US Iranian Agreement and the Lifting of Sanctions

I feel really good about President Obama’s agreement with Iran to lift US/UN sanctions. Assuming it is not stopped by Congress this will be another legacy to Obama’s credit.  I have been quite critical about Obama in the past and continue being skeptical.  But in his second term he is starting to really get things done (see Term Limits? Extend Term Lengths Instead!).  My criticism with him is that he is not proactive.  He is often not in favor of something until it becomes more mainstream then he changes his position on it.  He is very cautious about his image.  He was not proactive about the open gay in military and gay marriage issues until it became more widely accepted.  He did not start relationships with Cuba or Iran.  It was these countries that first extended a hand to the US.  So I consider him a good president, not a great president with  foresight and vision.

Iran’s trump card, the cessation of producing enriched uranium/plutonium, in negotiating the removal of sanctions is very likely something they were wiling to give up all along. Their government probably realized how difficult it was to develop adequate nuclear capability and a delivery system for it.  So they decided to trade it for sanction removals which would be of far greater benefit to them and their people.  But they bargained hard to get as much out of this agreement as they could, a smart political tactic.

I give credit to the current Iranian President Hassan Rouhani for caring more for their population than their nuclear and military capabilities.  I think this government realizes that it is better for their people and themselves if they are free to sell oil to increase revenues and to increase the standard of living in Iran.  They are a stable government and likely to stay that way, something lacking in much of the Middle East.  They are infinitely more democratic and amenable to human rights than Saudi Arabia, one of our closest allies.  Their population is one of the highest educated in that part of the world.  They are more like us in many ways unlike many other nations in the Middle East.  So it is good that we be closer to them and eliminate one more enemy from our long list of enemies.  I see this as a win-win for both countries.

They also feel ISIL a threat to them so will be good allies in our fight against ISIL aggression.  Republicans want to ban the sales of conventional weapons altogether to Iran as part of the agreement but this may not be in their interest as they many need Iran as an ally against ISIL.  We also do not ban weapons to other nations so it seems a bit unfair.

Understandably Israel’s government objected to the 30 day period before the UN can inspect suspected uranium enrichment sites.  But Iran would have difficulty covering such things up in 30 days.  If it wasn’t this it would be something else.  But it really is to Israel’s interest for Iran to become a more affluent and peaceful nation than today.

I look forward to eventually seeing Iran as another business and political partner with the US.  I hope Congress will not derail this effort.  And thank you President Obama for helping to make this possible.

So do US/UN sanctions work?  I think it depends upon who is running the country under sanctions and who you talk to.  If the government cares for its people then it is far more likely to negotiate for the lifting of those sanctions such as Iran did after 20 years.  Earlier governments in Iran were more interested in political power and dwelling upon their hatred of the US.  So sanctions can work.  But keeping a nation in economic strife results in animosity and presenting a military threat like North Korea.  So in the end sanctions create enemies and conflicts as their purpose is intimidation.  It takes a rational government to look beyond the animosity.

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