Response to: Israel, Iran, and the Shifting Geopolitics of the Middle East


NANJING — Last week Udit Banerjea wrote a piece about the recent changes and challenges the United States is facing with the increasingly complex situation in the Middle East, especially concerning Iran.  Currently, the U.S. and Iran are working “together” in Syria and Iraq against ISIL. Meanwhile in Yemen, U.S. ally Saudi Arabia has begun a military intervention to fight the Houthi rebels, who many believe are backed by Iran.

These issues are complicated by the nuclear framework that the P5+1 recently hammered out, signaling that the two sides are willing to work together while still working against each other. In regards to the nuclear framework, which has been commended and criticized, the deal that has been struck is just a preliminary agreement. A final deal needs to be hammered out by June 30, including many details that will be by no means easy to finalize. One major issue is the timing of sanctions relief for Iran. The Iranians are demanding immediate removal while the Americans would like to see them removed in stages as Iran confirms compliance.

Another major issue among politicians in Congress is grappling with the acceptance of an agreement reached with a country openly calling for the destruction of Israel. While the author of the article has posited that a rift between the United States and Israel could potentially be a good thing, it seems as though Israel will continue to be the United States’ closest ally in the Middle East for more than the foreseeable future.

Any deal will get criticized. The framework provides for 10 and 15-year periods with restrictions on different nuclear activities, ranging from reductions in centrifuges, modifications to existing reactors, and limits on research. Ensuring compliance will be an issue. In 1994, North Korea and the United States had signed the Framework Agreement which halted Pyongyang’s nuclear development in exchange for aid. After the collapse of the agreement in 2002, the rouge regime tested its first nuclear weapon in 2006.

All parties involved want the best deal possible for themselves and it seems the best agreement will be one that ensures no one is particularly happy. Hopefully the Iranians are true in their intentions and the framework leads to a lasting deal by June 30.

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