International insanity

Iran is on the verge of making peace with the world. The United Nations Security Council unanimously endorsed a draft resolution of what’s been called the ‘Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action’ between Tehran and the ‘P5+1’ group of countries – that’s America, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany. The plan limits Iran’s nuclear programme in exchange for the removal of sanctions. Already, it had received strong praise around the globe.
However some are campaigning to encourage Congress in Washington to block the agreement. To ease concerns, US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter visited Israel, and the Obama administration has been selling the accord to allies in the Middle East – as WELL as to a sceptical Congress. But it is clear lobbyists are exerting great pressure on American politicians to reject the nuclear settlement.
Why are some politicians in Israel and the US Congress opposing this historic nuclear deal? Why are Washington and Tel Aviv the only two capitals where politicians want to keep Iran out in the nuclear cold? These are simple questions, but there are complex vested interests in Israel and the United States. It has been suggested that, essentially, there are people who would prefer Iran to remain an enemy on the outside, rather than become a friend in the inside.
It’s led to some outrageous comments. One Presidential candidate in the United States has drawn analogies between Iran and the Germans in World War II. Another senior US politician has said he’d rather have a nuclear stand-off with Tehran. Israel itself has hinted at military action.
A vote on the deal is expected in Washington after the August recess. But already the American Israel Public Affairs Committee has called on Capitol Hill to reject it. While the rest of the international community has warmly welcomed the nuclear agreement, these few seek to derail it. This historic deal can only IMPROVE international relations. Yet leaders in Tel Aviv and some Congressmen in Washington sound as if they’d rather see the deal fail.
Peace needs patient negotiation and the setting aside of old scores. Mature politicians such as President Obama know this. Iran’s acceptance in the international community is in the interests of the world and it’s time for sceptics in America and Israel to play a positive part. Those in a position to do so in Britain should use the ‘Special Relationship’ to make this point loud and clear to their colleagues in America. It is in the centuries old liberal tradition to take an inclusive, internationalist position towards stabilising our relationship with Tehran. Trust but verify perhaps, but trust all the same.

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