The below article, by Jonathan Granoff, was originally published in the Huffington Post on April 29, 2015.
A deal with verifiable measure that helps prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons in exchange for taking steps to help it normalize its relationships with the rest of the world is a very good deal. Lifting sanctions will help it integrate its economy and its culture with the rest of the world.
Presently, the sanctions regime privileges its black market profiteers, especially the hostile Revolutionary Guard, whose dominant hand in the black market is making billions of dollars and expanding its political influence. This is the militant group in Iran’s political system that is most hostile to the West and is most dead-set against the diplomatic approach of Iran’s negotiators. The forces in Iranian society that do not want to integrate with the rest of the world are benefiting from the abnormal isolation of the country’s economy. These are the forces in Iran that will try to scuttle the deal.
The richness of Persian culture will benefit the rest of the world and Iran will benefit by interaction with modernity.
We should not overlook that it is not in the interest of Iran to get a nuclear bomb and they know it.
First, the Grand Ayatollah would have to revoke his fatwa that states that nuclear weapons are haraam, abhorrent to God and thus prohibited. He would have to say he either misinterpreted God’s will in the first instance or that God changed His mind.
Second, Iran is a party to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, through which Iran pledged never to have nuclear weapons. It knows full well that if it breaks out of the treaty, others in the region – -Sunni dominated nations — would follow suit, and a cascade of proliferation by nations hostile to it would quickly follow. The security planning authorities in Iran understand full well that such a pattern would pose a major existential security threat to Iran. The only way Iran would choose to develop a nuclear bomb is if all negotiations with the West collapse and they feel existentially threatened. The same neoconservatives that advocated the disastrous invasion of Iraq are proferring exactly this type of existential threat. It is unlikely that any deal that could have been reached would quiet their aggressiveness. Such irresponsible posturing should be called out for what it is: foolish and dangerous.
A return to a U.S. “get tough” sanctions-oriented policy is exactly what the Revolutionary Guard would like, since it keeps Iran isolated and benefits their pockets. The Revolutionary Guard and the neo-conservatives who brought us into the expensive and failed quagmire of Iraq are making common cause.
The deal is a good deal for people who want a peaceful world. It is not a good deal for those who profit from fear and war. We don’t have open accounting for the profits of Iran’s black market but credible estimates are around twelve billion a year. We do have better accounting for US war profiteers. According to the bipartisan Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the level of profits from waste and fraud could be as high as $60 billion. Peace diminishes these profits.
The American people and the Iranian people have a choice to make. Either we choose to side with the war profiteers, or we choose to side with peace, integration, or prosperity. Which side will you choose?