For Iran, the Nuclear Deal Is the Latest Step Towards Change

Nearly 18 months after negotiations began, a deal has finally been reached between Iran and six countries collectively known as the P5+1. The United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China have settled on the framework of a plan to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapons program. While politicians and pundits focus on the nuclear aspects of the deal, Iran seems to be focusing on a future that will not only be without nuclear weapons capability, but also less repressive.

Since the election of President Hassan Rouhani in June 2013, religious leaders in Iran have given their approval of a more conciliatory approach with the west. Decades of sanctions have taken their toll on the nation and the reportedly more moderate Rouhani seems to be adept at bridging the gap between the past and the future. He has called for an even handed approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and has gone on record acknowledging the Holocaust and the enduring pain suffered by Jews. Relations between the country and the United States seem to be heading towards a less adversarial state, at least among those involved in the negotiations. Rouhani and President Obama spoke on the phone last year, the first time a sitting U.S. president had done so in 30 years.

Many are justifiably suspicious of Rouhaniís charm offensive. Iranís history of dishonesty during previous attempts at deals is why many of the benchmarks in the interim deal had to be met before any sanctions were lifted or other relief was granted. The current deal also contains ongoing checks and balances to make sure that Iran adheres to the agreement. Hardliners in Iran are calling for the end of all sanctions before they will sign. In the United States, opponents are objecting to what they see as too lenient terms for Iran. Nevertheless, there are some not-so-subtle changes happening within the country that may do more to ensure Iran maintains their end of the bargain than anything in the agreement.

For several years, there has been a strong grassroots political movement going on in the country. This movement is largely credited with getting Rouhini elected, who campaigned on a reformist agenda promising less repression. Since 2013 state repression has dropped dramatically and has led to many civil and political reforms. More moderate newspapers are being published, students who were previously banned from attending university for political activities are returning to school, and public protests are occurring without the threat of violence or prison. People have publicly spoken out about violence against women, teachersí salaries and air pollution. In other words, itís beginning to look like a real democracy.

There are even signs that some of the conservative theocratic rules are being softened. Earlier this month, it was announced that a nearly 40 year ban on women attending sporting events has been partially lifted. Women can now attend some events with their families, depending on the venue and the sport. Like with the nuclear deal, the move was part of a desire to improve relations with the west. The country recently lost a bid to host a major soccer tournament due to their ban on female attendance.

For the countries involved, the nuclear agreement is about security. Neighboring nations, and the world, do not want Iran with nuclear weapons. For Iran the deal appears to be just one of many steps to reformation. There is still a long way to go, but and only time will tell how sincere their efforts are. Nevertheless, there is little doubt that some real change is happening.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

58 comments

Jim Ven
Jim V2 years ago

thanks for the article.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jonathan Harper
Jonathan Harper3 years ago

Noted

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Monika Ka
Monika K3 years ago

Thanks

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Winn Adams
Winn A3 years ago

Peace please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Brian F.
Brian F3 years ago

Republicans act like Iran is such a threat. While no sane person wants Iran to have a nuclear weapon, the world is much more fearful that a republican moron like GW Bush will get elected, serve his corporate masters, and get us into another major war in the Middle East, probably Iran. The Bush war in Iraq that was based on lies cost the lives of 130,000 Iraqis, 4,450 US soldiers, and 30,000 wounded warriors with missing limbs or traumatic brain injury. Republicans who are bought and paid for by the billionaire Koch brothers and corporate America, are the biggest threat the world faces, not Iran. I only hope and prey that we never get another republican imbecile like GW Bush in the White House.

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Suzanne Michael
Suzanne Michael3 years ago

I don't for one minute believe any of the GOP or tea baggers have a religious bone in their body. They use God and religion to get their way, pulling God out of their hats like a rabbit in a magic show. If these ignorant people would just open their own bibles and Read them, they'd see right threw these phonies, instead they sit like puppets in front of Faux entertainment and believe every word as gospel! And anyone with a brain should be able to see that Robertson is suffering from some form of Alzheimer's disease as it's so obvious he's out of it so much that I'm embarrassed for him. These republicans are getting so desperate that they'll use anymore they can, even someone as sick as Robertson to get their propaganda out!
I'm proud of our president working a deal out with Iran, while we can't be sure if their serious about abiding by it, all indications indicate they are changing over there! The GOP would keep us in a war until our country was completely broke. It's already crumbling all around us from the wars we're in now, the last thing we need is another one. I'm certain God did not appoint us rulers of the world, and the longer we're in the Middle East the more terrorist's we're creating! Time to bring all our soldiers home and let these other countries work out their religious wars because they've been fighting them for thousands of years and we can't fix it for them!

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Teresa W.
Teresa W3 years ago

I agree with Colleen.

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Fi T.
Past Member 3 years ago

Change for peace?

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Yvonne Wey
Yvonne Wey3 years ago

This is the worst weapon ever that has been created by man Some countries are using these weapons as fear methods without firing them. No way should nuclear weapons be used or made

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