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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 4/15/15

The Iran Deal: Who is against it, who is for it, Why, and What Happens if it's Killed

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Ah yes, "the Iran Deal," which isn't actually a deal yet, but rather an apparently very detailed framework for one. David Stockman of all people* has provided one of the more lucid and detailed descriptions of the "framework" that I have seen. He also explains why the deal is nothing like "Munich" (which was actually not about "appeasement" at all but rather an attempt by the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain to keep Hitler pointed East at you-know-who). If the objective is to prevent Iran from "getting the bomb," at least for quite some time, it would seem to have a pretty good chance of doing that.

Now we all know who the opponents are. The GOP/Likud Alliance lined up very clearly towards the end of the negotiations, highlighted by the "47 Senators Letter" and the "Netanyahu speech" to Congress. It is clear that this alliance wants no deal, ever, because, so far, they have not been able to come up with even a stretch of a "better deal." The GOP end of it has yet to come up with any proposal for anything "better," while the Likud end of it put an end to be taken seriously about finding one, when Netanyahu insisted that any deal on limiting Iran's nuclear capabilities had to include an explicit recognition of Israel "as a Jewish state."

Boehner Giving Bibi Kissy Face: What could illustrate the GOP/Likud Alliance better?
Boehner Giving Bibi Kissy Face: What could illustrate the GOP/Likud Alliance better?
(Image by DonkeyHotey)
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So why don't they want a deal? One prominent Republican, former Secretary of State Colin Powell's Deputy, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, thinks that they actually want to go to war. I doubt that. As I have said elsewhere, I think that there are three primary reasons on the Likud side: doing nothing that would diminish the role of Israel's military-complex in Israel's economy, doing nothing to diminish the maintenance-of-fear level in Israel on which Likud's political dominance is so dependent, and trying to help elect a GOP President in 2016 (following on the very open and clear failure to do so in 2012). The GOP shares with Likud the dependence on their respective military-industrial complexes as a major reason for its existence (along with the Christian Right, the gun industry, of course the carbon fuels industry, and so one and so forth). Further, as is well known, some of its elements reach a high level of hysteria in their attempts to discredit anything that has President Obama's name for it.

But perhaps the primary reason that both are against it, at least at their more "intellectual" levels, is that they can readily see what a deal would do in terms of the balance of power in the Middle East, and indeed to a certain extent around the world. First of all, it would show the power of diplomacy to achieve major goals, as among conflicting nations. Bad example for the military-industrial complexes. Second of all, the lifting of sanctions would not only strengthen Iran's economy internally. It would also provide major opportunities for foreign investment, which would further help Iran and also further diminish the possibility of the deal falling apart down the road (see Asa Fitch and Nicolas Parasie, Wall Street Journal [of all places], "In Iran, Western Companies See a Possible New Market," 4/7/2015).

The other "againsts" may or may not be the autocratic Arab nations led by Saudi Arabia. On the one hand, the Saudis made some fairly loud noises against the deal before it was announced. But then afterwards they seemed to adopt more of a wait-and-see attitude. There is the concern that the deal might kick off a war, or at least more intense conflict, " between the two blocs." (The "two blocs," by the way, are not strictly Sunnis on one side and Shia on the other. If you want to get some idea of how complicated this whole situation is, read the just-cited article.) There are certainly elements on the U.S. side which, some observers think, are intent on creating just such an ongoing conflict in the Middle East, designed to create a "divide-and-rule" opportunity. "No deal," with a general increase in antagonisms, would help grease the skids in this direction. On the other hand, according to the Wall Street Journal article cited above, Dubai, an Arab autocracy, is taking something of the lead in setting up foreign investment opportunities in Iran.

But, if the US military-industrial complex can pull together a GOP/Democratic coalition in the Senate to over-ride an expected Presidential veto of any bill designed to kill the deal, and it then falls apart, then what? Well, first of all, it remains to be seen what "falls apart" means. There are five other nations aside from Iran and the U.S. that are party to these negotiations: Great Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia. There is every chance that Iran could come to an agreement with them on its nuclear program in return for their dropping their sanctions and re-establishing trade. This is especially so if it is true that their program is indeed primarily designed to develop and implement a major nuclear energy program for their nation. They do have plenty of oil, but unlike certain other countries that shall remain nameless, they know very well that eventually oil runs out. That would leave the US totally out in the cold, especially in terms of Iranian trade and investment.

Furthermore, Russia and China alone, without the Western European powers, could say "OK, we will supply you with banking services and investment." Given the frail nature of the Russian economy, suffering from the Western sanctions on it, that initiative would likely come more from China. It just happens that the latter has just started its Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, as an intended rival to the US-led World Bank and International Monetary Fund and has signed up the major US allies, Great Britain, Germany and Australia.

And so, while they seem to be completely unaware of this reality, the GOP/Likud Alliance does have a lot to lose here, whether or not there is a deal that the U.S. is party to. (There is also the chance that Iran would say "OK, you don't want to make a deal? Well in that case, we will go for the bomb". But that would play right into the hands of the GOP/Likud Alliance, and might, horribly, bring Col. Wilkerson's estimation of what they are really after to pass.) Thus, it would appear that Iran may well accept what would appear to be half-a-loaf: a deal with the Five other than the U.S., splintering a major part of the Western alliance which, in the case of the Ukraine sanctions at least, is showing some signs of wear anyway. In that case, one would be wondering what Sens. Cotton, McCain, and Graham, and Prime Minister Netanyahu would be screaming about next, to an audience paying less and less attention to them.

*Remember Stockman? One of Reagan's hatchet men who himself eventually got "taken to the woodshed" in Reagan's quaint terminology -- now a man of rather changed politics, who, some would say, has sought redemption.

Post Script I: Sposin' that the original CIA report on Iran, that they had no nuclear bomb program, was correct. That of course would mean that the original Bush/Cheney sanctions program was not aimed at a known-to-be-non-existent "nuclear bomb program." Rather that charge was used as an excuse to attempt to achieve "regime change," to restore a government in Iran that would be compatible with US-led capitalist imperialism.

That would also mean that the results of the current UN/I.A.E.A. inspections program, carried out under the terms of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty to which Iran is a party, which has never shown any evidence of a nuclear bomb program, were/are valid. That would mean further that Iran has never had anything real to negotiate with the US-led "5-plus-1" Group in return for the lifting of the sanctions. Which would further mean that Iran has been leading the Group on all along, trading an inspections program of nothing in return for a very real something: the lifting of economic sanctions, without having to undergo "regime change." It is not for nothing that the history of Persia boasts one of the earliest great empires in human history.

Postscript II: As for the hard line on the timing of sanctions-lifting taken by the Iranian "Supreme Leader" on April 9, my guess is that the reason for it is bi-partite: 1) throwing down another bargaining chip ahead of the final drive to the written agreement, 2) saying to the US, "your right-wing is constantly bleating about how Iran is not to be trusted (even though this agreement would put in place the toughest inspections program applied to any member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty), well, given what the GOP/Likud Alliance is saying they might do to the agreement in the future, we don't trust you either." Given the reception that the draft agreement has received in Iran, it is hardly likely that any Iranian government would walk away from it.

Postscript III. What is being cast as a "defeat" for the President, in terms of Congressional deal-review, is actually a win. For any Congressional initiative to overturn the deal down the road would require 67 votes in order to over-ride the to-be-sure Presidential veto of such a measure. This is just a face-saving measure for the Repubs., and the Iranians, I am sure, recognize it as such. And oh yes, the just announced deal between Russia and Iran for a defensive missile system is just a taste of what will be happening between Iran and a variety of countries should the deal fall through because of the desperate intransigence of the GOP/Likud Alliance and various actions they might take.

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Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS is a Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine at StonyBrookMedicine (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 35 books. In addition to his position on OpEdNews as a “Trusted Author,” he is a Senior (more...)
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