Readers react to Iran agreement
As commentary continues to roll in on the Iranian nuclear deal, former Obama administration Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs PJ Crowley writes to give us his take on reaction to the agreement in the US and Middle East:
The ink was barely dry on the interim nuclear agreement reached this weekend between Iran and the E3+3 (the UN Security Council permanent members plus Germany) when the criticism emerged in political and diplomatic circles in the United States, Israel and the Persian Gulf. Some of the negativity is about the deal itself, but most of it is about its potential long-term strategic implications.
Regarding the interim agreement, supporters believe it freezes Iran's nuclear programme in place, buys time to pursue a permanent solution, and puts in place a stronger inspection regime that should be able to detect a feared breakout toward an actual weapon. Detractors see it as a sweet deal for Tehran, which gets to continue enrichment and eroding the international sanctions regime that has punished Iran and brought it to the negotiating table.
The angst in Israel, Saudi Arabia and in some circles in the United States is really about the still challenging but now suddenly feasible prospect of a permanent solution.
The interim agreement exposes the different bottom lines in Tel Aviv and Washington, one demanding a complete end to Iran's nuclear programme and the other willing to tolerate some limited enrichment.
A permanent solution on the nuclear issues opens the door for broader engagement on regional issues. Whether a thaw ends the "twilight war" between the United States and Iran remains to be seen, but it would mean accepting the Iran that is, a step that many in the region and the United States are not prepared to take. Which is why opponents of a rapprochement are already raising the political stakes for what follows the interim agreement.
Meanwhile, our blog commenters have a wide range of views on the matter:
"How sunny is it in Iran? Some countries have so well developed solar technologies that they export electricity and make money that way. The only logical sense to having enriched uranium for Iran is to produce weapons." - W-E
"It's truly a sad day when peace is seen as cowardly. The hawks should collectively move to the US and let the rest of world get on with our lives." - Vousetesfou
"Iran will never become a nuclear power legitimate or otherwise. If the US doesn't meet its promised commitment to prevent it, Israel out of necessity to survive will. If Iran even seems on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons then nuclear war in the Mideast is inevitable. Iran has only one rational choice: surrender up its weapons programme, prove it or face total destruction." - sieuarlu
"The West made the fatal mistake of choosing to shoot itself in both feet when trying to inflict sanction pain on Iran in order to try and stop Iran from developing a civilian nuclear programme. Iran's earlier fair offers were turned down by the West. Europe lost billions in business opportunities. Iran has won this one." - deryk houston
"Unlike India and Israel, which will only use their nuclear weapons in self-defence, the dishonest irresponsible theocracy in Iran threatens other countries, and supplies conventional arms to terrorists such as Hamas, Hezbollah and the militants in Kashmir for use against India. Iran should NOT be allowed to produce nuclear weapons under any circumstances." - Navi Reyd
"Compared to its neighbours Iran is a stable and relatively democratic country (these latest talks were a result of a change of leadership after Iranian election). Compare to those objecting to the deal (eg Saudi Arabia, a brutal, tyrannical regime)." - Belgian_Biscuit