Jackson Hogan, Columnist
Two roads are stretched before the United States: either support the Iran nuclear agreement and the pro-diplomacy precedent it sets or eventually dismantle it and treat Iran as part of an “axis of evil” not worth negotiating with.
It is your duty as a citizen and a Christian to support the deal and increased diplomatic ties with Iran, because it leads to a safer, better world.
First, a primer on Iranian-American relations. The U.S. and Britain supported a decadent tyrant, the Shah, for decades in Iran to preserve Western-owned oil interests while the average Iranian lived without basic necessities, never seeing an improved standard of living while Iranian oil made a small elite and the West extremely rich.
When a democratically elected parliament moved to nationalize the Iranian oil industry so Iran and its people could move away from abject poverty, the United States overthrew the Prime Minister in 1953 and made the Shah a more authoritarian ruler to ensure good profits.
This opened the door for a radical anti-West strain of Islam to gain popularity by promising better housing, increased wages, electricity and running water to the poor if given power.
The promised revolution occurred in 1979: the oil industry was nationalized and life was better for the poor of Iran while leaders withdrew Iran from the world order that had so far abused it.
In retaliation, the United States funded Saddam Hussein in Iraq to invade Iran in 1980; hundreds of thousands of Iranian men, women and children died from Saddam’s bullets and mustard gas, paid for by our tax dollars.
It was this string of abuse by the West, not backwardness or incompatible ideals, that was to blame for Iran’s distrust of the world system. If I were an Iranian from this time, I would hate the U.S. too.
However the political landscape has changed significantly since 1980. Most of the hard-line revolutionaries of Iran are dead, their parliament is strong and much more moderate and the supermajority of Iranians favor opening and cultivating a relationship with the West, including the United States.
A national nuclear power system could help realize one of the original goals of the revolution: to bring affordable electricity to the people of Iran and help facilitate Iranian industry.
Its goals are the goals of Roosevelt’s Tennessee Valley Authority, not the goals of North Korea.
Furthermore, the only drive to gain nuclear weapons is to defend itself against the nuclear threat of Israel, Pakistan and India.
As a “rogue state” with no one to effectively come to its aid if attacked by a country more accepted by the West, a nuclear weapon is a totally logical goal to deter possible attack. It is the strategy the U.S. used since the beginning of nuclear weapons.
However, the US deal gives Iran what it needs without a nuclear weapon: it allows Iran to have a program that helps its people and delivers on a promise, while opening the door to reenter into relations with the U.S., lessening the likelihood of another nuclear state feeling it has the capacity to impede on Iran’s sovereignty.