Iran Nuclear Agreement: too lenient?

Suzanne Ciechalski, Opinion Editor

During a historic moment in foreign policy, enough votes were finally secured last week to ensure that the long awaited nuclear agreement with Iran would not fail in an unsupportive Congress. After spending an enormous amount of time negotiating a deal deemed suitable enough in its limitations on Iran’s nuclear program, President Obama and Democrats alike celebrated this victory while most Republicans were left as infuriated as they were since the proposal of the agreement in July.

It is important to note that Iran has been a state sponsor of terrorism for years, a fact that is fueling the vehement disagreement on the nuclear agreement between Democrats and Republicans. The United States and Iran’s relations have been historically hostile. The New York Post reported just days after the agreement was reached that the nation’s “supreme leader” Ali Khamenei pledged that the nation’s “policy towards the arrogant U.S. will not change,” followed by chants of “death to America” and “death to Israel,” another nation that is against the agreement.

Yet, these chants have been explained by various news sources as having a far different meaning than actual “death to America.” USA Today reports that “death to America” in Iran actually means American policies, not the American people.  Perhaps, this is true. Nonetheless, such a chant is still a sign of disregard for the United States.

While it is not America’s role to police the rest of the world, the United States has played a significant role in the nuclear talks with Iran and the formation of the nuclear agreement. If death to American policy is something that officials wish to see, how can it be certain that Iranian officials will not end up disregarding the agreement somewhere down the line?

Iran is also still holding the Washington Post’s reporter, Jason Rezaian on charges of espionage, as well as three other Americans. During the nuclear talks, America made it clear that the release of these people was crucial, yet their release was not a part of the deal. Now, a verdict has apparently been reached in Rezaian’s case, but it has yet to be revealed. Talk on whether he will be released or not has varied amongst Iranian officials. Some say that a trade for Iranians held in America is a possibility, while others say that a trade is completely off the table.

While not securing the release of these citizens, the deal does seemingly have several provisions that appear to be victorious for the United States and the rest of the world. The International Atomic Energy Agency’s right to inspect all of Iran’s nuclear sites, a reduction of Iran’s uranium stockpile, limits on its enrichment capacity, as well as its research and development on centrifuges and investigations into its past are included, among other things. In exchange, the United States and European Union have promised to lift or suspend harsh sanctions.

Should Iran not stick to its end of the bargain, the suspended sanctions would be put back into place, positive for sure. However, a suspension of the sanctions has proven not to be enough. Khamenei stated on Friday that the nuclear deal would not go through unless sanctions are lifted entirely.

Given Iran’s deceptive past in regards to its nuclear program, this agreement is truly lenient and a chance for the nation to redeem itself. However, by continuing to hold Americans as prisoners, advocating for “death” to American policies and by being obstinate in regards to the suspension of sanctions, Iran is proving many people’s fears that this deal may be just a bit too lenient.

Rather than actually solving the problem and relieving the animosity between America and Iran, we have simply delayed the resolution of issues that have plagued both sides for decades.