Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Many people just hate Iran

By Frank Moraes

I have a great fondness for Iran. Or maybe it is just that I really like the food at Maykadeh Persian Cuisine in San Francisco. Whatever. But the truth is my impression of Iran is as a modern people who would very much like to throw off the chains of their theocratic overlords and rush as fast as possible to their own variation of modernity. And what I say to all such people is, "Welcome!" And the best way to do that is to include Iran in our world, not exclude it. Our long-running tiff with Iran has been a disaster.

So the fact that we are talking to Iran in some capacities and that we have at least a short-term deal with them is great. So I'm being honest. I'm really not terribly worried about Iran getting a nuclear weapon. I wish they would not. We need to be destroying nuclear weapons not creating them; we certainly don't need more countries with them. And Iran acquiring one would start a Middle East arms race. But fundamentally, I want good relations with Iran—which I think will solve the nuclear issue anyway.

People on the other side of the issue are not being honest. None of this is about a nuclear armed Iran. What these people want is a weak Iran. People in the region have their reasons. If Iran's economy took off, it would be a powerhouse. That would understandably make Israel nervous. And with a strong economy would go much of the power of the theocratic state. And the other despots of the region wouldn't like to see that.

In America, most of the hatred of Iran goes back to the embassy hostage crisis. But that was 33 years ago. Get over it! The country had a revolution. These things happen. It's time to get on with the business of nations. Think: detente. I know that most people here claim that their problem with Iran is concern for Israel. But that makes no sense. Israel can take care of itself. And if it gets into problems, the United States is totally behind it. What's really going on is seen very clearly with John McCain. He just hates Iran and wants to do anything he can to harm it. I understand that, but that is no way to run a country's foreign policy.

Matt Yglesias wrote an excellent short article this morning, The Risk Is the Iran Deal Will Work. And that's definitely what I see. If this deal works, then all the people who want sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program will have to admit that it wasn't about that at all. The nuclear threat was just a cover.

(Cross-posted at Frankly Curious.)

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