Thursday, July 16, 2015

My Take: The Iran Deal

Change is hard. Iran has been an enemy of the United States since the 1979 hostage crisis--and even the recently signed nuclear deal is not likely to change that characterization soon.

Too many people in our country, especially those with political motivations, are condemning the nuclear deal with Iran without reading the entire text and considering the alternatives. I have not read the agreement, nor would I expect to understand everything in the agreement were I to read it, but having an agreement that appears on the surface to limit access to the materials and technologies required to develop and deploy nuclear weapons cannot be a bad thing.

I am encouraged by the analysis in an article in the New York Times which writes about the depth and complexity of the agreement. Perhaps this agreement possesses the necessary tools to be successful. The Huffington Post also wrote and article which addresses some of the myths about the deal. 

I have read articles comparing John Kerry, Secretary of State, or President Obama to Neville Chamberlain who led the efforts to appease Hitler in the years leading up to World War II. These characterizations, I maintain, are very unfair and represent a "knee-jerk" response by people who have made offered their opinions without reading the text of the agreement.

I remember another President once brokered a nuclear deal with our greatest rival and enemy. That President was Richard Nixon and the deal was the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) Treaty--perhaps one of the most successful treaties in the history of the country. While that specific treaty is no longer in effect, there have been successful follow-on treaties which have limited the deployment and development of nuclear weapons for decades.

And then there is President Ronald Reagan, perhaps the greatest president of the modern era, who when speaking with Soviet Premier Gorbachev about strategic treaties used the words, "Trust but Verify!"

Trust but verify must be the mantra for all treaties and I see a verify component in the Iran Deal. 

Getting right down to the bottom line, sanctions against Iran have been in place for many years with dubious results. While the people of Iran have been suffering their government has been intent on developing the capabilities that this agreement seeks to limit. Except for this agreement, I do not see any other option short of military action to limit Iran's access and production of nuclear weapons. However, looking at is from a different angle, is can be said that the sanctions have worked! They have brought Iran to a point where they are willing to negotiate. 

I urge everyone to read the deal and consider the alternatives before rushing down the paths to either condemnation or congratulation.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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