By Ashlee Pitts
As President Barack Obama approaches the final stretch of his second term in office he continues to make bold and in many cases controversial moves in order to push America forward, fulfill his political agenda and put his successor in the best position possible. In addition to being the Black president of the United States of America, his legacy will be associated with restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba after a fifty-five year conflict, implementing the Affordable Care Act (also known as “Obamacare”), initiating his Clean Power Plan, Osama Bin Laden’s assassination, nationwide economic prosperity and a low unemployment rate now in the mid-single digits. One significant and triumphant diplomatic event that would add to Obama’s list of Presidential achievements would be the passing of the Iran Nuclear Deal. The fate of the deal is still unclear.
Essentially the United States would lift economic sanctions off Iran in exchange for the Iran’s commitment to disarming and suspending their pursuit of nuclear proliferation. The United States has encouraged Iran to seek a scientific and research program initiative instead of military advancement. The White House released an announcement on their site describing, in essence, an important component of the deal.
“This deal removes the key elements needed to create a bomb and prolongs Iran’s breakout time from 2-3 months to 1 year or more if Iran broke its commitments. Importantly, Iran won’t garner any new sanctions relief until the IAEA confirms that Iran has followed through with its end of the deal. And should Iran violate any aspect of this deal, the U.N., U.S., and E.U. can snap the sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy back into place.”
As the President continues to make calls and influence members of congress to support it, there are other members of Congress, primarily within the Republican National Committee (GOP), who fiercely oppose the agreement. There are pros and cons to the arrangement though it would seem that President Obama is going for a “means to an end” approach. President Obama has stood firm in his belief that dismissing this deal would not only compromise the safety and welfare of the American people but also the overall security of the international community – particularly Israel who has had a long history of political and economic conflict with its Middle Eastern neighbor. On 3 March, 2015 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went so far as so speak before a joint meeting of Congress on his concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Netanyahu made an unflinching claim that Iran has proven it cannot be trusted. The Israeli PM says that “Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei spews the oldest hatred, the oldest hatred of anti-Semitism with the newest technology”. He goes on to say “for those who believe that Iran threatens the Jewish state, but not the Jewish people, listen to Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, Iran’s chief terrorist proxy. He said: If all the Jews gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of chasing them down around the world”.
The vote to approve the deal will take place in September of this year. As President Obama works around the clock to maintain the supporters of the deal as well as to convince those against it to reconsider, whether or not the Iranian will actually honor their part of the negotiations is still unclear. To the dismay of the Obama administration many outspoken members of Congress, some even within Democratic Party, reject the deal. Republican Presidential nominee Mike Huckabee made a provocative statement regarding the Iran Nuclear Deal giving a sharp reference to the Holocaust. On 26 July 2015 Huckabee said: “This president’s foreign policy is the most feckless in American history. It is so naive that he would trust the Iranians. By doing so, he will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven”. The Iranian government is not shy when it comes to how it views Israel. In fact, the President and past administrations of Iran have been hell-bent on Israel’s destruction.
While many politicians may argue that President Obama is giving away far too much leverage in this deal, ultimately drastic measures need to be taken when addressing such an incredible threat. It has been seventy years since the Atomic Bomb was dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan and the international community continues to mourn and remember the effects of such a catastrophic and life altering event. This two-part horrific event began on 6 August 1945 with the first bomb exploding over Hiroshima killing over eighty thousand people instantaneously. Three days later the second atomic bomb was dropped over Nagasaki killing tens of thousands of people. This attack on Japan remains one of the most brutal and devastating acts of violence in history.
We remember the overwhelming majority of the victims being innocent civilians. We remember that those who did not die off immediate impact endured the excruciatingly painful radiation burns and illness that was inflicted upon them in the days and months after the bombing. With this in mind the threats the Iran has made towards Israel must be taken with the utmost seriousness so history should not repeat itself in such a terrible way. The United States has done so by imposing economic sanctions on Iran; a country that is also currently holding American hostages. There is no clear-cut way to resolve the high tensions between Iran and Israel nor is there a perfect way for the United States to intervene. Every action has a reaction. The United States can choose to lift the sanctions with the expectation that Iran will stop their nuclear ambitions or the United States can uphold the sanctions while Iran pursues a nuclear program. Every possible scenario related to this nuclear agreement between the United States and Iran seems to carry a substantial amount of uncertainty.
The outcomes of the Iran Nuclear Deal go far beyond diplomatic ties and relations between the United States, Israel and Iran. This is an international security issue. The world becomes more dangerous as nuclear stockpiles increase. When considering the sheer hostility that Iran has shown towards Israel and their unwillingness to even recognize Israel as a state, the possibility of the Iranian government or any other aggressive state acquiring such an extensive lethal weapon is not only a concern for Israel; it a concern for all of humanity.