal an Iranian surrender. In the US, the hawks are calling this deal a US surrender. Is it possible that we are both surrendering? Or is that just what diplomacy is, a universal surrender?