Once upon a time, Vice President Richard Cheney advocated going to war with Iran in order to stop Iran’s nuclear program, even to the extent of authorizing the first use of nuclear weapons by any government since the the US dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August, 1945. Luckily, his favored solution to dealing with the problem of Iran’s nuclear program was not implemented.
President Obama’s security team has generally advocated for increased diplomacy to resolve the conflict with Iran. Republican critics of the President, on the other hand, have relentlessly condemned this approach as naive and dangerous to our national security. John McCain once sang “Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran to the tune of a Beach Boy’s song at a campaign event in 2007. However, under the aegis of Secretary of State, John Kerry, an interim agreement was reached with the Iranian government to curtail their enrichment of uranium, while negotiations continued.
Despite criticism of the Obama administration and Kerry, however, regarding their Iran policy, it now appears that Iran is meeting its obligations under the agreement, as indicated by this report by Reuters:
The U.N. nuclear watchdog was expected to issue a monthly update later on Wednesday showing Iran is complying with the terms of last year’s interim deal with six world powers to curb some of its atomic activities, diplomats said.
The U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is tasked with checking that Iran is living up to its part of the agreement that took effect in January and was last month extended by four months until late November.
Iran’s official news outlet, Tasnim, has also issued a statement by the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson, Marziyeh Afkham, that the government of Iran fully intends to continue to cooperate with the IAEA inspections of its nuclear program.
“Cooperation between Iran and the IAEA is moving forward and the country is determined to continue cooperation with the IAEA,” Afkham told reported during her weekly press briefing in Tehran on Wednesday.
She also called on the UN nuclear agency to prevent the political affairs from leaving negative impacts on the technical and legal process of negotiations with Iran.
The Iranian foreign ministry spokeswoman also described the course of Iran-IAEA talks as well as the recent visit to Tehran by the head of the organization, Yukiya Amano, as “constructive”.
What has Iran done to comply with its obligations under the agreement from last November? For one, it has eliminated its store of enriched uranium gas, which if further enriched might have led to a stockpile of uranium capable of being used to make a nuclear weapon. That important step was first reported back in July of this year by Secretary Kerry, along with the other steps Iran has taken to date in accordance with the November agreement:
Since its implementation, Iran has complied with its obligations to neutralize its stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium; cap its stockpile of 5 percent enriched uranium; not install advanced centrifuges; not install or test new components at its Arak reactor; and submit to far more frequent inspections of its facilities. The International Atomic Energy Agency has regularly verified that Iran has lived up to these commitments.
While not everything with respect to these negotiations has always gone smoothly, significant progress has been achieved By the Obama administration. First and foremost, a shooting war with Iran involving either the US, Israel or both, has been avoided. The enriched uranium Iran had in its possession has been removed, and no further steps by Iran toward increasing its ability to enrich uranium has been taken.
Imagine for a moment if John McCain had been elected in 2008, or Mitt Romney in 2012. Does anyone realistically believe that they would have avoided war with Iran over its nuclear capability, considering their many numerous statements professing their willingness to attack Iran at their discretion.
How many people, civilians and soldiers alike, would have died, how bad would the world economy crashed, and how many other unforeseen negative consequences for our country and the world would have resulted if the Obama administration had not chosen to consistently pursue a diplomatic solution with respect to Iran’s nuclear program? Fortunately, we never had to learn the answers to those questions.
Thank you President Obama and Secretary Kerry for your efforts in continuing to use American diplomacy rather than military force to seek solutions to the Iranian nuclear program.