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THURSDAY, October 06, 2022
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US lawmakers should realise the world wants peace

US lawmakers should realise the world wants peace

SATURDAY, August 08, 2015

Nuclear deal with Iran should be given a chance despite vocal campaign against it by lobbyists and republicans in Washington

This past week United States President Barack Obama delivered a key speech on the nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers – in exactly the same spot where President John F Kennedy gave a speech in 1963 on nuclear diplomacy.
Obama went after critics of the deal, pointing out that some were the very same people who played on public fear and thumped the drumbeat of war that pushed the States into battle with Iraq over a decade ago. 
Needless to say, the consequences of that war are being played out today in the Middle East and it doesn’t look good.
“Let’s not mince words: The choice we face is ultimately between diplomacy and some form of war – maybe not tomorrow, maybe not three months from now, but soon,” said Obama in the speech. “How can we in good conscience justify war before we’ve tested a diplomatic agreement that achieves our objectives?”
Obama wasn’t just addressing his critics, he was also directing his message towards the Republicans, who are expected to vote as a block to shoot down the deal, and the Democrats who have yet to decide.
But, as Obama pointed out, the content of the deal speaks for itself, and for this very reason, it is worth being given a chance.
Yet politics will be politics and “knee-jerk partisanship that has become an all too familiar rhetoric, renders every decision to be a disaster, a surrender”.
In this respect, there is common ground between the hardliners in Iran who chant “death to America” and the Republicans in the US.
Leading Republicans were resentful of the tone Obama employed in the speech, because they believe their concerns over this deal should not be dismissed in such a manner. 
However, given the importance of this deal, and the shameful rhetoric from his critics that unfairly attack the agreement, Obama had no choice but to be frank and stern.
Obama won the Democratic nomination in 2008 partly because did not back the war in Iraq. And like every other American president who has been re-elected, he wants to spend his second term achieving results. 
However, this is not to suggest that Obama is doing the right thing for the wrong reasons, provided his moves to leave a good legacy don’t undermine his efforts to do the right thing. 
Activists, lobbyists and diplomats have been running over Washington in recent weeks pleading to American lawmakers to reject or support the deal. Ads have been taken out and there is talk of a US$25 million package to attack the accord.
“If the rhetoric in these ads and the accompanying commentary sounds familiar, it should,” Obama said. “Many of the same people who argued for the war in Iraq are now making the case against the Iran nuclear deal.”
While US lawmakers go through some soul-searching, they should also try and think beyond their constituencies. Most of the world – with the exception of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Israel – backs this deal. 
Certainly there are other issues that the US and the rest of the world will have to deal with as far as maintaining bilateral ties with Iran is concerned. 
Apart from Israel, the rest of the Arab world – with the exception of Syria – is also concerned about Iran’s growth in the region. 
Then there are the human-rights issues as well as the case of Hezbollah, which continues to be  a threat to Israel, not to mention Islamic State, which has been gaining ground in just about every sense of the word. 
Though this nuclear deal with Iran does not address all these issues as it is meant to, it could open the door to closer cooperation between world powers and Tehran on these very subjects.