Huge win for President Obama with Iran’s nuclear agreement
By Roger Caldwell
“It is important that all of us see the opportunity to end an unnecessary crisis and open new horizons based on respect, based on the rights of the Iranian people and removing any doubts about the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program. This is a process of attempting to restore confidence,” says Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Since the beginning of President Obama’s first term in office, Iran’s nuclear program has always been one of his Administration’s top foreign priorities. Since 1979, there has been a freeze on diplomatic relations and no one in either country had spoken to each other. For over three decades both countries considered themselves enemies, and at any time they could go to war.
The ironic aspect of Iran’s nuclear program was that it was started with the help of the United States in 1950’s under the “Atoms for Peace program.” The United States supported the country under the Shah of Iran, until it was overthrown by a revolution.
When America controls the political and economic apparatus of a country, we are their friends, but when the country operates as an independent nation, many times they become our enemy. Once Iran overthrew the Shah of Iran, the country took over control of their oil, and this was the major cause of the dissension between the two countries.
During a 2002 State of the Union address Ex-President George Bush referred to Iran as the “Axis of Evil.” He also said, “Iran aggressively pursues weapons of mass destruction, and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people’s hope of freedom.” President Bush was not trying to build a better relationship, but instead he exacerbated the situation and made things worse.
In 2003, the International Atomic Energy Agency initiated a report that Iran had undertaken research and experiments geared at developing a nuclear weapons capability. As a result, the United States and other countries implemented sanctions against the country.
When President Obama took office, he initiated harsher sanctions that achieved unprecedented success. The harsh economic sanctions cut Iran’s oil exports in half and destroyed the country’s currency. Many experts argue these actions forced the country to the negotiating table.
In September 2012, a bipartisan group of Senators were holding a press conference and drawing a line in the sand. They argued that Iranians were getting ready to build a nuclear weapon. This put the country on high alert and some legislators were talking about going to war.
But, President Obama kept a cool head, and a year later he was making history by talking to Iran’s president on the phone. In the last week of September 2013, President Rouhani of Iran and President Obama broke the ice by speaking on the phone. As our president talked to Iran’s president he emphasized that an agreement must be implemented based on “mutual interest and mutual respect.”
From this point, secret talks were started with six world powers, the United States, Britain, China, France, Russia, and Germany plus Iran. During the final week of negotiations, which started on November 20—to November 23, there were very intense talks both day and night.
There was finally a deal reached in Geneva on November 23, 2013.The deal releases just over $4 billion in Iranian oil sales revenue, and suspends restrictions on the country’s trade in gold, and Iran undertakes to restrict its nuclear activities for six months. They also agreed to stop enriching uranium above 5 percent, not to increase stockpiles of low-enriched uranium, and accept intrusive nuclear inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
“While today’s announcement is just a first step, it achieves a great deal. For the first time in nearly a decade, we have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program, and key parts of the program will be rolled back,” says President Obama.