Week In Review: Quick Recap

Last week was a busy one. First, I wrote about the new Senate bill – the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013 – which has acquired a couple dozen co-sponsors. The bill, which threatens to derail the talks, contains several long-sought features by Iran-hawks, including: a time-limit on the President’s waiver authority; parameters within which the President can negotiate a final deal with Iran (which includes a zero-enrichment line); a total oil embargo on Iran; and sanctions on Iran’s construction and engineering sectors.

The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act would not merely alienate Iran in the here and now, I argued, but also for the foreseeable future. If it moves forward in the Senate (right now an unlikely prospect), it’ll be nothing less than a first shot fired in the war-to-come with Iran. In my earlier post, I discussed these features, their novelty and their implications for U.S.-Iran rapprochement.

Then, I had a featured post over at Muftah concerning the U.S.’s feigned concern for nonproliferation, as evidenced by the disparate treatment accorded Iran compared to U.S. allies. I ran through several instances where the U.S. staked out a position on Iran’s nuclear program which it was soon forced to betray when the spotlight shone on a close U.S. ally. This disparate treatment, I argued, should both undercut belief that the U.S. has genuine concern about weapons proliferation, as well as sympathize us to Iran’s position in the nuclear talks. Most importantly, however, unless and until the U.S. adopts an across-the-board policy on nuclear proliferation, we can expect the further erosion of the nonproliferation regime. Not a good thing for anybody, in my opinion.

Finally, I had a much longer piece on the contiguity between U.S. policies towards Iran today and those of Britain in the Mossadeq period. As I noted, both then and now, the question of rights was at stake for Iran – resource rights then, nuclear rights now. In both cases, the West’s response was to put in place crushing sanctions (including blockades on the sale of Iranian oil overseas), threaten the use of force, and engage in increasingly hostile rhetoric. While this is a history that might not figure all that important for us, Iranians can hardly ignore it, forming as it does a unique place in the store of Iran’s consciousness. We’d do well, I concluded, to pay close attention to this history and consider how it can bring us closer to, rather than further from, Iran and its people.

This week is the holidays, but expect a couple of new posts from me. Also, if people haven’t noticed yet, I’ve started writing somewhat regularly over at LobeLog, where I have tackled issues relating to the ongoing civil war in Syria and U.S. drone warfare. Please tune in there, whether to read me or any of the other excellent columnists.

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