Reframing the Iran Nuclear Agreement

Written by: Terry Link

Primary Source : Possibilitator, September 7, 2015.

Critics of the proposed “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” agreement with Iran and six other world powers fail to address the double standards that run rampant with the nuclear club. Of the current nuclear club members (US, Russia, Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea) only China and India have pledged a non-first use of nuclear weapons, while the US is the only state that has used them. The use of nuclear weapons would be a moral, environmental and legal crime as they kill indiscriminately.

Those nation states without nuclear weapons that have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty have in large part agreed to forgo acquisition of nuclear arms because the treaty, which came into affect in 1970, included one of three foundation pillars of the treaty that required the members of the club to eliminate their stockpile of nuclear weapons. Even as the Cold War ended, the US, as the lone superpower, blew an opportunity to defuse what has become again an increasing global concern. Why are no concerns are raised of those nations that already have them, especially those that have not yet declared a no first use?

According to the Federation of American Scientists there are approximately 15,700 nuclear warheads in the hands of the nuclear club. The U.S. and Russia have by far the most, more than 7,000 each.


The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) reports that each of the club members is building and/or modernizing its stockpile. Why is there  ZERO concern with this fact, while we have so much attention regarding one country that might someday get one and which has signed the Nuclear Non Proliferation Pact?


Meanwhile the U.S. budget for nuclear weapons spending grows. The National Priorities Project calculates that we US taxpayers spent $2.2 million EVERY HOUR.


The Union of Concerned Scientists reported earlier this year that President Obama’s 2016 budget plan called for $328 billion to be invested in reshaping our nuclear arsenal over the next decade. This from a fellow who gave an impassioned call for nuclear arms reduction in Prague shortly after beginning his presidency.

While President Obama has given lip service to reducing our nuclear arsenal, he has done almost nothing to move forward on it. Perhaps realizing that fear baiting legislators and their military-industrial-complex supporters, would throw out the usual ‘red herring’ that he’d be turning the US over to communists, terrorists, or whatever the evil incarnate du jour happens to be. Just look at what they are saying about the Iran agreement which has broad global support.
We spend more on military than the next seven nations combined, as Robert Reich notes in his short video on The Costs of War and yet the fear-mongers tell us it’s not enough. We need more weapons, more deadly weapons. If the roles were reversed and China, Russia, Japan, Germany, Brazil, India or Pakistan was in that position, wouldn’t we be concerned about their excessive power? Can you imagine how the rest of the world looks at us – the one that has so many nuclear weapons, has used them, has invaded or attacked numerous nation states since WWII?

I wouldn’t claim here that Iran is a democratic paradise, although it seems to treat their people better than does, say our good friend Saudi Arabia, and probably gives less support to enemies of the US than do the Saudis. And don’t forget how we helped overthrow their democratically elected president in the mid-50s and installed our puppet Shah who, like our one time buddy, Saddam, was a terror to his people.


Just as Israel has destroyed Gaza to the point that the UN reported last week that at current deteriorating rate, it will be unlivable in five years, so did we with destroy Iraq, not only their infrastructure, but their society.

We aren’t the saints those who espouse American exceptionalism tout us to be. Nor is Iran, the vilest nation on the planet. The Iranians love their children as much as we love ours. It’s time to stop the cycle of violence. The threats or use of more violence will not provide the children we both love the security and freedom from fear that we all desire. Join with the community of nations in building a peaceful  future by inviting Iran to join with our human family in renouncing nuclear weapons.

Perhaps if we had a department focused on peace instead of war (the Department of Defense was called the Department of War) we could find more ways to use our heads to build a lasting peace. Actually, Rep. Barbara Lee, the ONLY member of Congress brave enough to vote against the “authorization of the use of force” resolution after the 9/11 tragedy  has reintroduced such a proposal to create a Department of Peacebuilding, H.R. 1111.


Rep. Lee was right on September 14, 2001. And she is right in recommending the peacebuilding approach now. See her short speech to Congress almost 14 years ago to the day and be inspired to stand up for peace and against war.

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Terry Link
Terry Link is a retired MSU librarian, former founding director of the MSU Office of Campus Sustainability, and co-founder and former chair of the American Library Association’s Task Force on the Environment. He recently served as associate editor for the two-volume encyclopedia, Achieving Sustainability: Visions, Principles, and Practices(Gale/Cengage 2014). He has also served as executive director of a regional food bank and as a county commissioner. Currently he is president of Starting Now, LLC, a sustainability consulting firm, a Senior Fellow for the U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development and serves on numerous non-profit organization boards.
Terry Link

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