After the Iran Deal: How to Make the Most of the Next 15 Years

If the US wants to make the Iran deal stick, we have to face up to our broken nuclear promises.


Author: Alice Slater

Emphasis Mine

A major sticking point for universal support for the Iran deal is the worry expressed repeatedly by doubters and supporters alike, in the plethora of mainstream media coverage, that in 15 years Iran may have the capacity to break out and produce a nuclear bomb only one year after the deal expires. David Petraeus and Dennis Ross, Obama’s former Special Assistant on the Middle East, have actually suggested, in The Washington Post, that we should “put teeth” into the deal by threatening now that “if Iran dashes toward a weapon especially after year 15, that it will trigger the use of force.”

How much better would the public be served if the extensive reporting on the deal also provided the information we need on how we could beat Iran to the punch and honor our own obligations under the 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty to negotiate for the elimination of nuclear weapons?

First, we must stop provoking Russia and create a climate for negotiations. The United States should agree to a proposal made by Russia and China to negotiate a space weapons ban instead of continuing to block all discussions of a draft treaty they tabled at the UN in Geneva in 2008 and resubmitted this year. We should dismantle NATO, a rusty Cold War holdover, or at least reverse its eastward expansion which we promised Gorbachev would never happen beyond East Germany after the wall came down. And we should bring home the 300 US nuclear weapons now parked in five NATO countries: Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, and Turkey. We should reinstate our 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia, which the United States walked out of in 2002 after 30 years, and remove our new missile bases in Turkey, Poland, and Romania. It is ironic that underpinning the deal that Kennedy negotiated with Khrushchev, to remove Soviet missiles from Cuba, was US removal of its missiles from Turkey. Well, they’re back!

Perhaps Russia would then agree to negotiate with us about eliminating our arsenals of 15,000 deadly nuclear bombs out of the 16,000 still threatening the planet. We could then call the seven other nuclear weapons states to the table—the UK, France, China, India-Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea—to give up their combined arsenals of 1,000 warheads in a negotiated treaty for complete nuclear disarmament. Civil Society has already produced a Model Nuclear Weapons Convention, an official UN document, laying out all the required steps for verified, monitored nuclear disarmament. We know how to do it! This is what we promised in 1970 in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which provides that we “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.” President Obama has recently proposed that the United States spend $1 trillion over the next thirty years for two new nuclear bomb factories, delivery systems, and warheads. The US just tested a dummy bunker buster nuclear warhead in Nevada in August.

It is sad that we are only hearing about Iran’s obligations under the NPT and not about our own broken promises. With the proper cooperative attitude, the United States could easily accomplish verifiable and monitored nuclear disarmament in 15 years, so we won’t have to demonize Iran when the 15 years are up. As Walt Kelly’s Pogo said, “We have met the enemy and he is us!”

ALICE SLATER Alice Slater is the New York Director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, and serves on the Coordinating Committee of World Beyond War.


How Bush & Cheney’s ‘Cowboy Diplomacy’ Provoked Iran’s Nuclear Growth

This is a major achievement that we cannot let Republican war-hawks derail.


Author: Colin Taylor

Emphasis Mine

President Obama achieved a historic victory this week by signing a deal to restrain Iran’s nuclear ambitions while enabling the isolated nation to rejoin the international community. Republicans across the board erupted in fury without even reading the bill, so ingrained is the knee-jerk automatic rejection of anything President Obama says or does. Some even came out of the woodwork, like former Vice President and admitted war criminal Dick Cheney, who decided it was time to rear his ugly head up once again and criticize our President for rectifying a crisis which was his fault.

For it was under the George W. Bush and Dick Cheney’s adminstration that Iran drastically expanded their nuclear program. The Islamic Republic of Iran had 164 centrifuges in 2003, and wanted to negotiate in order to get the sanctions that have been crippling their economy and stunting the growth of their middle class– which coincidentally repressed the growth of civil society and helped keep the theocratic regime secure. Cheney responded that “We don’t talk to evil,” and threatened war and more sanctions. In response to the disrespectful offer, Iran began drastically expanding their nuclear program. Just two years later, the Iranians had constructed 5,000 centrifuges, and had built 8,000 by the end of the Bush Administration.

Jon Chait of NY Mag notes that using Cheney’s own logic that he attempts to smear Obama with paints a very different picture of Cheney’s vendetta against Iran: “What’s more, the expansion of Iran’s power under Bush was not limited to the blossoming of its nuclear program. In 2003, an extremely hostile neighboring regime (that had launched a war against it two decades before) was deposed, creating a power vacuum that Iran filled. Cheney seems to have played a role there. A Cheney-style analysis of the Bush administration’s Iran policy would conclude that it was carrying out a deliberate plan to elevate Iran’s standing.”

What’s more, Cheney and the rest of the jingoist hyper-nationalists in the Republican Party are utterly off the mark with their fear-mongering statements and doomsday prophecies. “This is the first time that the number of centrifuges Iran operates will have been reduced. No other policy has achieved this. The critics can’t touch this.” writes Trita Parsi. “The critics said Iran would never honor its word. They were wrong. The IAEA has consistently attested that both the United States and Iran have lived up to their commitments.” Iran has wanted to negotiate and was willing to roll back their program the whole time, but Bush and Cheney never wanted to negotiate- so once again, President Obama had to clean up their mess.

This is a major achievement that we cannot let Republican war-hawks derail. Cheney must not be allowed to re-write the narrative and let the world forget that the Iranian nuclear program is just another entry on his long list of failures and crimes. The Republican Party cannot see anything beyond their desperate hunger for the White House, and will say and do anything in their ham-fisted efforts to grasp it. We cannot let the people who have already done so much damage to our nation and to stability in the world get away with their crimes, and we cannot let them torpedo this bright opportunity for a better future- not only for us, but potentially for the rest of the world.