On November 24, 2013, an agreement was struck between the United States and Iran. This was unexpected. The last time the US and Iran cooperated, Ben Affleck made a movie about it.
I’ve been keeping up with the Iran-US saga. Here are five reasons you should care about it, too.
1. Iran could bring peace to the Middle East. Or catalyze the planet’s destruction.
Iran’s nuclear program has been in the news since 2002, with the discovery of a heavy-water reactor and uranium enrichment plant. Iran said its enrichment goals involved civilian purposes, and agreed to an inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The IAEA thought Iran’s claims—that its facilities were not of the weapon-making variety—might be bogus. Iran could’ve been lying to everyone. Terrible things were probably afoot.
Since then, there have been several claims that Iran is only years – or months – away from having The Bomb. And since Iran has a few enemies in the area (see number four), the global community has been kind of worried about it.
This concern has prompted talks between Iran and six world powers – the United States, Russia, China, France, Germany, and Britain. The result of these talks has been a tentative deal: Iran agrees to curb its nuclear program, in exchange for a slight relief of sanctions. Ideally, tensions between the US and Iran might thaw. America might find a new ally in nation formerly part of an “axis of evil.” Which brings me to my next point.
2. Iran is part of an “axis of evil.”
In 2002, President George W. Bush said, referencing Iran, Iraq, and North Korea: “States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger.”
In response to this threat, the United Nations implemented sanctions affecting everything from weapon exports, to cargo ship investigations. The European Union has forbidden the trade of Iranian materials used for natural gas production and refinement, as well as the transport and purchase of Iranian crude oil and natural gas.
Iran is essentially isolated from the global community. If this deal is successful, Iran could become a new trade partner and travel destination.
3. Sanctions have screwed over the Iranian population.
While sanctions might be aimed at the Iranian government, they trickle down to affect everyday people.
Because Iran hasn’t been allowed to import aircraft, airlines are using outdated planes. Up to 1700 deaths of Iranian flight passengers and crewmembers over the past seventeen years have been blamed on American sanctions. With food, healthcare, and general living costs increasing – along with the devaluation of the Iranian dollar – between 44.5 and 55% of citizens live below the poverty line.
Safe birth control has become hard to find. Foreign brands can’t be imported, since almost all trade routes are sanctioned, and Yasmin or Yaz are the best Iranian women can find. This birth control has been found to increase the risk of heart attacks, blood clots, strokes and deep veined thrombosis.
With the nuclear agreement comes a reprieve from sanctions.
4. Israel, one of Iran’s enemies (and neighbors).
Israel isn’t fond of Iran.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei called Israel an “illegitimate, bastard regime” that one time, which might have something to do with it.
Israel is concerned that, if Iran creates a nuclear weapon, the Jewish state will be the first on its hit-list. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pretty sure the nuclear deal is a huge step in the wrong direction. Instead of a historic win, he thinks it’s actually a “historic mistake.”
As America’s best Middle-Eastern friend, Israel would expect the US to support it in the event of an attack.
In a recent online poll, seventy-two percent say Canadians should support Israel in a hypothetical war with Iran.
Canada and America are allies – and if America is drawn into war, Canada might conceivably follow suit.
5. Even if you don’t care, Obama does.
Didn’t Barack Obama win the Nobel Peace Prize? Wasn’t the decision based on his rejection of war and embrace of diplomacy and cooperation?
If Obama can warm relations between America and Iran, it would be a sizable “in your face” to opponents and naysayers. He’d probably scream “I TOLD YOU SO” from the roof of the White House.
I’m pretty excited about the nuclear deal.
Diplomacy might win out against destruction, anger and war. This could mark the start of a more peaceful global community and greater well-being for Iranians.
While the agreement will undoubtedly face its share of technical difficulties, there is certainly hope. This could be a beginning to the end of a decade-long conflict. It’s not a solution, but a first step.