Doing the Iran Deal (or Not)

What should we make of the possible deal with Iran? Roger Cohen calls it “the formidable difficulty of a negotiation between mistrustful adversaries.”

Israel picks up some expert allies in their disagreement with the deal. And France does its best to keep the deal from happening, as well, allying with US Republicans (“The French are becoming very good leaders in the Mideast.” — Sen. Lindsey Graham on CNN, with Sen. John McCain not far behind).

Cohen verges on the optimistic side of things and concludes, after discussing several key points:

All this speaks for the critical importance of seizing the moment and clinching an exacting interim deal that gets all that Iranian nuclear capacity in a verifiable box and builds the confidence needed for a broader accord.

via A Doable Iran Deal –


11 thoughts on “Doing the Iran Deal (or Not)”

  1. The French intervention is very interesting. Historically, it has been the United States that back Israel in many of their endeavors. However, The NYT article makes it sound like the United States is basically telling Israel “Look, we aren’t really ready to back you up militarily right now, so you can either face an Iran with nuclear weapons alone or you can accept the negotiations which will at best delay any nuclear threat”. Did the French intervene in order to occupy the spot of defending Israel that the United States usually occupy? As pointed out in this article, France has many deals in the Middle East that would be harmed if they supported Iran’s quest for a nuclear deal, but so do the other powers involved in the negotiations. Why is it that France, who had as much to gain or lose as any other country, chose to oppose the plan while the other countries supported it?

  2. The LA times article seemed to take a stance that the US agreed with France but just didn’t take action. I feel it would be advantageous to only have one state raise objections rather than have all of the western countries raise objections. Though this round has failed, there will be others, and in the others it would be best if Iran felt like it had a chance of reaching a deal to keep them open to negotiations. It will be exciting to see the next rounds of negotiations through the coming months. How lucky we are to represent Iran.

  3. I feel like there really isn’t an answer to this problem that will reach the needs and wants of everyone involved. At least one party is going to have to make concessions to reach a peaceful outcome. It is very true that is an agreement is not reached there is a huge possibility for a conflict in the region. I also think that it is interesting that there has to be any interpretation of exactly what the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty actually means. You would think that it would be explicit in the treaty as far as what the expected regulations are, but I guess that is a victory for some policymaker somewhere. They were able to hide what they actually meant in order to further their agenda, but unfortunately now there is some confusion.

  4. It is true that there are legitimate and historical reasons for distrust among the parities involved here. While I would not counsel the Unites States and Iran to move forward simply on blind trust, I would argue that these negotiations will not be able to move forward unless some degree of trust and understanding is shown. These talks could literally be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the two countries, and squandering the chance over what has happened in the past is not worth it – at least to me. I sincerely hope that these talks move forward, and that progress can be made on this decades old problem. Sanctioning Iran into the dark ages is not the right solution, and if we refuse to take advantage of this diplomatic opening, Im not sure there will ever be a resolution.

  5. I agree with jackdavis, in that these talks are extremely crucial and beneficial ad should not be ruined. The more peace talks the US establishes between the two countries, the more likely a successful solution will be. Thus, it’s important that the United States is willing to move forward in relations with Iran. This does not necessarily mean that the US has to move forward blindly, but the US should continue its involvement in negotiations or will continue to have poor relations with Iran.

  6. I believe that though this round of discussion was not as successful as hoped, it will not and should not be the final round. I am reminded of our class discussion on negotiation and breaking points, and how negotiation is essentially getting both sides to give up enough that they are comfortable to reach an agreement. I agree with the author’s assertion that it is likely that the world will never see a group of negotiators as willing and able as Iran’s leaders now. It’s apparent that the sanctions have become unbearable, to hear reports from the regular people and seeing the proactivity within the Iranian government to begin discussions with the West. It would not surprise me to see a productive and viable agreement come out of future discussions on this topic.

  7. I agree with Jack that history should never be forgotten. President Kennedy once counseled that we ought to “forgive [our] enemies, but never forget their names.” I can understand the Western hesitation in meeting Iran at an equal-sided table of negotiations (especially in France’s and Israel’s case), but we can’t expect Iran to continue under the yoke of crippling sanctions and non-choices when they are only demanding the same rights and technology enjoyed by many countries the world over. “Rights” and “wrongs” are little more than a matter of victors, and we only declare Iran’s ambitions to be “wrong” because the nation does not align itself invariably with the character and positions of those in power. Perhaps if Iran were the superpower, and Western powers were not so strong, Iran would consider our ambitions evil and worthy of sanctioning. That being said, Iran has never been more willing to negotiate than now. We ought to seize this chance, grant them an ounce of sovereign respect, and consider giving a little ourselves. Peace will never come from tyranny, and that is more or less what is in place right now with respect to Iran’s designs. They are told what they can and can’t do, so they will continue to harbor grudges against those who keep them restrained. I don’t think it’s wise to give Iran a free pass to do whatever they want, but we really should be more willing to grant them some respect in the interest of diffusing tensions and setting the stage for future cooperation.

  8. The idealist in me wants all involved to peacefully make concessions one to another and solve this thing as if negotiations were being done in a Model UN caucus room. The realist in me, however, knows that this is nearly, but not entirely impossible. At the same time, the American blood in my veins wants the U.S. to push for everything they can without making a single concession of our own. Clearly, I’m conflicted, but besides that this exemplifies the struggle going on within all parties involved. The question then becomes how will the pieces fall, which is of course the answer everyone is currently trying to uncover. Clearly, some kind of agreement or deal is necessary, and I just hope we can reach it.

  9. As long as all of the agreements can be followed through on, and I’m sure United States intelligence can verify, I think that discussions are in the best interest of all parties. Like many have said already, economic sanctions and trade barriers are not the way to bring Iran to the table. Because Iran has shown the willingness to discuss these issues diplomatically, I think it is the responsibility of the rest of the world to be willing to listen. Otherwise, there will be no change nor progress.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean we are eagerly doing or allowing anything that Iran wants. These are still negotiations. We still have preferences and they have theirs. In addition, we also need to consider the past temperament of Iran, and consider the possibilities of corrupt or tyrannical leaders resurfacing in the future. We need to make sure that any agreements made are as secure as possible and follow through to make sure they are achieved.

  10. Though I would like to see a breakthrough in negotiations, I am not convinced that it will happen. And I would hate to see the United States make larger concessions than it should in order to appear as though these takes were a diplomatic victory. I don’t believe that Rouhani can be trusted. The sanctions against the Iranians are crippling their economy, and all they want is for them to be lifted. The United States cannot leave the Israelis out to dry during these talks. President Netanyahu made several conditions for lifting sanctions against Israel in his speech before the General Assembly in October. The international community, according to Netanyahu, must keep the sanctions and lift them only when Iran dismantles its nuclear weapons program. The international community must also not agree to a partial deal. If it does, I fear the most for the Israelis. They need the United States’ support, not a weak agreement that will cause them to need to stand alone, as Netanyahu said they would.

  11. As I read through all the comments made last week, I think that everyone has reached an agreement in that these negotiations are failing. Others have said that Iran deserves a chance for their willingness to negotiate. I found an article anticipating this week’s negotiations, After reading the article, I begin to notice this willingness that has been pointed out. Others have said that there has to be trust in order for this procedure to succeed. And, like the Western countries, I do not see why Iran needs a nuclear program. As far as I know, their intentions are to produce nuclear weapons, why? Why would they even try to argue about nuclear weapons? For national defense? Well if I was Iran I would at least make it look as if we wanted a nuclear program for mass energy production, then I would have more ground for arguing.

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