Iran Story

Iranian Nuclear Policy ‘Blows Up’

The US, Iran, Israel and others have held discussion in the past few weeks in an attempt to establish a safe use for Iran’s nuclear program.

Iran has been pursuing a nuclear program over the years, considering it a right that they hold as a nation; however, Iranians argue that the reason for nuclear use in their country would be solely for civilian purposes, primarily for electricity generation.  

The negotiations have been talked about between the US, France, Germany, Russia, China, Britain and Iran, and are trying to reach a deal within the next couple of months. Some of terms that have been discussed are to have Iran curb their nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of serval or all sanctions that have been damaging their economy. 

Gary Sick of Politico Magazine explained, “Iran has been subjected to a wide variety of sanctions and pressures. Originally these were mostly unilateral pressures from the US, but under the Obama administration they have become far more international and far-reaching, culminating in the crippling sanctions on Iran’s oil sales and its ability to access international financial markets.”

Dr. Saliba Sarsar, Associate Vice President for Global Initiatives, said that the negotiations have torn many in Washington, apart. 

Sarsar explained, “Iran’s nuclear ambitions have created major concerns for many around the world, including Iran’s neighbors and the US. These concerns have also generated major disagreements between the Obama administration and its critics in the US Congress on one hand and between the United States and its major ally, Israel, on the other hand. While the Obama Administration is working hard to reach yes with Iran, the critics who distrust Iran see only a dead end.” 

The division in Congress took a steep turn when House Speaker John Boehner invited the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, to deliver a speech to Congress on the issue, without consulting the White House first. Israel has been concerned to be a threat to the development of nuclear weapons in Iran.

Kerry said in an interview on ABC’s This Week that he and the administration were caught by surprise by the invitation, but “the administration is not seeking to politicize this.” 

The Prime Minister’s speech opened up with a very genuine approach, discussing the controversy saying, “it was not his intention” to create problems between the parties and often referred to Congress as “my friends.” He was thankful for all the help Israel has received from the Obama Administration, explaining that their relationship has always “been above politics. It must always remain above politics, which is not the case between Israel and Iran. 

Netanyahu then discussed how the Supreme Leader of Iran, has been far less than discreet about his feelings towards Israel and how their aggression for Israel, America and other countries has been more prevalent in the last couple of years. 

He also discussed how “Iran still refuses to come clean about its military nuclear program,” to the United Nation’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency. 

Dr. Maryanne Rhett, an associate professor and Director of the Graduate Program in History said, “I think the speech was calculated to provoke a reaction in two places, the US and Israel. With Israeli elections around the corner (from the time of the speech) Netanyahu clearly had a political agenda, for his constituents in mind. We’ll see if those calculations worked for him soon.”

“As for the US audience, I’m not sure I understand his perspective there. The speech seemed calculated to further fracture US political interests and I think only caused more discord in a place where we need more conversation,” continued Rhett.

Netanyahu ended his speech by addressing that if Iran wanted to see progress for their country they “must stop aggression in the Middle East, stop supporting terrorism around the world, and stop threating [Israel].” 

The Prime Minister of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, has said that he would rather have no deal at all than have a limited, restricting deal that he does not agree with. According to BBC News, he said, “We don’t approve of this as we don’t trust the other side. They would use the general agreement to put pressure on us on details. Any agreement should be reached in one stage.”

Natorye Miller, a sophomore majoring in political science, said that the development of this in the next couple of days is going to be very interesting to follow. “Right now, there does not seem to be a clear discussion that is going to be made, and it is rather difficult to deal with foreign affairs when so many implications are at stake. Hopefully, the right decision is going to be made.” 

Sarsar said, “Regardless the issue must be resolved, and resolved soon. It is in every country’s national interest. It is in humanity’s interest. Our ultimate goal ought to be a nuclear-free Middle East and a nuclear-free world. Nuclear disarmament is the way.”