Monday, January 13, 2014

Iran a US Ally? Who Would Have Thunk It?

Ira Chernus
Common Dreams
(Photo: EPA)
Iran's deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araqchi, is in Geneva for nuclear talks with EU representatives. One great thing about watching history unfold is that it's so full of surprises.
The U.S. has taken a big step toward an agreement with Iran allowing that nation to go on enriching uranium. A majority of Americans favor a negotiated settlement with Iran. Even more surprising, the U.S. and Iran suddenly "find themselves on the same side of a range of regional issues" in the Mideast, the New York Times reports. “'The Americans are confessing Iran stands for peace and stability in this region,' said Hamid Reza Tarraghi, a hard-line political analyst, with views close to those of Iran’s leaders."

Who would have thunk it?

A vocal minority of Americans still oppose any rapprochement with Teheran. And, of course, everyone in the U.S. seems to agrees that, one way or another, Iran must be prevented from getting nuclear weapons -- or so the mass media tell us. The possibility of tolerating a nuclear-armed Iran scarcely ever comes up.
So why is an Iran with a couple of nukes, or even just the capability of making them, the Prince of Darkness, while an Iran that renounces the right to make nukes can enrich uranium and might be on the way to international respectability, perhaps even as a U.S. ally?

The argument that an Iranian bomb would start a Mideast arms race makes no sense, since Israel started that race decades ago. The argument that it would upset our Saudi and Gulf State allies makes "realist" sense, but few Americans outside the foreign policy establishment care much about those alliances. Why, then, does the premise that Iran must never get the bomb go virtually unchallenged?

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