NEW YORK – The nuclear framework agreement between Iran and the five permanent UN Security Council members (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, and Russia) plus Germany is an important achievement in global diplomacy. The deal announced earlier this month represents the triumph of rational hope over irrational fear, and it deserves to be implemented. But now the race is on against hardliners in the US, Iran, Israel, and elsewhere, who want to kill the deal before the deadline for a final agreement in June.
The framework agreement benefits all parties. Iran scales back its nuclear activities, especially the enrichment of uranium fuel, in exchange for an end to economic sanctions. Its government is kept further away from developing a nuclear bomb – which it denies pursuing – and gains room for economic recovery and normalization of relations with the major powers.
It is a smart, pragmatic, and balanced approach, subject to monitoring and verification. It does not require that the US and Iranian governments suddenly trust each other; but it does offer an opportunity to build confidence, even as it allows for specific steps that are in each side’s interests. Crucially, it is part of international law, within the framework of the UN Security Council.
By propounding the idea that the other side can never be trusted, the hardliners are advancing a self-fulfilling theory of politics and human nature that makes war far more likely. These purveyors of fear deserve to be kept on the sidelines. It is time to make peace.