Daily Meme: The West's Nuclear Options

  • Over the weekend, we finally worked out a nuclear deal with Iran. Here's the plan.
  • And if you'd rather not waste time reading the agreement, here's a pretty chartfrom The New York Times that breaks it all down.
  • If you'd rather dive even deeper into the process, Reuters has a good tick-tock of the negotiations.
  • Why is the deal merely a six-month deal, rather than a permenant arrangement? Let Obama's former arms-control coordinator explain: "The reason for an interim deal rather than a permanent agreement is because Iran is not willing to accept the limits on its nuclear program demanded by the P5-plus-1 as a condition for permanently lifting nuclear-related sanctions. In particular, the U.S. wants Iran to accept physical limits on the scope and scale of its enrichment program so that Iran cannot produce significant quantities of highly enriched (weapons grade) uranium quickly and to halt construction of the heavy-water research reactor or replace it with a type that would produce less plutonium. In essence, these measures would require Iran to give up its nuclear-weapons program, at least for the time being. Unless Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, makes such a fundamental decision, a permanent agreement is unlikely."
  • The markets greeted the accord merrily, with oil prices dropping, the promise of a growing oil supply not out of the picture.
  • The deal is far from done, however. Now that the key parties have worked out terms, they have to get their governments to agree too. As Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters, "The next phase, let me be clear, will be even more difficult, and we need to be honest about it."
  • Or, to translate that into normal person speak—yup, Congress might just ruin everything.
  • Israel—specifically Benjamin Netanyahu, BFF with conservatives in Congress—is also not impressed with the deal, going as far as calling it a "historic mistake.
  • A national-security team from Israel is heading to the U.S. as we speak to make sure their input is heard loud and clear as the process moves forward.
  • Saudi Arabia is also kinda freaked out.
  • Actually, all the conservatives, no matter where in the world they may be hiding, don't seem very happy with this groundbreaking, historic accord.
  • It's not just conservatives in Congress, though. Democrats may be a hard sell too. "The disproportionality of this agreement makes it more likely that Democrats and Republicans will join together and pass additional sanctions when we return in December," said Senator Chuck Schumer.
  • Even Canada's like, I don't know you guys...
  • Daniel Drenzer has some advice for people going somewhat crazy over the deal: "The only thing going ballistic on this deal accomplishes is demonstrating your utter unreasonableness on negotiations with Iran."
  • Paul Beinart describes the opposition another way: "If Netanyahu and company have no better strategy for preventing an Iranian nuke, why call Obama’s deal a Munich-style surrender? Because that’s their name for any diplomatic agreement that requires Western compromise. For Netanyahu and his American allies, it’s always 1938, because if it’s not 1938 and your opponents aren’t Neville Chamberlain, then you’re not Winston Churchill. And if you’re not Churchill, you’ve got no compelling rationale for wielding power."
  • Or, as the Prospect's own Gershom Gorenberg puts it, "The link between Netanyahu's reactions in September and now is what could be called Agreement Anxiety Disorder (AAD): a reflexive certainty that any time an antagonist is willing to make an agreement to end or manage a conflict, the deal is a deception. The only safe agreement would be one in which you make no compromises or concessions, so that you are ready to fight the inevitable next round. Since agreements sans compromises are rare, the very thought of making a deal ignites something between panic and fury, and any friend who advises you to accept the agreement is betraying you."
  • And, Ben Birnbaum writes, the Geneva deal is obviously better than nothing. 
  • Iran, on the other hand, is probably pretty excited about the possibility of lifted sanctions. The current inflation rate in Iran is 40 percent. The United States' in comparison, is 2 percent.
  • Iranian citizens, some of whom learned of the deal on Instagram and other social-media platforms, are also very excited.
  • As is Obama's legacy.

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