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Thursday, August 6, 2015

"Diplomacy" key to Iran Nuclear Talks

President Obama spoke at American University on Wednesday to make the case for the administration's nuclear war deal recently reached with Iran.

Making the case for the U.S. - Iran nuclear weapons deal: President Obama speaking in the 
Prince Salman Grand Auditorium on the campus of American University. Photo/CD Brown. 
The president said the current deal, one with far-reaching components, was the best offer that could have been made, short of the alternative which he said - could be war.

To the point, and more diplomatically, the agreement stipulates that Iran cannot make a nuclear weapon - ever.

The president explained several other components of the deal, which 90 countries support.

Under the deal, said the president, "The core of its [Iran's] heavy-water reactor at Arak will be pulled out, filled with concrete, and replaced with one that will not produce plutonium for a weapon.  The spent fuel from that reactor will be shipped out of the country, and Iran will not build any new heavy-water reactors for at least 15 years."

The deal also stipulates that Iran will not be able to acquire uranium used to manufacture a bomb and that it must rid 98 percent of its stockpile of enriched uranium (enough for nearly 10 nuclear bombs), also for 15 years.

Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will have access to inspect Iran's uranium mines, mills and centrifuge production facilities for the same time period to ensure compliance.

"Inspectors will be allowed daily access to Iran’s key nuclear sites", the president said.

"If there is a reason for inspecting a suspicious, undeclared site anywhere in Iran, inspectors will get that access, even if Iran objects."

IAEA's director, General Yukiya Amano, said Wednesday in a Senate Committee hearing that the U.S., "will have wider access to information and sites."

"We will know much more about the nature of Iran’s nuclear activities", he said.

Opponents of the 'arrangement', with staunch recollection of Iran's history of violating treaties and agreements and Iran's reputation known for state-sponsored terrorism, question the deal's viability.

"Many serious concerns have been raised regarding this deal", said Representative Richard Shelby (R-Alabama), speaking at a more than three-hour long hearing Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

"It remains a serious risk to the national security of the United states, [and] it remains a constant threat to the survival of Israel."

Representative Tim Scott (R-SC) said, "The more I read it, the less I like it."

(See 12 Senators that could sway the Iran deal).

Despite the clear and present reality of those concerns, the arrangement speaks only to nuclear weapons non-proliferation.

The government of Israel has opposed the deal; its Prime Minister has asked U.S. Jews to reject it.

"Because the government of Israel has opposed the deal, that has lead members of Congress to be concerned about it", said American University president Cornelius Kerwin.

"That's a big factor, but I think really, most of it is just politics", Kerwin said.

"There are certain people, no matter what he [President Obama] does, they're going to oppose."

Jake Plevelich of American University's School of International Service (SIS) Masters program said President Obama, "values our country more than previous presidents."

"I'm just very proud that he got this deal, and he fought for it, and he’s standing by it", said Plevelich.

"By him standing by this deal he is a peace maker and he’s standing up for the American people. Obviously, nothing’s ever going to be perfect given the circumstances, but I think this was an excellent deal given the circumstances.    Iran is cut off from making a bomb and that’s the goal.  I think that we have achieved the goal and the next step is just to get the deal approved.”

Congress has more meetings scheduled to discuss the deal before they leave for the Congressional August recess.

For others, no further discussion is needed.

"This deal is trusted and verified", said Wendy Sherman, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.

"For me, this deal is about one thing, and one thing only. That this regime, that does do a lot of terrible things in the region and to its own people, will not have a nuclear weapon that that could further terrorize the world and terrorize the region."

Jake Plevelich and Parsa Ghahramani, American University School of International Service (SIS) students.

What AU millennials are saying about the deal.

Students of American University's School of International Studies (SIS) at American University weigh in on the U.S.- Iran nuclear weapons deal.

"I think it's important for my generation, the millennials, to pay attention to what is going on...  I like the fact that President Obama is bringing a different approach to it other than just war and military action. It's... more diplomatic where we can get more actors involved to find a peaceful solution.
 
My biggest concern is what happens if Iran goes to an ally and starts building a nuclear program with that country that the United States has not prohibited from developing a nuclear weapon. Is the U.S. always going to be involved in Iran’s foreign policy? Are they always going to have to scatter their experts around the world – having inspectors  follow Iran everywhere the go?"  – Michelle Sumakai, Graduate student; Ethics, Peace and  Global Affairs
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 "It's a great thing. There really aren’t any alternatives that are better.   The president embarked on the hard work of diplomacy, which is a lot more difficult than just tough talk, just sounding.    
The overwhelming majority of Iranians support the deal because they realize this is the best that could be done."   Parsa Ghahramani,  2nd year Masters student; School of International Services (SIS)
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WATCH: The president speaks at AU | Iran Nuclear Agreement Sanctions Relief  (1:10 mark provides another case against the deal)

****UPDATE****

 Representative Chuck Schumer (D-NY) opposes deal with Iran.


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