The Iran Deal has dazzled readers across the world. But this is not the first time. Readers across the world were also dazzled in the early 1970s when American President Richard Nixon reopened Chinese- American relations with Mao Zedong and ended decades-long tensions. And how does China look today after more than forty years of the reopening? You judge. An economically liberal, domestically stable Iran would serve the stability of the entire unstable Middle Eastern region.
An isolated Iran is a harmful Iran to the world and to the Iranians. An Iran that operates within the community of nations and that enjoys a vibrant economy is an Iran that the rational and logical one would want to see. Why would that matter? According to the modernisation theory, also known as the capitalist peace theory, an economically liberal state would never physically harm another economically liberal state. To put it in other words, as Thomas Friedman of the New York Times has written in The Lexus and the Olive Tree: “No two countries that both had McDonald’s had fought a war against each other since each got its McDonald’s.” Liberalize the region and you will secure its stability.
Proponents of the Iran Deal argue that the deal would block any and all pathways that Iran, if badly intentioned, could take to build a nuclear weapon. The nuclear power capabilities were recently frozen, for the very first time since 2003, as a result of the Iran Deal with the West. In addition to preventing Iran from obtaining and creating a nuclear weapon through sending specialized inspectors, the deal would also revive and enrich the Iranian people and the Iranian economy. At the end of the day, a healthy Iran is good for the region and the world. A capitalist and internationally recognized post-war democratic Japan, to present one of numerous historical cases, has served the stability of East Asia and inevitably the world. It is very important to understand that the West has mistrusted Iran since the Islamic Revolution of 1979; the mistrusting however has not prevented the Islamic Republic from building nuclear energy. Nonetheless, as regional hegemons are concerned, the Iran Deal would redefine and shift the balance-of-power equation. This brings us to why not to support the Iran Deal.
Opponents of the Iran Deal, deliberately or not, hold the realist power argument. That is, not to sanction and treat the Islamic Republic the way the West has done for long years means an opening of Iran to the world. One approach to the double-sided argument mistrusts the hidden intentions of Iran; those who hold this argument believe that Iran will obtain nuclear power through unknown aims. According to their reasoning, a nuclear Iran threatens “the existence” of the believers of this argument.
Nonetheless, if we consider what former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was quoted as saying in 1987 that Israel is Iran’s “best friend and we do not intend to change our position,” will we one day witness some form of unhidden acceptance between the two powerful states? On the other hand, particular powers in the Middle East question how the opening of Iran to the world would reformulate the dynamics of certain global alliances. The questioning of the latter is legitimate for it tackles a history of alliances with solely the West – not with Russia, China or, just until recently, Turkey. The pluralization of alliances, for the readers of the second argument, will serve the security and stability of the respected states in the future.
The US Congress will vote on the Iran Deal on the 17th of September. Until then, two legitimate questions to those who oppose the Iran Deal are worth noting: What is your alternative and how violent is it?
By Bader Al-Dehani