This is good news: P5+1 and Iran agree landmark nuclear deal at Geneva talks

Sure, it’s only for six months, but I like how it accepts Iran enriching uranium up to 5 percent but rules out 20 percent. Iran can continue to enrich uranium, it can have an independent nuclear power program, but not to 20 percent. 20 percent legitimately scares people and has limited use other than as a provocation or bargaining chip.
Iran with nuclear symbol
But I sense fairly widespread skepticism, refusal to accept good news, on the left. Some can’t allow it to interfere with their ‘Iran vs. the Empire’ narrative:

We will likely be back to the usual animosities and renewed calls for war some six month from now. … When, in six month, the U.S. will stop adhering to the agreement Iran will be blamed of breaking it.

My sense is that the writer, b of (the excellent) Moon of Alabama blog, has a too severe, exaggerated analysis in which Israel does and _must_ rule U.S. policy on the Middle East. Tale wags the big U.S. dog. And that means “THIS DOES NOT COMPUTE!”

Well, maybe some of us need to pull back from that a little. Yes, it’s true that the Israeli far right (i.e., Israel’s government) and their allies in the U.S. oppose any concessions. And they are a mighty strong lobby. But maybe there are too many military people, trade partners, and non-oil industry people who fear where the Likud/Israeli line is leading. Can the U.S. afford to bankrupt itself again, with another Iraq, i.e. another several trillion dollar war in the Middle East? Because that’s where being led around by the nose by the present-day Israel would lead.

Here’s my comment under b’s analysis:

I wouldn’t dismiss the deal as ‘temporary, back to confrontation in 6 months, Iran gets nothing’. Iran does get $4.2 billion and it gets positive (“Not a pariah anymore”) PR, which it can leverage into to better relations with other countries individually.

The broader take might be the “bridge too far” concept regarding U.S.-based imperialism. Limits people! Can’t have everything.

In sum, without Russia and China on board, Western sanctions have limits, and so what do you do? This might be the first step toward acceptance of Iran as part of that small club of nations (Russia, China) that the West grudgingly allows to be sovereign.

Expanding on the public relations reference: Not that it can break the united Western front against it, but there are several big ‘non-aligned’ countries that Iran can profitably improve relations with. This is where pulling back from 20 percent enrichment is helpful: it shows again that Iran is determined to have a nuclear _power_ program, that it is determined in a larger (and inspiring) sense to be a sovereign non-Western country, but that it does _not_ want a nuclear weapons program. This may make it permissible for a Brazil, a Khazakstan, an Azerbaijan or a Turkey to break with the West on sanctions.

I feel b overplays the following as well:

Congress has ways and means to increase sanctions and thereby break this deal and will likely do so.

Well, yes, we’ve seen that, but Congress doesn’t do it alone, in a vacuum. If the deal is broken it will be a co-production of the White House, Congress, the mainstream media and lobbyists/funders (which includes but is much more than the Israel Lobby).

At minimum, Iran now has a space in which it can make itself more acceptable to the Powers That Be in the U.S. political space. Or not. Nonetheless, there are possibilities today that don’t compute with a U.S. Middle Eastern policy utterly dominated by the Israel Lobby. Perhaps Netanyahu and Israel’s militarists have simply presented U.S. policy makers with ‘A Bridge Too Far‘.

For the left, this is likely a learning moment for many, including myself. It simply is very hard to square this deal with a U.S. slavishly under the thumb of the Israel Lobby. So let’s learn.

Photo from licensed under Creative Commons