In Iran, US Choice is a Negotiated Peace Now or the Risk of War

By Carlyn Meyer

In 2012, Israeli PM Netanyahu stood before the UN General Assembly with a cartoon representation of an “Iranian bomb.” It was filled with red paint (uranium) up to a thick black line representing the ‘point of no return’ where Iran could produce a nuclear bomb within a few months. Or so we were told.

If Mr. Netanyahu were to return with the same graphic this year, however, the cartoon bomb would be empty, the red paint erased or dissolved. The negotiations of the P5+1 (permanent member states of the UN Security Council plus Germany) with Iran have already accomplished more than anyone thought possible a year ago. Signed last July, the Interim Agreement required Iran to deplete or convert its store of highly enriched uranium that Mr. Netanyahu warned us about. It prescribed more intrusive inspections and put more inspectors on the ground in Iran. Essentially, Iran’s nuclear program was put on hold.

Should the Interim Agreement expire November 24 with nothing to replace it, a historic achievement for nuclear nonproliferation would be nullified. Most nuclear and nonproliferation experts believe Iran can maintain a civilian nuclear program, as the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty allows, with enough transparency, restrictions and oversight from UN inspectors to cut off each of several pathways it could possibly use towards producing a bomb — a bomb even US intelligence says Iran hasn’t decided to craft.

Yet fierce opposition to the resolution of this issue stems from three sources. The right-wing in Iran does not believe their country should even be talking to the West. Critics in the American Congress have tried to impose new sanction, after Iran ‘cried uncle’ and started negotiating in good faith, that would derail the deal. And Israel, which is not a signer of the NTP, believes Iran should be barred from even civilian enrichment.

The American and Israeli critics don’t realize they are in danger of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. If a negotiated Permanent Agreement doesn’t replace the Interim accord or if the talks are not extended, Iran will resume producing highly enriched uranium. The new inspectors would leave and tighter inspector regimens would die. A historic achievement for nuclear nonproliferation would be nullified.

This does not make sense. An agreement is within reach.

The important of these talks transcends the immediate nuclear issue and gets to the heart of how we as a nation conduct foreign policy. Do we prefer one that keeps lurching towards military action far away from our shores or one that underscores diplomacy as the pillar of world cooperation, nonproliferation and peace?

Carlyn Meyer, former editor of the blog Read Between the Lines, writes on politics from her home in Chicago.


Related video added by Juan Cole:

Press TV: “Rouhani: Iran united on key issues, goals pursued in talks”

7 Responses

  1. The American and Israeli critics know quite well that “throwing the baby out with the bathwater” is tantamount to support for a war. That is precisely what they want. Israel is determined to find a way to start war with Iran. American supporters give the Israelis carte blanche to do whatever they choose. The world can not watch and wait much longer.

  2. “This does not make sense. An agreement is within reach.” Well, yeah…

    Waiting for the pitch for More War On Isis Lest The “Republicans” Call Obama Soft On Defense (SIC) And Order War On Iran. Of course, Congress can “declare war,” and via sanctions sort of already has, but in theory it’s the Commander in Chief and those Blessed Services and their Blessed Senior Officers who “wage” war, however incompetently and to There is a “war party” in the Imperial Capital, all right, link to for a nice selection of context, but it’s not tied to Reds or Blues — one of the several incredibly durable, long-standing “bipartisan” Areas Of Commonality and Agreement. Yah, the AIPACers and MIC want war on Iran, with the Empire and its taxpayers wielding the Big Stick and getting bled for the benefit of the Israelites and MICC and all that. Time to say “No MAS!”?

    Obama is a figurehead, a front man, as Presidents of the Free World have been for years now, with pretty tenuous links to the actual helm of the ship of state, as ought to be obvious from where “we” are and where “we” are likely headed. But God bless him and his family, as he tries to avoid being crushed by bigger forces, and secure a modest competence for the family, post-Presidency. Doing more effing War Against ISIS/Daesh/whatever (which is just labeling, branding and manufacturing of demand for a much bigger Milo Minderbinder Enterprise, on the notion and grounds that this will keep the boogeyRepublicans/DINOs etc. from doing more war, seems kind of an exercise in idiocy, and the pitch for that profit-generating, wealth-transferring action on that basis smells of fraud…

    And let’s remember that all the forces pushing for More War, All The Time, do so from behind walls of Impunity, ever richer and free from any consequences for their “success” and “victories” on the Plains of Policy…

  3. I have thought about this deal a lot and I do hope it goes through. Yes, I know that Israel probably has about 100 bombs and even if Iran does go for the bomb it should have the right to do so (India, Pakistan, Israel all violated the non-proliferation treaty without much consequences).

    There is one big difference, Iran does not recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. In fact it calls for its annihilation and a referendum of the original inhabitants to decide if the non-original Jews can stay. This is the pronouncement by the former president and, more importantly, the supreme leader. Israel, on the other hand, does not have a policy to annihilate Iran (in Pakistan’s and India’s case they don’t have this policy either) and their potential use would be a last ditch defense. That is the rub, that is the difference, that is why Iran cannot have the bomb and there has to be sufficient safeguards in place so they can’t develop one.

    • Do you think Iran would nuclear bomb Israel knowing that Israel can retaliate with many times the force? If Iran builds a bomb, it will be for defensive purposes, to act as a disincentive for any other country to bomb Iran.

    • No, Israel only has a policy to annihilate the Palestinians. But it is a covert policy that is actually being carried out, piece by piece, and its nukes are the final guarantee that it will get away with it. What lesson should people without nukes draw from this?

  4. “This does not make sense. An agreement is within reach.” were it not for the fact that, as with Palestine, Israel does not want peace, what Israel wants is all its neighbours in chaos and their infrastructure in ruins so that at the point in time when Israel decides it has no neighbours capable of any military opposition it will launch its war to expand territory and drive out the remaining Palestinians.

  5. The right-wing in Iran does not believe their country should even be talking to the West and the right-wing in the West does not believe there is any point in negotiating with Iran or any other target. The left wants to broker the deal which is to assume the role of mediator at an empty table.

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