Today the United States and a group of other countries reached agreement on a proposal that addressed the Iranian nuclear program. The agreement is a temporary one, apparently designed to freeze the Iranian program in place so that additional negotiations can occur.
According to the BBC, the key elements of the agreement are that Iran will stop enriching uranium beyond a certain point, allow inspectors increased access to its nuclear sites, and stop development of a plant that could create plutonium, and in exchange no new sanctions will be imposed for six months and Iran will receive billions of dollars in relief from existing sanctions. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the deal gives the U.S., and Israel, “breathing space” for additional negotiations with Iran. Iran says the deal recognizes its right to enrich uranium; Kerry denies that.
Is it a good deal? I tend to trust Israel on Middle Eastern matters, because the Israelis have shown a very clear-eyed view of the realpolitik in that perpetually challenging region of the world. They have to be clear-eyed, of course, because their very survival is on the line. It’s fair to say the Israelis aren’t happy about this agreement, and neither are their supporters — both Republican and Democrat — in the U.S. Congress. In fact, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it a “historic mistake.” The Israelis and their supporters think the sanctions were working and should have been continued until Iran agreed to end its program.
I don’t trust Iran. I don’t trust a government that has called for the obliteration of Israel, that still has a scent of fanaticism about it, that has cracked down on its own citizens as they have tried to exercise basic freedoms, and that has been a fomenter of terrorism and unrest in the Middle East for decades. How do you negotiate with a country that you can’t trust?