The agreement worked out so painstakingly between Iran and the U.S., Britain, France, China, Russia, and Germany is a milestone. It represents a turn away from militarism and toward diplomacy as a solution to conflicts between nations.
Experts call its curbs on Iran’s potential nuclear weapons development far more complete and stringent than anything they had expected. But the pact is about much more than nuclear weapons. After all, several countries in the region already have nuclear weapons: India, Pakistan and Israel – not to mention the enormous U.S. nuclear arsenal (along with those of Russia, France, Britain and China)..
What is most significant is that this agreement begins a process for the U.S. and other Western countries to re-engage peacefully with Iran, yielding potential benefits in renewed trade and in cooperation on resolving bloody conflicts in Syria, Yemen, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and defeating the terrorist “Islamic State.” And it opens the way for Iran to re-emerge in a positive way in the world community as a highly developed country rich in science, technology and culture. In short, it advances the concept that diplomacy, not military force, is the way to resolve international disagreements and tensions.
Meanwhile it offers the Iranian people the beginnings of relief from punishing economic sanctions. The Iranian public celebrated the announcement of the agreement last week. And Iran’s Tudeh Party, the country’s long-enduring communist party, in a statement issued July 15, says the agreement is a defeat for Iran’s reactionary clerical leaders, who used a provocative nuclear weapons program as a diversion from their harsh domestic repression and failed “anti-people” economic policies.
“We believe,” the Tudeh statement said, “that by pushing away the ‘nuclear issue and sanctions’ and development of hope in the mind of people for improvement of the situation, now the issues such as revitalization of the economy, improvement of the people’s disastrous livelihood, rich getting richer and the increase in poverty in the country, and of course the suppression of any kind of protest by the working people, once again will become the main issues of the society.”
The international community is welcoming this agreement. On Monday morning, the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved a resolution backing the deal and moving to lift non-military international sanctions against Iran. The European Union also approved the Iran deal on Monday, putting in motion the lifting of its own economic sanctions, including prohibitions on the purchase of Iranian oil.
Polls show a majority of Americans support the agreement with Iran and the lifting of sanctions. But Republicans, allied with the far-right Netanyahu government in Israel, and with possible support from some Democrats, are trying to block it in the U.S. Congress. They have 60 days to try to do that.
The influential Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, slated to become the next Senate Democratic leader, was one of eight Democrats to support earlier Republican efforts to block this agreement. The others were Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Michael Bennett of Colorado, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Tim Kaine of Virginia, and Ben Nelson of Florida – along with independent Angus King of Maine. If you live in those states, it’s especially important to let these folks know you support the agreement.
It’s up to the public to put on the pressure for peace. Don’t wait. Let your senators and representative know you want this historic peace pact.
Photo: The agreement with Iran involves not just the United States, but Europe, Russia and China. From left to right: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, European Union High Representative Federica Mogherini, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and US Secretary of State John Kerry, at the United Nations building in Vienna, Austria, July 14, 2015, during their talks on the Iranian nuclear program. | Joe Klamar/pool photo via AP