Amid the attacks of the ISIS group in Iraq, and increased tensions with Russia over the Ukraine, an emerging harmony between the US and Iran could change the political equation. As a neighbor to Iraq, Iran could potentially get involved opposing ISIS to stabilize Iraq. And, should tensions with Russia worsen, Iran’s oil and natural gas reserves could replace Russia’s exports to Europe. Iran also wants to import beef and wheat from the US, a benefit to ranchers and farmers in states like Oklahoma.
There are skeptical factions in the U.S. and Iran concerning the negotiations who are suspicious of “the other side.” Israel has historically believed that Iran was secretly preparing to build an atomic weapon, and takes the position that Iran must abandon all uranium enrichment, even that permitted by international treaties for their nuclear power plants. At various times the Israeli government and its supporters have advocated military strikes on Iran’s enrichment facilities. They should all be satisfied by reports from the IAEA inspectors that there is no evidence of Iran wanting an atomic weapon.
Iran is a cultured nation, three times the area of Iraq, with a population of 80 million people — almost three times the population of Iraq or Saudi Arabia. Iran is home to one of the world’s oldest continuous civilizations, with urban settlements dating back to 4,000 B.C. Iran also has a formidable modern military, which could serve the interests for Middle East stability, if our nations worked together.
The compelling benefits to the U.S., Iran, and the Middle East, of a positive outcome to the negotiations are clear. Let all sides encourage and celebrate this progress.
Nathaniel Batchelder is director of the Peace House in OKC and a member of Americans Against The Next War. His email is email@example.com.
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