By Edmond Y. Azadian
During his last State of the Union address, President Barack Obama announced that another war had been avoided, referring to the Iran nuclear deal which began dismantling the sanctions imposed on Iran in return for the latter getting rid of its nuclear weapons. The historic accord was signed on July 14, 2015 in Vienna between six leading powers and Iran, and it took effect on Saturday, January 16, after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) certified Iran’s compliance with the agreement regarding the country’s nuclear program and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Thus the sanctions regime imposed on Iran by the United States has been substantially weakened.
The sanctions had been imposed by a presidential decree and by congressional action dating back to 1979, and later expanded in 1995. The first set can be lifted by the president but the latter will need congressional action, which may hit some hurdles down the road depending on any change in the configuration of the next congress.
There was certainly jubilation in Iran as well as a sigh of relief in the entire region, but some tough talk on the US presidential campaign trail. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had secured billions of dollars of additional US aid to Israel and had managed to divide the Israeli lobby in America, acquiesced only grudgingly to the fact. He continued to state that “Iran has not given up its nuclear ambitions” and that he would keep watching its actions closely. On the presidential campaign trail, Republican candidate Ted Cruz vowed to throw out the Iran nuclear deal on the first day he is in office, with his eyes focused on Netanyahu, rather than the US electorate.
President Obama was able to achieve the Iran deal against all odds, like the Cuban rapprochement, because he was able to read the war weariness of the public after the waste of trillions of dollars of US taxpayers’ money and the precious blood of our youth in uniform. That war weariness was signaled in the successive defeats of the campaigns of John McCain and Mitt Romney, for whom a strong defense was a euphemism for entering yet another war, all under the guise of patriotism, while directing taxpayer money to the military industrial complex.