The Iranian Nuclear Deal Is Overkill

No one can claim that President Obama was not transparent in this masterful press conference. He answered every question, and even extended the press conference to answer more. It may take a sledgehammer to get the Republicans to take their fingers out of their ears and hear the clear facts the President laid out in the plainest terms.

The Vienna accords were not about freeing prisoners, saying bad things about Israel, worrying about how Iranians were going to spend their own money which the sanctions sequestered, supporting Assad or the Houthis. Or tellingly about the Bush/Cheney-era neo-conservative plan to bring about regime change in Iran.

No. the deal was about one thing: the Iranian nuclear program. The President finally acknowledged that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty guarantees Iran's rights to peaceful nuclear development.

The deal is, in fact, overkill. There is no evidence anywhere that Iran had, has or will have a nuclear weapons program and that mere enrichment of uranium--something 19 other non-nuclear weapons countries do without any complaints from the US--is not tantamount to weapons manufacture, the inspections regime negotiated in the Vienna accords are quite incredible--the most serious ever enacted anywhere.

Essentially we are going to have inspectors running around 24/7 looking at nothing for eternity just to satisfy an American horror fantasy about Iran dropping bombs on Tel Aviv and New York (as AIPAC has claimed in some of its apoplectic videos). But fine, inspectors need employment as well. Maybe David Albright can sign up.

And the International Atomic Energy Agency, tripling their inspection forces and now having the ability to search anywhere as part of the new accords is about as extreme as one could be. Given that Iran cannot be deprived of all nuclear development under the NPT without throwing that international treaty into utter chaos, the United States squeezed every drop of security out of the accords.

Republicans who oppose this are clearly being obstructionist (again) or purposely obtuse. Fingers in ears. La la la!

Sadly, it is the United States, its honor and reputation and safety that will suffer if the Republicans somehow manage to scuttle the deal. And it won't even matter--because the rest of the world is not going to wait for us to solve our petty political differences. They will lift the sanctions, and we will be stuck in a corner whining.

William O. Beeman is Professor and Chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota. He has lived and conducted research in Iran for over 40 years and speaks fluent Persian. His 2008 book, The "Great Satan" vs. the "Mad Mullahs": How the United States and Iran Demonize Each Other, shows how the current nuclear crisis arose. He traveled throughout Iran for three weeks in June.