Iran Nuclear Deal, Controversy as Approval Approaches

The Iran nuclear deal has survived a key vote in the U.S. Senate today. It’s a victory for President Obama and means approval of the agreement moves forward in Congress. But definitely not without controversy.

“I want to make sure I don’t do anything that will let Iran make a nuclear weapon in the future and I don’t think this deal protects us from that which is why I’m going to vote no,” said Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson on the floor of the Senate.

Isakson says it’s a vote for appeasement, not strength.  He listed five things he’s considered in coming to a no decision. 1) Is it enforceable?  2) D we have (true) inspections?  3) do we have credibility?  4) Have lawmakers seen all the necessary documents?  And 5) Is it good for the future of our children and grandchildren?  Isakson says for him, the answer to all five questions is no.

Critics include all of Georgia’s congressional delegation as well as a list of republican presidential candidates.

But Dr. Behrooz Kalantari, a professor at Savannah State University says it should be less about politics and more about facts and the “what else” factor?

“I think unfortunately some politicians either don’t understand the facts, they have not read the information, or they don’t understand the reality in the Middle East,” he told me.

Dr. Kalantari grew up in Iran but left there more than 40 years ago.  He says he’s much more aligned with the U.S. than Iran and would never support anything he thinks would hurt this country.  But he believes without this deal, we have more of the same, which is nothing.  No relationship with Iran and no attempt at all to reign in nuclear material development. “I mean this is the best way humanely possible at this point at this time to block Iran from developing a nuclear bomb,” he said.

“But there is no other alternative. what else can you do? The only other alternative is that we attack them and that is against International law,” he said. ||

Dr. Kalantari pointed out Iran has the right to nuclear energy but not to develop a bomb.  But he believes that distinction puts the international community in a precarious place and says a treaty seems to be the best and only way to keep Iran in check.

He says the U.S. Is not the only country with concerns at stake.  He says the treaty negotiations have taken place over a period of 20 months and that the United Nations and European Union have been involved.  Say what you will about the final agreement, he says.  But he believes it’s disingenuous to claim that a list of political and nuclear experts involved in the negotiations have done nothing to put checks on Iran in whatever ways possible.

He knows there are deep concerns about the verifiable data necessary to make sure Iran is not continuing to develop nuclear material.  But he believes that the inspection process outlined is far better than what is in place now which is essentially nothing.  He says Iran has already reduced the amount of nuclear material “”Iran already has about 19,000 centrifuges and they’ve agreed to reduce it to something like 300 centrifuges. I mean I think there is no way they can develop a nuclear bomb,” he said.

But republicans in Congress are vowing to try somehow to keep the agreement from going through saying the Iranians in power just can’t be trusted.

Dr. Kalantari says perhaps.  But one thing he believes could happen as a result of any agreement the U.S. is involved in is a possible shift in power in his native country.  He says hard line Iranians don’t want the treaty with the U.S. any more than conservatives in this country. “This deal is also going to help the moderates in Iran. They could get the upper hand and eventually the internal politics of the country could change,” he says

And he believes if the the U.S. does not go along and continues sanctions against Iran, it may be alone in that quest.  He says that’s because it’s likely all other

international sanctions will be lifted.

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