This article originally appeared on the Huffington Post, August 3, 2015.
We should be grateful to the diplomats for ensuring no further proliferation of nuclear weapons in a volatile region. The Iran Deal demonstrates that when powerful nations identify a common interest and mobilize political will diplomats can achieve outstanding results.
The Iran Deal, embodied in unanimously adopted Security Council Resolution 2231, includes the most intrusive nuclear fuel cycle inspection regime ever adopted. The Resolution begins by placing the matter in the legal context of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), which guarantees the peaceful uses of nuclear technology for nations that commit to not having nuclear weapons.
The Deal’s legitimacy thus rests squarely on the NPT, which includes every nation in the world except four – Israel, North Korea, India, and Pakistan. By virtue of the Security Council’s Resolution, the Deal’s legal foundation rests on the UN Charter, which compels all nations to abide by the political decisions of the Security Council. Any nation that fails to abide by the Resolution in essence will be properly condemned as a rogue. Although the public does not focus on this level of diplomatic and political engagement the fact is that such status is consequential.
Iran has made its agreement, not just with the six negotiating nations and the European Union, which helped facilitate the negotiations, but with the entire world. The diplomats who accomplished this formidable task deserve our highest praise.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, Secretary of State Kerry, Secretary of Energy Moniz , Foreign Minister Zarif, Energy Chief Salehi, European Union Foreign Minister Mogherini, and many others demonstrated that when the political support is there diplomats can find common ground and progress for the common good can be achieved.
We have seen leadership from Russia and the United States in addressing the proliferation and use of weapons of mass destruction in Syria. Although there remain serious differences regarding Syria both countries identified the common good of eliminating its chemical weapons and acted cooperatively. Iran follows this positive trend.
The security establishments of Russia and the U.S. identify the threat of the spread of weapons of mass destruction as sufficiently serious to compel cooperation despite differences on other matters. Once there is the political support for cooperation the diplomats can exercise their skills successfully.
Protecting the living systems upon which civilization depends such as the climate, the oceans, and the rainforests are similarly significant enough to compel cooperation. If we cooperate to solve these issues ending the dangerous pursuit of stability through the agency of 16,000 nuclear weapons, with thousands on alert status ready to destroy humanity, would be much easier to achieve. We could then move on to other issues beyond the scope of singular nations similarly requiring global cooperation. Ending poverty and terrorism, controlling pandemic diseases, ensuring stable financial markets, cyber security, and universal access to clean water are but a few examples.
The intensity of cooperation we saw in addressing preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapons capacity will be needed to fulfill the Sustainable Development Goals, which will be adopted later this year at the United Nations. It is time that we worked to achieve our common good and not place our national perspectives in its way. In truth the goods of nations and the whole earth are aligned.
Jonathan Granoff is the President of the Global Security Institute, a representative to United Nations of the World Summits of Nobel Peace Laureates, a former Adjunct Professor of International Law at Widener University School of Law, and Senior Advisor to the Committee on National Security American Bar Association International Law Section.