Pulling Out Of The Iran Nuclear Deal Will Hurt Us In The Long Run

Pulling Out Of The Iran Nuclear Deal Will Hurt Us In The Long Run

Revisiting the Iranian Revolution in the 1970s can help us understand the relationship we currently have with Iran.

The question many have after Trump’s decision for America to pull out of the Iran Nuclear Deal on Tuesday is: What does this mean? In order to understand the significance of the deal (as a means of understanding the significance of the US leaving it), we have to understand the recent history between Iran and the United States. Revisiting the Iranian Revolution in the 1970’s, as well as the role America played in that, can help us understand today why pulling out of the Iran Nuclear Deal will hurt us in the long run.

What happened?: A very rough history

In 1951, Prime Minister Mossadegh decided to nationalize the Anglo-Persian Oil Company as the British had held a monopoly over Iranian oil while the people of the nation lived in poverty. The British called on the Americans who responded in 1953 by leading a coup and putting Reza Shah Pahlavi into power to essentially serve as a puppet for the two nations (note: PM Mossadegh was democratically elected and the Shah was largely detached from the nation’s people and needs). Throughout his period of modernization in Iran, the Shah ignored many religious and democratic elements of the Iranian constitution which allowed for Ayatollah Khomeini to rise to prominence.

Khomeini preached that Iran needed to protect the integrity of Islam in the country and return to the practices of Shia Islam. Tensions between Khomeini’s followers and Western powers (specifically America) grew increasingly over the next two decades, notably increasing with Khomeini’s exile from Iran in 1962. However, following the murder of his son in 1978 (which was thought to be done by the government), Islamic radical groups began protesting the Shah much more intensely and all of the anger felt within the nation finally came to a head. After the protests on Black Friday and the marches on Tasu'a and Ashura, the Shah was forced into exile and Khomeini returned to take power.

Between 1978 and 1979, Khomeini and the new Iranian theocracy he established repealed many of the Shah’s acts of modernization. Many feared the corruption of Islamic law and teaching under the Shah, but this was eased by Khomeini and the prominence of Shi’ite political theory. This brings us to the chapter on Iran-American relations that many Americans actually know: the Iran Hostage Crisis.

In 1979, the U.S. had granted the Shah asylum to seek cancer treatment which enraged many in Iran, most notably young student revolutionaries. The student revolutionaries took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and took 52 Americans hostage. There is so much more backstory and nuanced detail that went into the embassy takeover that would take an exorbitant amount of tie to detail and discuss. Simply: a revolutionary group provided xenophobic and Islamophobic Americans with a reason to view Iranians as an enemy. The hostages were released in 1981 when Ronald Reagan was sworn into office.

Things appeared quiet between the two nations until 1988 when it was revealed the U.S. had sent weapons to Iran in exchange for help releasing hostages held in Lebanon. America had once been Iran’s largest arms dealer but ceased during the hostage crisis. After that, America went so far as to start an operation set on educating other nations on why it was wrong to send weapons to Iran. Moreover, the sales made a profit for the U.S. which was sent to paramilitary rebels in Nicaragua who were fighting the Sandinista (a socialist government that America perceived as a Communist threat). This became the Iran-Contra Affair and while it didn’t directly sour relations between Iran and America in the way the White and Iranian Revolutions, as well as the hostage crisis, had, it nevertheless hurt America’s image abroad and within the Islamic Republic of Iran.

From there, the timeline can be simplified a bit easier: Mohammad Khatami is elected president and serves from 1997-2005. He calls for more open dialogue between the US and Iran. Nothing happened. Then in 2002, President Bush denounces Iran as part of an “axis of evil” and America issues sanctions on Iran after it is revealed they have developed nuclear facilities. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is elected president and serves from 2005-2013. His presidency sees some of the worst unrest in the nation since the revolution and he increases anti-American dialogue.Then in 2013, President Obama and the newly elected President Rouhani have the first conversation between Iranian and American heads of state in 30 years and work towards a plan to resolve the conflict over the nuclear issue. The relations between the nations came to a positive peak in 2015 when Iran, America, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, Germany, and the European Union all agreed to a framework for a deal in which the nations and the EU would remove economic sanctions from Iran if they would not only decrease their nuclear development to the point that immediate creation of weapons would be impossible and allow for monitoring to make sure this agreement (among others) were upheld. The deal is widely regarded as a success and a positive step forward.

What Does This Mean?: Contemporary Relations

While there is still some strong anti-American sentiment in the region due to our mishandling of, well, everything in Iranian’s modern history, many of the young citizens of Iran are interested in America, American politics, and the future of relations between our two countries. In 2013, reporter Carol Giacomo visited the country and found “the reception in every quarter... to be overwhelmingly welcoming.”

There was (and still likely is) some distaste regarding how American treats and presents not just Iran but all nations we’ve wrongly made our enemies (many Americans rank Iran alongside North Korea as the greatest enemies to national security). As it stands now, there is no reason why not to engage in peaceful dialogue with Iran.

What Happens Next?: The Future of Iran-American Relations

President Trump has long been an opponent of the nuclear deal, often calling it horrible and the worst deal he's ever seen made. He pulled the US out of the deal last Tuesday, instead proposing the reinstitution of sanctions on the nation. But, as Pankaj Mishra argues, "U.S. sanctions deterred neither India nor Pakistan from building their nuclear capacity. In any case, the gambit of increasing the threshold of economic pain to bring about desired political change is always counter-productive."

The main problem with leaving the Iran deal is that President Trump has not offered an alternative plan outside of unspecified sanctions. The decision to pull out of the deal occurred after President Trump met with European leaders such as Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel who tried to persuade him to remain in the deal. British PM Theresa May "spoke on the phone to Mr. Trump [following his announcement to leave the deal] to tell him that Europe remained "firmly committed' to the deal." Moreover, many nuclear experts who have worked for the federal government have since left, leaving a vulnerable gap of knowledge in the administration.

Given the tumultuous relationship between the U.S. and Iran, as well as the relative success of the Iran Nuclear Deal so far, it seems as though the deal would be warmly welcomed by Americans on a broad scale level. With Europe's enduring commitment to the deal, the lack of expertise surrounding nuclear issues in the federal government, and the president's negative sentiments towards Iran, pulling out of this deal will undoubtedly lead to an increase of problems for America on the international stage and uncertainty for the safety of the country.

Cover Image Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_nuclear_deal_framework#/media/File:Negotiations_about_Iranian_Nuclear_Program_-_the_Ministers_of_Foreign_Affairs_and_Other_Officials_of_the_P5%2B1_and_Ministers_of_Foreign_Affairs_of_Iran_and_EU_in_Lausanne.jpg

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.

It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?


Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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