Diplomacy Should Win

Alex Shea

Nuclear Plant

Nuclear Plant

Diplomacy Should Win

Recently a major geopolitical agreement was reached regarding nuclear weapons and economics sanctions in Iran. The deal is a multinational agreement with global implications that are widely debated by supporting and opposing sides. In short, the agreement would offer Iran economic relief if they agree to limit and shut down their nuclear programs. This agreement is hotly debated because it poses major implications for the present and future of global security and international relations. Yet by looking at the history of the deal and the opposition it faces, it becomes clear that the Vienna deal is the only chance we have for a future peace in the Middle East.

The agreement, formally known as the Vienna Deal, comes from a longstanding concern over Iran’s nuclear capabilities. The deal is aimed at reducing Iran’s nuclear capabilities to a level that makes them for the time being incapable of producing nuclear grade weapons. The agreement has been the product of years of negotiations between Iran and P5+1 (China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States; plus Germany). These countries comprising P5+1 are all major superpowers with an interest in relations with Iran. These countries have a longstanding history with the Iranian government who for decades have partook in aggressive fighting, takeovers, supports of terrorism and other actions. To deal with the aggressive threatening Iranian government, the P5+1 have placed economic sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy for decades (2). To say that there is animosity between the countries would be an understatement. So to cull this animosity shared between the countries, a mutually beneficial agreement has been reached. According to a guide by the New York Times this will require various measures to ensure the deal works. First off, Iran will be required to retool their existing nuclear facilities to restrict their productions capabilities. Stripping them of the ability to produce critical components for nuclear weapons. Secondly they will be required to decrease their stockpiled nuclear materials to an acceptable level. These reductions in production capacity and stockpile levels will extend their “break out time” or the time in which it takes to produce nuclear weapons. Lastly, there will be an extensive set of check ups and guidelines to ensure Iran is following the agreement (1). In return the participating governments will gradually lessen the economic and trade sanctions placed upon Iran as certain nuclear-reduction milestones are reached. These sanctions have more or less crippled the Iranian government by depleting the middle class and tying up their GDP in inaccessible foreign accounts. According to the New York Times, this freeing of sanctions could have major benefits for the Iranian government. The reported financials are varied, but they could stand to gain up to $30-$150 Billion dollars from the lifting of sanctions (3). Freeing of money that would dramatically increase the economy and bring Iranian citizens out of poverty and strengthening the middle class.

On paper, these mutually beneficial agreements seem to be the perfect deal involved governments. Everyone stands to gain some sense of security whether it pertains to global security or finance. We stand to gain ensured safety and an opportunity at diplomacy while Iranian citizens themselves will be pulled from economic hardship and fears of war they themselves might have. However, given the history of animosity between the countries there is a tense debate over whether this deal is a valid solution.

Detractors from the argument make the point that the deal can only function to stave off nuclear fighting for a short time and further embolden the Iranian Government. This opposition is largely lead by the Republican Party within the United States and Middle Eastern countries such as Israel. This group fears the longstanding animosity between Iran and the P5+1 and do not believe the deal will overturn decades of animosity and mutual aggression. Instead they believe that the deal will cement Iran as a future superpower. In a commentary article by the Jerusalem post, the stance of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is explained. Netanyahu, like others, believes that the deal will allow Iran to function as a nuclear superpower once they are allowed to produce nuclear fuel after the 15-year deal is over. This future ability to produce weapons in turn with a strong economic boost will allow Iran to invest further in military activity and weapons allowing them to act upon their long-standing history of aggression in the Middle East (5). Opposition such as Republican Mitch McConnell also oppose the deals billing as a full proof solution to peace in the Middle East. He calls out the Vienna Deal’s flagship supporter, Barack Obama as using rhetoric that skews the perception of the deal. He along with others believes that this deal is being regarded as a total solution, but should be recalled and billed appropriately as a short-term fix that rather than a comprehensive fix (6). On the supporting side, proponents such as the Barack Obama argue that the solution is a comprehensive solution that addresses animosity through diplomacy. By creating a deal now, they are setting a precedent for future relations with Iran and avoiding the possible outbreak of war within the near future. By allowing Iran and the P5+1 to work with each other, the deal to facilitates a peace between the countries. In a piece by the New York Times Obama’s viewpoint is described, “”Mr. Obama stressed that the accord was vastly preferable to the alternate scenario: no agreement and an unbridled nuclear arms race in the Middle East. “Put simply, no deal means a greater chance of more war in the Middle East,” he said””(2). He argues that this deal will prevent impending wars by providing Iran with an incentive to remain peaceful and disarm appropriately (4).

Both sides of the disagreement pose valid arguments regarding the Vienna deal. However, the proponents of the deal are truly fostering a change within the Middle East. By extending the offer to Iran and creating a deal, we are making some inkling of progress. We effectively ensure global security in the near future and hint at the possibility of future peace after. Through diplomacy and fostering relations with Iran through this comprehensive 15-year deal, we effectively buy 15 years of global security and an extended opportunity to win the hearts of the Iranian government and it’s people. While it is true that the deal does not ensure future safety or peace, at least it opens up the possibility of it. Whereas negating the deal would keep the countries in the existing stasis, mutual animosities that can breakout in warfare at any give moment.

Even more importantly, we should be driven to support the Vienna deal because it sets the highest moral standard. By refusing to support the deal, we would continue to condemn Iranian citizens to a life of economic poverty and the fear of future violence that we ourselves feel. By supporting the Vienna deal we grant ourselves the chance to sleep peacefully at night while Iranians are granted the chance to sleep peacefully themselves and not fear war themselves. A mutual agreement for the time being where all involved countries can reflect on the idea that economic and global security is more important that animosity and nationalistic pride. Diplomacy is the path to peace in the Middle East.

1. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/03/31/world/middleeast/simple-guide-nuclear-talks-iran-us.html

  1. http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/14/politics/iran-nuclear-deal-up-to-speed/
  2. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/06/world/middleeast/conflicting-claims-cloud-irans-financial-gain-in-nuclear-deal.html


  1. http://www.wsj.com/articles/obama-presses-his-case-on-iran-nuclear-deal-1438792523


  1. http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Iran/Iran-nuclear-agreement-likely-will-lead-to-use-of-force-Israeli-defense-expert-says-411343
  2. http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2015/08/06/mitch-mcconnell-to-obama-tone-down-the-rhetoric-on-iran/

One Comment to “Diplomacy Should Win”

  1. I completely agree with your assessment of the Vienna Deal, especially your take on it being the “highest moral standard”. Conflict with the Middle East has been the norm for so long now, that Iran means little more to us the the “enemy”. Unfortunately the US seems to have long forgotten diplomacy in favor of military force, and in the modern world where most nations have nuclear capabilities, any wars have the potential for global devastation. As we continue to move forward, war is becoming less and less an option, as if an all out war were to occur the likelihood of nuclear weapons being used drastically increases. So the US must relearn how to rely on diplomacy to solve issues and in dealing with other (hostile) nations. The threats of of war and military might so characteristic of the 2000’s are no longer a viable option, so this deal marks a turning point in international relations away from violence ad towards an era of peaceful negotiations.

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