Regarding our compromise with Iran, it’s not even close. Rejecting the agreement would be an absolute disaster for the United States and Israel, for it prevents Iran from developing a nuclear bomb and moves them closer to the community of nations.
Some in Congress think rejecting it will lead to new negotiations, but there is no second chance. The world is moving forward doing business with oil-rich Iran, making business deals not war.
French ministers were in Tehran to begin such discussions last week. India and Brazil are eager to buy Iranian petroleum as are the Japanese. Over 90 nations who participated in sanctions support the agreement and also want to trade with Iran.
Some in Congress think there is a choice between today’s compromise and a better one tomorrow, but in reality it is a choice between this deal and no deal. Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Chinese leaders and the Iranian Supreme Leader have no interest in making more concessions just to please rigid legislators in Congress.
I support our Iran compromise in part because sanctions relief will occur only after Iran destroys 98 percent of its enriched uranium and all of its 5 percent to 20 percent uranium; removes more than two-thirds of its high-speed centrifuges; terminates all enrichment at its Fordow nuclear facility; and renders inoperable key components of its plutonium reactor at Arak. All these steps must be completed to the satisfaction of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
No sane person wants Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon. The question is how to prevent it. Three approaches mentioned most are sanctions — designed to bring Iran to the table, which succeeded; war — using cyber attacks or nuclear missiles with the likelihood Iran would respond in kind; and negotiations — finding a middle path through compromise.
Did negotiations result in a perfect deal? Of course not. A win for the United States and Israel was to delay Iran’s ability to buy conventional weapons for five years and missiles for eight years. Russia and Iran wanted zero years for both; I preferred never. Today’s compromise makes it very difficult, if not impossible, for Iran to develop a nuclear bomb without the world knowing it. And if the world sees Iran cheated, the world would support immediate actions against Iran.
Solving human differences through negotiations and concessions is nothing new; indeed, our nation was formed through compromise. The sharing of power between large and small states, the Bill of Rights, guaranteeing women the right to vote, ending human slavery, securing civil rights and most recently outlawing discrimination against citizens with pre-existing medical conditions by insurance corporations are some of the compromises that formed our still imperfect union.
Our nation’s Great Compromiser Sen. Henry Clay said it best in 1850: “There are, no doubt, many men who are very wise in their own estimation, who will reject all propositions of compromise, but that is no reason why a compromise should not be attempted to be made. I go for honorable compromise whenever it can be made. Life itself is a compromise between death and life, the struggle continuing throughout our whole existence, until the Great Destroyer finally triumphs. All legislation, all government, all society, is formed upon the principle of mutual concession, politeness, comity, courtesy; upon these, everything is based.” On Clay’s words we can all agree, and so should members of Congress. I urge our elected representatives and U.S. senators to support our Iran compromise. Solve our differences with Iran through conversations, not confrontations, for we cannot afford war in the nuclear age — it’s too expensive.
Appleton’s Steve Kagen is a former congressman who represented Wisconsin’s 8th District.